Punakha perched at an altitude of 3937 ft is a historic town in Bhutan. Situated along the banks of Pho Chuu and Mo Chuu Punakha is blessed with rich alluvial soil making it the rice bowl of Bhutan. Apart from being a historic town Punakha with its surreal landscape has been deemed one of the most pictorial places to visit in Bhutan.
Up until 1955, Punakha, which is located at an altitude of 1200 meters, served as Bhutan’s capital. Punakha, Bhutan’s rice bowl is located along the banks of the Pho Chu and Mo Chu Rivers and is blessed with alluvial soil. Punakha’s main tourist attractions are its medieval town and its numerous antique monasteries and buildings. In addition to being a historic town, Punakha has been hailed as one of Bhutan’s most picturesque travel destinations due to its bizarre landscapes and tourist attractions.
Till 1955 Punakha was the capital town of Bhutan.In 1637 Zabdrung Ngawang Namgyal built Pungthang Dewachen Phodrang (Palace of Great Happiness) or Punakha Dzong here. This Dzong was built in only 2 years’ time and is considered to be the beautiful most Dzong in the kingdom. The Dzong preserves the most sacred relics of the Southern Drukpa Kagyu. The first king of Bhutan Ugyen Wangchuck was coroneted in Punakha Dzong in the year 1907. A treaty between the Bhutan monarch and the British was signed here in the year 1910. Where Bhutan allowed Britain to direct its foreign affairs British agreed not to interfere in Bhutanese internal affairs. In 1987, the dzong was partially destroyed by fire.
Punakha, as being of the ancient historical towns in Bhutan, has many tourist places and attractions. Some of the most visited Punakha tourist places are:
Known also as Pungtang Dewa Chhenbi Phodrang, Punakha Dzong is one of the must-see tourist destinations in Punakha. It is one of Bhutan’s oldest and second-largest Dzongs, having been constructed in 1638. Its most gorgeous architecture, fully furnished accommodations, and spotlessly clean prayer halls make it unquestionably a traveler’s delight.
Ritsha in the local language means ‘base of a hill’. For rice farming, this village in Punakha valley is famous in Bhutan. Along the rivers Pho and Mo Chhu, both red and white rice are grown here. From the Punakha-Gasa highway, Ritsha village is only 1 km away. This is a model rice-growing village in Bhutan.
Punakha’s ChimiLhakhang, sometimes called Chime Monastery, is a well-liked tourist attraction. It is sometimes referred to as a temple of fertility. This intriguing temple is frequented by people from all around the world who come to pray for children. ChimiLhakhang, which is surrounded by rice fields and situated on the outskirts of Loseba Valley, is a must-see local attraction in Punakha because of its beautiful architecture and peculiar phallic symbols.
SangchhenDorjiLhuendrupLhakhang is a Buddhist nunnery in Punakha. Surrounded by daunting hills, it represents the finest craftsmanship of Bhutanese architecture. Getting to know the life of the anim and meditating with nuns are what make this one of the finest tourist attractions in Punakha.
Situated in the Dochula Hill of the Punakha Valley, Limbukha is a fascinating hamlet known for its serene ambiance, pictorial landscape, and amusing history. This village is quite popular among tourists to enjoy intense hiking activity. Hiking through the dense forest of Limbukha, and crossing many paddy fields and quaint hamlets are what make the trekking quite memorable here.
Spread to many other districts in Bhutan, JigmeDorji National Park in Punakha is the largest National Park. Built by the third king of Bhutan, JigmeDorji, it is the natural habitat of many endangered wild animals such as Royal Bengal Tiger, Himalayan Musk Deer, beard, snow leopard, etc. This national park in Punakha has also been named the” trekkers’ paradise” due to its exceptional spread of flora and fauna. The distance from Punakha to Jigme Dorji National Park is approximately 80km.
The suspension bridge over the confluence of the Mochu and Pochu rivers is one of the most famous attractions for tourists visiting Punakha. It is one of the must-see attractions in Punakha. Crossing the 250-meter-long suspension bridge is exhilarating, but the view of the valley from the bridge is spectacular.
Punakha, being a must-visit tourist attraction in Bhutan, has plenty of things and activities to offer to tourists. So, let’s have a look at some of the things and activities to do in Punakha with our Bhutan tour itinerary.
White Water Rafting: White water Rafting is one of the main attractions and also one of the best things to do in Punakha. Indulge yourself in a thrilling white water rafting in Mo Chu River and feel an intense adrenaline rush within you.
Photography: If Photography is your hobby or even profession, Bhutan will not disappoint you. Snapping photos of monasteries and sightseeing places in Punakha will become one of the exciting things to do in Punakha. Transform these attractions of Punakha into a photographic form that can be cherished for a lifetime.
Walk through the Punakha Suspension Bridge: Walking through the Suspension Bridge is a thrilling experience in itself. This breathtaking bridge is quite old and no one knows how old the bridge actually is. This 180 meters bridge shakes while someone walks on it which makes walking on this bridge one of the best activities to do in Punakha.
Explore Jigme Dorji National Park: Jigme Dorji National Park in Bhutan is a renowned name among nature enthusiasts around the world. Thousands of travelers visit Bhutan only to explore the wildlife of this Park. However, not just wild animals, people also come here to see colorful Himalayan birds.
Hike to Talo Monastery: Hiking is one of the electrifying activities to do in Punakha and Talo, due to its high elevation, is a favored hiking destination among travelers. Talo is a scenic monastery surrounded by lush green vegetation. Travelers have to trek for 1 long hour to finally reach here which is undoubtedly one of the exciting things to do in Punakha.
By Rail: The nearest railway station to Punakha is the Hasimara Railway station. Visitors can either board a train for Hasimara or Alipurduar Railway Station. It is an overall 9hr trip to reach Punakha from these junctions. The distance between Hasimara to Punakha is 259 km and the distance between Alipurduar to Punakha is 298 km.
By Road: Visitors can also reach Punakha by taking 7hr drive from Phuentsholing.The distance between Phuentsholing to Punakha is 241 km.
By Airport: The nearest airport to Punakha is the Paro International Airport. It is an overall 4hrs journey to reach Punakha from Paro International Airport. The distance between Paro to Punakha is 124 km.
April-June: During this time of the year, Punakha is adorned with a colorful vista of blooming flowers. The pleasant weather of Punakha is an added charm of visiting Punakha, Bhutan in the spring season.
July-September: During this time of the year, Punakha receives an average rainfall and occasional thunderstorm. Due to the sudden weather change, the road leading to Punakha becomes prone to roadblocks due to landslides. But if visitors can overlook this fact, the monsoon is also an ideal time to visit Punakha.
October-March: Winter season is the best time to visit Punakha. During this time of the year, the sky remains mostly clear in Paro which ensures the panoramic view of mountains and meadows enclosing Punakha. This is also an ideal time to visit Punakha if visitors want to partake in activities like trekking, river rafting, and mountain biking in Punakha. To visit Punakha Bhutan Holidays offers tailor-made package tours to stay at Punakha at affordable prices.
Punakha offers a wide variety of accommodation alternatives because it is one of the must-see locations in Bhutan. In Punakha, guests have a choice of homestays, resorts, and inexpensive hostels. With the help of Bhutan Holidays’ hotel booking services, visitors may find a location to stay in Punakha that fits their preferences and price range. So why are you waiting for? Let’s explore Punakha with us.