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3.7 /5 28 votes


Best Time: March - May Read More

Ideal duration: 1 day

Nearest Airport: Paro Check Flights

"Home to the Palace of Great Happiness"

Punakha Tourism

Punakha is one of the 20 districts (dzongkhags) of Bhutan bordered by the Gasa, Wangdue Phodrang and Thimphu districts. Located at the height of 1200m above sea level, Punakha offers a mesmerising view of the Himalayas.

It is also fertile as the two rivers - Po Chhu and Mo Chhu converge here in the Punakha Valley making it an excellent terrain for rice cultivation. Located at a proximal distance from Thimphu around 72kms, Punakha can be reached within 3 hours. It is usually warmer in Punakha as compared to Thimphu or Paro, making it an ideal destination any time of the year.

Punakha was the former capital of Bhutan until 1955 which was later given to Thimphu. Home to plenty of slopes, the valley is an excellent place for mountain biking and trekking. Apart from this, Bhutan's most popular adventure sport- river rafting is carried out in the Po Chhu River. Punakha is also famously known to house the second oldest dzong of Bhutan - the Punakha Dzong, and even hosting the first national assembly in the year 1953. It is a beautifully designed dzong that showcases the architectural brilliance of Bhutan.

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History of Punakha

Punakha was the capital of Bhutan before Thimpu took it place. It is still the sitting place of the Chief abbot. Punakha was made the capital of Bhutan in late 1960's and was the venue of the first national assembly held during that time. It is known to contain a structural brilliance along with a serene atmosphere.

Nightlife in Punakha

Being mostly a hill station people prefer doing activities such as hiking and trekking. There isn't much of a nightlife, although you along with your group can enjoy events such as bonfire and party around. However, in Punakha there are numerous small bars as well as restaurants which serve some alcohol and snacks which you can enjoy along with pleasant weather outside.

Shopping in Punakha

Punakha is mainly a hill station and here you won't find a large scale market. However, you would definitely find markets and stores which would be selling handicrafts as well as some other common items belonging to the Bhutanese culture.

Currency in Punakha

The primary currency utilised in Bhutan is Bhutanese Ngultrum. This currency is utilised all over the Bhutan including the areas such as Thimpu and Paro.

Exchanging Money in Punakha

You can get your currency converted into the local Bhutanese currency easily at the Airport. Also, we would advice you to carry cash all the time as there are sometimes when ATM wonêt work or you wouldnêt be able to find one in some parts.

Daily Budget for Punakha

On an average you would be spending BTN 350 per day, which includes meals as well as basic travelling. However, in case you are shopping and travelling to nearby places, this cost would rise up to BTN 700 - 800 per day. These charges do not include any alcohol or any other luxury expenditures.

Religion of Punakha

You would find most of the people in Bhutan following Buddhism. However, over time, there has been a considerable increase in the number of people who follow Hinduism.

Punakha Customs

Being one of the traditional nations located in across the world, Bhutan has been known to follow a very refined etiquette. People over here are normally dressed in the traditional Bhutanese dress where men wear a knee length robe which is called as Gho, while the women are known to wear what is known as Kira. Also here certain etiquettes are observed while speaking, while eating in public, while sending as well as receiving gifts and hence at many such occasions.

Language of Punakha

Dzongkha is the national language in Bhutan and hence you would find most of the people conversing in this language. The educated people of this city can also speak English as this is the language which is used for the purpose of education in Bhutan. You would also be surprised to find some people to be able to speak Hindi, although not as fluently.

Restaurants and Local Food in Punakha

Rice is the main component of the numerous meals cooked in Bhutan. Here you would find rice being served along with two or one type of side meals, including meat as well as vegetables. Some of the common vegetable eaten or consumed in Paro are tomato, spinach, pumpkin etc. There are a number of Bhutanese dishes such as Ema Datshi, Phaksha Paa and everyone's favourite Dimsum or Momos which you should definitely try.

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