Travel freaks are facing the greatest challenge in their lives amid the pandemic situation faced by the world. Locked up in their houses for days is quite tough and challenging for them. I have a small gift for all the travel enthusiasts, a gift of a virtual tour through a Kingdom at the foothills of the majestic Himalayas. Yes, its Bhutan, a land dominated by the exotic flora and fauna of Mother Nature. I would like you to forget all anxieties and travel with me virtually to some of the best places to visit in Bhutan.
Paro – A picturesque town in Bhutan
Situated at a height of 2280 meters above sea level, Paro is one of the fabulous and best places to visit in Bhutan. If you are travelling by air, then you need to arrive at the Paro International airport for your entry permit into the country. The most significant attraction of the place is Tiger’s Nest or Taktsang. It is built in the honor of Guru Rinpoche or Guru Padmasambhava who meditated at this place. Paro is said to be the farmer’s land, surrounded by paddy fields while being nestled in between the gorgeous mountain ranges.
Thimpu – The capital city of Bhutan
The city of Thimpu provides a mesmerizing experience with its pristine mountain views, deep gorges, green meadows, gushing rivers and streams. It’s one of the magical and best places to visit in Bhutan. The city is significant in hosting the Memorial Chorten, the prominent cultural and heritage tourist destination of the country.
The memorial was constructed in the memory of Jigme Dorji Wangchuck who was the third King of Bhutan. The second key attraction of the place is the Buddha Dordenma. It is the tallest Buddha in the world, standing high with grandeur and elegance on the hilltop.
Punakha – The previous capital and the current administrative center of Bhutan
Located at the confluence of the rivers Po Chhu, the male river and Mo Chhu, the female river, Punakha is an epitome of beauty nestled amid long stretches of paddy fields. The gushing waters of the rivers serve a wonderful place for various water sports and adventure activities. Its gorgeous valleys encompassed by the looming mountain ranges, are perfect for trekking and hiking. The key attraction of the place is the Punakha Dzong, the second oldest monastery of Bhutan and its 180-meter long suspension bridge connecting the Dzong to the rest of the town.
Haa Valley – The Rice Valley of Bhutan
Haa Valley is one of the picturesque and best places to visit in Bhutan. The valley is quite famous for the cultivation of rice, wheat, and barley in abundance. Green pristine meadows, simple artistic villages, exquisite valleys are the key treasures of Haa valley. The magical place offers numerous ways to entertain the visitors starting from trekking, hiking, mountain biking and many more. The Haa summer festival is one of the remarkable celebrations at the valley, held in July by the local tribes and nomads.
Gangtey or Phobjikha Valley
Shaped like a bowl, Gangtey valley is especially renowned for being the home for one of the most endangered bird species, the black-necked crane. Every year the birds flow from far-away Tibet to escape the cold and harsh winters and take shelter under the beautiful and panoramic habitat of the valley. Many other local birds flock in the valleys, enticing the bird watchers from various parts of the world. The scintillating views of the green valley are bound to create a memorable experience for the tourists visiting the place.
Phuentsholing – A town at the Indo-Bhutanese Border
Phuentshoing is the trading and commercial center of Bhutan, located at the border of India and Bhutan. You can watch the Bhutan Gate if you enter the country from India via Kolkata or Siliguri. Temples, monasteries and wildlife sanctuaries are the key attractions of the place, namely the Karbandi Monastery, Zangto Pelri Lhakhang temple and the Amo Chuu – the breeding center for crocodiles and alligators. The town uplifts the rich heritage and culture of ancient Bhutan.
Chele La Pass
Being in Bhutan, you must never miss Chele La Pass. Situated a height of almost 13,000 feet above sea level, it is one of the astonishing and best places to visit in Bhutan. The road journey towards Chele La Pass, embellished by dense forests and lush green mountain slopes, is a treat to the eyes. The Pass offers astounding views of the snow-clad Himalayan ranges from a towering height of 13,000 feet above sea level.
Archery – the national sport of Bhutan
While travelling through Bhutan, you will find huge playgrounds hosting several archery tournaments. You will be awe-struck to watch the zeal and enthusiasm by which the sport is played by the countrymen. The best part of the tournaments is the melodious song and dance by the men when one successfully hits the target. It is a traditional method to congratulate and encourage the person for his achievement.
Motithang Takin Preserve
One of the thrilling and best places to visit in Bhutan is the Motithang Takin Preserve. Taking, the national animal of Bhutan is specially protected and preserved in the national park. It is also a perfect place for wildlife enthusiasts and nature admirers. Many exotic species of birds and animals can be observed in and around the reserved forest. Mountain goats, deer, Himalayan Monals, monkeys, and langurs are commonly sighted in their natural habitat.
The Kingdom of Bhutan provides a unique experience of an illustrious combination of natural wonders and cultural heritage. I hope the article will assist you in creating a bucket list of the best places to visit in Bhutan. You will surely enjoy a memorable trip within the immense beauty of Mother Nature and the country’s wonderful traditions and customs. And yes, last but not least do not miss the heavenly Rhododendron flowers.
The post is written by Kuntala Bhattacharya.