Bhutan is a very popular offbeat tourist destination and one of the top 10 happiest countries across the world. Cities in Bhutan offer some of the best places to explore by staying connected with nature and its offerings. The majority of the population in Bhutan are the followers of Buddhism so you will find peace and serenity all around the country. If you are looking for the best places to stay in Bhutan then you are in the right place. The best cities in Bhutan provide some of the splendid attractions along with the affordable stay. Each of the cities gives a different experience where you can enjoy your best time with family and friends.
Bhutan City List
Situated in the Paro Valley of Bhutan Paro is a small town. The Paro Valley is one of the most fertile as well as the historic valley of Bhutan which is the widest in the Kingdom. Dating back to the 14th century, it is home to 155 temples and monasteries and also Bhutan’s sole international airport. Paro Airport has been one of the prime locations for numerous tourist visit. This largest International Airport of Bhutan is known to be the most challenging airport to land on. With mesmerising landscape, this famous city in Bhutan is dotted with traditionally built houses as well as paddy fields. One of the iconic monasteries of Bhutan- The Tiger’s nest or the Taktsang, is situated over a cliff in Paro. From Monasteries to Museums like the Rinpung Dzong, National Museum of Bhutan and the Paro weekend Market for the Shopaholics, Paro has numerous sites that are worth visiting.
Paro is both the name of the district as well as a town located within the region. The city is spread across an area of 1259 sq.m situated at the height of about 2280 metres on the banks of Paro Chu river. Paro town was formed in the year 1985, which now consists of colourfully painted shops lined all across the street. Over the years, Paro has been transformed enormously, and this is one of the prime reasons for the increase in tourist activity.
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Nestled in its central-western part, Thimphu is known as the heart of Bhutan. Replaced by Bhutan’s ancient capital – Punakha, this popular city in Bhutan was declared the capital city of the Himalayan Kingdom in the year 1961. The city, originally pronounced as ‘Thimbu’, is known as the most modernised place in Bhutan with internet cafes, restaurants and pubs.
The Nightlife in Thimphu is also one of its highlights. However, Thimphu still houses various architectural structures like the Buddha Dordenma, which marks your entry to Thimphu. The Motithang district of Thimphu is the home to the national animal of Bhutan. The city isn’t just a heritage centre but a cultural site as well with institutions like Textile Museum, Library, Art schools and the weekend market. The city of Thimphu is a blend of both tradition and modernity an hour drive from Paro International Airport. It is also known as the only capital that doesn’t have any traffic lights installed.
Bordered by the Gasa, Wangdue Phodrang and Thimphu districts Punakha is one of the 20 districts (dzongkhags) of Bhutan. Located at the height of 1200m above sea level, Punakha offers a mesmerising view of the Himalayas. This city to visit in Bhutan is also fertile as the two rivers – Po Chhu and Mo Chhu converge here in the Punakha Valley making it an excellent terrain for rice cultivation. Located at a proximal distance from Thimphu around 72kms, Punakha can be reached within 3 hours. It is usually warmer in Punakha as compared to Thimphu or Paro, making it an ideal destination any time of the year.
Home to plenty of slopes, the valley is an excellent place for mountain biking and trekking. Punakha is also famously known to house the second oldest dzong of Bhutan – the Punakha Dzong, and even hosting the first national assembly in 1953. It is a beautifully designed dzong that showcases the architectural brilliance of Bhutan.
4. Wangdue Phodrang
Wangdue Phodrang is one of the largest Dzongkhangs (District) of Bhutan, has everything from monasteries and temples to wildlife and rustic villages. The reason why this beautiful city in Bhutan is different as compared to others is that it is very diverse in terms of subtropical forests in the south to cold, snowy areas in the north. Wangdue Phodrang is a host of numerous plants and animal species with Wangchuck Centennial Park in the northern part and Jigme Dorji National Park in the southeastern region.
Plants like orchids, Rhododendrons, Blue Poppy and rare animals like the Red Panda, snow leopard, Blue Sheep and Black Bear can be found in this district. It is also home to many monasteries and temples for the spiritually inclined soul to visit. With beautiful views for the nature-lovers as well there are also hikes and treks. Phobjikha Valley is a particularly attractive place to visit in Wangdue Phodrang which is one of the few glacial valleys in the country and is abound in natural beauty.
Known as the “Vanguard of the Warriors”, Trongsa Dzongkhag is situated in focal Bhutan and was once crucial for controlling the antiquated kingdom on account of its remarkably key area. The Dzong lies on a precarious edge with staggering views on the deep valleys that encompass it, an amazing sight noticeable from anyplace in the town. The town and Dzong were the customary seats of intensity in the area for the Wangchuck family before they were broadcasted the Imperial Group of Bhutan in 1907, and the dzong controlled the exchange among east and west in Bhutan for centuries.
