Bhutan has been an underlying gem of a place for a long time and is only now getting the much-deserved recognition as a tourist destination. From the mighty mountain ranges to the beautiful monasteries where one can find solace, there’s a lot to explore in Bhutan tourist places. However, there is much more to Bhutan apart from the usual popular tourist destinations. If you are one who likes to go off the beaten path and are in for pleasant surprises then this list of the top five offbeat destinations in Bhutan is surely something that will appeal to you. Plan your Bhutan itinerary well in advance that has a mixture of the popular tourist spots, along with the unconventional one to delve into the rich cultural experiences the destination has in store for you.
1. Haa Valley
Located in Haa district in Bhutan, this place offers you beautiful panoramic views of mountain ranges, equal to those of Paro, but without the chaos and hassle of tourist crowds. Being mostly populated with the local people, you will also get better exposure and experience of authentic Bhutanese culture. The best time to visit Bhutan is during the months of March to May and September and November. If travelling from Thimphu, it is advisable to stay there for a day, so that you get ample time to enjoy all the attractions present in and around the Haa Valley.
Distance from Thimphu: 115 km
Travel time from Thimphu to Haa Valley: 4 hours
2. The National Folk Heritage Museum
The best way to learn about the history of traditions of any country is through its museums, and when in Bhutan, you definitely can’t miss out on this traditional three-stories museum in Thimphu, that takes you back in time and walks you through the rich history, culture and traditions of the Bhutanese villages, by the means of pottery, costumes, and scriptures. Not many Bhutan tour packages include this hidden gem, but nonetheless, it should definitely be on your itinerary.
Location: Pedzoe, Lam in Thimphu, Bhutan
Timings: Weekdays: 9 AM to 4:45 PM, Weekends: 10 AM- 1 PM
Entry Fee: For SARRC Nationals- 30 Nu and for Foreign Nationals- 150 Nu
3. Bumthang Valley
This valley, located in the Bumthang District of Bhutan, is sometimes locally referred to as ‘Switzerland of the East’, and rightfully so. The snow-capped mountains, green countryside meadows, and the smooth and clear river streams all give this valley town an extremely European feel, at only a fraction of the cost. Do visit this undiscovered gem during the winters, before it becomes noticed and crowded by a lot of tourists.
Distance from Thimphu: 286 km
Travel time from Thimphu to Haa Valley: 10 hours
4. Kila Nunnery
If you are a fan of hiking and trekking, you will enjoy a refreshing walk to this nunnery in Paro, Bhutan’s valley town. Although Paro is a popular destination on its own, this nunnery, located merely at a one and a half-hour drive from the same and is still a hidden gem that is unknown to many tourists. Marvel at the beautiful architecture and tranquil ambience of this nunnery and enjoy the prayer flags that are located all around on your walk up to the nunnery, as well as admire the panoramic views and landscapes of the Himalayan ranges around you.
Bonus Destination: National Handloom Development Project
This firm run by the National Women’s Association of Bhutan provides employment opportunities to the local women of Bhutan, and thus you can find a lot of authentic Bhutanese prints and patterns done by people who have been practising this skill for generations. Some of the items are also available for sale, and once you visit this spot you surely will not want to miss out on these, plan a small shopping spree in this attraction and take home some really good quality handloom products. Another perk of this place is that you can attend a handloom weaving workshop and get to experience the weaving process first hand, an experience you can brag about back home!
We bet this article got you interested, and the best part is that these aren’t all the places you can visit since there is a lot more to explore and discover in this mystic Himalayan nation. Contact your travel agent or look online for the best Bhutan packages that suit your budget and plan your vacation today!