15 Best Places to Visit in Bhutan in December - 2020
With dramatic views of the Himalayan mountains, the places to visit in Bhutan in December are sure to lure you with their beauty. During this month, the blue skies, bright green rice terraces, clear flowing rivers, and the unique Dzongs make for an alluring view that looks just like a fairy tale. December in Bhutan is also famous for the Druk Wangyel Tshechu festival, which showcases the colorful culture of these places.

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Amongst the many Bhutan places to visit in December, Paro is the most visited one due to Tiger’s nest. Apart from that, the capital city, Thimpu is one of the most scenic as well as a fun-filled destination in Bhutan.

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You will also find several holy monasteries along with other cultural and art destinations in this city. The ex-capital of Bhutan, Punakha is also pretty famous for its temples, valleys, viewpoints, and courtyards which are definitely worth a visit.  

Here are the best places to visit in Bhutan in December:

01

Thimphu

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Thimphu is one of the largest cities in Bhutan and offers a pristine view of the Himalayan range. Located in the central part of western Bhutan, it resides on the west banks of Raidak River that is colloquially known as the Wang Chu River.  The hills surrounding Thimphu are elevated at a range of 2,000 – 3,800 meters. Thimphu is the meeting point of various tributaries that emerge out of the Himalayan ranges and meet at Raidak River.

The beauty of Thimphu not only resides in the colossal Himalayan view and its tributaries, but also the monasteries and dzhongs, or fortress-like structures all across Thimphu. The architectural design of these monuments is striking, with some of them being as old as the 12
th century. In fact, Tango Monastery is one of the highest teaching institutes in the city. The hamlets visible from atop high mountains, glimmering at night, only add on to the beauty of the place. 

The top two attractions to be explored in the city are Dochula Pass and Budhha Dodhenma. The Dochula Pass is located at an elevation of 10,334 feet with a mesmerizing view of Jigme Singye Wangchuck Himalayan range. The Buddha Dordenma is a colossal Shakyamuni Budhha statue located atop a hill that is 169 meters tall with minute details carved into the gold-plated structure. 

River rafting and kayaking are two of the most popular activities conducted mostly in the Raidak River. Cycling is now becoming the most adventurous act that offers an adrenaline-pumping journey across the rocky terrains of Thimphu. Hiking and mountain biking are also becoming popular.

The weather in Bhutan is pleasant during spring and autumn. Springs are blooming with flowers, and the melted snow still glimmers with the sunlight during the morning, giving the city a surreal appearance. Autumn is met with naked tree branches and cloudy skies that hide the majestic Himalayas behind their grandeur. Winters receive snowfall, so do carry heavy warm clothes if you are visiting during winters.

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02

Paro

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The idyllic little town of Paro is tucked in the southern slopes of Eastern Himalayas at the foothills of Mount Jomolhari. It is a landlocked country bounded by India in South and South-West and Tibet in the north and north-west. 

The name Paro brings into our minds a plethora of images of the majestic Himalayas with its rugged terrains, rickety curves, alpine forests, sacred monasteries and expansive landscapes under the blue dome of the sky and takes you into a pristine world of peace and tranquillity. Your day begins by gazing at the surreal sunrise over the Himalayas leaving an enduring effect in your soul throughout the day. 

Paro is home to some of the ancient monasteries and temples of the world whose history traces back to the 7
th century and holds various myths and folklore to their names.  Fun lovers not to be disappointed at Paro! There are cafes, restaurants, museums and places of nature hiking that will certainly keep you engaged throughout your trip. The most iconic landmarks in Paro include Taktsang Monastery, Namsay Artisanal Brewery, Archery Ground, Chele La Pass and many more.

For the adrenaline junkies Paro is the perfect destination to try your guts! Paro has some of the most challenging biking trails of the world which is bound to allure any biker who wants to scale the height on the wheels. Apart from that you can go on hiking, trekking, rafting, kayaking and stargazing. The Snowman Trek which is one of the highest trekking trails of the world will leave you awestruck as you ride along the trail and get a bird’s eye view of the stunning panorama from a height of 5,400 metres.

