Popular cities in Bhutan

Bhutan, a small landlocked country nestled in the eastern Himalayas, is renowned for its majestic landscapes, ancient monasteries, and vibrant cultural heritage. Within this enchanting nation lie popular cities that perfectly encapsulate the Bhutanese spirit. One such city is Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan since 1961. Surprisingly, Thimphu is the only world capital without traffic lights, a testament to its commitment to preserving traditional values and maintaining a harmonious way of life. As the political and economic hub of the country, Thimphu boasts a plethora of bustling markets, government buildings, and art galleries that showcase Bhutanese craftsmanship.

Another fascinating city in Bhutan is Paro, renowned for its breathtaking natural beauty and sacred heritage. Located in a valley traversed by the clean-flowing Paro River, this city embraces tranquility and invites visitors to immerse themselves in spirituality. Paro is home to the iconic Tiger’s Nest Monastery, also known as Taktsang Monastery, perched precariously on a cliffside and offering stunning panoramic views. It is said that Guru Rinpoche, the second Buddha, meditated here in the 8th century, blessing the monastery with divine energy that resonates to this day.

Punakha, the ancient capital of Bhutan until 1955, holds significant historical importance and remains a popular destination for both locals and tourists alike. Set amidst lush greenery and immense natural beauty, Punakha boasts the breathtaking Punakha Dzong, one of the most magnificent monastic fortresses in the country. This architectural marvel stands at the confluence of two powerful rivers, the Pho Chhu and Mo Chhu, exuding an aura of grandeur and providing a glimpse into Bhutan’s royal past.

Further east lies the city of Jakar, also known as Bumthang, which is considered the cultural heartland of Bhutan. This region is revered for its rich cultural heritage, ancient temples, and vibrant festivals. Jakar is home to the auspicious Jambay Lhakhang, one of the 108 temples built by the Tibetan king Songtsen Gampo to subdue a demoness. Every year, during the Jambay Lhakhang Drup festival, locals participate in religious mask dances and cultural performances that bring the city to life with color and fervor.

These popular cities in Bhutan offer a captivating glimpse into the country’s past, present, and future. Steeped in tradition and immersed in natural wonders, they provide a sanctuary for those seeking spiritual enlightenment, cultural immersion, and moments of serenity amidst the mesmerizing landscapes of the Himalayas. Exploring these cities unlocks the essence of Bhutan’s unique identity, offering an extraordinary journey that connects visitors with the very soul of this extraordinary nation.

Popular cities in Bhutan

What are the popular cities in Bhutan?

Discover the thriving urban centers in the beautiful country of Bhutan. From bustling markets to ancient monasteries, Bhutan’s cities offer a glimpse into its rich culture and traditions. Learn more about the popular cities in Bhutan and their unique features, attractions, and experiences in this comprehensive guide.

Popular cities in Bhutan

Bhutan, known as the Land of the Thunder Dragon, is a small kingdom nestled in the eastern Himalayas. Despite its small size, Bhutan offers a rich cultural heritage, stunning landscapes, and unique experiences. In this article, we will delve into some of the popular cities in Bhutan that are worth exploring.


Thimphu, the capital city of Bhutan, is a vibrant and bustling urban center. It is the political, economic, and cultural hub of the country. The city is known for its unique blend of traditional Bhutanese architecture and modern influences. One must visit the iconic Tashichho Dzong, which is the seat of the Bhutanese government. Other attractions include the National Memorial Chorten, the Folk Heritage Museum, and the vibrant weekend market.


Paro is a historic town located in a picturesque valley. It is home to the country’s only international airport, making it the gateway to Bhutan for most travelers. Paro is famous for its iconic attraction, the Taktsang Monastery, also known as the Tiger’s Nest. This monastery, perched on the edge of a cliff, offers breathtaking views and a spiritual experience. Paro also boasts several ancient temples such as the Paro Dzong and the Kyichu Lhakhang, which are must-visits for culture enthusiasts.


Punakha, located at a lower altitude, is known for its pleasant climate and fertile valleys. The city is renowned for the Punakha Dzong, one of Bhutan’s most beautiful and majestic fortresses. Situated at the confluence of two rivers, the Punakha Dzong stands as a fine example of traditional Bhutanese architecture. Visitors can also explore the Chimi Lhakhang, a famous temple dedicated to the Divine Madman, and enjoy leisurely walks through the rice paddies and orchards.


