Bhutan is a mountain country with lush green valleys, unique wildlife and a rich historical and cultural heritage. It is a small country nested in the eastern Himalayas and is refered to as Druk-Yul or Land of the Thunder Dragons by the locals. Bhutan has attracted people across countries to its picturesque beauty and wonderful architectures.
You can visit Bhutan at any time of the year. The climate is warm and there are never ending festivities in this mountain country. One of the good and in-budget hotels to visit in Thimpu is Khamsun Inn, located around 500 meters from the Memorial Stupa. It has a restaurant, a massage parlor and a Free WI-Fi access. The Five-star luxury hotel, Taj Tashi Bhutan, is located at the center of Thimpu. It is 7km from Buddha Point Thimpu and 60km or around 1-hour drive from Paro International Airport. The Naksel boutique Hotel and Spa is another hotel located 5km from the Taktsang Monastery. It is a distance of 4km from the hotel and 11km from the Paro International Airport.
Paro Taktsang or Taktsang Palphug Monastry famously known as Tiger’s Nest is a sacred Buddhist temple located in the Cliffside of Paro valley. The temple is surrounded by famous legends of a Guru named Padmasambhava, who is said to have meditated there for three years, three months, three days and three days back in 8th century. It was built around the cave of Taktsang Senge Samdup which are said to be an abode for the tigers, hence the name Taktsang or Tiger’s Nest. The hike to the top is quite tricky. The trail is slippery from the rains every now and then. The caves are situated at a height of 10,000 feet and the hiking is a treacherous one. The hikers get to pass through several steps, a small waterfall, prayer wheels and prayer flags across the way. Once you reach the top the view is enthralling and worth the long hike. No photos are allowed inside the temple. The temples seem to create a sense of peace and serenity with a view pleasing to the eyes. The Tiger’s Nest Hotel is one of the brilliant hotels located at the base of the monastery, with good services.
Kuensel Phodrang Natural Trail Hike
This one day hike takes you through natural tracks across the Thimphu valley to the biggest Buddha statue in the world. The statue stands 169 feet tall and is a major pilgrimage centre for the Buddhist who come from all over the world to unite, meditate and offer homage. The way to the top can also be covered by driving up the mountains towards the majestic Buddha Dordenma. This Buddha statue also houses over a hundred thousand Buddha structures similar to the Buddha Dordenum that are made of bronze and gilded with gold. You can enjoy long and short natural hikes around the statue, through the large pine trees with beautiful birds singing overhead. There are benches and various picnic spots through the trails where you can have your lunch amidst the canopies of nature.
Po Chu- Mo Chu
Po Chu and Mo Chu are the Male River and the Female River respectively, splashing their way through the Punakha Valley. Rafting through the rivers is a thrilling experience in its own. Rafting in Po Chu is tougher, Class III rafting while Mo Chos recommended for the starters. The raft rides over the rapids and in between provides a beautiful landscape view of the paddy fields, forest and myriad birds and animals, of the Punakha Valley. Gliding down smoothly across the magnificent Punakha Dzong fortress, you might get a chance to see one of the world’s rarest birds, the White Bellied Heron and kingfishers over the river banks.
Thimpu, the capital town of Bhutan, showcases a unoque combination of modern development and ancient traditions. The town is a tourist attraction and is famous for its architectural styles. There is an essence of serenity in the town and the people are quite happy and friendly.
Places of interest in Thimpu:
It a stupa built in1974 by King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk, one of the late kings who was famously known as Father of modern Bhutan. The stupa houses painting and statues that reflect the Buddhist philosophy.
Dzong, meaning the place of happiness and bliss, Smitokha was built in 1627, stands on a low ridge 8km down the valley of Thimpu. It displays a great work of architecture with a series of finally crafted slates behind the prayer wheels in the courtyard.
Also known as ‘fortress of the glorious region’ was built in 1965. This Dzong houses the throne room of the King of Bhutan. It becomes a home to monks headed by the Je Khenpo, during the warm summer when they head here.
This monastery built around 15th century has got legends of its own. It nests to the North of Thimpu, and it takes around 30 minutes drive to get there. For the people who prefer walking under the beautiful and shady rhododendron forest, it would take around 1 hour to reach the monastery. The monastery is a three storey tower, surrounded by buildings built around 18th century.
This monastery was built in 1620, it constitutes of numerous hermitages and small temples, providing a spectacular view, across the slopes. The way to the monastery is a one way walk of about 4.5 kilometers, which would take around 2 hours. The trail allows you to cross a traditional wooden bridge expanding across the Thimpu Chhu.
Botanical gardens, Serbithang
About 10 Km from the city, it offers a peaceful environment amidst the lush green hillside. With a collection of variety of exotic trees and plants, the gardens provide a calm and pleasing place to spend few hours.
This parkland, spreading across 5.6 acres, is located along the banks of the river Wangchu. The park consists of stone footpaths with canopies and benches, swings and slides, a mini-basketball court and gardens with more than sixty species of flowers and trees.
There are a whole range of places to visit in this small green valley, with snow capped mountain peaks and rich culture and heritages. This splendid country is a major tourist destination and attracts crowd from all over the world. Walk into the Land of Thunder Dragons and marvel the beauty of this small yet stunning nation.