Visiting Paro during summer will give you a chance to explore the nooks of the city of Paro and appreciate the stunning view of the landscapes at the backdrop of the shimmering white Himalayas.  During this time the climate is temperate and suitable for adventurous activities. But, if you want snow in your vacation, winter should be your choicest season.

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03

Punakha

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Punakha was the capital of Bhutan before Thimpu was made the capital city. There are many places to see in Punakha. It is popular for its temples, sightseeing viewpoints, courtyards, valleys, towers, and mini excursions in and around this town. This is one of the religious centers of Bhutan. It is at the confluence of two rivers of Bhutan. You can visit this town for taking short tours, stopping before heading towards other things to do in the Haa Valley, Gangtey, and Wangdue which have many places that are a haven for wildlife and nature photographers. These valleys have Alpine forests and mountain views that are serene and breathtaking. You get a countryside feel when you visit this riverside town, Punakha.

There are not too many tourists places to visit in Punakha. Tourists come to this town to rest, eat, and drink, before visiting other places of interest in Bhutan. You can visit monasteries, temples, Chorten, walking bridge, hill side village, and a collage where you can interact with the monks. You can go to the riverside as a weekend getaway. For most part, there is handful of places to be visited in this part of Bhutan. Quiet and tranquil, this is one of the holy places in Bhutan that is a home to monks. However, around Punakha, there are numerous outdoor and adventure activities available for tourists.


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Cheli La
Located at a height of 3,810 meters above sea level, Cheli La Pass is the highest pass in Bhutan that can be accessed by road. The pass separates the valleys of Haa and Paro and offers stunning views of surrounding area with picturesque beauty. On the way you will get to see he roadside drub chuu with beautiful paintings of Guru Rinpoche with his two wives.

On a bright and clear day of October and November, you can have a spectacular view of the Mt. Jumolhari, Jichu Drake and other neighbouring peaks, covered in snow and glittering in sunlight.



Highlights
: A small 2 kilometre detour leads you to Dzongdrakha Goemba, an architectural complex perched on a high ridge and consists of four chapels and a Chorten.

Location
: Between Haa and Paro Valleys in Bhutan.

Timing
: Best time to visit is October to November when the skies are clear.

Prices
: N/A
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Taktsang Palphug Monastery (Paro)
Taktsang Palphug Monastery or more popularly known as the Tiger’s Nest Monastery is one of the most revered pilgrimage place in the Himalayan province. It is also one of the most visited tourists destination in Bhutan and is a place that showcases the great traditional values of the country.

Uniquely located on top of the mountain 1200 meters above the Paro Valley, this monastery is surrounded by the scenic beauty. This white building topped with the golden roof on the back drop of blue sky and lush green hills look stunning. The centuries old legend of this monastery makes it more mystical. The isolated location of Tiger’s Nest can only be reached by following the gruelling mountain paths.



Location
: The Tiger’s Nest Monastery is located in Paro, approximately 10 kilometres away from the city.

Best time/season
: March to May and September to November.

Approx Price: N/A

Difficulty Level
: Moderately challenging.
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Gangtey Monastery

The Gangtey Monastery is one of the most attractive places to visit in Paro because of its rich cultural heritage and its beautiful structure and location. It is a centre of art, culture, religion, spirituality and learning and is considered one of the primary religious centres for Nyingma Buddhism. Known as the Gangtey Gompa, this monastery was built in the 17th century in typical Tibetan style with pillars surrounding a courtyard and the rest of the structure decorated with frescoes and paintings.

Apart from the monastery itself, you can go on tours and treks in the vicinity from where you can observe the incredible beauty of the surrounding hills and forests. 

Location:
 Gangtey Valley, Bhutan 

Price: 
Free entry

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Punakha Dzong

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

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Phuentsholing

This historical city of Bhutan lies on the Indo-Bhutanese border and is home to some amazing sites. Situated at an altitude of only 300 metres above sea level, this is the perfect place to visit in Bhutan in December. While here, you can admire the beautiful architecture of the Bhutan Gate which also marks the entrance to Bhutan from India.

