Where to Travel in Bhutan

Bhutan, the last Himalayan Kingdom, is a country where you would find happiness prevailing across! Sharing international boundaries with India and China, this dramatic piece of heaven is shrouded by the mystical Himalayas, cuddled with pictorial plains and magical sub-alpine mountains. Amidst all these miraculous beauties, one would find many scenic places to visit in Bhutan.

Spread across 47,000sq. Km, Bhutan has something for everyone! You will find the most lovely Bhutan tourist places if you look for romantic getaways. The mighty Himalayas (7,000m) and their rugged terrains would indeed offer an adrenaline rush for thrill-seekers! For nature lovers, the picturesque places in Bhutan will do eternal justice. Well, if in case you are thinking about taking a trip to this happiest kingdom, here is a list of the most magnificent places to visit in Bhutan:

Thimphu – The Royal Capital

Thimphu – The Royal Capital

The country’s capital city, Thimphu (previously called Thimbu), is undoubtedly the first place to visit Bhutan. Situated towards the western-central region of the country and on the banks of the gushing Raidak River, this city is dotted with scenic vistas and mountain peaks that reach 2,000-3,800m.

A city that showcases Bhutan’s indigenous cultures and traditions in the most splendid ways, Thimphu also boasts of being the commercial centre of this happy kingdom. The official residence of Bhutan’s royal family, this beautiful city has an abundance of luxury stay options, tourist attractions, places to see in Bhutan, and other modern facilities.

Best Time to Visit: March to May

Tourist Attractions: Buddha Point (Kuensel Phodrang), Tashichho Dzong, Memorial Chorten, Centenary Farmers’ Market, National Library of Bhutan, National Institute of Traditional Medicine, The Folk Heritage Museum, Changangkha Lhakhang, Dechen Phodrang, Dochula, Takin Preserve, Zangto Pelri Lhakhang

Nearest Airport: Paro Airport (54km)

Nearest Railway Station: New Jalpaiguri (West Bengal, India) (302km / 8 Hours)

Weather: Summer (September to November), Winter (November to March), Monsoon (June to September)

Paro Tourism

Paro – The Last Shangri-La

Paro Valley is often revered as the ‘Last Shangri-La’ on earth, a city studded with glorious history and numerous sacred sites! One of the most beautiful places to visit in Bhutan, this district is a vibrant mix of natural beauty, rich cultures, a semi-modern lifestyle, and colourful traditions.

Flaunting its meticulous beauty from the confluence point of Paro Chuu and Wang Chuu rivers to the towering Mt Jomolhari, Paro is the home to the much-acclaimed Taktsang Monastery or the ‘Tiger’s Nest”. This valley is also famed for its famous terraced farming and ‘red rice’ cultivation.

Best Time to Visit: September to November

Tourist Attractions: Taktshang Lhakhang (Tiger’s Nest), Ugyen Pelri Palace, Rinpung Dzong, Kyichu Lhakhang, Jangsarbu Lhakhang, Haa Valley, Chelela Pass, Kila Goemba, Druk Choeding, Dungtse Lhakhang, Ta Dzong, Drukgyel Dzong.

Nearest Airport: Paro Airport (54km)

Nearest Railway Station: New Jalpaiguri (West Bengal, India) (297km / 8 Hours)

Weather: Summer (June to August), Winter (December to May), Monsoon (September to November)

Punakha Dzong – The Lost Capital of Bhutan

The once capital of Bhutan, Punakha Valley, is one of the most scenic year-round places to see in Bhutan. Home to Punakha Dzong – The Palace of Great Happiness or Bliss, this Himalayan marvel is seated at the height of 1,200m and proves to be a serene tourist attraction in the entire country.

Tucked away amidst the Pho Chu and Mo Chu rivers, the Punakha Valley is around 3.5 hours’ drive away from Thimphu and can easily reach across the country. Pleasant climate, bountiful beauty, warm locals, and diverse Buddhist culture and traditions make this valley a must-visit place in Bhutan.

