Bird watching water sports in Bhutan
You have chosen the Shangri-La for your honeymoon! The thought itself is so romantic! Congratulations on your marriage and I hope your honeymoon will be splendid with all the help from Mygola team. I have tried my best to answer your questions! Hope this helps!
Bhutan (Source: Steve Evans)
Since you already have some great destinations in mind, let me not waste time and give you some more details about these places!
(Cheli La, Bhutan) (Source: Jean-Marie Hullot)
Chelela Pass on 13000 ft is the highest road pass in Bhutan. Get a magnificent view of the Himalayas including the Jhomolari peak. I am sure the experience from the top, will be amazing! Here is some more information:
Chele La Pass at over 13,000 ft to the west above the Paro Valley is the highest road pass in the country and has amazing views of the Himilaya and most significantly the magnificent Jhomolari, Bhutan's most sacred peak at over 22,000 feet. It is a one and a half hour drive from the valley floor in Paro to the pass. It can be ridden on a mountain bike but the climb is a long one. It is great fun to free wheel down either into the Haa Valley on the other side of back to Paro.
(Source: Bhutan Sights - Chele La Pass)
This is a relatively new destination in Bhutan. Apart from the virginal beauty of the Haa valley, you will also find some temples and fortresses around here. It takes around 4 hours to reach from Thimpu and lesser from Paro. The direct route will take you to Haa Valley over Chelela Pass. It will be a very scenic drive I am sure!
Things to see:
- Lhakhang Karpo and Nagpo are the famous White and Black temples of Haa!
- Shekhar Drak an unique temple whose walls are melded with the rock of the cliff on the foot of which it is located!
- Tagchu Goemba is a 100 year old temple!
- Dobji Dzong a five storeyed fortress on a hilltop is a beautiful site!
- Wangchulo Dzong resembles the structure of Wangdicholing Palace at Bumthang.
Phobjikha Valley (Source: 1309 Phobjikha Valley)
Phobjikha Valley is perhaps most famous for its Black necked Cranes! It is around 6 hours drive from Thimpu. The drive among Dochula Chortens and Rhodos is mind-blowing. However winters can be very cold so make sure you have lots of woolen clothes. The entire region is sometimes called Gangtey
- Here is what you should do after reaching here:
Your first stop should be the Royal Society for Protection of Nature's (RSPN) Black-Necked Crane Information Centre, which has informative displays about the cranes and the valley environment. You can use the centre's powerful spotting scopes and check what you see against its pamphlet "Field Guide to Crane Behaviour". If the weather's iffy you can browse the library and handicraft shop, and watch videos at 10am and 3pm (Nu 200). This is also the centre of the valley's fledgling ecotourism initiative and they can arrange mountain-bike hire (Nu 700 per day), a local guide (Nu 300), an overnight stay in a local farmhouse (Nu 500) or lectures on the local ecosystem.
Check out their website!
- The Jigme Singye National Park is another area attraction! Lots of wild animals around here - Snow Leopards, Wild Bears, Red Foxes, Barking Deers etc.
- Gangtey Monastery should be in your checklist as well.
Read this article from Tripadvisor!
Novices in Wangdue Phodrang (Bhutan) (Source: Jean-Marie Hullot)
This place is a 2 hour drive from the capital and 2hours 45 minutes drive from the airport.
Things to see:
- Chimme Lhakhang dedicated to the mad monk can be reached when you walk through the paddy fields for 20 minutes.
Please check this page for a list of other attractions near this area!
I can understand that being a young couple, you would like to do more than just visit the usual touristy stuff! Bhutan is a place to see the beautiful architectures of the temples and trek around the wilderness. You already have an idea about trekking and hiking around Bhutan from a previous answer. So apart from the temples and monasteries these are some options for you to explore!
mo river (Source: mo river)
Since you specifically wanted to know about rafting in Punakha, I found this site that offers rafting trips on Pochu and Mochu rivers of Punakha. However for further details you will have to mail/call them.
Do check here for rafting routes!
Telephone # +975 2 320115
Fax # +975 2 335989
Cell # +975 17113661
If you want to see the national animal of Bhutan upclose go to this reserve! Takin is an animal that looks like a cross between a cow and a goat! Sounds interesting right?
There are legends and myths attached to this animal which was earlier kept in a zoo. Here is a Lonely Planet review with much more details:
A short distance up the road to the telecom tower is a trail leading to a large fenced area that was originally established as a mini-zoo. The king decided that such a facility was not in keeping with Bhutan's environmental and religious convictions, and it was disbanded some time ago.