Also, spend time with the crocodiles at the Amo Chhu Crocodile Breeding Center or visit the historic Zangto Pelri Lhakhang. If you are looking for a more nature-based experience, you can spend your time at the Zangto Pelri Park or enjoy a picnic by the Torsa riverside.

Location: Phuentsholing, Bhutan

Timing: Open all-day

Price: Free 

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Rinpung Dzong

Rinpung Dzong holds an important place as a major religious and political centre of Bhutan. This large monastery and fortress belongs to the Drukpa Lineage of the Kagyu school and is also home to the district Monastic Body. When here, you can visit the fourteen distinct shrines and chapels housed inside the Dzong and admire the rich Bhutanese architecture of the place.

The original building has been a part of the landscape since the 15th century and has been capturing the imagination of people worldwide, especially after its appearance in the 1993 movie Little Buddha. The place also hosts colourful festivals during the Spring months where traditional mask dances are organised for several days.

Location: Paro, Bhutan

Timing: 8:00 AM - 6:00 PM

Price: Free

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Buddha Dordenma

Buddha Dordenma is a gigantic statue of Shakyamuni Buddha, which is situated in the mountain ranges of Bhutan. It was constructed to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the fourth King of Bhutan. This architectural marvel houses over a hundred thousand smaller statues of Buddha inside of it.

Both the bigger statue and the ones inside have been built using bronze gilded in Gold. This 169-metre tall statue stands amidst the ruins of Kuensel Phodrang, the palace of the thirteenth Desi Druk. If you are looking for places to visit in Bhutan in December, this beautiful gold and bronze structure sitting amidst a 943.4 acres wide conserve forest must be on your list!

Location: Kuensel Phodrang, Thimphu, Bhutan

Timing: Daily, 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM

Price: Free

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Royal Manas National Park

For all the adventure enthusiasts looking for Bhutan places to visit in December, the oldest Bhutanese national park, Royal Manas National Park, might prove to be the best option. Spread over a massive area of 1,057 square kilometers, the place covers three separate districts and four different wildlife sanctuaries and parks! You can go hiking, trekking or enjoy a jungle safari in the depths of the wilderness.

As the national park is home to Bengal tigers, elephants, gaurs, golden langurs and hundreds of species of birds, a trip here is bound to be filled with the thrills of the wild.

Location: Bhutan

Timing: Daily, 5:30 AM - 6:30 PM

Price: Free entry

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Punakha Suspension Bridge

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

Price: Free

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Simtokha Dzong

Simtokha Dzong also known as the Sangak Zabdhon Phodrang or the ‘Palace of the Profound Meaning of Secret Mantras’ is a relatively small dzong and the first of its kind in the country. It was built in the year 1629 and today houses one of the premier Dzongkha language learning institutes.

While here, you can spend your time admiring the architecture of the place with traditional Buddhist aspects like prayer wheels or around 300 carvings of saints and philosophers made in slate. This dzong is one of the most popular Bhutan places to visit in December and welcomes people from around the world.

Location: Simtokha, Bhutan

Timing: Daily, 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM

Price: Free

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 Jigme Dorji National Park

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.

