Welcome to Bhutan!
On arrival at Paro International Airport you will be met by our local representative and you will be transferred to the Thimphu hotel.
Day is free to explore the beautiful city at your own.
Thimphu, Bhutan’s capital, occupies a valley in the country’s western interior. In addition to being the government seat, the city is known for its Buddhist sites. The massive Tashichho Dzong is a fortified monastery and government palace with gold-leaf roofs. The Memorial Chorten, a whitewashed structure with a gold spire, is a revered Buddhist shrine dedicated to Bhutan’s third king, Jigme Dorji Wangchuck.
Later in the evening, discover Thimphu on your own. Walk around the vibrant city, visit the Local Crafts Bazaar and buy your own hand-woven textiles, thangkha paintings, masks, and so many other items.
Overnight in Thimphu.
Breakfast at the hotel.
Get your full energy and get ready for a sightseeing tour in Thimphu valley including visit to such the place: the National Library where converges manifold of collection of priceless Buddhist manuscripts; the Institute for Zorig Chusum (the Painting School) where you will see the students undergo the 6-year training course about 13 Bhutanese traditional arts and crafts. Then, there will be the Textile Museum, come and see things inside, you will get an insight into one of the most distinctive art forms of Bhutan. The last destination for an energetic morning will be the Simply Bhutan, a wonderful place where you can experience Bhutanese culture and heritage, taste wine and butter tea, and practice their traditional sport – Archery. After lunch, visit Changangkha Lhakhang, Buddha Point (Kuensel Phodrang), and Simtokha Dzong, the three religious destinations that give you a deep look into the belief of Bhutanese people. Finally, the second day will end with the King ‘s Memorial Chorten, a beautiful building in white where you surely have a chance to bump into lots of people here, to learn about Bhutan’s third King.
Later in the afternoon drive to Paro, check in.
Day is free to explore the beautiful valley at your own pace.
Paro is a valley town in Bhutan, west of the capital, Thimphu. It is the site of the country’s only international airport and is also known for the many sacred sites in the area. North of town, the Taktsang Palphug (Tiger’s Nest) monastery clings to cliffs above the forested Paro Valley. Northwest of here are the remains of a defensive fortress, Drukgyel Dzong, dating from the 17th century.
Overnight in Paro.
The morning begins with a Bhutan day trip to the Tiger’s Nest, also called Taktshang Monastery. Enjoy the excursion, then you absolutely have the best time of roughly 2-hour riding carriage to reach such the holy place as well as behold the stunning view at the high altitude. In the afternoon, head to Ta Dzong and Rinpung Dzong, and indulge yourself in the epical, religious ambiance as well as witness art form inside. The vibrant evening, visiting shops and local markets around Paro Main Street or immersing in the vibrant nightlife in several bars & clubs.
After breakfast.The day is free until checkout time. The driver will pick you up and drop you to the airport for your onward flight.
AED 8,850/- per person, prices are based on twin sharing.
Duration: 4 Days / 3 Nights.
Destinations: Thimphu and Paro.
The rates are subject to availability at the time of booking request. In the event if there are rate changes due to increase in Govt taxes, or hotel charges a surcharge, or BAR rates (Best available rates), we reserve the right to amend the rates without notice. The exchange rate is subject to change. Please ensure that you have secured the relevant visa / entry permits & valid passport. The best source of visa information is the embassy of the country itself.
If you are interested in going ahead with this booking, we would require deposits or payments as follows either in the form of cash or cheque:
Please ensure that the names given to us for reservations match the names in your passport, as hotels, sightseeing tour companies are very particular about name changes. Mismatched names may result in heavy amendment penalties. We strongly recommend travel insurance as part of your package – we have excellent rates with the world’s best companies – please let us know if you wish us to add this to your package.
Economy class, Dubai / Delhi / Paro / Delhi / Dubai.
1 night in Timphu based on twin sharing basis.
2 nights in Paro based on twin sharing basis.
Return airport transfer in Paro on private car.
City Tour in Thimphu & Paro, on seat in coach.
Visit the Thimphu valley, Buddha Point (Kuensel Phodrang), & Simtokha Dzong on seat in coach.
Complimentary travel insurance.
All airline and hotel taxes.
Bhutan - a Buddhist kingdom on the Himalayas’ eastern edge, is known for its monasteries, fortresses (or dzongs) and dramatic landscapes that range from subtropical plains to steep mountains and valleys. In the High Himalayas, peaks such as 7,326m Jomolhari are popular trekking destinations. Paro Taktsang monastery (also known as Tiger’s Nest) clings to cliffs above the forested Paro Valley. The Kingdom of Bhutan is a tranquil country where you can explore the ancient cultures, beautiful landscapes and magnificent architecture. Bhutan, called Druk Yul by its people, is known as the “Land of the Thunder Dragon”. It is one of the world’s most beautiful, yet mysterious places. It is located on the eastern edge of the Himalayan Mountain region. A large part of the area is forested welcoming a diverse ecosystem of flora and fauna. The country stretches from subtropical valleys and plains to snowcapped mountain ranges. This landscape makes it the perfect place to trek through the majestic valleys or steep mountains to visit ancient architecture and Buddhist temples.
