Places to visit in Bhutan
Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan since 1960, lies at an elevation of over 7600 feet in a fertile valley of the Bhutan Himalayas . Tashichho Dzong, the main secretariat building, houses all the ministries, the National Assembly hall, the Office of the King, Office of Prime Minister, and the Throne room and Supreme Court.
Generally visitors enter the Kingdom at Paro by the National Airline Druk Air. Thirty years ago, all visitors would have walked for five days across the mountains from the Indian border. Now the journey by air is only one hour from Kolkatta , India or Katmandu , Nepal . Paro valley is one of the most populated areas of the country. Because of its proximity to the airport there are hotels and tourists facilities.
The road from Simtokha winds up to pine forests and through small villages for 20 kilometers then opens miraculously onto the northern ridge in the mountains. The view over the Himalayas at Do Chula Pass, at 10,500 feet is in and of itself worth a Bhutan vacation. Punakha lies about a two hours drive from Do Chula Pass down low in its valley. Punakha Dzong is a home to the central monk body.
Wangdiphodrang is the last town on the highway before entering Central Bhutan . The town is little more than an enlarged village with a few well- provided shops and hotels. Wangdue Phodrang Dzong is the town’s most visible feature.
In the center of Bhutan and four hours by road from Wangdue Phodrang, Trongsa offers a welcome rest to travelers. Trongsa is an ancestral home of the present royal family.
Trongsa Dzong is an impregnable fortress; the Dzong itself is a labyrinth of temples, corridors and offices holding court over the local community.
The Yotongla pass and a series of hair-raising bends at 11,500 feet separate the valleys of Trongsa and Bumthang. Views of Trongsa valley on the ascent are superb. Bumthang has an individuality that charms its visitors and separates it from other regions. Comprised of four smaller valleys, the deeply spiritual region of Bumthang is shrouded in religious legend.
Mongar & Lhuntse
Arriving in Mongar is a great relief from the turns and heights of the Journey over the pass. The town is small with sprinkling of shops. Mongar, like Trashigang further east, is built on the side of a hill because valleys in eastern Bhutan are too narrow for towns to develop on the valley floor.
Trashigang & Yangtse
The road from Mongar passes the Yedi loops. For eight kilometers, the road creates figure-eights as it descends to the valley floor. Arriving in Trashigang is momentous as it marks the end of a 547-kilometer drive from Thimphu . The town, also high up on a mountain, is busier than most other Bhutanese towns.
Phuntsholing is the gateway into Bhutan from the sweltering plains of Indian West Bengal . The small town is spread at the foothills of the mountains that lead into the interiors. Given its border status and linkage to India , Phuntsholing also forms the hub of most industry and business in Bhutan.