Best Time to Visit: Year-Round Destination

Tourist Attractions: Punakha Dzong, Chimi Lakhang, Jigme Dorji National Park, Rishta Village

Nearest Airport: Paro Airport (122km / 3 Hours)

Nearest Railway Station: New Jalpaiguri (376km / 10 Hours)

Weather: Summer (July to September), Winter (October to April), Monsoon (May to June)

Trongsa – The Balcony of Bhutan

Positioned on an elevated hilltop, Trongsa is known for its scenic beauty and panoramic views. Owing to its topology, this pictorial place to see in Bhutan can also be called the ‘Balcony of Bhutan’! Magnifying this town’s enchanting charm, its rich history, traditional white-washed buildings, and colourful plants spread throughout its perimeter.

Visitors often throng this place to enjoy panoramic views of its surrounding valleys and the magical mountainous glimpses. Among the many attractions in this quaint town, the Trongsa Dzong, which resembles a flying dragon, is a major attraction. To mention here, the dzong is estimated to be built in 1648!

Best Time to Visit: Year-Round Destination

Tourist Attractions: Trongsa Dzong, Ta Dzong, Chendbji Chorten, Kuenga Rabten, Chökhor Raptse Dzong, Thruepang Palace, Trongsa Tower

Nearest Airport: Paro Airport (230km / 6 Hours)

Nearest Railway Station: New Jalpaiguri (West Bengal, India) (484km / 12 Hours)

Weather: Summer (April to June), Winter (September to April), Monsoon (July to September)

Bumthang or Jakar Valley – The Switzerland of Bhutan

It was enriched with the charm and splendour of evergreen mountains, Bumthang, or the Jakar Valley, if fondly called ‘Little Switzerland’! Well, even though you may not find the scenic Swiss Alps here, you can surely savour the delicious ‘Swiss Cheese’ while touring around the magnificent Jakar Valley; thus, it got its name.

Located in the central-eastern part of the country, Bumthang can easily surpass any of the places to visit in Bhutan with its bountiful beauty and natural marvels. Jakar’s rugged terrains and challenging trails also earned its fame among adrenaline seekers. Whether outdoors or indoors, you would surely like every bit of this valley.

Best Time to Visit: Spring (March-May), Winter (December to February)

Tourist Attractions: Jakar Dzong, Wangdicholing Palace, Kurje Lhakhang, Zangtopelri Lhakhang, Jambey Lhakhang, Lhodrak Kharchhu Lhakhang, Tamshing Gompa, Chakhar Lhakhang

Nearest Airport: Paro Airport (309km / 9 Hours)

Nearest Railway Station: New Jalpaiguri (West Bengal, India) (563km / 16 Hours)

Weather: Summer (June to August), Winter (December to February), Monsoon (September to November)

Phobjikha Valley – Land of Black-Necked Cranes

One of the most enchanting places to visit in Bhutan, Phobjikha Valley is a treat to every visitors’ eye! A glacial valley can also find the rare black-necked cranes in abundance. Unique from the rest of the Happy Kingdom, the valley showcases heart-warming cultures and is adorned with rich faunal biodiversity.

Resembling much to the shape of a bowl, the grace of Phobjikha Valley is further enchanted by the great Black Mountains and endless expanses of evergreen fields. Irrespective of which month or season it is, one can always expect a surreal and serene experience in this valley; all these surely make Phobjikha Valley one of the most sought-after places to see in Bhutan.

Best Time to Visit: May, July, April

Tourist Attractions: Black Necked Crane Information Centre, Gangtey Goemba, Damchen Lhakhang, Nyingma Dzogchen, Kuezang Chholing Shedra, Khewang Lhakhang, Kumbhu Lhakhang

Nearest Airport: Paro Airport (173km / 5 Hours)

Nearest Railway Station: New Jalpaiguri (West Bengal, India) (427km / 11 Hours)

Weather: Summer (June to July), Winter (December to February)

Mount Chomolhari – Bride of the Kangchenjunga

Guarding the borders of Bhutan, the Chomolhari Mountian (also called Jomolhari Mountain) is a part of the great Himalayas. Rising around 2,700m above ground level, this enthralling mountain is affectionately called the ‘Bride of the Kangchenjunga’ due to its proximity with the latter.