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The most memorable of all the kingdom’s dzongkhags, Bumthang is a popular city in Bhutan as it has a bigger number of temples and antiquated destinations than some other region in Bhutan. Situated over the region of four mountain valleys in north focal Bhutan – Ura Valley, Chumey Valley, Tang Valley, and Choekhor Valley – the whole dzongkhag is alluded to as the Bumthang Valley. Legitimately interpreted, Bumthang signifies “wonderful field”, which is reputed to have emerged after the development of the Jambay Lhakhang, one of the 108 temples worked by the Tibetan ruler, Songtsen Gampo, to stick the remaining parts of the ogress of Lhasa to the earth forever.
The second-largest city in Bhutan, Phuentsholing shares its borders with the Indian State of West Bengal. It is an important economic hub of Bhutan serving as an entry point for travellers from Kolkata and Siliguri. An urban centre, it is more developed than most of the towns of Bhutan, yet it has a perfect amount of nature’s touch. It offers an experience like nothing else. Home to different communities, it’s a must-visit city in Bhutan.
Known for its modern architecture, Phuentsholing is a town on the southern border of Bhutan. It is a valuable trading centre of Bhutan, where Indians, Nepalese and Bhutanese all come together to live and trade harmoniously in this town. You must visit Zangto Pelri Lhakhang, Karbandi Monastery, Bhutan Gate and Kharbandi Goemba on your trip to Phuentsholing. Zangto Pelri Lhakhang is a small temple dedicated to Guru Rinpoche. An exquisite example of the traditional Bhutanese architecture, Bhutan Gate is the main gateway for entry from India. The Amo Chuu, which is the Crocodile Breeding Centre, breeds almost extinct species like Ghariyals and alligators. Karbandi Monastery or Karbandi Goemba is a temple with giant statues of Shabdrung Ngawang, Guru Rinpoche and Shakyamuni Buddha. The temple has a rich history and offers a fantastic view.
The market of Phuentsholing is quite good and sells all kinds of products ranging from electricals to footwears to eatables. If you long for a peaceful and serene walk, then Torsa riverside is the place for you. No vehicles are allowed on the riverside, and the view and natural beauty leave you awestruck. This best city in Bhutan is a must-visit if you want to experience a day or two of solidarity and peace.
Jakar is the largest and the most beautiful valley in Bumthang nestled at the foothills of Choekhor Valley. Popularly known as “Little Switzerland,” Jakar is the major administrative city of the district of Bumthang. Tang, Ura, Choekhor and Chumey, Bumthang consists of four valleys, out of which Choekhor is the largest and considered the most beautiful. This best city to visit in Bhutan is a small one-street town that lies at the foothill of this very valley. Being surrounded by tree-lined mountain ranges, dotted with monasteries and Dzongs, it proves to be a treat for both history buffs and nature-lovers. This town was formed by the group of villages below the Jakar Dzong.
The name ‘Jakar’ means ‘white bird’ and is named after the foundation legend of the district Dzong. It offers several historical and sacred sites to visit and is considered to be the point of origin of Buddhism in Bhutan. Jakar also provides a visual treat in terms of the picturesque backdrop that it is set in along with fulfilling the historian’s appetite.
Widely known for its lemongrass production in the country, Mongar is a small town situated in Eastern Bhutan. It is also one of the oldest education centres in the country. Mongar is one of the fastest developing districts in Bhutan with a population of about 40,000 people. It is also the site of Bhutan’s newest Dzong – The Mongar Dzong was built in the similar traditional architectural style of Bhutan.
Best known for textiles, it produces some of the finest of Bhutanese fabrics. The lemongrass produced here is an ingredient used in therapies and manufacturing essential oils. This major city in Bhutan holds the honour of housing Thrumshingla National Park and Bumdeling Wildlife Sanctuary. There is also a hydroelectric power plant on the river Kuri Chhu. Once you are here, you will see a bunch of eucalyptus trees lined up on both sides, adding to the charm of the already spectacular area.
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Spread across an altitude ranging from 600 m to over 4000 m., Trashigang is a beautiful hill station located in Eastern Bhutan also called the ‘Jewel of the East.’ It is immensely beautiful and serene and is the largest district of Bhutan. Serving as a vital trade centre on the trade route between Assam and Tibet, Trashigang is also a renowned town for trade-in Bhutan.
One of the most famous tourist city in Bhutan you will find here is the Trashigang Dzong or ‘The Fortress of the Auspicious Hill’. Built-in 1659, the purpose of this majestic fort was to defend the town against Tibetan invasions and is now a prominent tourist-spot in Eastern Bhutan. Radhi village, known for its rice fields and skills of weavers, is a must-visit location when you are in this side of Bhutan. The town’s old bazaar area around the prayer wheel is an excellent place to shop for clothes, eatables and Bhutanese goods. An interesting fact about Sakteng Wildlife Sanctuary is that it’s known to house the Black-rumped Magpie and Migoi (a type of Yeti whose existence is believed by Bhutanese). Dangme Chhu, Bhutan’s largest river, also flows through this district and offers a great scenic view.
Bhutan City List is letting us know all the best cities in Bhutan to visit as it is providing a brief description of the top 10 cities in Bhutan to visit and some Bhutan major cities. Hope this article would be beneficial for you as it provides the name of cities in Bhutan which must not be missed and kindly share your views.
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