Here are the top 9 tourist attractions to see in Punakha:

1. Punakha Dzong

4.5 /5

2 km
from city center
1 out of 9
places to visit in Punakha

Punakha Dzong is the second oldest and second largest dzong in the country. It was here that the first national assembly was held in 1953 and it remained the seat of the Government of Bhutan until 1955. Not only does this dzong boast of Bhutanese architectural marvel, but it also remains culturally important for housing sacred relics of the Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism and the sacred remains of Ngawang Namgyal, the Tibetan Buddhist lama and unifier of the country of Bhutan.

2. Mo Chhu (River)

2 km
from city center
2 out of 9
places to visit in Punakha

Starting from Gasa Dzongkhag district near Tibet and Bhutan border, the Mo Chhu(River) flows towards Punakha in the central region of Bhutan. It then joins the Po Chhu from the northeast of Bhutan. The confluence of the two rivers is right below the Punakha Dzong which is a treasure trove of experiences as activities like Rafting and Kayaking are carried out here. The confluence of the 'Mo chhu' and 'Po chhu' is called 'Puna Tseng Chhu', which then flows through Wangdue Phodrang, and the districts of Dagana and Tsirang.

3. Punakha Suspension Bridge

1 km
from city center
3 out of 9
places to visit in Punakha

The second-longest suspension bridge in Bhutan, Punakha Suspension Bridge is perched over the Mo Chhu and Po Chhu (river) and is about 160-180 meters in length. It is one of the oldest suspension bridges in the world that connects Punakha Dzongkhag to the rest of the valley. Believed to be built by Thangtong Gyalpo, the bridge has undergone several years of renovation. It has an integral part in the architectural history of Bhutan as it was built to connect the villages of Samdingkha and Wangkha by the kings of Wangchuk. The bridge is beautifully draped with prayer flags and makes a perfect spot for bird watching and photography. Although it is built sturdily, it shakes when winds blow strongly, and that is when the thrill is at its zenith.

4. Chimi Lhakhang

7 km
from city center
4 out of 9
places to visit in Punakha

Located an hour outside Punakha village, Chimi Lhakhang (also known as Chime Lhakhang) is a Buddhist monastery best known for its worship of the phallus. It stands on a round hillock said to resemble breasts and is decorated with phallic symbols all along its walls. It was built in honour of Drukpa Kunley, the “Divine Madman” who preaches Buddhism through humour and sexual tones.

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5. Jigme Dorji National Park

4.2 /5

28 km
from city center
5 out of 9
places to visit in Punakha

Bhutan is a country which always believes in preserving the traditional valuables and respects its natural resources. And following its footsteps, Jigme Dorji National Park not only houses the distinct flora and fauna but also provides them with all the essential resources, facilities and care.

6. Dochula Pass

17 km
from city center
6 out of 9
places to visit in Punakha

Dochula Pass is a breath-taking mountain pass, in commemoration of Bhutanese soldiers who passed away in military operations for the country. Along the Dochula Pass, there are 108 memorial chortens (also known as stupas) called the 'Druk Wangyal Chortens' for each soldier's life lost in the war. The hills are also decorated with colourful religious flags in five colours to represent the natural elements: blue for the sky, red for fire, green for water, white for clouds, and yellow for earth. To the local Buddhist people, these flags are symbols of veneration and the inscriptions of prayers on each flag signals peace and prosperity for Bhutan.

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7. Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten

8 km
from city center
7 out of 9
places to visit in Punakha

Located after a hike of 45 minutes from a small hill having a beautiful prayer wheel, Khansum Yulley Namgyal Chorten is a spectacular site to visit because of the beautiful view of the surroundings that it offers. It has a very rich history as to why it was built and it is a pleasure to hear it from one of the local guides. It is adorned with beautiful paintings of Sakyamuni, which makes this chorten a must watch.

8. Sangchhen Dorji Lhuendrup Lhakhang

7 km
from city center
8 out of 9
places to visit in Punakha

Overlooking Punakha, Wangduephodrang and Toebesa Valleys, Sangchhen Dorji Lhuendrup Nunnery is a temple as well as a nunnery perched over a ridge. Initially, the complex had 41 nuns with 70 rooms but now it houses over a hundred nuns. With a 14-foot bronze statue of Avalokiteshvara and few other bronze statues, the nunnery was consecrated by his holiness Je Khenpo. The Lhakhang (temple) is double storied with a chorten resembling Boudhanath stupa of Nepal with black carved marble blocks surrounding it. It's a great place to meditate and catch the mesmerising view of Punakha Valley.

9. Ritsha Village

3.8 /5

28 km
from city center
9 out of 9
places to visit in Punakha

Popular for rice cultivation, the Ritsha village is where you would find both red and white rice grown in Bhutan. Located in Punakha on the banks of Mo Chu and Pho Chu river this village is famous for its majority production of rice. The word Ritsha means "at the base of the hill". The village is surrounded by the rivers, paddy fields and hills making it one of the must visit places in Punakha.

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