Dochula Pass Overview

Dochula Pass, the highest mountain pass in Bhutan, is a sight to behold. Also known as Dochu La, it rises to an altitude of 10,200 feet. The pass offers breathtaking views of the surrounding snow-capped peaks and lush green valleys. Dochula Pass in the lap of the Himalayas, with its 108 Chortens (Buddhist Stupas) offers a spiritual and scenic experience. Whether you are a nature lover, a photography enthusiast, or simply seeking tranquillity, a visit to Dochula Pass is sure to leave you awe-inspired.

The chortens and Druk Wangyal Lhakhang temple with beautiful ornate details against the lush green forest backdrop make this spot famous among locals and tourists alike. The Dochu La Wangyal Festival where the colourful mask dance can be witnessed also makes this place illustrious.

Dochula Pass is the highest mountain pass in the Kingdom of Bhutan. It is situated at an elevation of over 10,000 feet above sea level and forms a bridge between Thimphu and the historic town of Punakha. As you make your way up the winding roads to Dochula Pass, you will be surrounded by lush green forests and colourful prayer flags fluttering in the breeze. Here, you will also come across 108 Chortens or Buddhist stupas. Known as the Druk Wangyal Chortens, these stupas were built to honour the Bhutanese soldiers who lost their lives in battle. 

Adjacent to these Chortens lies the Druk Wangyal Lhakhang temple, an architectural marvel that complements the serene landscape. The temple and the Chortens together offer a glimpse into Bhutan’s traditions and spiritual culture. On a clear day, you can see the entire snow-capped Himalayan range from the Pass, including Mount Masanggang and Gangkhar Puensum. The surrounding cypress tree forests and mountains make Dochula Pass a perfect spot for photography. While you are here, watch for the wide variety of animals that call this place home, such as the mountain fox or the musk deer. Dochula Pass is a place where culture, history, and nature blend, making it a top destination in Bhutan.


• Enjoy panoramic views of the Himalayas from Dochula Pass, the highest mountain pass in Bhutan.
• Walk among the 108 Druk Wangyal Chortens (memorial stupas) here, and pay tribute to Bhutanese soldiers who sacrificed their lives for the country.
• Visit the Druk Wangyal Lhakhang temple, which is home to paintings that blend Bhutan’s past with its present.
• Witness the vibrant Dochula Druk Wangyel Festival, famous for its traditional mask dances that showcase themes like wars and good over evil.
• Explore the first Royal Botanical Park in Bhutan, home to over 40 species of rhododendrons and some exotic Himalayan flowers like magnolias and birches.

How To Reach

By Road: Thimphu is the nearest major city to Dochula Pass, located around 22 kilometres away. The drive to Dochula Pass from Thimphu is straightforward and scenic, following the main road towards Punakha. Public buses, taxis, and tour vehicles are readily available in Thimphu for taking a trip to Dochula Pass. The entire journey takes around 45 to 60 minutes to complete.

By Bike or On Foot: For an even more adventurous journey to Dochula Pass, enjoy a biking or trekking trip. The route is challenging due to its uphill terrain but offers unparalleled views and a sense of accomplishment. Biking from Thimphu can take about 3 to 4 hours, depending on your pace. On the other hand, it will take more than 6-8 hours if you plan to trek 22 kilometres from Thimphu to Dochula Pass.

Best Time To Visit

The best time to visit Dochula Pass is during the months of March to May and September to November. These periods offer the most favorable weather conditions, with clear skies and mild temperatures, ideal for enjoying the stunning views of the Himalayan landscape and the 108 chortens. Avoid visiting during the monsoon season (June to August) due to heavy rainfall and reduced visibility.

Other Essential Information

Places To Visit Around Dochula Pass

1. Punakha Dzong: Located approximately 30 kilometers from Dochula Pass, Punakha Dzong is one of Bhutan's most magnificent fortresses. Set amidst the confluence of two rivers, the dzong boasts stunning traditional architecture, intricate woodwork, and beautiful gardens. It served as the capital of Bhutan until the 1950s and holds immense historical and cultural significance.

2. Chimi Lhakhang: Situated near Punakha, Chimi Lhakhang is a charming Buddhist monastery dedicated to the "Divine Madman" Lama Drukpa Kunley. The temple is known for its phallic symbols and fertility blessings, attracting visitors seeking blessings for conception and childbirth.

3. Dochula Botanical Garden: Adjacent to Dochula Pass, this botanical garden showcases Bhutan's diverse flora and fauna. Visitors can explore the rich biodiversity of the region while enjoying scenic views of the surrounding mountains.

4. Buddha Dordenma Statue: Buddha Dordenma Statue is a colossal 51.5-meter tall golden statue of Buddha Shakyamuni located near Dochula Pass, overlooking the Thimphu Valley. Crafted from bronze and gilded in gold, it is one of the largest Buddha statues in the world. The statue symbolizes peace and prosperity and is a revered pilgrimage site for Buddhists. Visitors can marvel at its majestic presence, explore the surrounding gardens, and soak in panoramic views of the lush valley below.

5. Simtokha Dzong: Located near the capital city of Thimphu, Simtokha Dzong is the oldest fortress in Bhutan. Built-in 1629, it houses numerous sacred artifacts, ancient murals, and statues, providing insights into Bhutan's rich cultural heritage.

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