7 Things to Do in Punakha That You Shouldn't Miss

March 17, 2018 Leonarda Pillsbury

Punakha (Dzongkha: སྤུ་ན་ཁ་) is the administrative centre of Punakha dzongkhag, one of the 20 districts of Bhutan. Punakha was the capital of Bhutan and the seat of government until 1955, when the capital was moved to Thimphu. It is about 72 km away from Thimphu and it takes about 3 hours by car from the capital Thimphu. Unlike Thimphu it is quite warm in winter and hot in summer. It is located at an elevation of 1,200 metres above sea level and rice is grown as the main crop along the river valleys of two main rivers of Bhutan, the Pho Chu and Mo Chu. Dzongkha is widely spoken in this district.
Restaurants in Punakha

1. Punakha Dzong

Punakha, Punakha 13001, Bhutan +975178256785
Excellent
82%
Good
16%
Satisfactory
1%
Poor
1%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 1 reviews

Punakha Dzong

Reviewed By KetanforTravel - Mumbai, India

While you are crossing the bridge try to spot the fishes in the water below. Its a good walk inside the Dzong. Ensure that you go behind the main temple (further ahead of the washrooms) from where you can see the confluence of the rivers.

2. Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten

Punakha, Bhutan
Excellent
76%
Good
24%
Satisfactory
0%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 143 reviews

Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten

Reviewed By wildawai - Hong Kong, China

You begin the hike by strolling through the paddy fields and then you reach the prayer wheel, this is where the real hike begins. It's a steady hike uphill and if you are not physically fit you can still do it at a slower pace. The path is dusty and rocky for the first half of the hike and then after you reach the gate (most likely to keep the cows out) the path is paved. There are benches and prayer flags on the way up and also a beautiful pine forest. We hiked in December so the weather was perfect with the air temperature of around 13C.
The elevation of Punakha is only 1100m so the hike was a lot easier than Tiger's Nest. It took about an hour to walk up and less time to come down depending on your fitness level.
Once you reach the temple, you can sit under the bodhi tree and meditate or watch the monks on their phones. The monks also play music inside the temple when you walk in and climb up the three floors to view the inside. There are mural explaining buddhist teachings, statues of buddha and his disciples and manifestations of other forms. No photos are allowed inside any temples where shoes need to be removed.
The view from the top has breathtaking 360 views of the valley and you can spend quite some time up there.

3. Punakha Suspension Bridge

Punakha Dzong, Punakha 13001, Bhutan
Excellent
50%
Good
39%
Satisfactory
10%
Poor
1%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 345 reviews

Punakha Suspension Bridge

Reviewed By fhartigan - Vatican City, Italy

Fun to walk on a long and narrow suspension bridge. Not a bridge for people with balance issues or for young unattended children.

4. Sangchhen Dorji Lhuendrup nunnery

Punakha, Bhutan
Excellent
58%
Good
29%
Satisfactory
12%
Poor
1%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 122 reviews

Sangchhen Dorji Lhuendrup nunnery

Reviewed By MrLoo - Antwerp, Belgium

This nunnery has a very peaceful prayer hall - we sat there and meditated for over 1 hour
Because fewer tourist go here the place was very peaceful .
When it started raining we received tea and shelter from the rain (our guide knew one of the nuns from his village) . We appreciated the hospitality . The views are beautiful and you can stretch your legs and walk down to your hotel

5. Chimi L'hakhang Temple

Punakha, Bhutan
Excellent
35%
Good
49%
Satisfactory
14%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 375 reviews

Chimi L'hakhang Temple

Reviewed By Shveta S

There is a history of a devine mad man ,who is worshipped here,it's also called fertility temple,simple temple with bells &chants.

6. Druk Rafting Service

Changyul, Punakha | Changyul, Punakha 13001, Bhutan
Excellent
55%
Good
35%
Satisfactory
6%
Poor
2%
Terrible
2%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 48 reviews

Druk Rafting Service

We provide Raftng and Kayakng service for day trip while at Punakha and Paro (certain monthhs) We are licensed by the Govt of Bhutan on recommendations from Tourism Council of Bhutan. We ensure your safety and fun on river all times. We are a set of team grown up together along the rivers of Punakha and we know how and where we should follow the river line for the most fun and enjoyment while rafting with us. Druk Rafting Service is established in 2011 with a small team with ONE single raft and now we are almost ready to provide service not only in rafting in NRS high quality rafts but Camping with included meals too for 50 heads at a time. Join us while at Punakha, leave the safety for us as this is our top most priority to bring the most unforgettable 'Wow' moments while Rafting or Camping with us. Team Druk Rafting Servcie

Reviewed By RaKs24 - Mumbai, India

After visit the suspension bridge and fortress in Punakha, we had the entire day to ourselves . So we decided to go river rafting in the mother river since we had a few senior citizens and my eight year old son. Mother river is suppose to have calmer currents as compared to father river. The Druk service gave us good equipments and the raft was in good condition as well. The guide on the raft was good as well. They usually have a fixed rate of 10000 nugultrums with upto eight people on the raft. It surely was a memorable event.

7. Royal Botanical Park, Lampelri

Punakha-Wangdue Highway, Punakha 13001, Bhutan +975 17 60 46 28
Excellent
22%
Good
38%
Satisfactory
27%
Poor
9%
Terrible
4%
Overall Ratings

3.5 based on 22 reviews

Royal Botanical Park, Lampelri

Reviewed By Nigel H - Harrogate, United Kingdom

The idea of a Royal Blytanical Park is an excellent idea. In essence, it's existing forest but ensures that the green Forests are maintained and puts into practice Bhutan's Gross National Happiness commitment to 62%of land that is forested. I can only imagine this is a wonderful place to be in Spring when the rhodedendrohns are out.

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