The last Himalayan kingdom, Bhutan is a beautiful country adorned with snow clad mountains, cascading waterfalls, and the shadowy tall forests which collectively makes it a pictorial wonderland. This is not the end of the beauty and the country is famous for being carbon neutral and the only carbon negative country in the world as almost 72% of the country is covered with dense forests. Not only from the environmental aspect but also from the religious aspect, Bhutan is a country which is home to various Buddhist monasteries and other majestic fortress-like Dzongs where you can learn the traditional Buddhist cultures. The unique architecture of the monasteries adorned with appealing graffiti make it a magical and also a mystical place which signifies the driving away of the evil from the country and to make it a sui generis destination. The country has many things to offer its kinds of travelers and make it a perfect destination for honeymoon couples, adventure holidays, and also for an ideal family vacation. Scroll down to know about the top tourist places to visit in Bhutan and make your vacation a complete Success.
01. Rinpung Dzong
A majestic fort constructed in the 16th century and adorned with glorious towering walls, Rinpung Dzong is also called as “fortress settled on a heap of jewels”. It is one of the top tourist destinations to visit in Bhutan which showcase the ancient Bhutanese traditions and also a fine example of the Bhutanese architectural wonders. Tshechu is an annual festival which is celebrated auspiciously in the country which continues for 5 days. Holy images of Buddhists are carried which is followed by mask dances which are performed by the monks and resembling many interesting stories.
- Visiting Time: 9 am to 5 pm
- Getting There: From the Paro Airport, you can cover the distance to Dzong by walking only as it is located only at a distance of 15 minutes from the place.
- Key Attractions: Appealing architecture and the inscriptions and paintings done on the walls.
- Entry Fees: Free of cost
02. Chele La Pass
Chele La Pass tops the list of tourist destinations in Bhutan due to its panoramic landscapes and scenic vistas including the green valleys of Paro and Haa, majestic mountain peaks, and its colorful surroundings. Reckoned as the highest road pass in Bhutan, Chele La Pass offers the beautiful views of the imposing Himalayan peaks and also the Mount Jomolhari (most divine mountain of the country). The other key attraction of the destination is the celebration of the Haa Summer Festival which represents the rich culture of the nomadic tribes in Bhutan.
- Visiting Time: However, there is no official timing to explore the Pass but still, it is recommended to visit the place during the day time only (6 am- 6 pm is the most preferred time).
- Getting There: Take a taxi from the Paro Airport and reach Chele La Pass at any time of the day.
- Key Attractions: Stunning views of the valleys, alpine flowers, clouds moving above the sky, and the gushing waterfalls.
- Entry Fees: Free of cost but need to pay for the rented camps and also the other traveling costs incurred by you.
03. Punakha Dzong
Renowned as the second largest Dzong in the land of Thunderbolt and is quite popular for its stunning structure. Punakha Dzong tops the list of best tourist destinations in the world and dictates the beautiful traditions, arts, and the historical tales of Buddhism and this is why one must not visit this site on their Bhutan sightseeing tour. Also called as the winter capital of Bhutan, the Dzong is situated at an altitude of around 1200 meters above the sea level and the best part is that at this high altitude also none of the travelers feel oxygen shortage or height sickness so need to worry of canceling the hiking plan.
- Visiting Time: 8 am to 5 pm (in summer season) and 11 am to 5 pm (in the winter season)
- Key Attractions: Carvings, paintings, and the overall architecture of the fort, Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism, the revered remains of Ngawang Namgyal and the popular Pema Lingpa.
- Getting There: After reaching the main town of Punakha you can reach there by covering the walking distance of almost 30 minutes or you can also opt for hiring a cab.
- Entry Fees: INR 300
04. Dochula Pass
A stunning and wonderful pass constructed with almost 108 Stupas, Dochula Pass was constructed in the remembrance of the brave martyrs of Bhutan who had sacrificed their lives in a war against India. Dochula Pass is a very popular tourist destination in Bhutan due to its wonderful panoramic views of the Himalayan mountain ranges including the snow covered mountain ranges and its surroundings. It is a perfect place to visit in Bhutan where you can spend your holiday with your family and friends.
- Visiting Time: 6 am to 5 pm
- Key Attractions: Panoramic view of the majestic Himalayan mountain ranges including Chomolhari, fusion paintings done on the walls of the Druk Wangyal Lhakhang Temple.
- Getting There: One can hire a car or any private taxi from Thimphu, the capital city of Bhutan to reach the Dochula Pass.
- Entry Fees: No charge you just need to pay for the extra gears which you opt for.
