Bhutan defies generalisations. In this Buddhist Kingdom, you’ll find harmonious co-existence of serene monasteries and adrenaline-pumping adventure activities. While the northern regions get freezing cold, the southern provincesstay warm and humid. Bhutan’s weather depends upon the altitude. So, what’s the best time to visit Bhutan? All through the year, provided you choose the right place, for the right time.
Earmark at least a day for your Thimphu Tour. From the National Memorial Chorten(built in memory of Bhutan’s third DrukGyalpo) and theJungshi handmade paper factoryto the Textile Museum and the Institute for ZorigChusum (centre for Bhutanese art education), there’s much to see in Bhutan’s capital city.
Fancy a dekko of Takin, the national animal? Head to Motithang Takin Preserve.Not to forget, the 17th centuryTashichhoDzong(fortress-monastery)and the Buddha Dordenma statue, which at 51.5 metres is among the largest in the world.Youcould also catch a glimpse of the national sport at theChanglimithang Archery Ground overa weekend.
Home to Bhutan’sonly international airport, Paro valley is covered in fertile rice fields, amidst traditional dwellings and mighty mountains. There are 155 ancient temples and monasteries in the region, including the famous Taktsang Monastery, the Tiger’s Nest.
A visit to the National museum, set in Paro Ta Dzong, and the Drugyeldzong(The Fortress of the Victorious Bhutanese), constructed in 1646, are strongly recommended.Also, drive down to KyichuLhakhang (a splendid Buddhist temple) and Chele La Pass, one of Bhutan’s highest motorable passes. And there’s no substitute to getting a picture dressed in traditional Bhutanese Gho and Kiraattires!
Dochu La Pass
For a panoramic view of the Himalayas in Bhutan,Dochu La Pass is the place. Located enroute to Punakha Valley from Thimphu, it’s worth spending sometime soaking in the natural spendour and the serenity of the 108 chortens (the DrukWangyal Chortens) gracing the mountain pass.
On the crest of Dochu La Pass lies The DrukWangyal Lhakhang, a temple built in honor of His Majesty the fourth DrukGyalpo, Jigme SingyeWangchuck. It tells a fascinating story of a great warrior who changed the course of history!
Having served as the capital of Bhutan from 1637 to 1907, Punakha Valley is an important part of Bhutan tourism.The majestic Punakha Dzong, built at the confluence of two major rivers (the Pho Chhu and Mo Chhu) as well as the Sangchhen Dorji Lhuendrup, a tranquil temple and renowned nunnery, are must-visits.
Birders findjoy among feathered friends peppering the blue skies of the valley, while spa enthusiasts seek solace in traditional hot stone baths(Dotsho) believed to wipe out all pains. For foodies, EmaDatshi(blend of chili and cheese) is the answer!
Considered the religious heartland of Bhutan, Bumthang is the most tranquil place in the kingdom, with its ancient glaciers and fields of buckwheat, rice, potatoes, apple orchards and dairy farms.
Among the many ancient temples in the region, Jambey Lhakhang, built by the Tibetan king Songtsen Gampo in 659 A.D., is perhaps the most revered. Most of the shrines in Bumthang trace their legacies to Guru Rinpoche’s visit in 746 A.D.