punakha

The former capital of Bhutan, a quaint little town with much to offer.
Average elevation of 1,200 meters above sea level.

Located 3 hours away from Thimphu (Current capital city of Bhutan),
Punakha offers a different climate compared to the other Dzongkhang.
Owing to its lower elevation, the winter and summer in Punakha are generally warmer.
Punakha is the country's district main producer of rice.

Things to do and see at punakha

Punakha

Punakha Dzong

Punakha Dzong is also known as the palace of great happiness. The elegantly designed palace is the current administrative centre of Punakha District. Constructed in 1637 by Ngawang Namgyal the 1st Zhabdrung Rinpoche. The palace is the second oldest and second largest dzong in Bhutan.

Located at the confluence of the Pho Chhu and Mo Chhu, Punakha Dzong is known to be the most picturesque Dzong in the Country.

Tip: There are at least 3 photos opportunities location for Punakha Dzong. Do ask our guide to bring you there.

Punakha Monastery
Punakha View from Above
Khamsum Yulley Trek

Hike to Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten

Built by her Majesty the Queen Mother Ashi Tshering Yangdon Wangchuk, Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten is a temple build dedicated to the well-being of the Kingdom, its people and all sentient beings. This 4 storeys temple was built based on the Holy scripture rather than engineering manuals.

There are 2 approaches to this hike.
The first option will be through the Punakha suspension bridge, it will take 15-20 minutes to reach the temple. The second option (preferred option) will be to hike through the gorgeous Punakha valley which will take climbers at least an hour to arrive.

Tip: Access the highest level of the temple and immerse yourself with the majestic view of the Punakha

Chimi Lakhang Temple

Walk to Chimi Lhakhang Temple

Built in 1499 by the 14th Drukpa, Ngawang Choegyel, the temple was built in honor of Saint Drukpa Kunley also known as the Divine Madman.
Locally sought by citizens across Bhutan as well as foreigners, this temple is also known as the fertility temple. The veracity to this information is vouched by the locals as well as those around the world. Traditionally the recipient of the blessings from this temple will have their child named Kunley.

The journey to the temple will take roughly 20 minutes.
Climbers will be led through the sprawling fertile paddy fields and the charming village of Sosokha Valley.

Punakha Suspension Bridge

Punakha Suspension Bridge

One of the longest suspension bridge in Bhutan, spanning 350m and perched high above the very swift river of Po Chhu. Draped with prayer flags, the bridge connects the town of Punakha and the Punakha Dzong, mainly used by locals from the other side of the town as a shortcut to Punakha Dzong.

Tip: This bridge is perfect for travelers wishing to get a quick adrenaline shot.

White Water Rafting

White-Water Rafting

Famed for the confluence of the two rivers and the scenic view along the Punakha Valley, White-water rafting in Bhutan is slowly gaining the attention of tourist to Bhutan. There are two paths that rafters can pick. The first is the Mo Chhu river is a 10km course with 10 rapids of class 2-2+.

The second choice will be the Po Chhu river, a slightly tougher course with 15 rapids of class between 2-4 spanning 16km.

Where to stay at Punakha

Uma Punakha Hotel
Uma Punakha Room View
Uma Punakha Room Side View

Uma Punakha

Perched on a high level of Punakha Valley, secluded away from the town, lies Uma Punakha. Coupled with an intimate design fused with Bhutanese inspired cultural design, this high luxury lodge is a must place to stay on your trip to Punakha.

Tip: The hotel offers a picturesque view of the Mo Chhu River and the Punakha Valley. Due to its popularity, this particular lodge get sold out very early. Make sure to make your reservation as early as 3 months ahead for low season and 5 months ahead for high season.

Hotel Lobesa Punakha

Lobesa

A humble lodge located 10 minutes away from Punakha Town. This particular lodge is owned and run purely by Bhutanese. There are only 9 rooms so far in this lodge, each room is spacious and guests are treated with utmost Bhutanese hospitality here. The most peculiar thing is that so far we have yet to hear nothing other than compliments from our guests.

Tip: Book early, this beautiful lodge only has 9 rooms available at all time at the moment.