Mosaic Adventure Picks for First-time Visitors: Top 5 Must-see Places in Bhutan
Land of the Thunder Dragon, Bhutan is a small charming country brimming with culture and tradition. It is the Himalayan Kingdom that has lived in isolation over the past several centuries. Since a few decades ago, the Kingdom has opened its doors to tourism, welcoming visitors from all parts of the world to experience its natural beauty and culture.
While we at Mosaic Adventure have organized countless tours around this country, we are always as much astounded as our guests by the beauty of Bhutan. The experience is like seeing beautiful postcards coming to life.
Though small in size, the country of Bhutan has some of the richest sceneries and well-preserved culture and traditions that beckon travelers into a magical journey.
With the overwhelming number of picture-perfect destinations in the Kingdom, picking destinations to see on your first visit can be challenging. For beginners, we’ve pinned down the top 5 must-see places to get your journey started.
1. Taktsang Monastery (The Tiger’s Nest)
According to Bhutanese legends, Taktsang is a monastery sanctified by Guru Rinpoche during the 8th century. It was believed that he rode on tigress’ back, flew to the monastery and warded off evil spirits.
The legend is just as interesting as the visual treat that awaits us at the monastery.
The Tiger’s Nest offers a breathtaking view to any wanderer. Nestled at the side of Paro Valley some 3,000 feet above the ground, climbing the monastery is a good exercise for the lungs and the sight.
Indeed, we find that no visit to Bhutan is ever complete without visiting this highly sacred and beautiful place.
2. Gangtey Valley
Guests who want to experience the cultural uniqueness and faunal diversity may find the glacial Gangtey Valley worth of a detour.
Gangtey Valley is a wonderful surprise against Bhutan’s steep hillsides. Set at the Black Mountain National Park periphery, Gangtey Valley provides an unusual flat, wide and tree-less space, making the trek amidst a luscious forest all worth it.
Also located in the area is a village called Phobjikha which is also known as the home of black-necked cranes escaping the harsh Tibetan winters. The valley also features a small village, a monastery, and two beautiful flowing rivers.
3. Dochula Pass
Situated high on the mountains on the road between Thimpu and Punakha are 108 chortens commissioned by the Queen Mother Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuk and were established in 2003.
Dochula Pass is a popular destination for tourists and locals, providing a spectacular 360-degree view of the snow-capped Himalayan ranges. This view forms a majestic backdrop to the tranquility of the 108 chortens on the mountain pass.
It is also an important religious landmark as the temple Druk Wangyal Lhakhang is also located atop the pass. The structures of this temple showcase a fine blend of history and mythology that tells a story of a supreme warrior figure.
4. Chimi Lhakhang
Perhaps one of the most intriguing monasteries in Bhutan is ChimiLhakhang. Situated near Lobesa, this monastery is visited by people hoping for “fertility blessings.” Most of the visitors who come here are couples praying for a child. Including parents praying for their children’s protection.
The monastery has its own character –namely by the numerous penis figures that adorn the place. It is believed that these symbols represent the maverick Bhutanese saint Lam Drukpa Kuenley who conquered the demons with the aid of his penis. The saint is also commonly referred in Bhutanese literature as the “magic thunderbolt of wisdom.”
It is customary for women entering the monastery to be hit lightly by a bow and arrow; a bone phallus and ivory wood in the head by the presiding lama.
5. Punakha Dzong (The Palace of Great Bliss)
Punakha Dzong is an iconic and historic landmark in Bhutan. It was the second dzong ever built in the Kingdom and where the first King of Bhutan was crowned in 1907.
Punakha Dzong sports whitewashed walls with gold, black, and red-painted wood ornaments bring out the artistic talents of Bhutanese. Punakha Dzong is even more enchanting in spring when the jacaranda trees bring out enchanting blooms.
Bhutan is mysterious and magical, offering a wide array of experience to every kind of tourist. A trip around this small country offers a unique cultural, historical, spiritual experiences in beautiful landscapes. Highly influenced by the Buddhist practices and customs, the people, heritage, and the surrounding are highly artistic.
The monastery walls are decorated in the Tibetan Thangkas, and the stone sculptures manifesting the Lamas and saints. In your Bhutan tour, you will experience the traditional Buddhist practices that are followed since time immemorial.
To experience the best of Bhutan and make the trip more memorable, contact us and we will be more than happy to arrange your visit.