Punakha Tour Guide

Punakha Tour Guide

Punakha is a town in the Himalayas of Bhutan. It’s known for the Punakha Dzong, a 17th-century fortress at the juncture of the Pho and Mo Chhu rivers. The fortress hosts the Punakha Tshechu, a religious festival featuring masked dances and music. In the surrounding Punakha Valley, temples include the fertility-focused Chimi Lhakhang and the hilltop Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten, which has river and mountain views.

Popular Tourist Attraction in Punakha

Talo Goenpa

Talo Monastery is a pristine tourist attraction in Bhutan that is built on a small plateau. It presents visitors with a panoramic view of the Punakha Valley protected by enormous mountains. As we roll back the pages of history, the monastery is believed to be found in 1767 which is also renowned as the ‘Fire Pig Year’ as per the Bhutanese calendar. Since its origination, the mind-boggling Bhutanese architectural ideas used to build this sacred place has been leaving its visitors amazed for ages.

Chimi Lhakhang, Temple of Fertility

Chimi Lhakhang or Monastery or temple, is a Buddhist monastery in Punakha District, Bhutan located near Lobesa, it stands on a round hillock and was built in 1499 by the 14th Drukpa hierarch, Ngawang Choegyel, after the site was blessed by the “Divine Madman” the maverick saint Drukpa Kunley (1455 –1529) who built a chorten on the site.

The Lhakhang is located 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) from Punakha near a village called Sopsokha where a 20-minute walk along a muddy and dusty path through agricultural fields of mustards and rice, leads to a hillock where the monastery and the Chorten are situated. Prayer flags are lined all along the road from the tiny village hamlet known as Yowakha, along a drain or stream to the monastery. All houses in the village have paintings of phalluses on their exterior walls. The lama Kunley had called the hillock where the monastery exists as the breast of a woman because of its round shape.

Khamsumyulley Namgyel Monastery

Visit Khamsum yulley Namgyel Temple in January
Khamsum Yulley Namgyel Monastery

Follow the Mo Chhu upstream from Punakha Dzong, and the gleaming apex of the Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten will soon appear on the opposite bank, a gold-topped beacn guiding you upstream. Seven kilometers (4 miles) northeast of the dzong, the tiered Chorten stands 30-meters (100 feet) tall, it three stories covered with a painted pageant of characters from the annals of Vajrayana Buddhism – including one protector deity pictured riding a shaggy brown migoi or yeti.

A path leads from the roadside to a bridge across the Mo Chhu, before climbing steeply up to the chorten itself. Visit in the cool of the morning then sit to catch your breath and enjoy fabulous views up and down the lush Mo Chhu Valley.

The Best Things to do in Punakha

Punakha is a beautiful valley with temperate climatic condition and its warmer than Thimphu and Paro. The valley offers the best of traditional buildings, monastery and above all the historic Punakha dzong. There are also adventure sports like river rafting, hike and winter trek you can do in Punakha.

White water River Rafting at Punakha

River Rafting at Punakha

Spend a few hours on the water and see a different side of Bhutan. Rafting on the Mo Chhu (Female River) and the Pho Chhu (Male River) gives you the chance to opt for how adventurous you want to be. For beginners and families who want an enjoyable and scenic float down the river, we recommend the Mo Chhu. You start below Khamsum Chorten and the river takes you past the Queen’s Winter Palace and the King’s weekend retreat before coming to an end just below the Punakha Dzong. The Male River on the other hand is for the more adventurous, who wish to tackle some of Bhutan’s white water with some challenging rapids while enjoying the pristine forests and farmland on either side of the river.

Hike to Khamsum Yulley Namgyel Monastery

Hike the most beautiful monastery. Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten sits high above Punakha Valley, affording panoramic views of the verdant hillsides below. The four-story temple remains a worthy example of the country’s traditional architecture and artistic techniques. You’ll have to hike for roughly an hour from the parking at the base of the hill, so be sure to bring plenty of water and a picnic to enjoy in the temple’s picturesque hilltop garden. See Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten and all Punakha has to offer by arranging your trip with our Punakha day trip planner.

Visit the majestic Punakha Dzong

Visit the majestic Punakha Dzong. The Punakha Dzong, also known as Pungthang Dewa chhenbi Phodrang, is the administrative center of the Punakha District in Punakha, Bhutan. Constructed by Ngawang Namgyal, 1st Zhabdrung Rinpoche, in 1637–38, it is the second oldest and second-largest dzong in Bhutan and one of its most majestic structures

Take selfie at Longest Suspension bridge

Enjoy the longest suspension bridge. Punakha Suspension Bridge is one of the longest suspension bridges in Bhutan, spanning 160 -180m and perched high above the very swift river of Po Chhu.

The Best Time to visit Punakha

January to June is the best time to visit Punakha, Bhutan.

March-May is the spring season in Punakha, and it’s the busiest in terms of tourism. The temperature combined with humidity makes it cool and pleasant during these months. Temperature ranges between -3°C and 27°C, and average precipitation is of 1-2 days per month.

Punakha Weather and Climate

Temperatures range from as high as 16 degrees during the day to as low as 5 degrees at night, which is a warm night for most Bhutanese. February is also relatively warm, with temperatures ranging from 7 degrees to as high as 22 degree. Rainfall in January and February is minimal.

How to reach Punakha?

Punakha is 70 Km from Thimphu and 130Km from Paro International airport. Upon landing at Paro airport the drive takes about 4 hours to reach Punakha. From Thimphu, it takes about 2 hours. The roads are good with beautiful views. Travelling Punakha from India will be from Jaigoan the West Bengal state. Upon reaching Jaigoan it takes about 7 hours drive to recah Punakha from Jaigoan.

Where to eat in Punakha?

There are ample of restaurant at Punakha. Both Indian and International Cuisine are available at various restaurant. few restairant you can try are as follows:

  • Cross Bridge Restaurant.
  • Chimi Lhakhang cafeteria.
  • Lobesa Village Restaurant.
  • Yak Herders Camp restaurant.
  • Bukhari Restaurant.
  • Dochula Resort restaurant.

Top Hotels in Punakha

Uma by Como

Luxury Uma by Como Hotel

COMO Uma Punakha, our second hotel in Bhutan, is an intimate, luxury lodge located at the far western end of the lush Punakha Valley.

RKPO Green Resort

Hotel in Punakha

Looking for a place to stay in Punakha? Then look no further than RKPO Green Resort, a romantic small hotel that brings the best of Punakha to your doorstep. As your “home away from home,” the small hotel rooms offer a flat-screen TV and air conditioning, and getting online is easy, with free wifi available.

FAQ about Punakha

Is Punakha worth visiting?

Simply awesome! This Dzong in Punakha is beautifully located on an island flanked by the Mo Chu and Po Chu rivers. Built in 1637 as a fortress, it now houses government offices and a monastery. A lovely old bridge connects it to the parking lot.

What is Punakha famouse for?

What is Punakha famous for? Punakha is famous for its amazing 17th-century fortress, its unique techniques for growing rice as well its beautiful architecture. Punakha is situated at the juncture of two beautiful rivers the Pho and Mo Chhu rivers which makes this place look even more majestic

What is the altitude of Punakha?

Punakha is about 1242m above sea level. It is warm valley with temperate type of climate.

Do i need permit to visit Punakha?

Yes if you are an Indian national and have only permit to visit Paro and thimphu.

Bhutan Travel Guide

Bhutan by Destination

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