Journey to the last Shangrila, Bhutan - Day 2 (Paro - Punakha)

Paro - Thimphu - Punakha

Click here to read day 1day 2day 3day 4day 5day 6 report

We set off at 9am to Punakha. It took us an hour from Paro to Thimphu (54 km) and another 3 hours from Thimphu to Punakha (71 km). The road condition between Paro and Thimphu is quite good, just a little bendy but not bumpy.

Iron chain bridge to Tachog Lhakhang Dzong

We passed by many attractions along the way from Paro to Punakha. The first stop is the iron chain bridge which one will have to cross it to get to Tachog Lhakhang Dzong. This suspension bridge was built in 13th century by Drupthob Thangtong Gyalpo and it is still in use till now.

We did not visit the Dzong as it is a private property.

I was told by my tour guide that crossing this iron bridge will clear all our sins.  

Look at this lady. Actually no need to be so scared, it's not that scary lah

A chorten beside the bridge.

Street vendor before reaching Thimphu.

We did not stay long in Thimphu, we just drove pass the town and continue our journey to Punakha.

Dochula Pass

After about 1 and half hour drive, we reached the second attraction, Dochula pass. This beautiful pass with 108 stupas was built by The Queen Mother Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck to honor the Bhutanese soldiers who were killed during the fight with Indian rebels in 2003.

A pass is a sacred place as it is sitting on a high place where air and spirits join together. Snow capped Himalayan mountain can be seen during clear sky day. It's very foggy when we were there.

Picture didn't look good because of bad weather. Actually I don't feel like sharing this picture but this is the one and only Dochula Pass photo I have.

Road widening project are taking place after Thimphu. The road condition from Thimphu to Punakha was very very very bad, many bends and making me sick.

Chimi Lhakhang

After checking in hotel in Punakha, we proceeded to the famous fertility temple, Chimi Lhakhang. Many couples visited this temple and were blessed with children after the trip.

It is a 20 minutes walk across the village of Sopsokha and terraced wheat field.

Phallus drawings all around the village. This symbol of an erect penis is intended to drive away the evil eye and bring good luck.

The little girl we met in the village

Chimi Monastery was built in 14th century after the site was blessed by Drukpa Kunley (Divine Madman). In founding the site it is said that Divine Madman subdued a demon with his "magic thunderbolt of wisdom" aka his penis and trapped it in a rock at the location close to where the grey painted chorten now stands. Actually I almost laughed out (but of course I did not) when I heard this story, it just sound very funny to me.

On the way back to Hotel Lobesa

Bhutan night life

Night programme was the most interesting part for the day. We visited one of the karaoke club in Lobesa town in Punakha. I read some trip report about Bhutan night life so I requested our tour guide bring us to visit one. I may sound ignorant but it's an eye opening experience for me as I didn't expect Bhutan would have such interesting night life. 

These karaoke girls would approach patrons with a book and pen, asking them if they would like to pay Nu.100 (USD1.60) dedicating a song, these girls will then perform on stage.

These girls are not allowed to leave with their clients outside of KTV, no dirty service and their job is just dancing and singing on stage. Most of them are married with kids. Some of their husbands go down there frequently "looking after" their wives.  

Ladies are welcome to enter this place and there is no entrance fee required. We ordered a bottle of locally brewed Bhutanese beer Druk 11000. It is a 650 ml glass bottle with alcohol content not more than 8%. Taste of this beer was great and smooth.

I hope my tour guide's wife won't get to see this. LOL

It was a Monday night but there were a lot of people visiting this place. We spent about 2 hours here. 

Lobesa Hotel. Read the review here.

Interested to visit Bhutan? Read my post here - How to plan your Bhutan trip? Click here to read day 1day 2day 3day 4day 5day 6 report 

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  1. Hi Iva,
    beautiful post. Your shots are beautiful. Keep posting.