7 Must Visit Places in Bhutan

Travel Guide Passang Tshering randomly picks seven places in Bhutan you must visit


The glacial Valley

Phobjikha Valley is one of the most enchanting places to visit in Bhutan. A glacial valley on the western slopes of the Black Mountains, Phobjikha is the winter roosting ground for the rare black-necked cranes that migrate to the valley during winter months. Resembling the shape of a bowl, Phobjikha Valley is scenic throughout the year with endless expanse of marshy land. The valley is also an important wildlife preserve, home to barking deers, leopards, Himalayan black bears, sambars, wild boars and red foxes, among others. Irrespective of which month or season it is, you can always expect a surreal and serene experience in this valley. The place also boasts of great hiking trails in the surrounding hills. A visit to the 15th century Gangtey Monastery atop the ridge above the valley is a must.

Bumthang Tang

The Hidden Valley

Bumthang Tang is surely one of the most scenic valleys in Bhutan. Located about 11 kilometers from Jakar town, the valley is home of the revered Budhist saint and treasure revealer Terton Pema Lingpa. Besides the natural beauty of the valley, Ogyen Choling Museum is a highly recommended place to visit in Tang. The musuem is the former residence of the descendants of Nyingma buddhist teacher, Longchen Rabjam(1308-1363). Parts of the palace have been recreated to give visitors a clear sense of how they would have looked over the last 200 years, and artworks and artifacts have been conserved for exhibition. Perched on a hill, the museum also offers breathtaking views of the surrounding landscapes. While in Tang, you must also visit the famous Mebartsho – the Burning Lake, from where Terton Pema Lingpa discovered many treasures hidden by Guru Padmasambhava.

Tower of Trongsa

The Royal Heritage Museum

The five-storyed Ta Dzong with four observation points resembling Tiger, Lion, Garuda, and Dragon sits atop a ridge with a spectacular view of the Trongsa Dzong. In medieval times, Ta Dzong was used as a watch tower to guard Trongsa Dzong from foreign invasions. The Ta Dzong was converted into a museum in 2008 and today displays a wide collection of Bhutanese artifacts, ritual items, arms and armors, including 500-year-old jacket of Ngagi Wangchuk, who built a small temple at the site where the Trongsa Dzong sits today.  The Ta Dzong also houses a shrine dedicated to the epic hero, King Gesar of Ling.


Nature’s Paradise

Panbang is a remote community in Zhemgang district, located adjacent to Royal Manas National Park. Established in 1966 with an area of about 1057 square kilometers, Manas is home to more than 86 different mammal, 365 bird and 900 plant species. Asian elephant, tiger, golden langur, clouded leopard, and gaur are some notable wildlife found in Manas. The Park is not only rich in wildlife but also home to Bhutan’s largest river basins – Mangde Chhu and Drangme Chhu basins. River Guides of Panbang is the first ever community-based rafting company in Bhutan. They have professionally trained and certified river guides. Whitewater rafting is a must-do when in Panbang.


The Land of Kushuthara

If you want to explore and experience the textiles of Bhutan, Khoma Village in the far-east district of Lhuentse is the ideal place. Nestled below towering mountains, Khoma is a cluster of traditional Bhutanese houses – with makeshift shelters where long rows of women weave using backstrap looms.  The village is popularly known for the highly prized Kushuthara (silk woven) textiles. Kushuthara is an extremely intricate patterned silk textile, worn by women during festivals and important occasions. The most expensive Kushuthara takes almost a year to complete due to its complicated patterns and design.


Rice Bowl of The East

Radhi is located some 30 kilometers east of Trashigang town, with an endless expanse of terraced paddy fields. During autumn, these paddy fields form a blanket of gold, heightening the beauty of this rural village.  Radhi village is famous for two things – its rice fields and skilled weavers. It is often known as the ‘Rice Bowl of the East’ because of its verdant rice fields that supply most of the grains to eastern parts of the country.

Highly skilled weavers use traditional natural dyes to dye raw silk and weave it using a traditional loom. The outcome is authentic raw-silk textile locally known as Bura often worn as Gho and Kira.

Omba Temple

Tiger’s Nest of The East

Trashiyangtse district is a small paradise tucked away in the far east of Bhutan, bordering Tibet (China) and Arunachal Pradesh (India). Due to its remote location, not many tourists make it to this beautiful valley, dotted with rich cultural sites and a thriving biodiversity. Omba Lhakhang (temple), popularly known as the Taktshang of eastern Bhutan, is perched on a cliff face – reminiscent of the Tiger’s Nest in Paro. The letter OM can been seen on the rock face and it is believed to be part of a triangle of holy places blessed by Guru Padmasambhava – the other two being Aja Nye and Hungrel where the letters AH and HUM can be seen. Omba Temple is a three-hour hike from Nagkhar Gonpa. It can also be reached from Kheni village.