Trip Planning: The planning stage of your trip can be instrumental in its success and an enjoyable part of the experience itself. You have a world of options...and plenty to consider.
Entry and Exit formalities: Visitors must hold a passport valid for at least six months & beyond at the time of entering the country. Some nationalities can obtain visa on arrival and for nationalities who requires visa please refer to the Bhutan’s nearest consulate or embassy:
Transportation: Figuring out how to get around is one of your biggest pre-trip decisions. Get our holiday expert best advice on deciding between your options.
Based on your trip itinerary, our experts will help you choose wisely. You'll also find a wealth of practical travel tips.
Money: Use your money wisely. Know the best time to use cash or card — and how to avoid unnecessary fees either way — as well as tipping etiquette.
Phones and Technology: Phones and other smart devices can be huge time-savers...or expensive distractions. Get our tips for making the best use of technology during your trip, and for calling home with or without your own phone.
Packing Light: On your trip you'll meet two kinds of travelers: those who pack light and those who wish they had.
Sleeping and Eating: Your hotel and restaurant choices can be a matter-of-face chore…or they can provide rich opportunities to connect with locals and their culture.
Health & Hygiene: Take comfort: Doctors, hospitals, launderettes, and bathrooms aren’t that different. Dealing with them can even be part of the fun of travel.
Sightseeing & Activities: Once you're on the ground, the real fun begins…but it pays to have a thoughtful plan. Our experts will help you get oriented to your surroundings, use your sightseeing hours wisely, and find your way off the beaten path.
Things to see & do:
Thimphu - Bhutan’s capital, occupies a valley in the country’s western interior. In addition to being the government seat, the city is known for its Buddhist sites. The massive Tashichho Dzong is a fortified monastery and government palace with gold-leaf roofs. The Memorial Chorten, a whitewashed structure with a gold spire, is a revered Buddhist shrine dedicated to Bhutan’s third king, Jigme Dorji Wangchuck.
Paro - The gateway to Bhutan. Home to Paro Airport, the only international airport. This is where you begin the journey to the land of happiness. Average elevation of 2,300 metres above sea level. Paro is a valley town in Bhutan, west of the capital, Thimphu. It is the site of the country’s only international airport and is also known for the many sacred sites in the area. North of town, the Taktsang Palphug (Tiger’s Nest) monastery clings to cliffs above the forested Paro Valley. Northwest of here are the remains of a defensive fortress, Drukgyel Dzong, dating from the 17th century.
Phuntsholing - is a border town in southern Bhutan and is the administrative seat of Chukha District. The town occupies parts of both Phuentsholing Gewog and Sampheling Gewog.
Punakha - is a town in the Himalayas of Bhutan. It's known for the Punakha Dzong, a 17th-century fortress at the juncture of the Pho and Mo Chhu rivers. The fortress hosts the Punakha Tshechu, a religious festival featuring masked dances and music. In the surrounding Punakha Valley, temples include the fertility-focused Chimi Lhakhang and the hilltop Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten, which has river and mountain views.
Wangdue Phodrang is a town and capital of Wangdue Phodrang District in central Bhutan. It is located in Thedtsho Gewog.
Jakar - also officially referred to as Bumthang, is a town in the central-eastern region of Bhutan. It is the district capital of Bumthang District and the location of Jakar Dzong, the regional dzong fortress.
Trongsa, previously Tongsa - is a Thromde or town, and the capital of Trongsa District in central Bhutan. The name means "new village" in Dzongkha. The first temple was built in 1543 by the Drukpa lama Ngagi Wangchuck, who was the great-grandfather of Ngawang Namgyal, Zhabdrung Rinpoche, the unifier of Bhutan.
Trashigang, or Tashigang - is a town in eastern Bhutan and the district capital of the Trashigang Dzongkhag. The town lies to the east side of the valley above the Drangme Chhu river just south of where it is joined by the Gamri River.
Gelephu - also spelled as Gelyephug, Gelegphu, Gaylegphug or Gaylephug, is a town or Thromde in Sarpang District in Bhutan. It is located on the Indian border, about 30 km to the east of Sarpang, the Dzongkhag headquarters.
Samtse - near the Indian border town of Chamurchi, is a town in Samtse District, Bhutan. This is not to be confused with the district of Samtse, which the village of Samtse lies within.
Samdrup Jongkhar - is a town and seat of Samdrup Jongkhar District in Bhutan. The town is located at the south-eastern part of Bhutan and borders the Indian state of Assam.
Mongar - is a town and the seat of Mongar District in eastern Bhutan. As of 2005 it had a population of 3502. Mongar is on the road from Thimphu to Trashigang. It is one of the oldest educational hubs of the country. It has a regional hospital and a good standard hotel, among other facilities.
Nganglam or Namglam is a town in south-eastern Bhutan. It is located in Pema Gatshel District.
Damphu - is the administrative headquarters and capital of Tsirang District, Bhutan. It is located on the north-south highway running from Wangdue Phodrang to Sarpang and Gelephu on the border with India. It contains the Tsirang Dzong.