05. Tiger’s Nest
Also called Taktsang Monastery, Tiger’s Nest is one of the must-visit places in Bhutan which is quite popular for its beauty and spirituality due to the monastery of Guru Rinpoche. It also offers a perfect platform to the tourists seeking for trekking experiences and also to the nature lovers. Photography is prohibited inside the monastery so you are not allowed to carry a camera along with you. Also, you need to register yourself for the entry and need to deposit your bags outside the entrance gate only.
- Visiting Hours: 8 am to 4 pm
- Key Attractions: The cave temple located inside the monastery, the tiger’s nest, various small shrines located inside the monastery complex, and also the beautiful landscapes surrounding the monastery.
- Entry Fees: INR 500
- Getting There: You can travel by vehicle only till Paro town and after that, you need to walk.
06. Phobjikha Valley
A small town located in the heart of Bhutan, Phobjikha is also enlisted among top tourist places to visit in the country. This small yet beautiful town is adorned with panoramic valleys, majestic mountain peaks, and also the lush green meadows. Nestled at a huge elevation of around 3000 meters above the sea level, Phobjikha Valley is settled on the western slopes of the mountainous ranges and is shaped like a bowl. The place is located on the border of the Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park.
- Visiting Hours: There is no such officially declared timing to visit the valley but due to its extreme location day time is recommended to explore the valley.
- Key Attractions: hiking through the green valleys and spotting black-necked cranes which come by migrating in the month of November.
- Getting There: You can easily get a bus from the Wangdue Phodrang town to Phobjikha town or you can also take a taxi to reach the destination.
Quite famous for its trekking spots and also for the blissful views, Chomolhari is the place settled at a stunning height of 5000 meters above the sea level and covering the trekking trail of Chomolhari is quite Difficult and challenging even for an experienced trekker. The trekking trail usually takes a span of 7- 15 days on an average. Due to its insane altitude location, you are required to spend your one complete day for acclimatization and then only you can proceed for the further trek.
- Visiting Hours: It’s better to complete the trekking trail of the day during the daytime only.
- Key Attractions: The snow-capped mountains, the glacial lakes, and the scenic splendor of its surroundings.
- Getting There: From Paro you have to start the trekking trail to Chomolhari.
- Entry Fees: No need to pay a single bug for the entry but if you rent any trekking gear then you need to pay for that.
08. Norzin Lam Street
The street is famous for housing numerous shopping malls and local shops to buy some clothing or any other items like wine, wooden crafts, and woolen clothes. However, the idea of shopping here in the malls can make a hole in your pocket but you are surely going to get some amazing and price worthy things and that also if you are not in a mood to travel till Bumthang.
Also called as an artery of the capital city, Thimphu is a very popular place which witnesses a huge crowd all throughout the year. Try out some local eateries in the busy streets of the city and its guaranteed that you won’t forget the taste of the delicacies so easily.
- Visiting Hours: Anytime
- Getting There: Hire a private vehicle from Phuentsholing to reach Norzin Lam Street.
- Key Attractions: Textile shops and huge textile buildings established in the heart of THE Norzin Lam Street and buy some of the finest handmade textiles which include Kira (traditional attire of women) and Gho (traditional attire of men).
- Entry Fees: No cost
09. Tashichho Dzong
Settled at the northernmost end of the city, Tashichho Dzong is enlisted among top tourist places to visit on the land of Thunderbolt. This quite popular fortress is settled on the border of the city, watching this famous monastery is a delight as it is believed to be one of the most popular and visited Dzong and is also counted as a major landmark of the country. The place is believed to be the summer habitat of monks as well as people from the ministry life and also the central monastic bodies. If you are in a mood to visit this place then try to visit it around 5 pm so that you can witness the flag changing ceremony.
- Visiting Hours: 11 am to 4 pm
- Getting There: From the Paro Airport, you can take a taxi to reach the destination.
- Key Attractions: being a summer capital of the country and also the royal seat of Druk Desi.
- Entry Fees: INR 300
10. Drukgyel Dzong
This was once renowned as the tallest fortress and also one of the greatest Buddhist monasteries and now the Drukgyel Dzong is left with the ruins only. The Dzong is believed to Constructed in the year 1649 by the popular king Tenzin Drukdra after the kingdom won the war against Tibet. Regarded as one of the greatest landmarks and is enlisted among top tourist places to explore in Japan, this Dzong is spread over a huge area and is settled almost 2 km away from the main town and holds a great significance for being the main secretariat and the throne room of the king.