Location: Bhutan

Timing: Daily, 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM

Price: Free

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25 April 2016
Excellent
Dagala Thousand Lakes Trek was a great experience. It passes by picturesque lakes, Alpine meadows and villages set to a backdrop of magnificent mountainous landscapes. The experience was amazing and brilliant. We had a really great trek. It was sheer brilliance.
25 April 2016
Excellent
The trekking experience was great. I had a really nice trek here. It was an inexpensive and a really nice trek. I had a great time.
25 April 2016
Excellent
Dagala Thousand Lakes Trek is something that every trekker must take in his life. It is so poignant and brilliant. I totally loved this. WOW can be an understatement. The crystal clear, poignant lakes just give me goosebumps. The pristine lakes are so beautiful that you will forget yourself here. The trek is difficult, but nevertheless it is an amazing and a beautiful experience to say the least. I totally loved this trek and I just still can’t get enough of this trek. The experience would not have been this nice if the planning was bad. Special cheers to the team for handling the organization and planning of this tour in such a beautiful manner. If you are planning to have heartfelt trek, then look no further than here.
08 July 2019
Excellent
This was a 7 day tour and i was with my husband. We have explored Bhutan completely and we were so happy in the end by the arrangements made by Thrillophilia.
Bhutan was in my bucketlist and then i came across this package and couldnot resist. Perfect
15 October 2019
Excellent
Me and my friends visited Bhutan this May. We took the flight from Kathmandu to Paro, it took us only an hour and we enjoyed the magnificent view over the highest mountains of Himalayas and the top of the world mount Everest. The great thing was that our programme was made in a way that the sightseeing of the historical places started the same day we landed. We had wonderful and caring guide Bijay who was telling the facts and stories in very detail. All the hotel were excellent quality and staff was helpful in every possible way. The food was so delicious, and we had possibility to choose which cuisine we want to try from locally grown organic foods to more western food. Our advice to try Bhutanese local beer that is really good. Also, it was nice experience to have hot stone bath after a long day-trek to Tiger Nest. I had really wonderful Six days in Bhutan and I can recommend Thrillophilia to everyone wishing to visit Bhutan.
15 October 2019
Excellent
I only had a few days to visit Bhutan. But I couldn't leave South Asia without at least seeing the storied kingdom. I had seen the architecture in photos, but the magnitude of the buildings in the scenery in which they sit is stunning! Thrillophilia made everything so easy. They created an itinerary, reservations and transportation quickly and efficiently. I felt like I was welcomed at the airport by a friend. I had some special requests that they were happy to arrange; even though no one had asked to do these things before. And they even changed the itinerary during the tour per my special request. I don't suggest making their lives more difficult like I did, but truly, I am so happy that I could be accommodated. Lodging was great, food was excellent, and the guide, along with the driver made it a trip to remember. I highly recommend Thrillophilia to anyone interested in exploring the Kingdom of Bhutan.
13 September 2019
Excellent
We had so much fun on this bike trip from India to Bhutan. This a great trip organised by Thrillophilia for bike trip enthusiasts. All the requirements were well taken care of and the tour was well organised. The route is extremely beautiful and a group activity as it was, made it all the more amazing. A lifetime cherishable memory!!
13 September 2019
Excellent
Very well planned trip and itinerary. Our group leader was very good in managing the itinerary during the 9 days. We had enough time to see the major attractions of Bhutan and enjoy the ride of bullet with beautiful views. Group was amazing and very friendly and I had made a lot new rider friends.
13 September 2019
Excellent
Roads were good with amazing views and landscapes. Bhutan is a county filled with full of natural beauty. Accommodation during the trip was ok and food was very good. After Ladakh this was second long bike ride adventure and bike trip to Bhutan will remain in my memories for forever. Thanks to team Thrillophilia and our group captain.

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People Also Ask About Bhutan

  1. Is December is a good time to visit Bhutan?

    Yes, the months from October to December are the ideal months to visit Bhutan as the weather is pleasant and is accompanied by clear blue skies. The later months get quite cold and make a significant drop in tourism.
  2. How cold is Bhutan in December?

    Speaking of winters in December, they are not much extreme at this time as the temperature hovers between 10-degree celsius to 7 degrees celsius which is quite pleasing.
  3. Does it snow in Bhutan in December?

    No, there is no snow in Bhutan in the month of December. Though the temperature drops at this time, but there is no snowfall. Apparently, there are many places to visit in Bhutan in December but there is hardly any snow.
  4. Is Bhutan safe for tourists?

    Yes, Bhutan is safe for the visitors as there is easy access to the emergency services and the crime rate is quite low.

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