Daga - also officially referred to as Dagana, is a town in Goshi Gewog, Dagana District in southwestern Bhutan. It is the administrative capital, Dzongkhag Thromde, of the district.
Zhemgang - is a town in Zhemgang District, Bhutan. It is the capital of the district, and is located in Trong Gewog.
Trashiyangtse or Tashi Yangtse - is a small town in Yangtse Gewog, and the district headquarters of the Trashiyangtse District in eastern Bhutan. It lies inside the Bumdeling Wildlife Sanctuary on the eastern tri-junction of Bhutan-India-China and to the east lies Tawang in India.
Sarpang - also transliterated as Sarbhang or Sarbang, is a thromde or town in Sarpang District in southern Bhutan.
Mebisa - formerly called Chukha or Chhukha, is a town on the Wangchu River and seat of the Chukha District in Bhutan.
Lhuentse - is a town and headquarter of eponymous Lhuentse District in northeastern Bhutan. It is about 70 km from Mongar, 145 km from Trashigang and 452 km from the national capital Thimpu. Nearest airport is Yongphulla Airport 130 km away.
Yuwak is a village in central-western Bhutan. It is located north-east of the capital Thimphu in Thimphu District. It lies at an altitude of 1390 metres. Nearby settlements include Dotanang, Tshalunang, Punakha, Pajo, Gasila and Wangdue Phodrang.
Ha, Haa - or Has is a Thromde or town, and the seat of Haa District in Bhutan. Haa is situated in Haa Valley in the west of the Bhutan bordering Sikkim. The major economic activity is rice production, yak herding and trade with neighbouring China. Haa accommodates The Indian Military Training Team.
Dotanang - is a village in central-western Bhutan. It is located 6.3 miles north-west of the capital Thimphu in Thimphu District. It lies at an altitude of 2594 metres. Nearby settlements include Atsho Chhubar, Barshong, Kencho, Yuwak, Punakha Thimphu, Tashi Chho Dzong, Tshalunang.
Gasa - is a town near Gasa Dzong in Gasa District in northwestern Bhutan.
Tshalunang - is a village in central-western Bhutan. It is located 4 miles from the capital of Thimphu but is situated in Paro District. It lies at an altitude of 2388 metres. Nearby settlements include Thimphu, Tashi Chho Dzong, Dotanang, Gasila, Yuwak, Raga and Usak.
Daphu - is a town in Chukha District in southwestern Bhutan.
Pemagatsel - also transliterated as Pemagatsel, is a town in Pemagatshel District in eastern Bhutan.
Manikyangsa - is a town in Wangdue Phodrang District in central Bhutan.
Naktsang - is a town in Haa District in southwestern Bhutan.
Yalang - is a town in Trashigang District in eastern Bhutan.
Pajo - is a town in Punakha District in Bhutan.
Pachu - is a town in Chukha District in southwestern Bhutan.
Balfai - is a town in Trashigang District in eastern Bhutan.
Kengkhar - is a town in Mongar District in southeastern-central Bhutan.
Bhurgaon - is a town in Sarpang District in southern Bhutan.
Ngalangkang - is a town in Trashigang District in eastern Bhutan.
Khitokha - is a town in Chukha District in southwestern Bhutan.
Thebong - is a town in Mongar District in southeastern-central Bhutan.
Sangkari - is a town in Haa District in southwestern Bhutan.
Galechugaon - is a town in Sarpang District in southern Bhutan.
Rading - is a town in Trashigang District in eastern Bhutan.
Giala - is a town in Wangdue Phodrang District in central Bhutan.
Tormoshangsa - is a town in Lhuntse District in northeastern Bhutan.
Gomtu - is a border town in south-western Bhutan near the border with India. It is located in Samtse District.
Nimgong - is a town in Mongar District in southeastern-central Bhutan.
Byaradingka - is a town in Paro District in western Bhutan.
Lhedang - is a town in Bumthang District in central Bhutan.
Pimi - is a town in Lhuntse District in northeastern Bhutan.
Chuyul - is a town in Paro District in western Bhutan.
Dangchu - is a town in Wangdue Phodrang District in central Bhutan.
Sasoka - is a town in Lhuntse District in northeastern Bhutan.
Tiger's Nest-The Tiger Nest Monastery (also known as Taktsang Goemba) is the most famous monastery in Bhutan. Perched beautifully on top of a cliff, the Tiger Nest is indeed a wonder to those who managed to reach there. One can only imagine the architectural prowess required to build the monastery back in the year 1692. It is one of the most famous of Bhutan's monasteries, perched on the side of a cliff 900m above the Paro valley floor. It is said that Guru Rinpoche arrived here on the back of a tigress and meditated at this monastery and hence it is called "Tiger's Nest". This site has been recognized as a most sacred place and visited by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal in 1646 and now visited by all Bhutanese at least once in their lifetime. On 19 April, 1998, a fire severely damaged the main structure of building but now this Bhutanese jewel has been restored to its original splendour.