A sacred site among the Buddhists, mostly the Tibetan Buddhists, legends believe it is the abode of Goddess Jomo, who is believed to be the protector of Happy Kingdom. Chomolhari Mountain remained unclimbed until 1924 as folklore said that anyone trying to scale this sacred mountain would be thrown or pushed down. However, it has become a hot spot among trekkers and thrill-seekers alike. Even if you don’t wish to climb Mount Jomolhari, you must not miss the chance of having a close look at it!

Best Time to Visit: March to June (Peak Trekking Season)

Nearest Airport: Paro Airport (49km / 1 Hour)

Wangdue Phodrang – Bhutan’s Unification Capital

Settled at a breathtaking height of 28,000ft, Wangdue Phodrang is the second-largest and one of the most surreal places to visit in Bhutan. A scenic display of how soulfully cultures meet and greet nature’s untouched beauty, this second largest district of the Land of Dragons is also expected to get enlisted as a ‘UNESCO World Heritage Site’ soon.

Dotted with many tourist attractions, Wangdue Phodrang offers a unique mix of subtropical and cool and snowy climatic conditions. Thus, it has earned an unmatched reputation among visitors searching for beautiful places to see in Bhutan.

Best Time to Visit: Year-Round Destination

Tourist Attractions: Wangdue Phodrang Dzong, Temple of Sha Radap, Nahee Village, Rinchegang Village, Jigme Singye Wangchuk National Park, Phobjika Valley

Nearest Airport: Paro Airport (107km / 2.5 Hours)

Nearest Railway Station: New Jalpaiguri (West Bengal, India) (362km / 10 Hours)

Weather: Summer (June to August), Winter (December to February), Spring (March to May)

Jigme Dorji National Park – The Wild Side of Himalayan Kingdom

Spread across the length and breadth of Gasa District and some parts of Thimphu, Paro, Wangdue Phodrang, and Punakha, the enthralling Jigme Dorji National Park at 1,400-1,700m, is a natural home to many endangered and rare wildlife species. Flaunting its irresistible beauty across 4,315sq. This reserved area is also a demanding contender name in the ‘UNESCO World Heritage Site list.’

Home to more than 30 wildlife species, the park also has several cultural sites within its perimeter. On a visit to Jigme Dorji National Park, one can easily spot Bengal Tiger, Snow Leopard, Takin, Clouded Leopard, and Himalayan Blue Sheep are some of the dominant inhabitants of this park. It also houses more than 300 different birds and an array of rare floral species. Jigme Dorji National Park has also become a favourite ground for trekkers opting for Jomolhari Trek, Snowman Trek, Lunana Trek, and Gasa-Laya Trek.

Best Time to Visit: Year-Round Destination

Operational Hours: Monday to Friday (09:00 AM – 05:00 PM)

Non-Operational Hours: Weekends

Nearest Airport: Paro Airport (161km / 5 Hours)

Nearest Railway Station: New Jalpaiguri (West Bengal, India) (415km / 12 Hours)

Phuentsholing – The Gateway to Bhutan

Located at the foothills of the great Himalayas and sharing a border with an Indian town called Jaogaon, Phuntsholing or the ‘Gateway to Bhutan,’ is a must-visit place in the list of best places to visit in Bhutan! Owing to its proximity to the Indian territory, one can always expect a mix of the crowd in this magnificent town. However, the city resonates with Bhutan’s unique cultures and traditions in the most vivid ways.

Located around a 5-6 hours’ drive away from Thimphu and Paro, visitors from India, Bangladesh, and the Maldives can reach this scenic town without any tourist visa. However, while crossing the border, the nationals of these countries need to show valid ID proofs and seek entry permission.

Best Time to Visit: Year-Round Destination

Tourist Attractions: Bhutanese Gate, Karbandi Monastery, Chukha Hydrothermal Project, Amo Chouu, Zangtho Pelri Lhakhang

Nearest Airport: Bagdogra Airport (167km / 5 Hours)

Nearest Railway Station: New Jalpaiguri (West Bengal, India) (155km / 4 Hours)

Weather: Summer (March to June), Winter (November to February), Monsoon (July to August)

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Khushi Anand

Hello! Great to meet you! I’m Khushi Anand, a university student who’s always looking out for new places to explore and stories to tell. With my colorful creativity, I want to take you guys on the adventure of a lifetime. www.khushianand.com

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