Bhutan’s Attractions: Top 12

Top 12 tourist attractions in Bhutan, featuring iconic landmarks and scenic views

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Asian countries are particularly attractive to tourists, and the sights of Bhutan are also interesting because they are located in the state of “happy people”. There is no usual hustle and bustle for the metropolis, a friendly atmosphere reigns and the best conditions for meditation and restoration of peace of mind are created. There are more than enough options to visit in Bhutan – the kingdom is replete with ancient buildings and natural beauties, and in some settlements the traditions of the 15th and 16th centuries have been preserved. The uniqueness of the state is due to centuries of isolation, and even in the era of advanced technology, time flows steadily here, giving the opportunity to fully enjoy the main attractions and exotic cuisine. To make it easier to choose what to see in Bhutan, our list of tourist sites recommended by most experts and ordinary travelers will help.

What to see in Bhutan first of all

The size of the state is small, so even with a short trip there is a chance to see the most interesting places. Before deciding what to see in Bhutan, decide how much you are willing to spend on excursions and with whom you plan to go on them. It is unlikely that young children will enjoy visiting temples or going to museums all day, but adult travelers will find such a pastime very exciting. Bhutan’s attractions are diverse, and now you will find out which ones are worth visiting first:

1. Taktsang Lakhang Monastery

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Taktsang-lakhang Buddhist monastery, “floating” over the abyss

Taktsang Lakhang Monastery is a Buddhist temple located in a mountainous area and striking with incredible panoramic views of the slopes, gorges, passes and peaks. The monastery is built in such a way that it seems to float in zero gravity, while remaining the embodiment of spirituality and strength. This place is recommended when travelers ask what to see in Bhutan for familiarization with mystical customs and deep inner relaxation. Several viewing platforms are equipped especially for tourists, and you can also admire the mountain peaks from the balconies.

Official website:

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2. Punakha Dzong

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The “Palace of great Happiness” on the banks of rivers

Punakha dzong is a traditional–style complex that performs both a protective and spiritual function. The monastery was built in the 15th century in a place where two rivers Pho Chu and Mo Chu join, and so that the enemy could not attack unnoticed, the builders provided only one road to the fortress – up a steep stone staircase. Additional protection for the inhabitants is provided by a huge, sturdy gate. Located at a 1200-meter height, the building reflects the greatness of Buddhism and the talent of the architect, who managed to create an impregnable fort with an elegant visual appearance.

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3. The city of Paro

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The picturesque surroundings of the city of Paro

The city of Paro is a famous landmark of 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 that the only way to Tibet, which is a sacred kingdom for Buddhists, passed. Buildings with unique interior decoration and unique paintings have been preserved almost untouched to our times. In terms of well-being, Paro is the leader among Bhutanese cities.

4. Trashi-Cho-Dzong Monastery

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Panorama of the Lamaist monastery of Trashi-Cho-Dzong

The Trashi Cho Dzong Monastery is a popular but mostly closed tourist attraction in Bhutan, serving as the official residence of the local supreme Lama. Meetings of the court and the Bhutanese Government are held in this building. Unlike ordinary monks, the local servants of monasteries constantly communicate with people, not observing a reclusive lifestyle. Festive events for children are regularly held here, you can talk about religious topics or just observe the traditions and lifestyle of the inhabitants of Trashi-Cho-Dzong. The most successful time to visit here is the Thimphu–Tsechu festival, during which you can join thousands of viewers of exciting shows and theatrical productions.

5. Drukgyal Dzong Fortress

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Ruins of Drukgyal Dzong Fortress

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

See the beautiful places of Bhutan in this wonderful video!

6. Thimphu chorten Temple

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One of the most visited attractions of Thimphu city

Thimphu chorten Temple is another good idea to see in Bhutan in 1 day to explore Buddhist life. According to the number of travelers coming to Thimphu, this is the most frequently visited tourist site, erected as a tribute to the respect and memory of the third ruler of the state, revered by the local population as a saint. Ten years ago, the temple grounds were reconstructed and expanded, which allowed more tourists to simultaneously inspect the Samantabhadra Buddha altar with nearby sculptures of other divine entities. The structure is quite new (the date of construction is the seventies of the last century), but no less exciting than the ancient temples.

7. Trongsa dzong

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Top view of Trongsa Dzong

Trongsa dzong fortress, built in the XVII century, is consistently included in the list of the most visited attractions of Bhutan due to its huge area and unique location – in the gorge between the western and eastern parts of the country. The complex performs several functions at once, being an administrative center, a defensive fortification and a monastery.

Attractions of Bhutan: what else to visit in Bhutan

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

Excursions in Bhutan to such sites will be extremely exciting:

8. The Buddha of Dordenma

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A statue of Shakyamuni Buddha sitting above a gilded meditation hall

The Dordenma Buddha is one of the newly created attractions of Bhutan (date of construction – 2010), which cannot be ignored. Buddha Shakyamuni’s Buddharupa, which is more than fifty meters high, ranks 23rd among existing statues in the world, and a total of about one hundred million dollars had to be paid for its construction. The statue is a temple on the territory of the destroyed palace complex of Sherab Wangchuk and has a gold finish, and inside there are more than a hundred sculptural images of the saint with a precious coating. The decoration of the temple makes an indelible impression with its luxury.

Official website:

9. Rinpung Dzong Monastery (Paro dzong)

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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 due to the enchanting Large Festival held annually to glorify Buddhist deities.

10. National Museum of Bhutan

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The round building of the National Museum of Bhutan

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

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11. Manas National Park

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Elephants in the Royal Manas National Park

Manas National Park is one of the few places in the world where, in a natural setting, you can observe the rarest species of animals, including Himalayan bears, rhinoceroses, Bengal tigers and leopards. Thanks to the protection of the state, all these animals were preserved and provided with life in natural conditions. On the territory of the park, tourists move from alpine meadows to real tropics, can see real glaciers and examples of other types of ecosystems.

12. Himalayas

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Buddhist monastery and snow-white mountain peaks of the Himalayas

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

It will be quite easy to organize a trip, having at our disposal an overview of interesting places that any tourist should see in Bhutan. For those who are traveling to this country for the first time, it would be wiser to trust professionals in organizing excursions, and the recommendations above will help you choose the best attractions to visit. Guides in Bhutan differ in the cost of services depending on the experience and range of services provided, but in any case, it will be more convenient for inexperienced travelers or those who do not want to be distracted from their vacation.

When choosing a guide, it is better not to turn to street touts. There are more than seventy licensed agents in the kingdom who help organize trips to the sights of Bhutan. Please also remember that tourists should pay a special fee for each day of their stay. Knowing these nuances and having formed an idea of the attractions of the country based on photos, reviews and descriptions, you just have to choose a hotel in Bhutan and book a tour. Read also about the sights of Kyrgyzstan and be inspired for your further journey through Asia!


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