Best places to explore in Bhutan
Bhutan with tagline “Happiness is a Place” spells exactly for the same. With ‘Gross National Happiness’ preceding over the monetary considerations, it’s the land for merriment, blessedness, playfulness and JOY in a whole. Until 1962, Bhutan didn’t take notice of building roads in their country. It opened up to modern development very recently. To protect its traditions and culture, the kingdom prices itself a bit high leading to less of touristic invasion, which makes it super peaceful altogether.
The extremely rugged, slopping terrains, dense vegetation and mountainous landscape of Bhutan lends itself well to both on-road and off-road mountain biking. The straight roads hardly exist in such topography. For risk takers and bike freaks its heaven on earth. Away from the city hustle – bustle and the harassing traffic jams, this place marks as one of the two places in the world with no traffic signals after Pyongyang in North Korea. Imagine no honking, overtaking and not being stranded between other motors, isn’t that A-M-A-Z-ING?
Biking projects self reliance and fearlessness. What better it could get, thundering the Enfield through the dirt trails in the ‘Land of Thunder Dragon- Bhutan’. And its rightly said – ‘Travelling here is travelling back in time’. The flawless greenery of the orchards, fossil valleys, quaint and tiny villages is beauty to the eyes. Running through the town over a Royal Enfield is an ideal union of ‘Beauty’ and the ‘Beast’. The chimes in the monasteries, chanting by the monks and a constant breeze preserves the undying customs and culture of Bhutan.
The entire road trip is dotted with winding roads going thousands of feet up and down, keeping one interested, excited and on toes throughout the journey. The trip is structured in a way that one gets to enjoy the ethnicity and uniqueness of cities like Phuntsholing, Thimphu and Paro along the countryside and its people.
The peculiarity in the names of places in Bhutan is equivalent to its untouched allure. The monasteries here are called by the names- lhakhang, dzong and gompa. Just like the differences in names, each monastery is exclusive leaving a mark down the memory lane. The valleys slide adjacent to the culturally rich places here. Phuntsholing, Paro and Thimphu being the prior ones amongst few others like Punakha, Trongsa and Bhumthang.
Phuntsholing (Phuentsholing) is the border town in Southern Bhutan. It’s a small place sitting opposite the much larger Indian bazaar town of Jaigaon. This is the only gateway to Bhutan through roadway. The gate of partition is the most photographed attraction here. There are couple of sites here which can keep an hour or two occupied. It houses a crocodile breeding centre and gives an opportunity to be the closest to this dangerous specie. Also the most visited Chukha Hydropower Project serves for a beautiful scenic beauty.
The last Himalayan kingdom- Paro lies on the banks of the Paro (or Pa) Chhu, just a short distance of the imposing Paro Dzong. The main street, only built in 1985, is lined with colourfully painted wooden shop fronts and restaurants. Overtime the square has become a nondescript hodgepodge of concrete buildings yet it remains one of the best Bhutanese towns to explore on foot and is worth an hour or two's stroll.
Being the capital it is the beating heart of Bhutan. Small town feel with new commercial exuberance makes it for an intriguing destination. Crimson robed monks, traditionally dressed locals and camera wielding tourists all pave way to this city. From monasteries like Changangkha Lhakhang and Zangthoperi Lhakhang which pacifies the energy, it also offers an undisturbed view of Thimphu valley. There are museums of Heritage and Textile displaying exquisiteness of Bhutan. The stay in the capital drenches one in its own bright colours.