Bhutan is growing as a popular tourist destination and has attracted visitors and tourists from all over the globe. Its western territories in particular offer spectacular destinations that showcase the rich tradition of Bhutan and its Buddhist cultures. The western part of the country is also well developed and offers convenient infrastructure and services for the comfort of all national and foreign visitors.
The western region mainly constitutes of places such as Thimphu the capital of the country, Paro that holds the only international airport in the country, Punakha that has a rich history with spectacular landscape, and Wangdue where the most beautiful valley, the valley of Phobjikha lies. These places are linked by highways and are just a few hours’ drives from each other.
The Western Bhutan Tour will start with your arrival at the only International Airport in the country located in Paro valley. You will then be taken to the capital Thimphu city where the touring will begin. Most of the administrative offices, headquarters, and other important structures of the country are located in Thimphu. It also holds the highest portion of the population compared to all other regions and is home to the king of Bhutan. Touring of places such as the Memorial Chorten, Kuensel Phodrang, the Changlimithang national stadium, the Takin Preserve, Changangkha lhakhang and other popular sites will be done here before departing to Wangdue dzongkhag.
Wangdue dzongkhag is about a few hours drive from the capital and a few more hours of journey are needed to reach the valley of Phobjikha which has fantastic scenery and where the very rare black necked cranes are seen. This valley truly looks like heaven on earth and provides natural greenery and landscape that captivates every visitor. The blacked necked cranes that land in this valley are also of rare species and feature in the folk songs of Bhutan from time to time.
After exploring Phobjikha valley, a ride to Punakha which is only a few minutes’ drive from Wangdue dzongkhag awaits you. Chimi Lhakhang is the immediate site that deserves some touring just as you enter Punakha. This religious site is the sign of devotion to the Saint Lama Drukpa Kuenley and his legacy. This is culturally rich dzongkhag and the wonderful Bhutanese architecture displayed in the Punakha dzong is a must-see for all visitors. Punakha is one of the main highlights the Western Bhutan Tour.
Punakha was the initial capital of the country as it served as an important landmark in Bhutan’s history and is also the winter residence for the central monastic body. Bhutan’s longest bridge built by Thangtong Gyalpo is also situated right behind the dzong and crossing it delivers a feeling of nostalgia as well as courage while light breezes hit you making you feel more alive than ever. A visit to Dzomlingthang awaits you next which is a small picnic spot by the Punakha river side.
After touring Punakha, a journey back to Paro awaits you where you will visit temples that hold much significance in the Dharma country of Bhutan. A visit to the Kyichu Lhakhang, Paro Rinpung dzong and Sangachokor which are all well connected by roads will make for a short trip while also exploring rich traditional infrastructure and culture. A visit to the museum situated right above the Rinpung dzong will also be arranged. After these short trips, a hike to the Tiger’s nest which has in recent years grown very popular amongst all tourist will be made. The Tiger’s nest monastery has been constructed on the face of a cliff and in recent years gone through a lot of maintenance due to damages caused by fire.
The Paro International Airport will be the next and final destination for you, where it all began. A representative will drop you off and you will hopefully leave with lots of beautiful memories.
Highlights of the Western Bhutan Tour
- The tour covers the most popular sites of Thimphu, Paro, Punakha and Wangdue dzongkhags (districts).
- At Thimphu you would be visiting the Memorial Chorten build in the memory of the Third King of Bhutan. You will be visiting Changangkha Lhakhang which is an old Buddhist monastery built on top of a hill. You would also be taking a stroll in Changlimithang stadium, the only stadium in the country.
- At Wangdue you will be visiting the spectacular Phobjikha valley. There you will be visiting the Gangtey monastery, local villages and the Black necked crane centre which offer traditional and unique cultures of Bhutan.
- At Punakha you would be visiting the fertility temple Chimi Lhakhang, the Bhutanese architectural marvel Punakha dzong, dzomlingthang and Bhutan’s longest iron bridge.
- Finally, at Paro a visit to Rinpung dzong, the national museum and Kyichu Lhakhang will be the initial visiting places for you. Your hike to the Tiger’s nest (Taktsang) will be the concluding trip of your western Bhutan tour.