Punakha Dzong – Best Heritage City of Bhutan

Punakha, the former capital of Bhutan, is still as stunning now as it was when the country was in power. The serene overall atmosphere of this stunning valley draws visitors from all over the world. From the majestic surroundings to the cultural activities of the Buddhist people, the Punakha never ceases to captivate. The Punakha was the kingdom of the Wangchuk Kings, also the nation’s current leaders. Unique structures, traditional arts and crafts, hospitable locals, delicious regional cuisine, greenery, and the natural blend of two rivers—the Pho Chhu and the Mo Chhu—all contribute to Punakha’s wonderful atmosphere.

Vibrant Places to Explore in Punakha

Punakha Dzong

Punakha Dzong is one of the most stunning monuments one may explore when visiting Bhutan. The spectacular Punakha Dzong, which dates back to 1637, offers a wide variety of sights to gaze at from its alluring lofty perch. There are two magnificent rivers, Pho Chu and Mo Chu, just next to this Dzong, further enhancing its astounding attractiveness. Furthermore, the Dzong is the Royal Buddhist Family’s gathering place and the administrative center. More than this, the wall sculptures and the garden on the gate’s left side give the Dzong a more intriguing impression.

Punakha Dzong
Punakha Dzong
Jigme Dorji National Park

The magnificent Jigme Dorji National Park is another exemplary attraction in Punakha. Get a breathtaking perspective of the alpine region’s biodiversity, including wildlife and exotic plants. This national park spans a large region and rises from 1500 to 6500 meters in elevation. Similarly, when touring this national park, one can witness uncommon species of birds and animals.

 Suspension Bridge

A further aspect that makes walking from one settlement to another a bit more impressive is the Punakha Suspension Bridge. It links Punakha Dzong to Samdingkha, Wangkh, and a few additional hamlets and is one of the longest suspension bridges in Bhutan. The sensation of the serene breeze coming through the slopes while walking across this suspension bridge is intriguing. In addition, the vista of the verdant green and lush hillsides, the incredible biodiversity, and the hamlets will truly enchant visitors. Furthermore, the vibrant prayer flags combined with the sound of the river flowing down the bridge will be one of the most iconic scenery to behold.

Located next to Punakha Dzong, the 160-meter-long Pho Chhu Suspension Bridge is the longest suspension bridge in Bhutan. It offers spectacular views of Punakha Dzong and the Pho Chhu Valley.
The 160-meter-long Pho Chhu Suspension Bridge, located near Punakha Dzong, is Bhutan’s longest suspension bridge. It provides breathtaking views of Punakha Dzong and the Pho Chhu Valley.
Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten

Trekking to the Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten Monastery generates one of the most magnificent sensations. The temple was erected to offer stability and peace to the kingdom and the globe, symbolizing the great Buddhist scriptures. But what draws a lot of people there is the trek to the monastery. The trek to this monastery is one of the most incredible things to do in Punakha and lasts approximately an hour or more. Furthermore, the panorama of the valley from the top of this beautiful monastery would be stunning. The four-step slopes in front of this monastery appear spectacular.

Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten was commissioned by the Queen's mother
The Queen’s mother commissioned Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten
Talo Monastery

Notable hidden hamlets and monasteries will surface as you move north from Punakha. One of the splendid monuments above Punakha is the Talo Monastery. Talo, at an elevation of almost 2500 meters, offers breathtaking panoramic views. More than that, the tranquil atmosphere of Laptsakha hamlet greets you before you approach the monastery. In this region, worshipping activities and meditation are popular among locals. Furthermore, the lovely handicrafts within this monastery would be a great witness. This monastery fills up with worshippers and neighborhood Buddhist inhabitants during the Talo Festival.

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Main Outdoor Activities to do in Punakha

The main attraction of Punakha is Punakha Dzong; however, you can do other outdoor activities in Bhutan. The fantastic and daring rafting on the rivers Pho Chhu and Mo Chhu is perfect for adrenaline travelers. Due to the water’s rushing river, rafting is considerably more enjoyable as it reaches the Gorge and generates flashes. More than that, many tourists from all around Asia experience this rafting. The two tributaries of the Brahmaputra River have 10 and 15 rapids, making rafting possible. Similarly, the rafting’s 10 km total length offers an incredible, exhilarating adventure through the foothills’ greenery.

Shopping at Punakha’s marketplace

Shopping around the street of Punakha is one of the most popular things to do in Punakha. Punakha’s shops offer an incredible shopping experience for locally manufactured garments and exquisite handicrafts. In this market, it is relatively easy to find wool clothing made from yak and sheep fur. During the winter, these kinds of clothing keep you especially warm. Along with this, historically accurate clothing will also be available everywhere. Also accessible are jewelry, masks, iron entities, sculptures, and devotional artifacts. Furthermore, dried fruits, candies, and milk products span the whole market. Furthermore, while appreciating the city’s tranquil atmosphere, you can also sample some enticing, delicious cuisine.

Punkaha Local Market
Punkaha Local Market

Similarly, many individuals can trek up to a specific destination from Punakha. Punakha’s hotels and restaurants offer the highest caliber services and delicious meals. Another enjoyable activity you may do while visiting Punakha is observing the residents’ culture and traditions and spending time with them. Several chortens, monuments, and monasteries provide you with beautiful vistas. Similarly, at the correct time, cultural events and traditions will astound visitors to the utmost.

How to get to Punakha?

The primary entry point to Punakha is from Paro, Bhutan. Take a flight to the international airport in Paro and then board a vehicle to proceed to Punakha. Similarly, you must apply for a Punakha permit and complete the Thimphu entrance form. Punakha is around 120 kilometers from Paro, and most vehicles are available from Paro to get to Punakha. Furthermore, if you are traveling from one of the nearby nations, you may drive to Paro after completing all the necessary paperwork and then go to Punakha quickly.

Budget per day for Punakha

The budget might be an issue at times while exploring Punakha. Setting aside money before heading to Punakha is beneficial for you. With the accommodation and regular meals included, you may budget around USD 350 to 400 per day. Moreover, you might want to enjoy the delicious cuisine. Also, you might occasionally need to purchase crafts and artwork from the neighborhood market.
Similarly, depending on the amenities, a hotel reservation might cost anywhere from USD 80 to 200. The total daily costs of USD 450to 1100can readily work for you in Punakha. If you choose to travel with the tour operator company, your daily expenditures will be cut to somewhere around USD 400 to 500.