The Samtengang Winter Trek is one of the most exciting Paro tourist attractions and a unique way to explore the Paro valley. You can embark on this 4-day trek that takes you through the villages of Chungsakha and Sha, as well as through forests and valleys where you can see the Paroo river and rhododendron and oak trees lining the roads and hills.
The trek starts from Punakha and ends in Wangduephodrang Dzongkhag. It is a relatively easy trek consisting of a 54km trail that takes you through easily navigable terrains.
Price: INR 16,500
This auspicious occasion was celebrated with the introduction of the celebration of Punakha Drubchen which is continued till date once every year. In 2005, Punakha Tshechu was introduced to preserve Buddhist documents and his teachings. Usually these festivals occur simultaneously and in both of them much entertainment is provided by performances in folk dance. Religious customs are performed in both the festivals in the same manner as done in earlier times
Highlights: Folk dances by the natives.
Festival Time: Usually in the month of March
Highlights: Punakha is one of the 20 districts of Bhutan. Until 1955, Punakha was the capital of Bhutan. Post that the capital was changed to Thimphu. Known for the Punakha Dzong which is the most majestic and gorgeous dzong of the country, the place is a must visit. It is accessible via a 3 hour drive east of the capital city of Thimpu. You can reach the dzong after crossing a pass in the mountains. This place is glorious and breath taking right from the first glimpse of it from the road. Nestled strategically between the two rivers Mo Chu (females) and Pho Chu (male), you’ll see noticeable color difference between the river’s waters. Punakha is affixed to the mainland by an arched wooden bridge. It comprises of several precious relics from the times when successive kings resigned from the kingdom over Punakha.
Location: It is located 72 km away from Thimpu.
Timings: Open round the year.
Pricing: Entry is free
The old foot trail snakes through luscious valleys, green landscapes, dense forestlands and golden rice fields. The trail crosses through Phajoding Monastery and beautiful Sinchula Pass. Due to low altitude and much warmer climate, the trek is often preferred during winters.
Highlights: Phajoding Monastry
Duration: 4 days/3 nights
Location: Punakha, Bhutan
Best Season: March to May, September to November are considered as ideal time, however it can be done during December to February too.
Highlights: If you want to have a view of the splendid architectural and artistic vision of the Bhutanese culture, this is the perfect place to visit. The place has become a huge tourist attraction place as it is one of its kind in the world. The extensive rice fields and miniature chortens that surround the temple also add up to the nice aura.
Location: It is located in the region of Punakha in Bhutan
Timings: There is no timing as such but since it’s a temple, the ideal timings are from early morning to evening.
Pricing: Visit to the temple and surrounding regions is completely free of cost.
The Nature Reserve is situated at this Junction is bordering both Sikkim and China. The Nature reserve is also a dwelling to many species of endangered flora and fauna, Rufous necked Hornbill being one of them.
Highlights: Excellent climate, landscapes include deciduous forests, alpine meadows, scrublands and temperate forests. A small lake, Sinchulunga, which is the source of fresh water stream is part of the Reserve; undisturbed by human settlement, this place showcases a unique tranquillity and serenity.
Location: Western Haa
Best season: March to September and Jan to March
The gleaming white washed walls are complemented by the richly carved woods painted in black, red and golden colour and decorated with illustrious designs. The temple is home to a colossal 14 feet bronze statue of Avalokiteshvara. There are several other statues inside the temple. Inside the complex there is a meditation centre of nuns.
Highlights: The temple provides a gorgeous view of the surrounding value and tranquil environment for peace and meditation. You also get an opportunity for bird watching and witnessing river smoke, an interesting and rare natural phenomenon.
Location: The temple complex is located in Wangdue.
Timing: 09:00 AM - 05:00 PM
Punakha Dzong is also known by the name of Pungthang Dewa Chhenbi Phodrang which translates into ‘The Palace of Great Happiness’. This majestic building dates back to the 17th century and is the second largest and the second oldest Dzong in Bhutan.
The entire building follows a very rustic and traditional Bhutanese architecture and all six storeys have been made out of compacted earth, stone and timbers. If you are looking for Bhutanese places to visit in December, there are not many that match the stunning geographical features that surround Punakha Dzong. Since the Dzong is situated between the Pho Chhu (male) and Mo Chhu (female) rivers in the Punakha valley, the scenery becomes all the more beautiful when everything is covered in mist, giving the place an otherworldly vibe.
Location: Punakha, Bhutan
Timing: Daily, 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Price: Rs. 300
Punakha Suspension Bridge is one of the longest suspension bridges in Bhutan and stretches up to a length of approximately 520 feet! You can enjoy spectacular views of the river flowing underneath the bridge or the valleys rolling in every direction.
Made with solid planks of wood and cables anchored to massive cement block, the bridge is surprisingly stable for its length and is covered in colourful religious flags at all points. It also acts as a starting point for several multi-day trekking trips in the region.
You can also stopover at the bridge if you are visiting the famous Punakha Dzong as it lies only half a mile away from the religious centre. You simply have to head north from the dzong, walk past the cremation grounds and follow the river to reach the bridge.
Location: Punakha, Bhutan
Timing: Open all-day
Jigme Dorji National Park is the second-largest national park in the country. Apart from covering multiple districts, it also pans over all three climatic zones of Bhutan. You can experience everything from frozen glaciers to dense jungles, rivers and historic sites without having to leave the park.
It is home to important cultural sites like the fortresses of Lingshi Dzong and Gasa Dzong and sacred mountains like Mount Jomolhari and Mount Jichu Drake. The diverse animal cover in the area includes Bengal Tigers, bharals, black musk deer, Indian leopards and over 300 species of birds. If you decide to make it a place to visit in Bhutan in December, you can also witness the glaciers Lunana and Laya Gewogs in their full glory.
Timing: Daily, 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Highlights: Zangdo Pelri Temple is a magnificent place in Bhutan that definitely deserves your attention. On the earth level of this temple, you can find the statues of Guru along with his eight Manifestations. The wall is enclosed with several paintings taken from the life of Buddha. On the second floor of the temple, you can find statues of Avalokiteshwaram, eight Bodhisattavas and Shubdrung Nawang Namgyal. Finally, on the top floor you can see the main statue of the Buddha Amitabha.
Location: Zangdo Pelri Temple is located near the weekend market in Phuntsholing in Bhutan.
Timings: Can be visited from dawn to dusk each day.
Pricing: Entry is free.
People from all across the country come to the temple to pray for children. The couples visiting the temple are sanctified with a wooden phallus, the imitation of the saint’s iron bow and arrows and his scriptures. Surrounded by the abundant paddy fields this temple is a must visit.
Location: The temple lies on the edge of the Lobesa valley on the confluence of the borders of Thimphu, Punakha and Wangduephodrang.
Best time/season: The best time to visit the Chimi L'hakhang Temple is spring and autumn.
Approx Price: N/A
Difficulty Level: N/A
the places to visit in Bhutan have a certain charm of their own wherever you go in this country.
Highlight: Enjoy the panoramic view of the valley from the top of the Chorten. The little hike to reach the Chorten will take you to the adventurous suspension bridge and the lush green rice fields.
Location: Located in Punakha Valley the hill at which the Chorten is standing is half hour drive from Punakha Dzong.