Bhutan is a small country located in the southern foothills of the Himalayas mountains. It is the original land of smiles. With a national manifesto that’s based on cumulative, community happiness and cohesion, the country has only recently stepped out of the shadows. In this article, we will give you a list of wonderful destinations to explore in Bhutan.
1. Rinpung Dzong
Rinpung Dzong is a beautiful dzong (fort), with towering walls, built in the 16th century. Known as the Fortress on a Heap of Jewels, Rinpung Dzong is among the best tourist places to visit in Bhutan and a classic example of Bhutanese architecture and deep-rooted traditions.
The entire area is filled with various shrines and temples in Bhutan. Some of the shrines are, Kungarwa, Monk’s assembly hall, Sandalwood stupa, protector’s shrine, and so on. Every year there is an annual festival of tshechu and it is held in Rinpung Dzong and it starts from the eleventh day to the fifteenth day and the day is marked in Bhutan’s lunar calendar.
In this festival holy images are carried in a procession, and this very thing is followed by the mask dances which tell many stories and these are performed by the monks for many days. On the fifteenth day before dawn breaks, a sacred banner which consists of eight manifestations of Padmasambhava is shown for the public in those early hours and the tradition is that there will be no sunlight to fall on the banner.
2. Motithang Takin Preserve
To intrigue the nature enthusiast and wanderer, Bhutan has the Motithang Takin Preserve based in Thimphu. This is far from the usual cultural encounters you will have at monasteries and dzongs. However, the Motithang Takin Preserve aligns with the country’s mission of conservation and sustainability.
The takin is Bhutan’s national animal. A Takin is similar to a goat and an antelope and lives primarily in the eastern Himalayas of Tibet and Bhutan. They live in higher altitude areas between 1000m and 4500m above sea level.
The Motithang Takin Preserve was initially a small zoo. Later, they converted it into a preserve, when the animals stayed in the area instead of going into the forests that surrounded the zoo. Bhutan declared the takin as its national animal because of the belief in a legend that Lama Drukpa Kunley created the animal.
The preserve is inside a pine forest that offers an excellent opportunity to go trekking before you get to see the animals. You can see goats, Himalayan monals, and species like sambal deer and barking deer there as well.
3. Chele La Pass
Located at an altitude of about 3,989 meters, Chele La pass is among the popular destinations to explore in Bhutan. The magnificent pass is en-route to the Haa Valley in Paro. On a nice and clear day, you can experience the Jomolhari mountain from here and the adjacent peaks from the northwest side and can view the valleys of Haa and Paro as well.
This pass is located at 13,000 feet above in the west of the Paro valley, it is the highest road pass of Bhutan and is surrounded by amazing views of the Himalayan range, and Mount Jomolhari, which is this country’s most sacred mountain and it’s over 22,000 feet.
Another attraction of this place is the Haa summer festival, and this is the symbol of the rich culture of the nomadic heaps. You can have a small excursion, which will take only 2 and a half hours, as many tourists visit this place for the excursion here.
The oriental end of the high-perched Lateral Road that runs right through the heart of Bhutan, Trashigang can be found sitting upon the peaks above the meanders of the Drangme Chhu River.
Perhaps the most important town in the eastern districts of the country, it’s topped by its very own breathtaking dzong: a medley of gilded roofs and whitewashed walls that sits high above the forest canopies and over the alpine valley bottoms below.
In the center itself, visitors will discover an earthy folk bazaar, where all the stalls and sellers crowd around an elaborate public prayer wheel.
This is one of the wonderful destinations to explore in Bhutan.
Every traveler who makes it here, deep in the heart of the Himalayan range, will instantly be drawn to the huge complex of the Palace of Great Happiness.
This is one of the most iconic buildings in all of Bhutan and the winter residence of their national Buddhist order.
Surrounding this are clutches of traditional farmer hamlets, like the enchanting adobe town of Ritsha, which ooze rustic character and come dotted with earthy teahouses touting curries.