• Bhutan Wangdue Travel Guide 2021/2022
  • Bhutan Wangdue Travel Guide 2021/2022
  • Bhutan Wangdue Travel Guide 2021/2022
6 Days Last Shangri-La Highlights Tour
Impressive Bhutan Treasures
7 Days Bhutan Adventure Tour with Haa Valley
Stepping into Deep Valleys
9 Days Bhutan In-depth Natural and Cultural Tour
Deep Exploration to Central Bhutan

Wangdue Phodrang Travel Guide - Sightseeing, Hotels, Transportation

Wangdue Phodrang, covering 4,308 sq. km and ranging from 800-5800 m in altitude, is in western Bhutan. It occupies an important position in the history of Bhutan. Besides being the second capital of Bhutan in the early days, Wangdue Phodrang Dzong on the hill top was built by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel, the founder of Bhutan. After Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel came to Bhutan from Tibet, he spent decades unifying the various tribes of Bhutan and defending the foreign enemies. Then he established the national system, built dzongs (combining the function of temples, government agencies and defense fortresses) all over Bhutan, formulated Bhutan customs and traditional culture, and laid the unique cultural foundation of Bhutan today. It is no exaggeration to say that Wangdue Phodrang is of fundamental significance in the unity of Bhutan.

Wangdue Phodrang - Authentic Rural Life and Unparalleled Nature

Compared with the capital Thimphu, Wangdue Phodrang shows more of the authentic country life. You can see the farmhouses dotted in the vast valley and local people do the routine farmwork. It is like you have entered a peaceful world where people are self-sufficient and feel rather content. Most part of Wangdue Phodrang is covered by parks and valleys, among which Phobjikha Valley is the most beautiful. Taking a hike there is much recommended and you can visit the exquisitely built Gangtey Monastery.

Top Places to Visit in Wangdue Phodrang

Wangdue Phodrang is one of the largest dzongkhags in Bhutan with attractive nature and time-honored history. Wangdue Phodrang Dzong lying on the river bank witnesses the ups and downs of Bhutan. And only about 60 km away, Phobjikha Valley will show you how well environmentally protected this place is. Don’t miss Gangtey Monastery where you can have a full view of the valley.

Wangdue Phodrang

Wangdue Phodrang Dzong

Type: Sacred & Religious Sites, Architectural Buildings

Recommended Length of Visit: 1~2 hours

Wangdue Phodrang Dzong was built in 1638 atop a high ridge between Puna Tsang Chu and Dang Chu. You can reach there through a hanging bridge. It is said that when selecting the site location, 4 crows were seen flying away in four directions, which is considered as an auspicious sign, representing the spread of Buddhism. After it was completed, the annual Tshechu Festival was held here. In 2012, Wangdue Phodrang Dzong was heavily damaged in a fire and it’s under reconstruction now. Hopefully the reconstruction will finish in 2021.

Wangdue Phodrang

Phobjikha Valley

Type: Nature & Wildlife Areas, Valleys

Recommended Length of Visit: half day

Phobjikha Valley is a vast bowl-shaped valley formed by glacial erosion. The central stream winds through the open grassland and low bushes, forming a natural wetland in the plain and becoming a natural bird reserve. Taking a hike in this valley, encountering the friendly local people, walking through the forests and wildflowers would be a pleasant experience. What’s more, from the end of October to January of the next year, the rare black-necked crane from the Tibetan Plateau will fly here to pass the winter. So you will have a chance to see this graceful endangered species.

Wangdue Phodrang

Gangtey Monastery

Type: Sacred & Religious Sites, Monastery

Recommended Length of Visit: 1~2 hours

Gangtey Monastery was built in 1613 by Kuenga Gyaltshen on a hill at an altitude of 2800 m in Phobjikha Valley. It is reputed as the most beautiful monastery in Bhutan not only because you can have a stunning view of Phobjikha Valley but also for its complicated and exquisite colorful painting on the wooden building. The architecture complex is more than a monastery, but includes Nyingmapa school, living quarters of the monks, meditation center, etc. Tourists can take a leisure Gangtey Nature Walk (about 2h) around here and grand celebrations will be held here on festivals.

Top Featured Activities in Wangdue Phodrang

Wangdue Phodrang is a place that can meet your needs of a natural and cultural trip. If you come in ordinary days, you can visit Wangdue Phodrang Dzong and Gangtey Monastery to know the history and religious tradition here, and take a hiking in Phobjikha Valley to appreciate the mind-refreshing view. If you come in autumn, you can celebrate Wangdue Tshechu with local people to witness this most important festival and in winter, you are obliged with the privilege to have a look at the divine and rare black-necked cranes.