Paro Dzong (Rinpung Dzong)-Rinpung Dzong (Fortress on a heap of jewels) is built in the year 1644 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal (Founder of Bhutan). The dzong is currently the administrative centre for the District of Paro and school of monastic bodies for the western region of Bhutan.
Kyichu Lhakhang- Built in the year 659, is one of Bhutan oldest surviving temples. This beautifully ornated temple still maintains the architecture and decoration of Bhutan in the 7th Century.
Chelela Pass-With an elevation of 3,988 metres, Chelela Pass is one of the highest passes in Bhutan. The pass offers a stunning view of the sacred mountain Jomolhari as well as Jichu Drake. Prayer flags hoisted all around the pass fluttered as the wind continues blow around this area. For nature lovers, Chelela pass offers a wide variety of roses in different colours. The top of the pass bloom with rhododendrons.
Drukgyel Dzong-The Dzong was built in the 17th Century by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal to commemorate his victory over the Tibetan invaders. However, in 1951, the Dzong was consumed by fire.
Punakha-The former capital of Bhutan, a quaint little town with much to offer. Average elevation of 1,200 meters above sea level.
Punakha Dzong - is also known as the palace of great happiness. The elegantly designed palace is the current administrative centre of Punakha District. Constructed in 1637 by Ngawang Namgyal the 1st Zhabdrung Rinpoche.
Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten - Built by her Majesty the Queen Mother Ashi Tshering Yangdon Wangchuk, Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten is a temple build dedicated to the well-being of the Kingdom, its people and all sentient beings. This 4 storeys temple was built based on the Holy scripture rather than engineering manuals.
Chimi Lhakhang Temple - Built in 1499 by the 14th Drukpa, Ngawang Choegyel, the temple was built in honor of Saint Drukpa Kunley also known as the Divine Madman.
Punakha Suspension Bridge-One of the longest suspension bridge in Bhutan, spanning 160 -180m and perched high above the very swift river of Po Chhu. Draped with prayer flags, the bridge connects the town of Punakha and the Punakha Dzong.
White-Water Rafting-Famed for the confluence of the two rivers and the scenic view along the Punakha Valley, White-water rafting in Bhutan is slowly gaining the attention of tourist to Bhutan. The first is the Mo Chhu river is a 10km course with 10 rapids of class 2-2+. The second choice will be the Po Chhu river, a slightly tougher course with 15 rapids of class between 2-4 spanning 16km.
Thimphu-is the Kingdom of Bhutan’s only city and its capital.
Institute of Traditional Medicine - This world-famous medical facility is said to collect thousands of medicinal herbs, roots and plants from the remotest parts of this Garden of Eden-like area. These botanical specimens are then used to manufacture ointments, pills, tablets and other medicines which are then distributed to healthcare facilities throughout the country.
Tashchichho Dzong - The Thimphu Dzong is a famous Buddhist fortress and monastery on the northern part of the city. This is the official office of the civil government's head or the Dharma Raja, who shares some powers with the kingship; it is also the country's official summer capital.
Cheri Goemba - This is Bhutan's first monastery and it's not too far from Thimphu. In fact, it's the oldest monastery in Bhutan, as far as we know. It's possible to reach the base of this magnificent structure by using a local cab.
National Institute for Zurig Chusum - This institution, better known as the “school of painting,” runs several educational programs in the 13 traditional arts Bhutan is famous for. The well-motivated students that come here can delve into elaborate forms of painting, embroidery, woodcarving, and statue sculpting, usually with the use of clay.
Buddha Dordenma - The Buddha Dordenman is a huge statue of Buddha high up in the mountains of Bhutan. Interestingly, the statue itself is the home for over 100,000 smaller statues of Buddha, made from bronze and gold.
National Memorial Chorten - This Tibetan-motif religious structure is the focus of worship for many Bhutanese. Built in 1974, it is a memorial to the 3rd King of the country. People visit here either for religious reason or to pay tribute; it is also a great site to visit for tourists. This site features magnificent Asian architecture, elaborately painted annexes, marvelous mandalas, and a shrine to the King.
Changlimithang Stadium (and sports grounds) - Built on a famous battlefield, this is where many fine cricket, football, and archery competitions take place. Not surprisingly, the residents of Thimphu are very talented and athletically-oriented people; this is evident from the quality of athletic performances (especially in archery) seen here.
Changangkha Temple - This is one of the most ancient temples of Thimphu valley. This is the home of gigantic prayer wheels, super-sized sacred scriptures and, most importantly, a sculpted figure of Thousand-armed Avalokitesvara, a lord/master that looks over the troubles/sadness of life, according to the Buddhist faith.
Bhutan Textile Museum - This great edifice can be found near the National Library of Bhutan. Operated by the National Commission for Cultural Affairs since 2001, this museum has become world-famous by featuring a rich tapestry of a wide array of very exquisite works of art.
National Library of Bhutan - Established in 1967, the library seeks to promote the rich religious and cultural traditions of Bhutan by displaying artifacts, works of art and pieces of literature, some of which date back to early times in the country's history.
