Our List of Must See Sights Whilst Planning Your Trip to Bhutan
Frankly most of Bhutan is a ‘must see’.
After 17 visits we cannot wait to get back there when borders reopen.
The Kingdom never, ever disappoints and constantly amazes discerning travelers.
But what really are the essential sights?
Taktsang Monastery – Paro Valley:
This iconic image of Bhutan is the real deal.
Forged in legend and revered by Buddhists, every step on its long & winding path rewards Buddhists with ‘merit points’ towards their next life.
Do it last!
It takes up to 5 hours to hike all the way to the monastery and back, climbing 800 metres from the valley floor.
You’ll need to be at least moderately fit to go the whole distance, although you can just hike to the monastery viewpoint & restaurant (and back) in 1.5 to 2 hours.
Don’t attempt it until day 3, at least, of your Bhutan adventure and better still leave it until the end when you are well acclimatized.
It makes for the perfect finale to your Bhutan experience.
Punakha Dzong – Punakha Valley:
“What’s a dzong?” you may well ask. Think a clever combination of a fortress, a monastery and the local council offices.
Dzongs were mainly built in the 12th century (and no drawings, or nails, were used in construction!!).
They protected the locals from invaders (from Tibet in those days) and served as administration centres for each major valley.
Some are small, and some are big, like the Punakha Dzong pictured, which is the most awesome dzong in the kingdom.
It is also easy to get to, although actually getting into it involves a steep flight of stairs, the last part being wooden and designed to be pulled up in case of attack (no, not these days, hopefully!).
It’s Not Too Far Either!
Punakha dzong is only 3 hours from the capital Thimphu.
It would be a crime not to include it on any visit.
Not only is the architecture stunning, and exploring its alleyways a great privilege, it also rewards with many great stories & legends attached to it.
Our Bhutanese guides are true professionals and they just love beparting all their knowledge of the past happenings in this dzong.
There’s a great love story here too, that isn’t as old as you might think, and one that made Bhutan what it is today.
Chimi Lhakang – Punakha Valley:
Imagine a smart, but somewhat drunk & deranged monk, running around your neighbourhood and firing arrows into the air.
And, where they land, means he must engage in sexual relations with the nearest female!
Well, it’s true and his name was Drukpa Kunley. He was also called the ‘Divine Madman’ who lived in Bhutan from 1455–1529.
Be Careful Ladies!
And to this day ladies who have trouble conceiving visit this monastery for a ‘WANG’.
Which is basically when the resident monk whacks a lady hard with a lump of wood.
Apparently it works a treat, although there have been observations in the past that some newborns bear a striking resemblance to said monk! Hmmmm.
Anyway, enough gossip. You can check out all our other ‘must see’ Top 10 Things To See In Bhutan.
Tashi delek, James & Nicola/Bhutan & Beyond.
Article by James Irving – Bhutan Travel Expert
James has worked in the travel industry for over 40 years & has been involved in the leisure, corporate, group, sport, incentive & wholesale travel genres.
James loves rugby union, and keenly supports the Queensland Reds and the Australian Wallabies.