Best attractions in Bhutan: Top 12

Asian countries are particularly attractive to tourists, and the attractions of Bhutan are also interesting because they are located in the state of “happy people”. There is no usual metropolitan hustle and bustle, a friendly atmosphere and the best conditions for meditation and peace of mind. Options what to visit Bhutan, more than enough - the kingdom abounds with ancient buildings and natural beauty, and in some settlements have preserved the traditions of the 15-16 centuries. The uniqueness of the state is due to centuries of isolation, and even in an era of advanced technology here time flows measured, giving the opportunity to fully enjoy the main sights and exotic cuisine. Make it easier to choose what to see in Bhutan with our list of tourist attractions recommended by most experts and ordinary travelers.

What to see in Bhutan first

The size of the state is small, so even on a short trip there is a chance to see the most interesting places. Before you decide what to see in Bhutan decide how much you can spend on excursions and who you plan to go with. It is unlikely young children will enjoy a whole day visiting temples or walking through museums, but the adult travelers such a pastime will be very exciting. The sights of Bhutan are diverse, and now you will learn which of them should be visited first:

1. Taktsang Luckhang Monastery

Taktsang-lakhang Buddhist monastery, "floating" over an abyss

The Taktsang Lakkhang Monastery is a Buddhist temple located in a high altitude area and striking with incredible panoramic views of slopes, gorges, passes and peaks. The abode is erected in such a way that it seems to float in weightlessness, while remaining the epitome of spirituality and strength. This place is advised when travelers ask what to see in Bhutan for an introduction to mystical customs and deep inner relaxation. There are several observation decks especially for tourists, and you can also admire the mountain peaks from the balconies.

Official website: https://www.parotaktsang.org



2. Punakha-dzong

"Palace of great happiness" on the riverside

The Punakha Dzong is a traditional-style complex with both protective and spiritual functions. Built in the 15th century at the confluence of the two rivers Pho Chu and Mo Chu, the monastery has only one road to the fortress - a steep stone staircase - so that the enemy could not attack unnoticed. Additional protection for the inhabitants is provided by a huge strong gate. Standing at a height of 1200 meters, the structure reflects the greatness of Buddhism and the talent of the architect who managed to create an impregnable fort with a graceful visual appearance.

Official website: https://www.punakha.gov.bt



3. City of Paro

Lovely surroundings of Paro City

The city of Paro is a famous sight in Bhutan, located in the valley of the same name and distinguished by its ancient history. For many centuries it was through this settlement at an altitude of about 2.5 thousand meters the only way to Tibet, which is for Buddhists a sacred kingdom. Almost intact buildings with unique interior decoration and unique paintings have been preserved until now. In terms of prosperity Paro is the leader among Bhutanese cities.

4. Trashi Cho Dzong Monastery

Panorama of Trashi-Chho-Dzong Lamaist Monastery

The Trashi Chho Dzong Monastery is a popular, but most of the time closed to tourist visits, Bhutan landmark that serves as the official residence of the local Supreme Lama. This structure is the seat of the court and the Bhutanese government. Unlike ordinary monks, the monastic attendants here are constantly in touch with the people and do not observe a reclusive way of life. There are regular celebrations for children, religious talks, or simply observing the traditions and lifestyle of the inhabitants of Trashy Chho Dzong. The best time to be here is the Thimphu Tsechu festival, during which you can join thousands of spectators of fascinating shows and theatrical productions.

5. Drukgyal Dzong Fortress

Drukgyal-dzong Fortress Ruins

Drukgyal-dzong Fortress is the ruins of an ancient settlement in the western part of the country, which was an important strategic site in the past. Like most local structures, it is both a Buddhist monastery and a fortress, and was built by Drugyal-dzong after a great victory over neighboring Tibet dating back to the 17th century. Unfortunately, now most of the fortification complex is in a deplorable condition - in the middle of last century there was a large-scale fire, and the local authorities have not yet conducted reconstruction.

Check out the beautiful places of Bhutan in this great video!

6. Thimphu chorten temple

One of the most visited attractions in Thimphu

Thimphu chorten temple is another good idea of what to see in Bhutan in 1 day to explore Buddhist life. In terms of the number of travelers coming to Thimphu, it is the most frequently visited tourist site, erected as a tribute and memorial to the state’s third ruler, revered as a saint by the local population. Ten years ago, the temple grounds were reconstructed and expanded, allowing more tourists to view the altar of Buddha Samantabhadra with nearby sculptures of other divine beings at the same time. The structure is fairly new (built in the seventies of the last century), but no less fascinating than the ancient temples.

