Bhutan, the land of the Thunder Dragons is a land of many wonders and is covered in untouched, pristine beauty. Any place you visit on Bhutan is clean and has an edge of tranquillity not found anywhere else. As you travel through Bhutan you can easily witness firsthand why progress is measured in Gross National Happiness in this land. If you are hoping to live life out of a fantasy novel, Bhutan is the place for you to be.
There are many exciting places as well as camping spots throughout Bhutan. When you are planning a trip to this wondrous kingdom you can also choose one of these offbeat places to go to! Here are some of the lesser-known trails, shops, and restaurants that are worth your visit when you are in Bhutan. Himalayan Trekkers knows exactly how to travel spontaneously and so, the best-undiscovered options are listed below.
1. National Handloom Development Project in Trashigang
The National Handloom Development Project is undertaken by the National Women’s Association of Bhutan (NWAB) and is an interesting place to visit whilst you are in Bhutan. There are many artful styles of weaving prevalent in Bhutan and this is the place wherein you can tap into all of them at one go. This project outsources weaving excellence to about 400 villagers in Bhutan. Traditional styles of weaving are the main focus of the project and you can choose from about 300 different samples. You can also learn about all the plants from which the various organic dyes are extracted and the many procedures leading to such extractions. If you are fond of intricate artwork, then this should be a must-visit place in your Bhutan itinerary!
2. Lama Tshering Dorji General Shop in Paro
Whenever you visit any place, you want to take souvenirs back to your homeland as a remembrance of your excellent journey. The Lama Tshering Dorji General Shop in Bhutan is an obscure little shop in Bhutan wherein you will find the most amazing collection of artifacts to take back to your home. From a variety of incense sticks and butter lamps to various other religious artifacts, you will find it all in this shop. You will also find artistic pieces such as amulets and divination dice at this shop. There are other artifacts such as khuru darts and arrows made from bamboo shoots for you to browse through at this little shop in Paro! Remember to stop by this shop if you want something unique to remember your visit to Bhutan!
3. Paro Taktsang
The Tiger’s Nest Monastery in Paro has an interesting mythological tale attached to it. It is said that the second Buddha had attained his enlightenment in this monastery and this was the place where his second concubine, Padmasambhava, arrived on a flying tiger. The monastery is located on the top of a cliff and there is no easy way or flying tigers to carry you there. You have to slowly trek through the slopes for about two hours before you reach the top. However, the view, calm, peace, and serenity that awaits you on the top is worth the trouble of trekking so much. At 3000 feet above the sea level, this monastery will give you a grand view of the valley underneath at the backdrop of an excellent sky and surrounded by lush green vegetation.
4. Philatelic Bureau in Thimpu
You may be thinking why you should be visiting a post office while you are in Thimpu! However, this post office, though it functions like any other ordinary one, has something special to offer you. If you carry a digitized picture of yourself or even get your picture taken on the spot, you can get a set of personalized stamps with your picture on it for just Nu 200 at this post office. If you are a stamp collector, this could be a great opportunity for you. If not, then you can just collect such a unique book of stamps as a keepsake. Also, you can also get a bunch of postcards with amazing locations from around Bhutan to send to all your friends in this post office.
5. Kila Nunnery in Paro
The Kila Nunnery in Paro is the oldest nunnery in Bhutan and has accommodations to support 50 nuns who are pursuing their higher studies in Buddhism. This amazing architectural structure was built in the 9th century AD and served as a site for meditation. It was constructed against a cliff giving it a terrific view for any onlooker. The impressive architectural style just cannot be missed which makes a visit to the Kila Nunnery a must for anyone looking for offbeat places in Bhutan. You can also go on a hiking expedition from the nearby Cheli La through lush forests taking you on a memorable walk through nature interspersed with prayer flags and Chortens.
Haa is a district in Bhutan situated towards the southwest side of Paro and is a must-visit site for anyone who likes to go off the trail. It is the smallest Dzongkha (Bhutanese for the district) in Bhutan and is a great place for photographers and travelers alike. The place is small and thus can be easily traversed through on foot. You will get picturesque locations in Haa which you will remember for a long time to come. There are many temples and beautiful sceneries throughout the village in Bhutan. The pace also boasts of a rich heritage and you need to get a taste of it to understand the Bhutanese lifestyle to the fullest.
7. Champaca Cafe in Paro
A café, anywhere in the world, holds a special place in the heart of any traveler. Cafes in hilly regions are all the more attractive because they are automatically much more picturesque. One such café to look forward to as you are traveling through Bhutan is the Champaca Café in Paro. This is a quaint place to go to after a day full of exciting sightseeing to sit down and relax. You can go for board games or you can discuss the day’s adventures with your friends as you sip on a warm mug of coffee in this café. You may also be alone and soak in the ambiance of the place as you order some delectable snack! The café is an exciting place to go to and is quite pocket friendly!
Lheunste is the place to be if you really want to go off the grid to someplace which even does not have too many tourists. This offbeat location is seldom visited by tourists and some of the finest locations in Bhutan. Lheunste used to be the home to the royal family of Bhutan. It has beautiful mountain ranges that you can stare at throughout the day without getting bored. There are also many sacred places to go to while you ate in Lheunste. The weaving skills and textile tradition of Lheunste are worth the mention and you have to see it to believe it! You can also set up camp in Lheunste through a camping agency in Bhutan if there is an adventurer in you. The starry nights and exceptional sunrise are features to behold!
9. Phobjikha Valley
If you want a taste of the exotic flora and fauna of Bhutan, Phobjikha Valley should be a must on your itinerary. This a glacial valley shaped in the form of a bow and you have to trek to this valley. The views that await you in this valley is worth the trek that you have to undertake. The valley is located right at the fringes of the Jigme Singye Wangchuk National Park on the slopes of the Black Mountains. This is a resting spot for the black-necked cranes making it an important wildlife sanctuary for Bhutan. The place is dotted with many other birds and can come up as a birder’s delight! Wild animals such as the barking deer, sambar deer, red foxes, leopards, and Himalayan black bear are also a common sight in this valley if you are lucky enough!
10. Dumtse Lhakhang in Paro
Legend has it that the Dumtse Lhakhang was built as a means to subdue a demoness by Thangtong Gyalpo. It was built in the 15th century and is quite an unusual temple that has the appearance of a Chorten. The most amazing feature of this temple is the path leading up to it. The path is lined by some of the most magnificent murals that you will ever find in Bhutan. The architecture of the temple is also superb and worth your time. This place is very interesting and its alluring history should be reason enough for you to visit this offbeat place as you are traveling through Bhutan.
Once you choose Himalayan Trekkers, you will not regret on missing out any offbeat location. So, for your next journey, book us and see how magical Bhutan is.