It is simply impossible to cover the attractions that Bhutan holds for you. And even if you have made several trips to this mystical landlocked country, there would be still many more attractions left to explore. It is no wonder to see Bhutan feature in almost every bucket list. While on a trip here, it is a good idea to know about those offbeat locations and sites that one can explore in this slice of paradise. Here’s my pick of the top places to visit in Bhutan, a beautiful Buddhist Kingdom in the Himalayas, and one o the most unique places to visit in South East Asia.
Get ready to explore a new side of Bhutan and start planning. Just browse Bhutan Tour Packages and plan a special itinerary with significant discounts and deals. Take advantage of those handsome holiday packages to Bhutan and enjoy your holiday as you explore some of the offbeat locations and places to visit in the country.
Top Places To Visit in Bhutan
The unique Philatelic Bureau
Philatelic Bureau in Thimpu is the only post office in the world where you can order personalized stamps. From outside, the post office may look ordinary and just like any other post office. But here is where you are mistaken! Enter the post office for a bespoke set of stamps.
All you need to do is get a digital photograph and hand it over to the staff who will print out a set of stamps carrying your picture within minutes. You can also buy Bhutanese stamps and postcards that hold great value and are a must for a stamp collector.
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Handloom weaving projects
If you want to see local woven fabrics with traditional patterns, then head towards the National Handloom Development Project which is located in Trashigang and run by National Women’s Association of Bhutan. The projects of weaving fabrics are handed over to hundreds of villages where local women and weave the fabric carrying traditional pattern and use natural dyes.
Enjoy looking at the different samples and eland about the local art. You can buy some samples as a memory of the unique side of Bhutan. National Handloom Development Project also creates employment opportunities for the local women as well as motivate the skills of weaving Bhutanese prints and patterns for generations.
Phobjikha Valley for wildlife
If you are a wildlife enthusiast and a nature lover, it is a must to visit the Phobjikha Valley, a bow-shaped glacial valley that is located on the Black Mountains. The valley borders Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park and can be reached via a trek to the Phobjikha. There is a lot of wildlife to see and enjoy here, and one can spot animals like Himalayan black bear, sambar deer, barking deer, red foxes, and leopards. Apart from those, during the winters you can find the black-necked cranes who arrive here at this time of the year.
During the evening the Phobjikha Valley is filled with pink and orange hues and indeed look surreal as it seems to emit an ethereal glow. What makes the valley different from other valleys of Bhutan is that it is not covered densely and boasts of a vast open space, quite different from a wildlife experience in Sri Lanka.
Kila Nunnery for a serene ambiance
Founded in the 9th century, the Kila Nunnery is indeed the oldest nunnery in Bhutan. It is must to visit this nunnery not just for its calm and peaceful ambiance but also for that magnificent architecture. In order to reach the nunnery, one has to hike from Cheri La and then go through dense forests before you arrive at the site. Nuns arrive here to follow higher Buddhist studies, and it is interesting to know more about their life.
Kila Nunnery indeed looks both majestic and mystical as it is pressed dramatically against the cliffs. Enjoy great views of the Paro valley below from the Kila Nunnery an on a clear day, you can even spot Mt Chomolhari and Jichu Drake towards the north.
Dochula Pass Meditation Caves
Another off beat attraction in Bhutan is the Dochula Pass Meditation Caves. Located close to Thimpu, these are the most famous sites of Bhutan and are like a hidden surprise for the visitors. The visitors get curious when they see those meditation caves hidden amidst the hills.
The open-faced caves look very similar to Hobbit homes, and their entrance carries colorful details of Buddhist symbolism. A dragon extends over the cave entrance, and the long-time symbol of Bhutan is believed to bring good luck. As meditation is an essential exercise for Buddhism practitioners, it was common for nuns and monks to meditate in a cave for several days and months.
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High on top of a mountain pass on the road from Thimphu to Punaka, Dochula Pass at the height of 3100m (10171ft) is a concentration of 108 stupas known as “Druk Wangyal Chortens” built in memory of Bhutanese soldiers killed in the 2003 war against insurgents. The pass offers an amazing 360-degree panoramic view of the Himalayas on a clear day. Festooned with colourful prayer flags, it offers surreal vistas of shimmering Mt. Gangkhar Puensum looming over the valley enclosing Thimphu Valley. Image courtesy – @zhangyiqi #lonelyplanetindia #lpin #repost
Tiger’s Nest Monastery
Of all the places to visit in Bhutan, the Tiger’s Nest Monastery is probably the most famous. Situated at the top of a cliff in Paro Valley, what makes this monastery so special its its unique location and how it is built around a cave. The majestic building looks surreal when covered with mist and clouds
There are several legends attached to Tiger’s Nest’ and Second Buddha is said to have meditated here. It takes an effort to reach the monastery as one has to climb the 3000 feet height. It is only after a gradual and slow climb of two hours that one is able to reach the monastery and is rewarded with magnificent views of the valley and mountains around.