Major Places of Interest in Bhutan

Bhutan :
Bhutan’s landscape ranges from subtropical plains in the south to the sub-alpine Himalayan heights in the north, with some peaks exceeding 7,000 metres (23,000 ft). The state religion is Vajrayana Buddhism, and the population of 691,141 is predominantly Buddhist, with Hinduism the second-largest religion. The capital and largest city is Thimphu. In 2008, Bhutan made the transition from absolute monarchy to constitutional monarchy, holding its first general election. Bhutan is a member of the United Nations and the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC); it hosted the sixteenth SAARC summit in April 2010. The total area of the country has been reported as 38,394 square kilometres (14,824 sq mi) since 2002. The area had previously been reported as approximately 46,500 km2 (18,000 sq mi) in 1997.
 
Thimphu :
Since 1960, the capital of Bhutan is Thimphu. Thimphu is situated at a height of over 7600 feet on a hillside in a fertile valley on the banks of the Thimphu Chhu River. Thimphu is perhaps the smallest capital in the world. The town of Thimphu is nothing like what a capital city is imagined to be. One interesting fact about this city is that it is the only world capital without any traffic lights. Thimphu is a gallery of traditional Bhutanese art, architecture, culture, and tradition and above all still so ethnic and pure. It is a fitting and lively place. The wooden houses stand side by side with concrete buildings, all painted and constructed in traditional Bhutanese styles. For most part of its history, Bhutan has tried consciously to save its culture from the blunt influences of the western world. It is not that modernity has not reached this region, but they are being introduced in a phased and balanced manner that is unheard of at any place in the world. All these make Thimphu and other parts of the country a unique destination.
 
Paro Valley :
Paro is the gateway to the country of Bhutan. Situated in the Paro Valley of Eastern Himalaya, the town is full of legends, heroism, and natural splendour. If there would be a place where nature and man conjured to create their clearest and cleanest image, it must be the Paro valley in Bhutan. The town is located at an altitude of 2,250 m above the sea level with river flowing gently on its side and making it the most beautiful valley in the country. Though, the capital of Bhutan is Thimphu, but for a longer time of the history Paro had the control of this part of the country. The town of Paro in western Bhutan attracts tourists due to its scenic locales, beautiful landscapes, wooded villages and historic buildings. The Paro valley is unique in beauty and in history. The only airport of Bhutan is located in Paro. To the north, Mount Chamolhari (Mountain of the Goddess), reigns in white glory and the waters from its “five sisters” peaks passes through deep gorges, finally meeting in the end to form the Paro Chu river that nourishes the rice fields and apple and peach orchards.
 
Punakha :
Pokhara valley is a scenic 6-hour mountainside drive or a 25 minute flight west of Kathmandu. It is famous for its lakes and its location beneath the towering Annapurna massif. It is highly recommendable to visit this scenic valley, stay in small resort hotels with views of the magnificent Himalayan peaks, go boating on the calm waters of the Phewa and the Begnas lakes or go on tours or day hikes in the nearby hills or if time permits, on a well organized trekking holiday. Until 1955, Punakha served as the Capital of Bhutan and even today, it is the winter seat of the Je khenpo (chief Abbot) and the central Monk body. The Dzong was built at the junction of the two rivers in the 17th century by Shabdrung Nawang Namgyel. At present it serves as the winter residence for the central Monk body and administration center for the valley.
 
Bumthang Valley :
Bumthang Valley is the main inhabited valley in the Bumthang district of Bhutan. The main town in the valley is Jakar. Bhutan's only brewery, brewing Red Panda wheat beer, is in Jakar. Bumthang is divided into four gewogs, namely Chhoekhor, Tang, Chhume and Ura. The valley is broad with various habitats including coniferous woodland. The Yutongla pass and a series of hair raising- bends at 11,500 feet separates the valley of Tongsa and Bhumthang. Views of Tongsa valley on ascent are superb. Bumthang has an individuality that charms its visitors and separates it from other regions. Comprising of four smaller valleys, the deeply spiritual region of Bumthang is shrouded in religious legend. Bumthang is also the Traditional home to the great Buddhist teacher Pema Lingpa to whose descendants the present dynasty traces its ancestry.
 
The South East & South West :
The road from Tashigang to Samdrup Jongkhr was completed in the early 1960s and enables the eastern half of the country to access and benefit from trade with the south as well as to cross the Indian border. It is possible to drive from Samdrup Jongkhar to Phuentsholing via the Indian territories of Assam and West Bengal. There is little for travelers to see in this area but some visitors choose to use Samdrup Jongkhar as a more convenient exit town. The journey from Tashigang passes Pemagatshel, a newly created independent district with its own Dzong. The road descends fairly abruptly through thick jungle before arriving at Samdrup Jongkhar.