Punakha

Travel Guide Asia Bhutan Punakha

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Introduction

Punakha is located at about 3- hour drive from the capital, Thimphu. Punakha is also the former capital of Bhutan and much of all the significant history that helped form Bhutan took place in this valley. Approaching Punakha feels like you have traveled back in the medieval times with the valley being dotted with beautiful traditional two-storied farmhouses surrounded with neatly trimmed terraces of paddy fields. The view gets better in fall just before the harvesting time when the fields turn golden harmonizing with the auburn landscape enclosing the entire valley.

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Sights and Activities

Pho Chu Suspension bridge

The longest suspension bridge in Bhutan stretches on Pho Chu River behind the Punakha Dzong. The iron clad bridge swings from left to right as brave visitors cross the bridge. The long bridge leads to a beautiful village of Mendrelgang.

Chimi Lhakhang

The founding of the Chimi Lhakhang is credited to the maverick saint Drukpa Kuenley also known as the divine mad man who supposedly subdued the Dochula demon and built a small stupa on the site. Later a Lhakhang was built on that site. The Lhakhang is popularly known as the fertility temple based on the fact that every childless couple who visited the temple and received a blessing miraculously had children after the visit.

Punakha Dzong

Located on a confluence of the male (pho Chu) river and female (Mo Chu) river, the Punakha Dzong is also known as the palace of great happiness, rightfully, just a mere sight of the magnificent fortress evokes great sense of happiness in any onlooker. The marvels of the fortress are not limited to its appearance but its architecture which has been strategically constructed to keep invaders and enemies at bay is just astonishing. A traditional cantilever bridge leads the visitors to the Dzong over the female river and is greeted by three gigantic stairs which are strategically placed to be removed at times of siege so that it blocks the only entry point to the fortress. This Dzong is a must visit sight in Punakha valley.

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Events and Festivals

Punakha Drubchen

The Punakha Drubchen and Tsechu are celebrated in the second lunar month annually. The festival is almost celebrated for a week and all the schools and offices are kept closed. Over thousands of devotees in and around the region congregate in the courtyard of the Dzong to witness the grand dances. The monks perform cham through the day while local men and women showcase dances for entertainment back to back. Chams are religious masked dances performed by monks. The dances are performed to honor the Buddhist saints.

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Weather

The temperature in Punakha ranges from 30 °C in summer with hot and humid climate to 4 °C in winter which is pleasant.

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Getting There

By Car

Few buses travel to Punakha from the capital at cost of less than half a dollar. The journey takes about three hours.

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Getting Around

By Car

you can hire taxis to travel around the valley. you can get taxis in Punakha’s only town Khuruthang.

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Eat

  • 10zin Pizzeria - The pizzeria is located in Lobesa and it quite small but the pizza makes up for all of it. They serve really good pizzas with thin crust and lavish toppins of mushroom and other goody veggies and with the right amount of mozzarella. They also serve their version of ema-datshi pizza which is to die for.
  • Lobesa Village Restaurant - The hotel is located in Lobesa by a riverside which provides really nice views of the valley. The restaurant serves simple yet delicious food. The foods are prepared with fresh organic produces which makes the food really good. They also have WI-FI.

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Drink

You can get drinks in every restaurants and bar except on Tuesdays which is recognized as a dry day and it is illegal to sell, buy and drink on Tuesdays. Locally brewed alcohols like beers, wines and whisky are available.

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Sleep

Luxury Accommodation Options

  • Dhensa Boutique Resort - Address Wolokha Punakha Tel: +975 2584434
  • Como Uma Resort - Address Botokha Punakha Tel: +975 2584688

Standard Accommodation Options

  • Drubchhuc Resort - Address Lobesa Punakha Tel: +975 17171515
  • Damchen Resort - Address Khuruthang Punakha Tel: +975 25584367

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Keep Connected

Internet

WiFi is readily available in the majority of hotels throughout the country. Many of the internet cafes offer WiFi also. Most population centres have internet cafes, although they are relatively expensive, and the connection is slow. Please make sure your travel agent find an appropriate internet cafe in advance if you need a connection for work.

Phone

See also International Telephone Calls

The country calling code to Bhutan is: 975. To make an international call from Bhutan, the code is: 00

Telephone call booths are existent in major towns in Bhutan. Most of Bhutan has mobile phone coverage, which is smart phone capable. B-Mobile has agreements with North American, some Asian and European countries on mobile roaming. Tashi Cell is another mobile company based in country.

Tourists can now quickly and easily register for a B-Mobile SIM that is valid for 1 month. Simply take your passport to a B-Mobile office. The SIM card costs 50Nu, and comes with 50Nu credit. Ask them to activate 3G/4G and data access while you are there, and test it works before leaving. There are no data plans per say, but the rate is affordable by international standards (0.0003Nu/KB). SIM Cards are available in all sizes (Standard, Micro and Nano). Recharge cards are available at most stores and small shops.

B-Mobile and TashiCell have different frequencies for their data network. Check your phone's supported frequency before getting a SIM card.

B-Mobile: 850Mhz (3G) and 1800Mhz (LTE band 3)
TashiCell: 850Mhz (3G) and 700Mhz (LTE band 28)

Post

Bhutan Post offers services throughout the country. It's reliable but it takes quite some time for your postcard or letter to arrive in other countries.

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Punakha Travel Helpers

We don't currently have any Travel Helpers for Punakha

This is version 11. Last edited at 10:43 on Aug 10, 18 by Utrecht. 1 article links to this page.

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