The animals were released into the wild but the takins, Bhutan's national animal, were so tame that they wandered around the streets of Thimphu looking for food, and the only solution was to put them back into captivity. It's worthwhile taking the time to see these oddball mammals. The best time to see them is early morning when they gather near the fence to feed. It's a five-minute walk from the road to a viewing area where you can take advantage of a few holes in the fence to take photographs.
This is a great place to catch hold of the national game of Bhutan. Tournaments are scheduled on weekends sometimes, if you are in town its worth checking out if there is any event!
A great place to see the locals and experience their culture. Just north of Changlimthanng Stadium, on the banks of Wang Chhu yo will find this Weekend Market. Fresh vegetables and food stuff are available in the stalls!
I found this great review from virtual tourist and thought of adding it to your list:
Hiking through the Royal Botanical Garden (which is more akin to a National Park than a garden), the landscape has a wide variety, ranging in elevation over 800 m and covering a diverse array of biomes as well as wildlife, including red pandas, Asian elephants, and even the elusive tiger. Up in the higher elevations, around 2700 m, the moist cloud forest dominates. The hiking was incredible, everything was dripping with lichens, and even though it was late November fungi were popping up all around. Everything was lush, and green, and quiet. It felt like what forests should feel like, with the silence of the autumn upon them, the quiet expanded in those green passages. The woods felt and looked ancient, from an age beyond years, and we were just passing through their midst. It was a wondrous hike, and a great trip out of the city of Thimphu.
As part of your fun things to do, why not taste local cuisine? I am sure you would love to do that! So here are some suggestions!
Lonely Planet lists this cafe as the number 4 attraction in Bhutan! Must be something then! The cakes are delightful and so are the pastas and noodles!
* Doebum Lam
* cakes & soups Nu 50-150
* 7.30am-7pm, closed Mon
Now for local cuisine, Bhutan Kitchen seems to be a good choice! Taste Bhutanese food in a traditional setting and end your meal with the traditional drink Arra - the firewater!
Here is a blog post about Bhutan Kitchen. You can get an idea about the kind of food to expect there.
* Gatoen Lam
* mains Nu 100-300
* lunch & dinner
A Bhutanese Bar with Live Music Band! Another happening place for the younger crowd. You can even go up on the stage and sing a song!
* Norzin Lam Clocktower Square Area Yarkay Central
* 9pm-2am Wed, Fri & Sat
While you travel in Bhutan, route permits become a very much required document. There are many checkpoints specially in and around Thimphu and the adjoining districts where you will be asked for them quite frequently.These permits are issued by the immigration office in Thimphu.
Some valuable info about getting around in Bhutan :
The roads that cross the country are characterized by their twists, turns, and steep inclines, but despite the difficult topography, they are generally very well-maintained and safe. Local and inter-district bus services are not so comfortable and stop frequently. Tourists usually prefer to travel by a 4 wheeler-offroad or mini bus, which can be reserved through a tour operator. However, traveling by local or inter-district bus allows the traveler to meet Bhutanese people first hand and get more of a "feel" for really being in Bhutan.
As the public transport running between towns in Bhutan is infrequent, hitching is a very common way to get around. The thumb in the air symbol, however, is not recognized, and you will need to flag down a passing vehicle in order to get one to stop. NB: As some drivers pick up passengers as a means of supplementing their incomes, it is customary to offer payment when getting out of the vehicle (the amount depends roughly on the distance, but it will be comparable to the cost of traveling by bus). However, most drivers require nothing, and are more than happy just to have some company and the opportunity to make a new friend. If you plan to hitch a lot (and in some rural areas there is no other way to get around), it is a good idea to take a few small gifts to offer the drivers as an expression of your appreciation.
Bhutan (Source: Wikitravel)
There is always more than what meets the eye when one goes travelling. Since I noticed that you have an eye for the offbeat, considering doing one of these to get a real taste of this tiny nation:
- Get a real insight into the faith that serves as the backbone to the country's identity. You can get some unique understandings on Buddhist practice at any monastery, however, if you want to know more of the Buddhist philosophy, consider consulting the khenpos or the loppons meaning teachers Shedras (Buddhist colleges), such as, Lhodrak Kharchhu Monastery in Jakar, Tango Monastery near Thimphu or Chokyi Gyatso Institute in Deothang.
- Weaving -
Bhutanese woven cloth is prized throughout the world for its unique designs and high quality, and there is a weaving center in Khaling in Trashigang
Bhutan (Source: Steve Evans)
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