The western circuit comprises of the six western Districts in the country that includes Thimphu, Paro, Haa, Wangdue Phodrang, Punakha and Gasa. What makes this circuit special is that the Tourism Council of Bhutan has categorized new ways of exploring the existing great sights.
In this circuit you can attend the summer festival of Haa and delve into the wonders of the ancient living culture of the Haaps (People from Haa). The festival highlights Shamanic rituals and other folk dances. You may also enjoy the beauty of rare Himalayan flowers in bloom or take a daring trek to Nob Tsonapatra, immersing you in the interesting legends of the area.
In Thimphu you can witness the newly introduced Takin Festival, MICE & GNH conferences, meditation and wellness facilities. You can also visit temples, dzongs (fortresses) and museums or attend a textile festival that brings to life the rich culture of Bhutanese weaving.
You’ll marvel at the historical depiction of medieval Bhutanese warriors who defended Bhutan with swords and shields during the Punakha Tsechu/festival. The various festivals are scheduled throughout the year and trips can be tailored in accordance.
Experience the plantation of rice in early summer or the harvests of the same in autumn. The golden hue of ripening rice fields is a photographers’ delight in autumn. Western Bhutan is home to some of the country’s finest museums, and you’ll not want to miss the opportunity to learn about our storied history and traditional culture. Paro museum (Tadzong), displays hundreds of artifacts revealing the history and culture of Bhutan, In Thimphu, let the Folk Heritage museum enthuse you with an in-depth look into a typical farmers’ livelihood.
Ta Dzong the National Museum
Kyichu Lhakhang (temple with permit)
Dungtse Lhakhang (temple with permit)2 Paro
Paro valley is a living cultural center. In spring thousands of families gather at Paro to celebrate the Paro Tshechu, a found day religious festival of mask dances and fold entertainment.
The Paro Dzong controls all the secular and religious activities in the valley. Behind Paro Dzong, on the high hillside is the castle shaped Ta Dzong (Bhutanís National Museum since 1967) which houses the nationís heritage.
The ruins of the Drugyal Dzong, at the northern end of the valley, offer a view of the Jumolhari Peak The Bhutanese repelled several invading Tibetan armies during th 17th century from this location. Other places of interests in Paro are temples like Dungtse Lhakhang, Kyichu Lhakhang and Taktsang.
Visit Trashichhodzong, built as the symbol of the Capital.
Spectacular views of Thimphu valley from the Telecoms Tower
Exploring the shops along Norzin Lam, Thimphuís main street.
A hike up to either Tango or Cheri Monastery.
The weekend market (farmer’s market).
School of Arts and Crafts
National Institute of Traditional Medicine
Zangto Pelri Lhakhang (Temple)
Mini Zoo to see the National Animal of Bhutan ‘TAKIN’
Changangkha Lhakhang (Temple)
Thimphu has been the Capital of Bhutan since 1955 and lies at an altitude of about 7,600 ft.
Once a small rural settlement, today it is home to about 50,000 people. Bhutan’s administrative and religious center Tashichhodzong, on the banks of the Wang Chu, houses the throne room of His Majesty the King of Bhutan, Government Ministries, the nation’s largest monastery and headquarters of His Holiness the Je Khenpo (Head of the Monastic Body) and the monk body. The National Assembly hall is located in a new building across the river. Next to the Dzong is Bhutan’s only golf course.
Bhutan’s National Library, National Textile Museum, Folk Heritage
Museum, Institute of Zorig Chosum, National Memorial Chorten, Simtokha Dzong, Changangkha Lhakhang and National Institute of Traditional Medicine and Zangtopelri are other places of interest in Thimphu.
Khamsum Yuelley Temple
Punakha is a two hours drive from Thimphu, and the drive over the Himalayas at Dochula pass at 10,500 feet is spectacular.
Punakha servedas the capital of Bhutan till 1955 and is one of the most fertile valleys in Bhutan, abundant with crops and vast terraces of rice fields.
Chime Lhakhang located on a hillock among the rice fields is a pilgrimage site for childless couples. The temple is associated with the famous saint Drukpa Kuenlay who built a Chroten on the site.
Punakha Dzong is the home to the central monk body and His Holiness the Je Khenpo during winter months. The Dzong also preserves the embalmed body of Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal and sacred artifacts.
Wangduephodrang is the last town on the highway before entering Central Bhutan.
The Wangdue Dzong is perched on a spur at the confluence of two rivers. The position of the Dzong completely covers the spur and commands an impressive view over both the north-south and east-west roads.
In the 17th century, Wangduephodrang played a critical role in unifying the western central and southern Bhutanese districts.