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Wonders of Bhutan

On Dochula Pass
On Dochula Pass / Göran Höglund, / CC BY 2.0

WorldBlue  Highlights

Bhutan is an exotic country in the Himalayas, with an extremely well-preserved natural heritage and rich, well-maintained local culture.

Nearly every place in Bhutan is beautiful. Here are found countless tall waterfalls, unique ecosystems, and species – most of these are little known. Exciting discoveries are waiting for us! The same can be said about prehistory – here are located thousands of megaliths and nearly none of them have been visited by scientists.

Today the best-known wonders of Bhutan are dzongs – unique buildings which serve as fortresses, Buddhist monasteries, and keepers of local culture and traditions. Most dzongs are well maintained and active up to this day.

Map with the described wonders of Bhutan

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WorldViolet Top 25 wonders of Bhutan

Geological wonders

Namling Falls


Possibly – the most impressive waterfall in Bhutan.

Biological wonders

Sakteng Wildlife Sanctuary


Gorgeous primeval forest in the Himalayas, mostly – temperate forest and subalpine ecosystems. One of the reasons for the creation of this sanctuary is the protection of migoi – a man-like cryptid, whose existence has not been proven but local people are convinced that it exists.

World’s tallest cypress tree near Bay Langdra Ney

Wangdue Phodrang

The tallest known cypress (Cupressus himalaica or Cupressus corneyana – scientists still argue about the taxonomy). 94.6 m tall, diameter 4.27 m.

Cypress of Kurjey


A legendary cypress, planted upside down in the 8th century AD.

Archaeological wonders

Dorje Dolmen


An enormous stone that is placed over several smaller stones. Nearby are stones with cup marks. This dolmen is just one example of countless megaliths in Bhutan.

Dagana Megaliths


Three stone stelae (most likely – natural formations) on the opposite side of the valley from Daga Dzong. The largest stone pillar – Do Namgi Kaw – is some 20 m tall, and it has a footprint on the crown. According to legends, when Dzong was constructed, the stone pillar started to speak (in a telepathic way) asking to build the dzong lower than the summit of the stone pillar. Two other stone pillars are Do Kelpai Genthey and Tha Namkhai Dzong with a cave in it.

Architecture and history wonders

Paro Taktsang Monastery


This monastery is in a dramatic setting on the side of a cliff, 700 meters above the bottom of the valley. It was built in 1692. Near the monastery is a 60 m high waterfall – Taktsang waterfall.

Paro Taktsang Buddhist monastery, Bhutan
Paro Taktsang Buddhist monastery / Avinash Singh, / CC BY 2.0
Punakha Dzong


The second oldest, second largest historical fortress and Buddhist monastery in Bhutan. This magnificent building was constructed in 1637 – 1638.

Punakha, Bhutan
Punakha, Bhutan. / David Broad, Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 3.0
Animo Tsho


A sacred lake where speaking is forbidden.

Tango Monastery


This historical monastery was founded in the 13th century. Current buildings were constructed in the 17th century. Next to the monastery are located the sacred caves where holy saints have meditated since the 12th century.

Tango Monastery, Bhutan
Tango Monastery, Bhutan. / Jean-Marie Hullot, Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 3.0
Kyichu Lhakhang (Kyerchu Temple)


The oldest Buddhist temple in Bhutan, originally built in the 7th century AD and reconstructed in the 15th – 16th century.

Kyichu Lhakhang
Kyichu Lhakhang, Bhutan. / David Broad, Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 3.0
Simtokha Dzong


The oldest historical fortress in Bhutan, built in 1629. This small building is a former Buddhist monastery, now – a language learning institute.

Simtokha Dzong
Simtokha Dzong, Bhutan. / Bernard Gagnon, Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0
Jakar Dzong


One of the largest historical fortresses in Bhutan with a circumference of more than 1,500 meters. Construction started in the middle of the 16th century.

Jakar Dzong, courtyard
Jakar Dzong, courtyard. / Richard Mortel, Flickr / CC BY 2.0
Lhuentse Dzong


Large and important monastery – fortress. Established in 1543, built after 1654. Important keeper of local traditions and customs.