Wangdue Phodrang

Wangdue Tshechu

Date: Late September or Early October

Location: Wangdue Phodrang Dzong

Tshechu is an important festival in Bhutan and varies in different districts. Wangdue Tshechu is usually held in late September or early October and lasts 3 days. All local people will dress up and put on their most beautiful traditional clothes. There will be religious mask dances called cham. People gather in the open land, bringing food and picnic mat, playing and watching the performances. Sometimes there will be a large-scale market with hundreds of stalls selling all kinds of snacks and small items and providing interesting games.

Wangdue Phodrang

Phobjikha Valley Hiking

Recommended Date: Mar~May/Sep ~ Nov

Hiking Length: 2 hours or half day

Phobjikha Valley has one of the most beautiful hiking trails and is on the top of hiking choices listed by Lonely Planet. A most popular trekking route is near Gangtey Monastery called Gangtey Nature Walk which only takes about 2 hours. If you have more time and want to have an in-depth hiking, you can take Longtey Hiking Trail. You will go deep into the forests and get to the hill top, and then get an open view of Phobjikha valley. This option is more physical demanding and will need about half day.

Wangdue Phodrang

Bird Watching

Recommended Date: Nov.~Jan.

Location: Phobjikha Valley

Wangdue Phodrang covers a wide area of about 4,308 sq. km and provides a perfect reserve for black-necked cranes to roost there during their annual migration from Tibet Plateau. Every year from November to January, they will fly here in flocks to pass the winter. At that time, here will become a paradise for both the birds and birdwatchers. Local people consider black-necked cranes as divine birds that can bring peace and prosperity and think highly of them. Every year on November 11th, Black Necked Cranes Festival is held here.

Useful Bhutan Travel Notes

  • 1. How to Apply Bhutan Visa
    Bhutan Visa is a must to travel to Bhutan, which can only be applied by authorized travel agency (like Tibet Discovery) on behalf of independent travelers. You just need to send us clear scanned photocopy of your valid passport. As we receive your passport information, we will apply it from Tourism Council of Bhutan. When we get your visa (a visa clearance letter), we will send the photocopy to you by Email, with which you are able to border a flight to Bhutan. Upon arrival on Paro International Airport, the visa will be given to you. Read More>>
  • 2. How to Plan a Bhutan Tour
    A classic Bhutan tour always takes about 5-6 days involving Paro, Thimphu and Punakha. Apart from the arrival and departure days, you get four full days to explore the landmarks in Bhutan - three days in the towns of Paro, Thimphu and Punakha, and another day in Traktsang Monastery. If you want an in-depth tour to central Bhutan, you are suggested to spend extra 4 days to Bumthang via Wangdu Phodrang and Trongsa. In fact, many travelers prefer an overland tour in Nepal, Tibet and Bhutan. If you time permits, you can take a one-hour flight from Bhutan to Nepal, where you can admire the medieval architectural wonders and marvelous landscape of Himalayan Peaks. After that, take an overland driving journey to the holy city Lhasa via Mount Everest. Read More>>
  • 3. How to Get to Bhutan
    There are two choices to get to Bhutan - by international flights from some Asian countries (Nepal, India, Thailand, Singapore and Bangladesh) and by overland driving from India. Since Paro is the only international airport, all the flights to Bhutan lands on Paro. There are three accessible ports connected Bhutan and India, including Phuentsholing, Samdrup Jongkhar and Gelephu. Phuentsholing is the primary one which connects Chhukha of Bhutan and West Bengal of India. From Phuentsholing, it takes about 6 hours to drive to Paro or Thimphu. The other two ports are located in central and eastern Bhutan. Read More>>
  • 4. Other Destinations in Bhutan
    Apart from Wangdue, there are many other destinations worthy of your visit, including Thimphu, Punakha, Paro, Trongsa, Bumthang etc. With the only international airport, Paro is probably the first destination of your Bhutan trip. And it is also where the Taktsang Monastery - Landmark of Bhutan locates. As the capital city with natural and cultural glamour, Thimphu is a must-be-visited city in Bhutan. Its National Memorial Chorten is an important holy site. Besides, there are many interesting and significant museums and institutes to catch a view of Bhutan’s rich history and culture. Punakha has the most beautiful Dzong in Bhutan - Punakha Dzong. It looks surreal especially with the purple Jacaranda in blossom between April and June.

Most Recommended Wangdue Phodrang Tour Packages

Following are some other recommended Wangdue Phodrang tour packages that you may be interested in. All of our Tibet tour packages are customizable to meet your personal requirements. You can also contact us to customize a trip if you want.

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