- Visiting Hours: 7 am to 6 pm (Monday to Sunday)
- Getting There: Hiring a car in Bhutan and cover a distance of 25 minutes.
- Entry Fees: INR 0
- Key Attractions: Ruins and the historical significances of the Dzong.
Settled in the middle of the country and is adorned beautifully with lush flora, Trongsa is known for its beauty and charm. The serenity, simplicity, and the tranquility spread in the ambiance makes this an ideal place to do meditation and yoga. The very best thing about the place is that it is quite easy to reach the place from every corner of the country and is well- connected to Gelephu, Bumthang, and Punakha. The major attraction and also regarded as the major landmark of the place is the famous Trongsa Monastery which is nicely decorated with red roofs, and whitewashing walls. You can spend your leisure time in this valley by strolling down to some local markets and buying some souvenirs.
- Visiting Hours: All throughout the day
- Getting There: From Bumthang you can hire a taxi for covering the 79 km distance.
- Entry Fees: US $ 250 per head
- Key Attractions: Lush green meadows and its beautiful surrounding. Also, the local markets selling some really amazing artifacts.
12. Motithang Takin Preserve
It’s really funny to ask but still, I would love to know how many of you are aware of the National animal of Bhutan? Motithang Takin Reserve is a habitat to the species of Takin and is called as the best tourist destination for flora and fauna lovers. Takin which is the national animal of the country falls in the goat species and are generally found in the parts of the eastern Himalayas. It is believed that these animals were first assembled in the 15th century by a very famous saint and now Bhutan government is taking the responsibility of preserving these animals.
- Visiting Hours: 9 am to 4 pm (from Tuesday to Sunday and gets closed on Sunday). The preserve is also closed on the national holidays.
- Getting There: From the capital city of Bhutan, you can take a taxi which takes around 15 minutes or you can also cover the distance by hiking for 40 minutes.
- Entry Fees: For Indians INR 30 and for foreigners INR 50.
- Key Attractions: Takin, a unique looking animal and the wide variety of flora and fauna.
13. Buddha Dordenma Statue
This 169 feet tall statue in Bhutan is installed at the foothills in Thimphu. This iconic and majestic statue can be seen from anywhere you are standing in the country. This giant statue of Lord Buddha is made up of gold and bronze and is enlisted among top tourist places to visit in Bhutan. The play holds a high religious significance and also holds a very special place in each local also the roads are adorned with flags along the roadsides.
- Visiting Hours: 9 am to 5 pm
- Getting There: Located only 7 km away from Thimphu town and so can easily be reached by hiring a cab.
- Entry Fees: Free of cost
- Key Attractions: Thousands of smaller statues of Lord Buddha made up of gold and bronze, the 169 feet tall statue of Lord Buddha, and also the Kuensel Phodrang nature park surrounded nearby.
14. National Museum of Bhutan
Settled above the popular Rinpung Dzong, National Museum of Bhutan was constructed in the year 1968. The museum was constructed with a motive of exhibiting the popular art and crafts of Bhutan. It houses almost 3000 masterpieces which showcase the art and craft work of Bhutan from more than 1500 years and ranges from ancient paintings to contemporary paintings. It is also called as the photo gallery of the country which contains the picture of dance ceremonies and other ceremonies organized in the past.
- Visiting Hours: 9 am to 5 pm
- Getting There: From Paro you can take a taxi or a cab to reach this splendid museum.
- Entry Fees: For Bhutanese BTN 10, SAARC nationals BTN 25, Non-SAARC nationals- BTN 150 and for monks, nuns, and children below 10 years of age are not required to pay any fees.
- Key Attractions: A good collection of bronze statues, ancient paintings, and the galleries.
15. Punakha Suspension Bridge
Besides Punakha Dzong, the beautiful city of Punakha is famous for another major landmark Punakha Suspension Bridge which is located bit so far from the Punakha Dzong. This splendid bridge has been built over the roaring Po Chu River and has been reckoned as the longest suspension bridge built in Bhutan and has been spread over an area of almost 160 meters above the sea level. The bridge connects Punakha Dzong with the Punakha city and is a perfect place for photogenic.
- Visiting Hours: No fixed time for visiting the bridge but rafting in the Po Chu River is allowed between 8 am – 5 pm.
- Getting There: By covering a walking distance from Punakha Dzong or you can also hire a cab.
- Entry Fees: Free of cost but if want to do rafting then you will have to pay INR 2000 per head
- Key Attractions: Rafting in the Po Chu River, visiting Chimi Lhakhang Temple, and the Namgyal Chorten.