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Districts of Bhutan

Comprising 20 districts or dzongkhag, the Kingdom of Bhutan offers a number of places to see tourists of all kinds. Whether it is a family vacation, pilgrimage tour, wildlife tour, honeymoon tour or an adventurous expedition, the places in Bhutan will give tourists an opportunity to learn about the rich culture and tradition of Bhutan. No matter which district one chooses to travel in Bhutan, the tourist destination in every district of Bhutan will give a holiday experience to cherish for a lifetime.

1. Paro

Nestled on the banks of Paro Chhu and the Wang Chhu, Paro is home to Taktsang Monastery, (Tiger’s Nest), the most iconic landmark of Bhutan. With more than 150 temples and monasteries, the region is one of the best destinations for a religious/pilgrimage tour. Also, the national museum, Ta Dzong preserves a snapshot of the rich cultural traditions of the kingdom.

2. Punakha

Overlooking the mesmerising confluence of Pho Chhu and Mo Chhu, Punakha once served as the capital of Bhutan. The region has been linked with the significant occasions in the history of the country. Also, Punakha is home to the second-oldest and second-largest dzong that stands as one of the majestic structures in the entire country.

3. Thimphu

The capital city of Bhutan, Thimphu is the kingdom’s mini-metropolis where culture can be best witnessed with respect to customs, dance, music, literature and more. With a chorten, a sanctuary, monasteries and other tourist attractions, the city is an expanding bubble of nightclubs, shopping centres, chalet-like apartment buildings and more.

4. Samtse

Located in Southern Bhutan, Samtse has a rich diversity of flora and fauna. For this reason, one of the most exotic animals in the region are the local elephants. Besides, Samtse is religiously diverse with both Hinduism and Buddhism being widely practiced in the dzongkhag. One can find stunning temples belonging to both the religion.

5. Trashigang

The kingdom’s largest district, Transhigang is set on a hillside and is home to the Sakteng Wildlife Sanctuary. The sanctuary was created to protect the migoi, a type of yeti. Besides, the region has the first accredited and one of the most reputed colleges of Bhutan which was founded in the year 1966.

6. Sarpang

With rich biodiversity, Sarpang has three major environmentally protected areas making the surrounding areas extremely beautiful. One can head to Royal Manas National Park, Phibsoo Wildlife Sanctuary and Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park. Besides, Gelephu in the dzongkhag is a hub for cross-border trade.

7. Wandue Phodrang

The entire Dzongkhag in Central Bhutan is environmentally protected making it a home to many rare and exotic animals and a large number of rare birds. Wandue Phodrang is most notable for the Phobjikha Valley is a habitat of the rare and endangered Black Necked Cranes that arrive during the annual migration.

8. Bumthang

Blessed with nature’s abundance, Bumthang brings one close to the green fields, enchanting valleys and warm-hearted people. With some of its oldest Buddhist temples and monasteries, Bumthang is considered to be the religious heartland of the kingdom. Not only this, the views of apple orchards and dairy farms are a common sight in this serene region of Bhutan.

9. Chukha

Chukha in western Bhutan is an ideal tourist destination for travellers of all kind. Phuentsholing is the border town and administrative seat of the region, making it an important attraction in Chukha. With some of the monasteries, the district is believed to be strongly blessed by the Buddhist masters. Of all, the must-visit site in the region is Tshamdrak Goemba dating back to the 17th century.

10. Dagana 

With about 80% of the region covered under forest, Dagana got its name from the historic Daga Trashiyangtse Dzong of the 17th century. With a number of sightseeing places, the must-visit includes three stone Megaliths and the Buddhist shrines of the 18th century include Shathong Lhakhang and Nyindukha Lhakhang.

11. Gasa

The exceptional scenic location of Gasa has made it one of the tourist destinations in Bhutan. Gasa is known for the Layaps and Snowmen Trek, one of the most challenging treks in the country. Besides, the region is even famous for healing hot springs, especially during the winter season.

12. Haa

One of the smallest dzongs in the kingdom, Haa showcases a unique lifestyle and culture that can be best witnessed in the annual Summer Festival. Besides, the wooded hills of the region make it an ideal location for some adventurous activities like mountain biking and hiking. Also, there is a steep north-south valley with a narrow floor that makes it one of the interesting features of Haa.

13. Lhuentse

One of the most isolated districts in Bhutan, Lhuentse is famous for weaving that is considered to be the best in the country. Besides, most of Lhuentse district is environmentally protected that boasts the three parks including Thrumshingla National Park, Wangchuck Centennial Park, and Bumdeling Wildlife Sanctuary. These parks are connected by biological corridors that intersect the southern and central regions of the kingdom.

14. Trashiyangtse

One of the newest districts in the country, Trashi Yangtse let’s one witness the ethnic and cultural diversity in the region. The region has the major art school called School of Traditional Arts, making the people of Trashiyangtse skilled in woodworking and papermaking. Besides, the district is home to Bhutan’s some of the protected areas including Kulong Chu Wildlife Sanctuary and Bumdeling Wildlife Sanctuary.

15. Trongsa

One of the 20 districts of Bhutan, Trongsa due to its strategic position in the early years was crucial in controlling the kingdom. Today, it is one of the tourist destinations in Bhutan which boasts an impressive museum that has been converted from the watchtower of Trongsa. A museum is a good place for those who are keen to learn the history of Bhutan.

16. Mongar

With a spectacular landscape, Mongar is one of the fastest-developing districts in Bhutan. The district is known for weaving and the fabrics produced here are considered to be some of the best in the country. Mongar is even famous for lemongrass, a plant that is used to produce beneficial essential oil. Besides, those who love wildlife can take a walk into Thrumshingla National Park and Bumdeling Wildlife Sanctuary.

17. Pemagatshel

With most of the district covered by farmland, Pemagatshel is one of the must-visit districts of Bhutan. The region has its own special tourist attractions including the shrines and temples dating back to the 15th century. Besides, Pemagatshel is known for numerous festivals and folk songs. Of all, the most notable is the Ausa, which is sung during the departure of friends, family or relatives.

18. Samdrup Jongkhar

Being the oldest town in Bhutan, Samdrup Jongkar used to be the main trading centre for the Bhutanese. Today, the district is one of the must-visit tourist destinations with Mithun Breeding Farm, Samdrup Jongkhar Dzong, Zangdo Pelri and Dewathang being the main points of interests to explore.

19. Tsirang

One of the dzongkhags of Bhutan, Tsirang is situated on the Wandue-Gelephu highway and is noted for gentle slopes and mild climate. Also, it is from Tsirang from where Bhutan’s one of the longest rivers PunatsangChhu or Sankosh river flows. Besides, the route from Wandue Phodrang to Tsirang offers a scenic view that is no less than a feast for the eyes.

20. Zhemgang

Blessed with rich biodiversity, Zhemgang is home to more than 20 endangered species including the Golden Langur. One can head to visit the Royal Manas National Park, the oldest natural preserve in the kingdom. Besides, the region is famous for its rich culture, particularly the folk dances and songs; skill at crafting bamboo and earthenware products and more.

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