7. Trongsa-dzong

A top view of Trongsa-dzong

Trongsa Dzong, a fortress built in the 17th century, is consistently on the list of the most visited attractions in Bhutan because of its vast area and unique location - in a gorge between the western and eastern parts of the country. The complex serves several functions at once, being an administrative center, a protective fortification and a monastery.

Bhutan sights: what else to visit in Bhutan

So that you can continue your acquaintance with the kingdom and reveal its beauty and grandeur to the fullest extent, we will tell you about other options for what to see in Bhutan. Each of the attractions is beautiful in its own way, so their place in the ranking is tentative. Focus on your individual preferences and the amount of free time to decide where to visit during your vacation in South Asia.

Extremely fascinating will be excursions in Bhutan to sites such as:

8. Dordenma Buddha

Statue of Shakyamuni Buddha sitting above a gilded meditation hall

Buddha Dordenma is one of Bhutan’s recent landmarks (built in 2010) that cannot be overlooked. The Buddharupa of Shakyamuni Buddha, over fifty meters tall, is the world’s 23rd largest existing statue, and its construction cost a total of about a hundred million dollars. The statue is a temple on the grounds of the ruined palace complex of Sherab Wangchuk and is finished in gold, with more than a hundred sculpted images of the saint with a precious coating inside. The temple’s decorations make a lasting impression with their opulence.

Official website: https://www.buddhadordenma.org

9. Rinpung-dzong Monastery (Paro-dzong)

The bridge leading to the watchtower of Rinpung-dzong Monastery

Rinpung-dzong Monastery (Paro-dzong) is a complex of fourteen temples of one of the Buddhist schools, an exhibition area, and a watchtower. The monastery became famous among tourists because of the spectacular Grand Festival held annually to celebrate the Buddhist deities.

10. National Museum of Bhutan

Circular Building of Bhutan National Museum

The National Museum of Bhutan is part of a dzong dedicated to exhibits that relate to the Buddhist religion, the history of its development and saints. A great number of pilgrims and ordinary visitors from other countries come here, for whom the specially equipped building contains many unique exhibits, and among them are those that allow you to immerse yourself in the everyday life of the Bhutanese people.

Official website: https://www.nationalmuseum.gov.bt

11. Manas National Park

Elephants in the Royal Manas National Park

Manas National Park is one of the few places in the world where you can observe the rarest species of animals, including Himalayan bears, rhinos, Bengal tigers and leopards, in a natural setting. Thanks to the protection of the state, all of these animals have been preserved and allowed to live in natural conditions. In the park, tourists move from alpine meadows to the real tropics, can see real glaciers and examples of other varieties of ecosystems.

12. The Himalayas

Buddhist monastery and white mountain peaks of the Himalayas

The Himalayas are mountains with which a huge number of legends and mystical stories are associated. It is here that Everest and eight other mountains, which are the highest on the planet, are located, and three major river systems originate here. Thousands of climbers dream of climbing one of the peaks of the Himalayan mountain range, but not everyone succeeds. This Bhutan attraction also beckons lovers of stunning views, as well as those in search of true spiritual enlightenment. It is beautiful and interesting at any time of the year, and adds to the interest of the Himalayas authentic cultural traditions of the local population.

It will not be difficult at all to organize a trip with the overview of interesting places we provide, what to see in Bhutan is worth it for any tourist. For those traveling to this country for the first time, it would be wise to trust in the organization of excursions by professionals, and the recommendations above will help you choose the best sights to visit. Guides in Bhutan vary in the cost of services, depending on experience and the range of services provided, but in any case with a companion inexperienced travelers or those who do not want to be distracted from the rest, will be more comfortable.

When choosing a tour guide, it’s best not to turn to street hustlers. There are more than seventy licensed agents operating throughout the kingdom to help arrange trips to Bhutan’s attractions. Remember also that tourists should pay a special fee for each day of stay. Knowing these nuances and getting an idea of the country’s attractions from photos, reviews and descriptions, all you have to do is choose a hotel in Bhutan and book a tour. Read also about sights of Kyrgyzstan and get inspired for your next Asian trip!