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The former capital, Punakha was built as a defensive stronghold in the 17th century.

Punakha Dzong

The country's most idyllic dzong is situated at the confluence of two rivers. Breathtaking from outside and rewarding inside with rich wall paintings and friendly local monks.

Reached by crossing the 3,116 metre Dochu La, the fertile valley floor is the winter home of the country’s largest monk body and produces a wide variety of fruits and vegetables which you won’t see anywhere else in the country.

Chimi Lhakhang, the temple of the Divine Madman

Chimi Lhakhang, PunakhaA gentle stroll across rice paddies and through a small settlement of painted houses brings you to Chimi Lhakhang, the temple of the Divine Madman, one of Bhutan’s favourite — and most unorthodox — saints.

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Alison, an Audley Travel specialist

Start planning your tailor-made trip to Punakha by contacting one of our Bhutan specialists

Suggested itineraries featuring Punakha

Our itineraries will give you suggestions for what is possible when you travel in Punakha, and they showcase routes we know work particularly well. Treat them as inspiration, because your trip will be created uniquely by one of our specialists.

Map of Punakha

Places & hotels on the map

    Places near Punakha

    Our expert guides to exploring Punakha

    Written by our specialists from their own experiences of visiting Punakha, these guides will help you make the most of your time there. We share both our practical recommendations and the best ways to appreciate Punakha at its best.

    • Festivals of Bhutan
      Paro tsechu, Bhutan

      Festivals of Bhutan

      Festivals of Bhutan

      Festivals are very important to Bhutanese people, they're a great excuse to celebrate and socialise. We can highly recommend incorporating a festival into your tailor-made trip to Bhutan, as an ideal way of immersing yourself in the country's culture.

      4 min read

      Read this guide

    Accommodation choices for Punakha

    We've selected a range of accommodation options for when you visit Punakha. Our choices usually come recommended for their character, facilities and service or location. Our specialists always aim to suggest properties that match your preferences.

    Ideas for experiencing Punakha

    Our specialists seek out authentic ways to get to know the places that could feature in your trip. These activities reflect some of the experiences they've most enjoyed while visiting Punakha, and which use the best local guides.

    • Punakha Dzong Excursion
      Punakha Dzong

      Punakha Dzong Excursion

      Punakha Dzong Excursion

      Built in 1637, Punakha Dzong served as the seat of the government until the mid 20th century. Over the centuries it has suffered damage from several fires and flooding but still remains one of the most impressive dzongs in Bhutan.

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