Wangdue- To the south of Punakha is the valley of Wangduephodrang as the national highway heads towards central Bhutan. A brand new town carved out of terraced rice fields will soon replace the old town, a narrow street with single storied shops.
This valley is called Gangtey, the winter home to more than 400 highly endanger black-necked crane. It is a wide, flat glacial valley. This wide and rolling valley is surrounded with mountains on all side, creating a sense of deep isolation.
Trongsa-is the capital of Trongsa District in central Bhutan. It means "new village" in Dzongkha. It is one of Bhutan's most historic towns, with the first monastery built here in 1543 by the Drukpa Kagyu lama, Ngagi Wangchuk, who was the great-grandfather of Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyel, the person who unified Bhutan.
Bumthang- is a region that is the religious heartland of the nation. 10 things to do in Bumthang: The Scenic Town of Jakar, The Bumthang Owl Trek, The Wild East Rodung La Trek, The Bumthang Valley, The Bumthang Krje Lhakhang, The Kurjey Tshechu Festival, The Jambay Lhakhang Festival, The Palace of Wangdichholing, Shugdrak Cave, Tamshing Goemba.
Mongar - The seat of the Mongar District, the town of Mongar is considered the primary hub for trade and travel in eastern Bhutan. The road approaching Mongar is one of the most awe-inspiring in the Kingdom of the Thunder Dragon, passing over high cliffs and going through verdant forests. Catch a glimpse of Gangkhar Puensum (7541 meters), the highest mountain in Bhutan and considered as the world’s highest unclimbed mountain.
Trashigang - Bhutan’s largest river, the Dangmechu, flows through Trashigang. Dangmechu is a major tributary of the Manas River system that drains most of Eastern Bhutan into the Brahmaputra River in India.
Trashi Yangtse - Established as a district in 1992, is one of the newest dzongkhags (district) in Bhutan. It covers 1,437 sq km of sub-tropical and alpine forests, with an immense wealth of natural, historical and cultural resources.
Tashichho Dzong, or simply, Thimphu Dzong - this is surely one of the most interesting places to visit in Thimphu. This grand fort also serves the venue for country’s biggest annual festival tsechu. The dzong is not the original Thimphu.
Changangkha Lhakhang- Dzong as the palace has been destroyed in fires almost five times till date. Last renovated in 1962 by the then King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, the fort has the secretariat, offices of the King and other officials and ministers as well as the throne room. Known for its signature white-red-gold combination of colours and tiered roofs, the place offers a deep insight into Bhutanese past.
Buddhist Temple - this place was first built in the 12th century under the guidance of Lama Phajo Drukgom Shigpo from Tibet. The place is especially visited by parents to receive blessings for their newborn children. The white fortress-like structure makes it one of the most popular tourist places in Thimphu holiday. The interiors are full of murals depicting different stories.
Weekend Market - is held on the weekend at the banks of river Wang Chhu. Different shopkeepers from Thimphu and neighbouring area start arriving in the city on Thursday evening and leave on Sunday night to set up their stalls for the market. This is one of the best places to visit in Thimphu to get a thorough idea of culture, food and local lifestyle. You can pick some incense, saffron and other herbs from local vendors. Apart from that, different Bhutanese and Tibetan food items like dried fish, pork, ground barley, red rice, cheese, wild honey etc. also are available here. You can also shop for souvenirs from the Handicrafts Market, which is a stone’s throw away from here.
Tango Goemba - Originally built in the 15th century by Lama Drukpa Kunley, Tango is another Buddhist site in the city. Renovated in 2016, the place serves as a centre for Buddhist studies. You would have to trek uphill for about forty-five minutes to reach the place. The chapels, meditation cave, living quarters at Tango are one of the most interesting places to see in Thimphu. You can also witness a crystal here brought in from Tibet which is used specifically for meditation.
National Memorial Chorten - this chorten features as a daily place of worship in many natives’ lives. Built in the Tibetan style as a memorial to the third Bhutanese King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, the place is known for its whitewashed walls and golden tiered roofs. One of the most popular places to visit in Thimphu, this Memorial Chorten is visited every day by elderlies, kids and other people on their way to offices, schools and back home. You will find beautiful mandalas and murals here. The large prayer wheels are coloured red in this chorten which see hundreds daily who meditate here.
Motithang Takin Preserve - the national animal, this preserve was, in fact, a zoo some years back. Then the fourth King of Bhutan decided against the establishment as he felt the idea of a zoo was not in sync with the Bhutanese culture and their idea of environment as well as religion. As the zoo was dismantled, the animals being held there were freed to go back in the wild. Interestingly, the flock of Takin, which lived in the zoo, had been tamed, resulting in them roaming around the city of Thimphu for food.
Dechen Phodrang - Ranking high on the Thimphu places to visit lists, this is the site of the original Thimphu Dzong. Built in the 12th century, the dzong here was destroyed in a fire. Dechen Phodrang is now a state school, which teaches around 250 students. The main chapel here is full of murals and paintings going back 800 years.
