Ours is the only capital city in the world, which does not have any traffic light. Yet, you will find it amazing to roam about in the streets of the capital. Hence, if you are in the mood to know Thimphu and venture out to know the city all by yourself, you can do it at ease as you will find the locals friendly enough to guide you to the places of your interest should you need their help. You can stroll down the main thoroughfare, the Norzin Lam on foot to get the real ‘feel’ of the city. Then you can visit the National Folk Heritage Museum to know about the rural life, National Memorial Chorten, National Library to understand the Buddhist philosophy, and if you are a foodie then visit the local restaurants to taste the local cuisines. Then there is Zorig Chusum School of Traditional Arts, the crafts market near the Taj Tashi hotel and the Centenary Farmers’ Market, for a shopping spree.
For enjoying the local cuisines, like Ema Datsi, which is the National Dish of Bhutan, and Suja the local butter tea, and other stuffs, the thoroughfares of Norzin Lam, Phendey Lam and Chang Lam are the best! Some of the best restaurants in Thimpu include The Bhutanese, Bhutan Kitchen, Tandin, Ama, Yangkhil, and the restaurant of the National Folk Heritage Museum.
This is another place that MUST be visited! The most talked about landmarks in Paro include Drukgyel Dzong, Taktsang Monastery (also called the Paro Takshang Monastery or the Tiger’s Nest), National Museum, and Paro Dzong. The museum is located at the top of a hill and exhibits rare historic artifacts and photographs. The Drukgyel Dzong was a fortress built for commemorating victory over the Tibetan forces in the 16th century.
Of these, the Taktsang Monastery, located 10 km north of the city of Paro is the most breathtaking one, much due to the fact that the building hangs precariously from a cliff at an altitude of 3000 meters above the valley.
Located 70 km southeast of Thimphu in Thedtsho Gewog and famous for bamboo & stone artifacts, this town is the capital of the Wangdue Phodrang district in central Bhutan, and has an elevation of 1300 meters from the sea level. It is also home to the largest and the most famous Nyingmapa monastery in Bhutan – Gangtey Gompa. The region has been included in the Black Mountain Conservation Area by the Government of Bhutan and is home to a large number of animal species including barking deer, Himalayan black bear, red fox, sambar, leopard, wild boar, and a wide variety of Himalayan and migratory birds, which throng this Himalayan Valley during the winter. So if you are interested in wild life and bird watching, Wangdiphodrang is the place you MUST visit! And the windy & moderately cold to chilly climate make the place ideal for visits all throughout the year, excepting the monsoon between July and September. Other interesting tourist spots of Wangduephodrang include Wangduephodrang Dzong, Crane Observation & Education Centre, Radak Naktshang – a 17th century temple.
Trongsa often regarded as the “Vanguard of the Warriors,” and located near central Bhutan, is another highly fascinating tourist spot that is home to some of the best hotels, restaurants, and guesthouses. The town hosts some of the most spectacular tourist sites including Trongsa Dzong, Ta Dzong, Chökhor Raptse Dzong, Thruepang Palace, Kuenga Rabten Palace, Chendebji Chorten.
Bhumthang, which is also famous as the Jakar Valley is located at an altitude of 8530ft-14765ft from the sea level. The place is famous for a number of monasteries and places of other interests that include Jambay Lhakhang (one of the two oldest temples in Bhutan), Kurje Lhakhang, Tamshing Lhakhang, Jakar Dzong, Konchogsum Lhakhang, Chankhar Lhakhang, Lhodrak Kharchhu Monastery and the famous Membar Tsho or the Burning Lake. If you are more into trekking than anything else, the place has ample places in its offing! You can visit Tangbi Goemba, which is about 30 mins walk from the north of Kurje Lhahang. Then you can visit Ngang Lhakhang and of course the famous Ura Valley that is 48 km from Jakar. You can also visit the Tang Valley, Ugyenchholing Palace, Tang Rimochen Lhakhang, Kunzangdrak Goemba and Pelseling Goempa and Padtshaling Gonpa.
This is Bhutan’s former capital city and is mainly famous for its majestic Punakha Dzong, that is located at the confluence of the river Pho Chhu and river Mo Chhu. Other than this, the place is mainly renowned for its trekking routes that take you to the remotest parts of the country and offer a paradise for those interested in wild life, bird watching, and natural beauty.
Other places of interest in Bhutan include Punakha valley, which is Bhutan’s rice bowl with red and white rice harvested along the banks of Pho Chu and Mo Chu rivers, and trekking routes that take you to the suspension bridge in Mitesgang. You can visit the Dzongs scattered all over the valley, Tsechu, the Dochula Pass and last but not the least, Phuentsholing, 175 km from Paro where you will find the Chukha Hydroelectric Plant built by India.
However, this is only the tip of the iceberg – there are many more for you! Just visit Bhutan and you will get to know!