Chimi Lhakhang


An old Buddhist monastery, built in 1499. In this monastery acted Lama Kunley – the “Mad Saint” who taught Buddhism with humor, outrageous behavior, and bizarre sexual overtones. People who visit this monastery are blessed with a wooden symbol of the phallus.

Chimi Lhakhang
Chimi Lhakhang, Bhutan. / Bernard Gagnon, Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0
Wangdue Phodrang fortress

Wangdue Phodrang

An enormous fortress, built on a mountaintop in 1638. Burned down in the summer of 2012, but relics have been preserved.

Wangdue Phodrang
Wangdue Phodrang, Bhutan. / Technopilgrim, Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0
Gangteng Monastery

Wangdue Phodrang

Nyingmapa Buddhist monastery with a grand view of Phobjika Valley. Founded in 1613 and gradually increased. The monastery acts as a keeper and developer of local traditions and culture.

Gangteng Monastery
Gangteng Monastery, Bhutan. / Christopher J Fynn, Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0
Changangkha Monastery


One of the oldest monasteries in Thimphu valley, built in the 15th century. Temple has a collection of old scripts.

Changangkha Monastery
Changangkha Monastery, Bhutan. / Anja Disseldorp, Flickr / CC BY 2.0
Yagang Lhakhang


This Buddhist temple was built in the 16th century. It contains a rich collection of religious treasures, armor, and weapons.

Yagang Lhakhang, Bhutan
Yagang Lhakhang / Christopher J. Fynn, / CC BY-SA 3.0
Trongsa Dzong


One of the largest historical fortresses in Bhutan, constructed in the 17th century and enlarged in later centuries. Located in a beautiful location – in a wild, rocky area above Mangde Chuu valley.

Trongsa Dzong
Trongsa Dzong, Bhutan. / Richard Mortel, Flickr / CC BY 2.0
Rinpung Dzong


Large Buddhist monastery and fortress. The current building was constructed in 1644 – 1646.

Rinpung Dzong
Rinpung Dzong, Bhutan. / Martyn Smith, Flickr / CC BY 2.0
Lingzhi Yügyal Dzong


Mountaintop fortress-monastery that is located among dramatic mountain scenery at the height of 4,150 m. Constructed in 1668, one of the most important border fortresses of Bhutan.

Lingzhi Yügyal Dzong, Bhutan
Lingzhi Yügyal Dzong / Christopher J. Fynn, / CC BY-SA 3.0
Tashichho Dzong


Large, ornate fortress – Buddhist monastery in Thimphu. Constructed in the 17th century and rebuilt in later times, the last time in 1902.

Tashichho Dzong
Tashichho Dzong, Bhutan. / Christopher J. Fynn, Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0
Chagri Monastery


Large, important Buddhist monastery, founded in 1620.

Chagri Monastery
Chagri Monastery, Bhutan. / Stephen Shephard, Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0
Dechencholing Palace


The official residence of the King, built in traditional style in 1953. Beautiful, traditional furnishings.

Dechencholing Palace
Dechencholing Palace, Bhutan. / Dr Vikramjit Kakati, Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0

WorldYellow Recommended books

A Splendid Isolation: Lessons on Happiness from the Kingdom of Bhutan

What does Bhutan understand about happiness that the rest of the world does not? Award-winning journalist and author Madeline Drexler recently traveled to this Himalayan nation to discover how the audacious policy known as Gross National Happiness plays out in a fast-changing society where Buddhism is deeply rooted–but where the temptations and collateral damage of materialism are rising.

Beyond the Sky and the Earth: A Journey into Bhutan

Jamie Zeppa was 24 when she left a stagnant life at home and signed a contract to teach for two years in the Buddhist hermit kingdom of Bhutan. Much more than just a travel memoir, Beyond the Sky and the Earth is the story of her time in a Himalayan village, immersed in Bhutanese culture and the wonders of new and lasting love.

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