National Library of Bhutan - Thimphu is hands down this National Library. The place was built in 1967 with the sole purpose of preserving ancient texts. This is the one place which houses most enlightening and interesting things to see in Thimphu. The architecture here is beautiful in typical Bhutanese tradition. Most books here are on handmade paper, preserved between wooden pieces or wrapped in silk.
Simply Bhutan - is a living museum which gives the tourists a taste of Bhutanese lifestyle. You get to dress up, distil arak, try your hand at archery – in short everything that the natives do. The museum has an inspiring program of engaging Bhutanese youth in the preservation of local culture, one of the four tenets of Gross Happiness Product that the Wangchuks and Bhutan itself has come to embody.
National Institute for Zorig Chusum - This painting school offers various courses ranging from four to six years to teach students 13 different types of traditional arts from Bhutan. Students learn painting furniture as well as thangkas (religious paintings), woodcarving, embroidery as well as statue making. The demonstrations made by the students are mesmerizing and you will no doubt be impressed by their diligence and discipline. You can also buy pieces made by students in the showroom here.
Clock Tower Square - is amongst the popular tourist places to visit in Thimphu. The Clock Tower consists of four clocks facing in four different directions. The tower resembles the Bhutanese architecture pattern of wood engraving. The tower has some beautifully carved patterns, flowers, paintings and much more. The eye-catching thing in the tower are the dragons facing each clock. The dragons are sacred to the culture of Bhutan and they represent the freedom of the kingdom. The Clock Tower Square comprises of several water fountains and ‘mani lhalhor’ or prayer wheels. They enhance the beauty of Clock Tower Square. Various trade fairs, musical events and other activities take place near the square.
The Jungshi Handmade Paper Factory - manufactures the most authentic and the best quality Bhutanese paper, which is popularly known as Deh-sho. The raw material used here for making paper is the bark of two species of trees i.e. the Daphne tree as well as the Dhekap tree. Another interesting fact to know is that the entire process making this handmade paper is done with ancient traditional procedures that are being practiced since ages. The visitors have an advantage to try their hand on the paper making craft and make some paper of their own.
Handicrafts Market of Thimphu - is also known as the Authentic Bhutanese Crafts Bazaar. The shops crafted from bamboo are lined neatly in row at a mile’s stretch, selling colourful and beautiful authentic handicraft of Bhutan. There are almost hundred shops in the market selling various souvenirs, authentic handcrafted apparels, bags, masks and many more items. The shopkeepers mostly are Bhutanese women who welcome you with a warm smile. The products are all procured from the local villages.
Deer Park - is one of the places to see in Thimphu that offers meditation classes. The park is a center of art and contemplation which came into being in 2007. Deer Park marks the beginning of the glorious event in the Indian City of Sarnath. One can learn about the art, history, and culture of Bhutan. Deer Park is a place of solace that reminds people, the importance of peace and selflessness in their life, Alongside, Deer Park also offers some of the beautiful sights of the wonderful nature of Bhutan.
The Folk Heritage Museum - Established in 2001, is a three-story timber building that looks like a traditional farmhouse and seems like it has been furnished about a century ago. It provides the tourists, an insight into the Bhutanese lifestyle and material culture and it is one of the best places to visit in Thimpu.
Thimphy Tshechu Festival - is one of the oldest and most popular festivals of Bhutan. Celebrated for 3 days, this festival first got introduced Gyalse Tenzin Rabgay in 1867 which later suffered some changes by the third Bhutan king in 1950. Usually celebrated in Tendrel Thang, in front of Tashichhoedzong this is a festival which is attained by masses of people from all parts of the country. Even the farmers take a break from their farming life and join hands to worship night and day and play rituals to invoke God.
Dasho Choki Dorji - in memory of the 4th King of Bhutan. The school teaches skills like weaving (ThagZo), Sculpting (Jinzo), Lhadri (Painting), Carving (Pap), and embroidery (Tshem Zo). Bhutan nurtures its culture and heritage with care and passion and it is one of the famous places to visit in Thimpu.
Rinpung Dzong Rinpung Dzong Paro - Built in 1646 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal , the first spiritual and temporal ruler of Bhutan, the Dzong houses the monastic body of Paro, the office of the Dzongda (district administrative head) and Thrimpon (judge) of Paro district. The approach to the Dzong is through a traditional covered bridge called Nemi Zam. A walk through the bridge, over a stone inlaid path, offers a good view of the architectural wonder of the Dzong as well as life around it. It is also the venue of Paro Tshechu, held once a year in the spring.
Ta Dzong - One time watch tower built to defend Rinpung Dozng during inter-valley wars of the 17th century, since 1967 Ta Dzong is serving as the National Museum of the country. It holds fascinating collection of art, relics, religious thangkha paintings and Bhutan's exquisite postage stamps. The museum circular shape augments its varied collection displayed over several floors.
Drukgyel Dzong - This Dzong, with a delightful village nestling at its foot, was built in 1646 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal to commemorate his victory over the Tibetan invaders. Historically and strategically this Dzong withstood all its glory and was featured in 1914 vide National Geographic magazine. The glory of Drukgyel Dzong remained even when its was destroyed by fire in 1951. On a clear day, one can see the commanding view of Mount. Chomolhari from the village, below the Dzong.
