Bhutan is a country full of natural beauty and cultural richness, and while popular destinations such as Paro, Thimphu, and Punakha are definitely worth a visit, there are many off-the-beaten-path destinations in Bhutan that are equally as spectacular. In this article, we’ll explore some of these hidden gems, and provide you with a guide to the best off-the-beaten-path destinations to visit in Bhutan.
Nestled in the western part of Bhutan, the Haa Valley is a beautiful and serene place, relatively unknown to most tourists. This valley is known for its stunning landscape, traditional architecture, and cultural heritage. Here you can visit local farms, walk through the forest, or take a dip in the nearby hot springs.
Lhuntse is a district in eastern Bhutan, famous for its weaving traditions and remote location. It is a great place to experience the traditional way of life in Bhutan. Here, you can witness the making of Bhutan’s traditional attire, called Kira and Gho, and visit ancient temples, including Lhuntse Dzong, one of the oldest and most significant fortress monasteries in the country.
Located in central Bhutan, Gangtey Valley is a picturesque and serene place. This valley is home to the black-necked cranes, which migrate here from Tibet every winter. Here, you can witness the cranes in their natural habitat, take a walk through the pine forests, and visit the Gangtey Monastery, one of the largest and most important monasteries in Bhutan.
Another great off-the-beaten-path destination in central Bhutan is Phobjikha Valley. This valley is known for its stunning natural beauty, including its vast wetland and beautiful landscapes. Here, you can witness the black-necked cranes, which migrate to this area every winter, and visit the Gangtey Monastery, one of the largest and most important monasteries in Bhutan.
Trashigang is the largest district in eastern Bhutan, and one of the most remote regions of the country. This district is known for its stunning scenery, traditional architecture, and unique festivals. Here, you can visit the Trashigang Dzong, one of the largest and most impressive fortress monasteries in Bhutan, and take a stroll through the town’s bustling market.
Bumthang Valley is located in central Bhutan and is home to some of the country’s oldest temples and monasteries. This valley is known for its beautiful scenery, traditional architecture, and rich cultural heritage. Here, you can visit the Jambay Lhakhang, one of Bhutan’s oldest and most sacred temples, and witness the unique festivals and traditions of the region.
Merak and Sakteng
Merak and Sakteng are two remote villages located in eastern Bhutan. These villages are home to the Brokpas, a unique community of semi-nomadic people who still live according to traditional customs and beliefs. Here, you can experience the Brokpas’ way of life, witness their unique festivals, and explore the beautiful and rugged landscape of this remote region.
Sustainable tourism in Bhutan is a key focus of the Bhutan travel industry policies, with the government prioritizing the preservation of its unique culture, environment, and traditions. Bhutan has adopted a “High Value, Low Impact” Bhutan tourism policy, which limits the number of tourists and focuses on high-end, low-impact tourism. This approach not only helps to preserve Bhutan’s delicate ecosystem but also ensures that tourism benefits the local community and supports the country’s sustainable development goals. Bhutan also places a strong emphasis on community-based tourism, where visitors can experience the local culture and way of life while contributing to the local economy. Overall, Bhutan’s sustainable tourism practices demonstrate a commitment to balancing economic development with environmental and cultural preservation.
Bhutan is a country full of hidden gems waiting to be discovered. These off-the-beaten-path destinations offer visitors a unique and authentic experience of the country’s natural beauty, cultural heritage, and traditional way of life. Whether you’re interested in hiking through the mountains, exploring ancient temples, or simply immersing yourself in Bhutan’s unique culture, these destinations are definitely worth a try.