Phuentsholing is a bustling border town that serves as the primary entry point for travelers arriving from India. It offers a unique blend of Bhutanese and Indian cultures. Visitors can explore the Bhutan Gate, which welcomes you to the kingdom, and stroll through the vibrant local markets. Phuentsholing also provides easy access to nearby attractions such as the Kharbandi Monastery and the Zangtho Pelri Lhakhang.


Bumthang is a district in central Bhutan that comprises four major valleys: Chokhor, Tang, Ura, and Chhume. It is often referred to as the spiritual heartland of Bhutan. Bumthang is home to several ancient temples and monasteries, including the Jakar Dzong and the Kurje Lhakhang. The region’s natural beauty is enhanced by the stunning scenery of picturesque valleys, apple orchards, and meandering rivers.

These are just a few of the popular cities in Bhutan, each offering a unique experience and countless wonders to explore. Whether you are seeking cultural immersion, adventure, or tranquility, Bhutan’s cities have something for everyone.

Statistic: Bhutan received over 300,000 international visitors in 2019, with the majority exploring its popular cities.

1. What are the popular cities to visit in Bhutan?

The popular cities to visit in Bhutan are:

  • Thimphu
  • Paro
  • Punakha
  • Bumthang
  • Gangtey

2. What is the best time to visit Bhutan?

The best time to visit Bhutan is during the spring and autumn seasons, which are from March to May and September to November. These months offer pleasant weather and clear skies, making it ideal for outdoor activities and sightseeing.

3. How can I reach Bhutan?

You can reach Bhutan by air or by road. The most convenient way is to take a flight to Paro International Airport, which is the only international airport in Bhutan. Alternatively, you can enter Bhutan by road through the border crossings with India.

4. Do I need a visa to visit Bhutan?

Yes, you need a visa to visit Bhutan. Tourists can obtain a visa through a licensed Bhutanese tour operator. The visa approval process is managed by the Tourism Council of Bhutan. It is recommended to book your trip through a tour operator who will handle the visa process on your behalf.

5. What is the currency of Bhutan?

The currency of Bhutan is the Bhutanese Ngultrum (BTN). Indian Rupees (INR) are also widely accepted in Bhutan. It is advisable to carry enough cash in Ngultrum or Indian Rupees, as credit cards are not widely accepted outside major hotels and tourist establishments.

6. What are the must-visit attractions in Thimphu?

The must-visit attractions in Thimphu include:

  • Tashichho Dzong
  • Buddha Dordenma Statue
  • Motithang Takin Preserve
  • National Memorial Chorten
  • Folk Heritage Museum

7. Can I trek in Bhutan?

Yes, Bhutan offers various trekking opportunities. Some popular treks include the Jomolhari Trek, Druk Path Trek, and Snowman Trek. Trekking in Bhutan allows you to explore the stunning landscapes, remote villages, and encounter unique flora and fauna.

8. Are there any festivals in Bhutan?

Yes, Bhutan is known for its colorful festivals. The most popular festival is the Tshechu, which is celebrated in various monasteries and dzongs throughout the country. The festivals showcase traditional masked dances, music, and religious performances.

9. What is the official religion of Bhutan?

The official religion of Bhutan is Buddhism. The majority of the Bhutanese population practices Mahayana Buddhism, and the country is dotted with monasteries, temples, and sacred sites.

10. Is Bhutan a safe country to travel to?

Yes, Bhutan is considered a safe country to travel to. The crime rate is low, and the local people are known for their friendly and welcoming nature. However, it is always advisable to take general safety precautions and follow the guidelines provided by your tour operator or local authorities.


In conclusion, Bhutan offers a rich cultural experience through its popular cities. Thimphu, the capital city, provides visitors with a blend of modern amenities and traditional Bhutanese culture. It boasts significant landmarks such as Buddha Dordenma and Tashichho Dzong, which showcase the country’s religious and architectural heritage. Paro, another popular city, is famous for its iconic Tiger’s Nest monastery, perched on a cliffside. It offers breathtaking nature trails and is an ideal destination for outdoor enthusiasts.

Furthermore, Punakha, the former capital, stands out for its stunning Punakha Dzong, known for its beautiful architecture and peaceful surroundings. Punakha also hosts the Punakha Drubchen festival, a celebration of Bhutanese history and culture. Lastly, Phuentsholing, the gateway to Bhutan, serves as an essential stop for those entering the country. It offers a glimpse into the blend of Indian and Bhutanese cultures, with its bustling markets and diverse culinary scene.

Overall, these popular cities in Bhutan provide a unique opportunity for travelers to immerse themselves in the country’s cultural heritage, natural wonders, and warm hospitality.

Read more about backpacking in Bhutan