Kyichu Lhakhang - It is one of the oldest and most sacred shrines of the Kingdom dating back to 7th century (the other is Jambey Lhakahng in Bumthang). The lhakhang complex is composed of two temples. The first temple was built by Tibetan King, Songtsen Gampo in the 7th century and in 1968, H.M. Ashi Kesang, the Queen Mother of Bhutan, built the second temple in original pattern.
Farm House (traditional village house) - The beauty of Paro valley is embellished by cluster of quaint farm houses. Bhutanese farm houses are very colorful, decorative and traditionally built without the use of single nail. All houses follow the same architectural pattern. A visit to Farm House is very interesting and offers a good glimpse into the lifestyle of a farmer.
Druk Choeding - Built in 1525, this town temple was formed by Ngawang Chhogyel, one of the prince-abbots of Ralung in Tibet and an ancestor of Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal. The temple is also known as Tshongdoe Naksang with its main statue of seated Jampa (seated Buddha) and local protector Gyenyen, surrounded by collection of ancient war artefacts.
Dungtse Lhakhang - To the west of the road is Dungtse Lhakhang, a chorten-like temple. This unusual building was built in 1433 by the iron bridge builder Thangtong Gyalpo. It has three floors representing hell, earth and heaven and the paintings inside are said to be some of the best in Bhutan.
Ugyen Pelri Palace - Ugyen Pelri Palace is in a secluded wooded compound on the south side of the river just west of the Dzong. This Palace was built by the Paro Penlop, Tsering Penjor, in the early 1900s. It is designed after Guru Rinpoche's celestial paradise, Zangto Pelri, and is one of the most beautiful examples of Bhutanese architecture.
Jangsarbu Lhakhang - Located behind Paro Dzong, this small temple is home to a magnificent statue of Sakyamuni Buddha that was carried all the way from Lhasa and also houses the protector deity of Paro. Legend has it that the statue of Sakyamuni was destined for Paro Dzong and merely placed in the temple for overnight safe keeping. However, when the time came to move the statue, it proved impossible to lift.
Namgay Artisanal Brewery - Located at Dumsibu, overlooking picturesque Paro airport and the lovely valley produces different types of beer; Red Rice Lager, Dark Ale, Wheat Beer, Indian Pale Ale, Milk Stout, Pilsner, Pineapple Gose and Apple Cider. While visit to the Brewery, one can learn the entire process of creating beers using local ingredients. Visitors can also get a taste of freshly brewed beer here while enjoying the serenity of Paro valley and the restaurant situation within the complex offers range of Continental, Bhutanese and Indian cuisine in a delightful atmosphere.
Dasho Nishioka Memorial Museum - Dasho Keiji Nishioka, a horticulturist, came to Bhutan in 1964 as a Colombo Plan expert and contributed immensely towards cultivation of variety of vegetables in Paro. He also established small manufacturing unit in 1977 for production of quality farming tools which later developed in agricultural machinery centre and is also the location of museum now. His other achievements in Bhutan include the introduction of modern farm production methods, skill transfers and training, farm road and suspension bridge construction, better irrigation technologies, etc. For his contributions, His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo awarded him the title of Dasho in 1980.
Sangchen Choekhor Buddhist Institute - High above the north bank of Paro Chhu river, Sangchen Choekhor Buddhist Institute commands fascinating view of Paro valley below. Located on the top of the hill north west of Paro town and about 12 km (7 miles) from city centre, Sangchen Choekhor is picturesquely situated. This beautifully located temple is home to community of about 100 monks who study here Buddhist philosophy. Sangchen Choekhor was originally built in 18th century but later rebuilt after damage due to massive fire. The original temple was built by the first speech reincarnation of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal. The lower altar room has a striking statue of Guru Rinpoche and unique 30-year old wall paintings created under the supervision of the Chief Abbot. The upper altar room is dedicated to the Zhabdrung lineage.
Tamchog Lhakhang - Located across the river on Paro, Thimphu road, this private temple is dedicated to 13th century saint Thangthong Gyalpo, a pioneering engineer who introduced the construction of suspension bridges into Bhutan and Tibet (several of which are still in use today). The present bridge to Tamchog Lhakhang was restored in 2005 in the design of a traditional style with iron chains and crossing this iron bridge is a wonderful experience.
Kila Goenpa - It is the serene home of Buddhist nuns who have dedicated their life for spiritual fulfilment and leading undisturbed life of religious studies, prayer and meditation. The goenpa is nestled in a craggy patch on mountain side below the Chelela pass and perched precariously along the rock face at an altitude of 3,500m. Built in 9th century, Kila Goenpa is reputedly the oldest nunnery of Bhutan and is an hour’s pleasant walk downhill from the Chele la pass amidst magnificent, wooded area.
Drangzhegoem Monastery - Hike to Drangzhegoem monastery just above the Hotel Olathang takes about one hour walk from this hotel. The gradual climb passes through village houses and apple orchards.
