Starting from Punakha, Samtengang Winter Trek is a short and considerably simple and easy trek to Wangduephodrang Dzongkhag with average altitude rising not more than 1900 meters. The climate is excellent and due to low altitude preserves warmer climate which is pleasant and soothing. The trekking trail is devoid of uncomfortable steeps and heights making the trail quite smooth for the amateur hikers.
The trail passes through rhododendron forest which is a delight to see especially in monsoon times. The region also posses dense vegetation with oak and maple trees and also the longest foot bridge of Bhutan. Villages like Sha and Chungsakha also falls on this trail. It is approximately 54 km in length.
Highlights: Sha viilage and lifestyle of Bhutanese people based there. Duration: 3 days trekking tour. Location: Near Punakha, Bhutan Best Season: March - April, October to November. However due to low altitude it can be visited in winter too.
A popular annual festival, Punakha Tshechu and Drubchen gets celebrated in Punakha which is located in the western side of Bhutan. The festival has great historical importance which makes it more popular among natives. In 17thcentury, Tibetan forces invaded Bhutan from where Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, the Buddhist saint, led the victory of the country.
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
Top Things To Do in Punakha Tshechu and Drubchen Festival
Punakha is the Punakha Dzong’s administrative centre which is the second largest and the second oldest dzong in Bhutan. Some may even refer to the Punakha Dzong as the Palace of Great Happiness or the Pungthang Dewachen Phodrang.
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.
Having an altitude of 3400 meters this is one of the easiest and the most popular trekking journey among amateur trekkers through the ancient capital of Bhutan, Punakha. The trekking trail commences from Thimphu and concludes in the beautiful Punakha valley. Being a short trek, the gradual slopes on the trekking trail does not seem to be too much concern for the hikers.
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.
The Khamsam Yulley Namgyal Chorten is a beautiful monastery which is situated at a ridge above the Punakha Valley. It's a four storey majestic temple which was built by Bhutanese carpenters, painters and sculptors in a period of 9 years.
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.
Top Things To Do in Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten
Torsa is one of the most famous tourist attractions for it is the only Nature Reserve in the world which has not been destroyed by human inhabitation. It is adorned with beautiful alpine and broad leaves tree forests, making it a favoured trekking route in Bhutan. The name came to existence from the River Toorsa which penetrates from Tibet.
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 magnificent and tranquil Sangchhen Dorji Lhuendrup Nunnery sits atop a hill and commands the view of the gorgeous Punakha valley and Wangduephodrang valley. Standing amidst the lush pine trees, this structure is a beautiful demonstration of fine architecture and tradition of Bhutan.
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 Prices: N/A
Top Things To Do in Sangchhen Dorji Lhuendrup Nunnery
Zangdo Pelri Temple is a religious and holy place of Bhutan that lies in the Phuntsholing town. It represents the abode of the revered Guru Rinpochey.
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.
Bhutan is renowned for its marvellous ancient architecture scattered throughout the land. Punakha Dzong is one such beautiful architecture and offers a stunning sight of the luminous aura of the white washed walls on a bright sunny day. Golden, red and black painted woods add to the charisma of this striking architecture.
The Dzong is surrounded by the splendid natural beauty with lush green hills and clear blue sky as a backdrop. The Dzong is also of historical and traditional importance in Bhutan. For a long time it served as the capital. It also preserves the remains of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal and holy artefact Ranjung Karsapani.
Location: Located at the confluence of beautiful rivers of Pho Chhu and Mo Chhu in Punakha & Khuruthang , Bhutan.
Best time/season: The best time to visit the Punakha Dzong is mid-May when lavender coloured jacaranda trees blossom. Approx Price: N/A Difficulty Level: N/A
The Punakha valley of Bhutan is offers a mesmerizing view of natural beauty to the beholder. Amidst this natural setting lies the second longest suspension bridge of the country. Built high on the river Po Chu, this arched wooden bridge connects the Punakha Dzong with Punakha City and the smaller villages scattered in the valley. A visit to this Bridge is must if you are seeking a bit of thrill and adrenaline pump in your body while surrounding amidst natural beauty.
Highlights: Crossing the bridge is a fun in its own way. However, do not forget to make a visit to the nearby Punakha Dzong, a beautiful ancient fortress which houses valuable relics of time immemorial. Location: Located 10 minutes drive away Punakha Dzong, the bridge connects the mainland and the nearby villages and Dzong. Timing: The best time to visit it is 9 AM in the morning. Price: N/A
The exotic park was built by the 3rd king of Bhutan, Jigme Dorgi in 1974 and is approx 4, 316 km in area. The park is second largest in the country and is a dwelling to many endangered animals such as snow Leopard, Himalayan musk deer, Asiatic wild dog, Red Panda etc.
The national park is an ideal place for trekking because of its magnificent spread of flora and fauna. Hence, it is also known as Trekker’s Paradise. The park is also the dwelling of the Semi Nomadic Community, Layap. Four rivers Mocchu, Pocchu,Wangchu, Pachu originate from this park; therefore is one of the largest contributors of Bhutan’s economy.
Highlights: Largest collection of medicinal baths and hot springs; only place where the Snow leopard meets the Royal Bengal tiger; views of majestic peaks namely Jomolhari, Tsherimgang and Jichu drakey Location: Gasa Cost: N/A Best season: March to October
One of the most revered temples of Bhutan, Chimi L’hakhang is considered as the temple of fertility, dedicated to Lama Drukpa Kuenley, popularly known as the Divine Madman. Lama Drukpa Kuenley is a legendary saint in Bhutan, who is much revered in the country but because of his unusual way of teaching, he is considered an eccentric.
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
Standing regally on the hill above the Punakha valley, Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten is a classic example of beautiful traditions and architecture of Bhutan. The temple was built by Her Majesty the Queen Mother for warding off the negative forces and bringing peace and harmony for all the living beings. The thing that sets this Chorten apart is that it was built on the principals described in the Holy Scriptures rather than modern engineering manuals. The golden spire and intricate wall patterns are fine example of art and tradition of Bhutan.
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. Timing: N/A Prices: N/A