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Western Bhutan – pleasantly beautiful!

Bhutan has been divided into three tourist circuits – western, central and eastern. The western circuit is most popular comprising six districts – Thimphu, Paro, Haa, Wangdue Phodrang, Punakha and Gasa. The capital city Thimphu is abode of the royal family. Tashichho Dzong (fortress), National Memorial Chorten, Buddha Dordenma Statue, Folk Heritage Museum, Simtokha Dzong and Thimphu Tshechu festival are major attractions of the city. One of the widest valleys, Paro is a beautiful place famous for the iconic Taktsang Lhakhang monastery, Dzongdrakha Temple, Kila Gompa, National Museum, Drugyel Dzong and Paro Tshechu festival. The smallest region Haa with its unspoiled forests and mountain peaks is perfect for mountain biking and hiking. Wangdue Phodrang is noted for Phobjikha Valley, Gangtey Monastery, Dargay Gompa and cultural festivals. In addition, Punakha Valley in Punakha and Gasa Dzong, Laya and Luhana villages, religious monuments and splendid nature in Gasa will completely spell-bind you.

-The Tiger’s Nest Monastery

The Tiger’s Nest Monastery is a small collection of temples precariously perched on a cliff, 900 meters off the ground. It is stunning in its beauty and location. Without a doubt, a first time trip to Bhutan would not be complete without seeing the Tiger’s Nest.

– Museum

The National Museum of Bhutan in Ta Dzong at Paro has over 3000 artworks and masterpieces that display more than 1500 years of cultural heritage of Bhutan. The collection of ceremonial masks and their explanations is very well curated along with a short documentary on each section. The section on the natural flora and fauna of Bhutan is documented and displayed as well.

Memorial Chorten

It is a very enchanting place and there is so much of positivity around. The Memorial Stupa also known as the Thimphu Chorten is build in memory of the 3rd King of Bhutan. It is a prominent landmark in the city with its golden spires and bells and nice garden around.

– Punakha Dzong

Punakha Dzong is a beautiful piece of architecture. It is a huge fortress built on the riverside and to enter you have to walk through a magnificent wooden bridge over the river. It is the ancient capital of Bhutan.

Thimphu Valley (The capital City)

Paro Valley

Central Bhutan – cherishing a royal heritage!

The central circuit consists of Trongsa and Bumthang districts. Trongsa is politically important while Bumthang houses most ancient and significant monasteries of Bhutan like – Kurje Lhakhang, Tamshing Lhakhang and a sacred lake Mebar Tsho. Trongsa Dzong – ancient seat of Bhutanese royals, Ta Dzong – the watchtower, Thruepang Palace, Kuenga Rabten Palace and Chendebji Chorten in Trongsa are popular among tourists. The entire central Bhutan is embellished with amazing natural beauty. Other prominent tourist spots are Jakar, Gelephu, Sarpang and Zhemgang.

Trongsa Dzong

In the ancient times it was the seat of power over central and eastern Bhutan and the vanguard of the warriors. The massive Trongsa Dzong is the largest fortress in Bhutan which stands on a spur overlooking the gorge of the Mangdi Chuu river. This strategically placed structure is the first sight long before arriving at Trongsa town.

– Yotongla pass

Yotongla Pass stands at around 3425 m high pass between Trongsa and Bumthang. Driving along the highway gives a perfect view of the most famous and revered mountain range Jowo Durshing, popularly known as Black Mountain Range.

– Phobjikha

It is a wide open marshland area surrounded by gentler slopes than you see in most of the North and Central areas of Bhutan. It attracts the highest number of winter visiting endangered birds Black Necked Cranes in Bhutan. It is a great place to take some gentler day hikes around the marshy areas, which is designated as Ramsar site, an internationally important wetland in 2012.

– Chokhor Valley

The Chokhor Valley has countless small temples and shrines dotting its hillsides. Impossibly pleasant and peaceful pathways guide visitors from one cluster to the next, showcasing the area’s natural beauty. The hike is much milder than other more extreme treks, but can be a bit challenging nonetheless. The beautiful pasturelands and meadows between pine forest earned its reputation as little Switzerland of Bhutan.

Kurjey Lhakhang

Burning lake

Eastern Bhutan – offering pristine beauty!

Districts like – Mongar, Lhuntse, Trashiyangtse, Trashigang and Samdrup Jongkhar – fall under Bhutan’s eastern circuit. The region is replete with spectacular natural beauty and mostly frequented by adventure junkies. Mongar Dzong, Zhongar Dzong, Dramitse Lhakhang, Aja Ney and Yagang Lhakhang in Mongar; Lhuntse Dzong, Kilung Lhakhang, Jangchubling Monastery and Dungkar Nagtshang in Lhuntse are notable sites. The diverse culture in Trashiyangtse, Trashigang Dzong in Trashigang and the three-storied temple Zangdopelri in Samdrup Jongkhar are worth mentioning.

– Phrumsengla

Traveling from Bumthang toward eastern Bhutan takes visitors through Phrumsengla National park. The park is rich in biodiversity as elevation ranges from 800 meters in the south to more than 4500 m in the North. It is the highest pass among the National highways and you would see one old growth forest in the Himalayan region.

Zhongar Dzong

Constructed in the 17th century, Zhongar Dzong is situated on top of a hill overlooking the village of Themnangbi and the place is noticeable as one descends to Lingmenthang from the road. Zhongar Dzong was at first damaged by a fire and then later destroyed by a powerful earthquake. A visit to the ruins can be an unforgettable experience.

– Chorten kora

Chorten Kora was known to be replica of Boudhanath stupa in Nepal. Bumdeling to the North is home to wintering black-necked cranes and Bhutan’s National Butterfly. It is the only place in Bhutan where Ludlow’s Bhutan Glory (Bhutanitis ludlowi) can be found.

Singye Dzong

Ludlow’s Bhutan Glory