Zuri Dzong - Situated on Zur (side) hill overlooking Paro valley, Zuri Dzong was built in 1352 as a fort and the five-storey main building is still well protected. There is a two-storeyed temple here housing some fine murals and paintings in the upper chapel, one of which is dedicated to Paro valley protector Zaa (Rahulla).
Gasa Dzongkhag district near Tibet and Bhutan border, the Mo Chhu(River) - flows towards Punakha in the central region of Bhutan. It then joins the Po Chhu from the northeast of Bhutan. Although there are two rivers named Pho Chu (male) and Mo Chu (female) in Punakha, the latter one is widely preferred for the first-timers, kids and elderly people. Mo Chu River is considered to be calmer, gentle with few currents and rapids becoming the most used one to raft on compared to Pho Chu as it is said to be violent where only professionals and experienced rafters are allowed.
Punakha Suspension Bridge - The second-longest suspension bridge in Bhutan, is perched over the Mo Chhu and Po Chhu (river) and is about 160-180 meters in length. It is one of the oldest suspension bridges in the world that connects Punakha Dzongkhag to the rest of the valley. Believed to be built by Thangtong Gyalpo, the bridge has undergone several years of renovation. It has an integral part in the architectural history of Chimi Lhakhang - Bhutan as it was built to connect the villages of Samdingkha and Wangkha by the kings of Wangchuk. Located an hour outside Punakha village, Chimi Lhakhang, (also known as Chime Lhakhang) is a Buddhist monastery best known for its worship of the phallus. It stands on a round hillock said to resemble breasts and is decorated with phallic symbols all along its walls. It was built in honour of Drukpa Kunley, the “Divine Madman” who preaches Buddhism through humour and sexual tones.
Jigme Dorji National Park - Bhutan is a country which always believes in preserving the traditional valuables and respects its natural resources. And following its footsteps, Jigme Dorji National Park not only houses the distinct flora and fauna but also provides them with all the essential resources, facilities and care.
Ritsha village - is where you would find both red and white rice grown in Bhutan. Located in Punakha on the banks of Mo Chu and Pho Chu river this village is famous for its majority production of rice. The word Ritsha means "at the base of the hill". The village is surrounded by the rivers, paddy fields and hills making it one of the must visit places in Punakha.
Sangchhen Dorji Lhuendrup Nunnery - Overlooking Punakha, Wangduephodrang and Toebesa Valleys, is a temple as well as a nunnery perched over a ridge. Initially, the complex had 41 nuns with 70 rooms but now it houses over a hundred nuns. With a 14-foot bronze statue of Avalokiteshvara and few other bronze statues, the nunnery was consecrated by his holiness Je Khenpo. The Lhakhang (temple) is double storied with a chorten resembling Boudhanath stupa of Nepal with black carved marble blocks surrounding it. It's a great place to meditate and catch the mesmerising view of Punakha Valley.
Khansum Yulley Namgyal Chorten - is a spectacular site to visit because of the beautiful view of the surroundings that it offers. It has a very rich history as to why it was built and it is a pleasure to hear it from one of the local guides. It is adorned with beautiful paintings of Sakyamuni, which makes this chorten a must watch.
Dochula Pass - is a breath-taking mountain pass, in commemoration of Bhutanese soldiers who passed away in military operations for the country. Along the Dochula Pass, there are 108 memorial chortens (also known as stupas) called the 'Druk Wangyal Chortens' for each soldier's life lost in the war. The hills are also decorated with colourful religious flags in five colours to represent the natural elements: blue for the sky, red for fire, green for water, white for clouds, and yellow for earth. To the local Buddhist people, these flags are symbols of veneration and the inscriptions of prayers on each flag signals peace and prosperity for Bhutan.
Haa Valley - This steepy north – south valley is the ancestral home of Queen Grandmother of Dorji family. Just 30 kms away from Paro valley is filled with paddy fields all around the county. Surrounded by mountains and vast grasslands, Haa valley is one of the most beautiful valleys of Bhutan. This serene place is filled with tradition. People here follow the traditions said by 8th Guru Padmasambhava which can be seen in the local traditions and festivals.
Haa ValleyLhakhang Karpo - Also known as White Temple is one of the oldest temples around. As per the legend King Songtsen Gampo released a black and white pigeon in order to build temples. The white pigeon landed on mountains of Chenrizi of towering Rigsum. On the other hand black pigeon landed on north – that is Lhakhang Nagpo. Today the temple is called Nagpo or black built on the site where black pigeon landed. Both the temples are much revered and must visit. The annual festival HAA TSECHU is celebrated here in these temples on the 8th – 10th day of Bhutanese month.
Haa Wangchuklo Dzong - Built in the year 1915, It’s an interesting place. Standing in the midst of lush greenery this beautifully painted building is worth of spending a few hours walking and admiring the very presence of it.
Chele – la – pass - When you drive to Haa valley, you will cross Chele – la – pass. Standing at a height of 3988 meters above sea level, it gives the perfect view of Mount Chomolhari and Jichu Drakey. One of the best places for short walk; It’s good to sit here and sip a hot cup of coffee.