Territory

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 all of them are not 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

Mongar

Possibly – the most impressive waterfall in Bhutan.

Dagana Megaliths

Dagana

Three stone stelae (most likely – natural formations) in the opposite side of the valley from Daga Dzong. The largest stone pillar – Do Namgi Kaw – is some 20 m tall, 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.

Biological wonders

Sakteng Wildlife Sanctuary

Trashigang

Gorgeous primeval forest in Himalaya, mostly – temperate forest and subalpine ecosystems. One of the reasons for the creation of this sanctuary is protection of migoi – man-like cryptid, whose existence has not been proved 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

Bumthang

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

Archaeological wonders

Dorje Dolmen

Bumthang

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

Architecture and history wonders

Paro Taktsang Monastery

Paro

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
Punakha Dzong

Punakha

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

Punakha Dzong
Animo Tsho

Bumthang

Sacred lake where speaking is forbidden.

Tango Monastery

Thimphu

This historical monastery was founded in the 13th century. Current buildings 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
Kyichu Lhakhang (Kyerchu Temple)

Paro

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

Kyichu Lhakhang
Simtokha Dzong

Thimphu

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

Simtokha Dzong
Jakar Dzong

Bumthang

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
Lhuentse Dzong

Lhuentse

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

Chimi Lhakhang

Punakha

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

Adornment of Chimi Lhakhang monastery, Bhutan
Wangdue Phodrang fortress

Wangdue Phodrang

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

Wangdue Phodrang fortress before the fire
Gangteng Monastery

Wangdue Phodrang

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

Gangteng Monastery
Changangkha Monastery

Thimphu

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

Changangkha Monastery
Yagang Lhakhang

Mongar

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

Yagang Lhakhang, Bhutan
Trongsa Dzong

Trongsa

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

Trongsa Dzong
Rinpung Dzong

Paro

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

Rinpung Dzong
Lingzhi Yügyal Dzong

Thimphu

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
Tashichho Dzong

Thimphu

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

Tashichho Dzong
Chagri Monastery

Thimphu

Large, important Buddhist monastery, founded in 1620.

Chagri Monastery
Dechencholing Palace

Thimphu

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

Dechencholing Palace

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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