7 Bhutanese Cities You Need To Hit Up — Stat!

The number of Bhutanese cities you’ll be visiting depends on how long you’ll be staying in the country.

Bhutan neighborhood breakdown

DAJ ExpeditionsNot many travelers can head to Bhutan without a guide or a driver to lead the way. The exclusive, yet jetset-worthy country, aka: Kingdom of Happiness, remains accessible to those who can actually afford to go there. The number of Bhutanese cities you’ll be visiting depends on how long you’ll be staying in the country. For the most part, if you’re spending ten days in the Happiest Country in Asia, there’s no doubt you’ll be spending a few days in Thimphu, Paro and Punakha. A few more days, then you’ll be moving toward the eastern part of the country: Trongsa and Bumthang.

Get familiar with where you’re going prior to your trip, below is a quick and easy breakdown of cities we’ve selected and what you can expect when you make these city stops!

1. Thimphu

Thimphu is the capital of Bhutan, where you’ll immediately sense the nation’s spiritual, deeply conservative, yet kind and generous atmosphere. In  recent years, the city has been heading toward modernism with westernized constructions, and democratic social changes. You’ll absolutely be visiting: Tango Buddhist University, Tashichho Dzong, National Institute of Traditional Art, Bhutan Textile Museum, and the extraordinary Dochula Pass. What a culturati’s dream!

Wendy Bhutan Thimphu

2. Paro

Home of the famous Tiger’s Nest, Paro is also where the country’s international airport is located. This touristic valley is growing with more travelers visiting every year. Situated in the west part of Bhutan, approximately 45 minutes (by car) from Thimphu, Paro welcomes travelers with beautiful lodging, delectable restaurants and traditional shops. Of course, don’t miss out on Tiger’s Nest and Rinpung Dzong.

Tiger’s Nest is a world’s wonder that exists in a rare gem – Bhutan. A country full of monasteries, Buddhist spirituality and great treks for hikers and cyclists. The government limits the amount of travelers visiting Bhutan each year by enforcing a tourist daily fee of $250/day. So if you do end up in Paro, you define well-traveled!

3. Punakha

One of the most deeply spiritual grounds in Bhutan is Punakha – the country’s capital until it was later moved to Thimphu. It is situated on the east side of Thimphu and can be reach by car in 3 hours. Punakha is the city that held the royal wedding back in 2011, thus it still plays in important role among 20 districts of Bhutan. Travelers arrive here mainly for the Punakha Dzong and Chimi Lahkhang Monastery, where you will meet many lamas of all ages, running around like little rascals!

4. Trong sa

As the ancestral home of Bhutan’s Royal Family, Trongsa is where you’ll visit a gorgeous watchtower. If you’ve ever wondered what a Himalayan village looks like, then it’s in Trongsa where you’ll see yak herder’s camps and snap photos of numerous yaks during wintertime.

Flickr Anja Disseldorp Trongsa Dzong
BHUTANESE CITIES. Flickr/Anja Disseldorp

5. Bumthang

Bumthang isn’t exactly a city, but a province. But we needed to put this on the list since it’ll be 1-2 days of your itinerary especially if you’ll be spending more than 10 days in Bhutan. Bumthang is spacious, basically a trekker’s dream. Made up of 4 valleys: Chummey, Tang, Ura and Choskhor (Jakar); Bumthang is ideal for nature-lovers, outdoor adventurers. Each valley is beautiful yet wildly different. For example, Ura valley is the highest where you’ll witness unusal village and clusters of big houses with flagstone alleys. On the other hand, Jakar Valley contains a modern touch with Swiss influence.

Flickr Nagarjun Kandukuru Bumthang Bhutan
Flickr/Nagarjun Kandukuru

6. Trashigang

Located in the eastern part of Bhutan, Trashigang is the largest district in Bhutan and home of the first accredited college in Bhutan: Sherubtse College. This is also where you can catch the perfect view of two rivers’ convergence: Manas River (or Drangme Chu) and Kulong Chu which rises in the northern Himalaya snow ranges of Bhutan.

Flickr muddum27 Bhutan

7. Wangdue Phodrang

The landscapes in Wangdue Phodrang are so beautiful that it attracts many hikers, campers and cyclists. Three attractions can easily be done in a day, including: Wangdue Phodrang Dzong and Gangtey Monastery. In addition, don’t miss out on the best time to view black-necked cranes of Bhutan is from October to February.The Crane Festival occurs on November 22nd every year, when numerous cranes arrive from Tibet. A sight for sore eyes!

Visit here for DAJ Expedition’s 15 Days in Hidden Kingdom, Exploring Far East where you’ll stop at every city in this article. 

Wendy Hung


As the founder of Jetset Times, Wendy is an avid traveler and fluent in five languages. When she's not traveling, Wendy calls Paris and Taipei home. Her favorite countries so far from her travels have been: Bhutan, Iran, and St. Bart's because they were all so different!

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