Capital of Bhutan and seat of the government until 1955, the little town of Punakha still enjoys a serene and regal ambience from its stately days. Found in a fertile valley at a relatively low 1,200 metres above sea level, come here for warm, sultry days filled with history, trekking and culture – with the grand temple, Punakha Dzong, deemed the star of the show.
Sitting on the confluence of two chief Bhutanese rivers, Punakha Dzong has been fully restored to its original splendour and so considered one of the country’s most striking ancient fortresses. Housing many precious relics, its whitewashed exterior contrasts beautifully with colourful sacred murals and carved wooden balconies and windows, making it one of Bhutan‘s most photogenic landmarks.
The unspoilt nature of fruit trees, flourishing rice fields and distant Himalayas adds to Punakha’s beauty spots and can be explored on idyllic hiking, cycling and river rafting tours.
When to go
The best time to visit is from October to May when the climate is mainly dry and sunny.
What to do
- Visit Punakha Dzong, Bhutan's most photogenic ancient fortress
- Trekking, cycling and river rafting