The Phunakha Dzong commands the Mo Chhu and Rho Chhu rivers and is the second

of Bhutan’s Dzongs (district government seats and monastery).  

  1. Bullet  If Para were the first, Phunakha may be the second Harmony Project destination with inclement weather, many of rice villages, a relatively short drive from Paro (2 hours) and a thriving array of New Tourist Options: river rafting, numerous and ancient Lakhang (temple), Dzong (photo above) charming farm hamlets and more

The central Bhutan Harmony Project destination will be dispersed traditional farm houses in an area such as Youwakha Punakah Village.


Travel Market Benchmarks

The best hotel in the area is Amankora Punakha. The other hotel is the old Zangto Pelri Hotel now owned by one of the queens.  Other accommodations are in Wolakha.  We stayed in the Wolakha Kichu Resort along the raging river.

Chiimi Lakhang

Excellent example of an ancient Lakhang (temple) situated above a farm village with an enchanting view.

Commanding hilltop location

Enchanting river valley view

Lakhang exterior


Youwakha Punakah Village

The charming Youwakha Village below Chiimi Lakhang was incredible. The land was fertile, and gently sloped to a majestic river.

Multiple dwelling clusters within the rice terraces

Plentiful water along the pathways

A charming house set near a few trees

Rice field pathways


Amankora Punakha Lodge

The Amonkora guest rooms are all identical. At the Punakha they tried to give it a rice farmer’s experience. However, there are few farm houses in the area. The apple orchard planted behind the two room blocks (8 rooms) serve segregate the compound. An old farm house was converted to public areas - function unrecognizable from the old. Even the family alter room was filled with sofas, the alter looked unused and direct from the pawn shop.  A pleasant walk could be replaced by a tattered vehicle.

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Roadway to the Aman

A cluster set apart along the river

A foot bridge across the river

Vehicle waiting on the other side


Zangto Pelri Hotel

The Zangto was one of the first international hotels in Punakha. The lobby is very typical using traditional small tables and long hard benches. Every establishment serving the Bhutanese tourist uses the buffet, as noted in the Zangto’s restaurant. Our visit was during slow season, so many establishments chose to place small bowls/platters in the center of the table ‘Chinese or Indian style’.

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Chuzomsa Wangdi logging village

Extraordinary views and farm life are available in the hill station farms.

Enchanting river valley view

Awaiting the bucket to load more lumber

The Himalayan vista from hill station farm


River Rafting

For a few months of the year, the waters of Punakha are wonderful for Zodiac rafting expeditions.


Kichu Resort

The Kuchu is a good example of a small lodge too close to the river. The white noise was overwhelming.

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Raging River


Dochu La &

Langto Pelri Lhakhang

The stop along the way between Pro and half way between Thimphu and Punakha is at the newly built Dochu La & Langto Pelri Lhakhang at 10,000 feet to commemorate the recent battle in southern Bhutan lead by the fourth King to evict Indian separatist (bottom).  It makes a wonderful lunch stop.  The paintings in the Lhakhang are rather contemporary (bottom right), the first of its kind in the kingdom.

Dochu La

Langto Pelri Lhakhang


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