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This was a great experience in truly amazing scenery and breathtakingly beautiful landscape.
Benn Webb (UK) | Sikkim Goecha La, India

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What is a dzong and which ones would you recommend visiting?

A dzong is a fortified building that incorporates both administrative and monastic institutions. The dzongs in Bhutan serve as a focal point for the local community such as during Tsechus (religious festivals) and showcases the country’s artistic and intellectual heritage. Dzongs are usually built on hill tops or high ground for defensive reasons and tend to dominate the main towns of Bhutan.

Of course no visit to Bhutan is complete without visiting a dzong, if you only have  a short time in Bhutan we recommend you visit Punakha dzong. This dzong was constructed by Ngawang Namgyal, 1st Zhabdrung Rinpoche, in 1637-38 so it is the second oldest and second largest dzong in Bhutan. Punakha dzong is an impressive building and is located at the confluence of the Pho Chhu (father) and Mo Chhu (mother) rivers in the Punakha valley.

If you have time we recommend you also visit Paro, Thimphu, Trongsa and Jakar dzong (in Bumthang valley).

Depending on whom you talk to the exact dress code for dzongs, monasteries and lhakhangs can differ. Use the details below to assist with your planning and we recommend you discuss each days visits with your guide to reconfirm appropriate attire.

  • Go for smart casual look such as long sleeved shirt with collar i.e no T shirts or short sleeved shirts.
  • Full length trousers or long skirts (ankles must be covered) i.e no shorts, ¾ length trousers or short skirts.
  • Shoes with socks covering ankles i.e no sandals or slippers.
  • No hats and umbrellas allowed.
  • Photographs are only allowed to be taken in the courtyard of most monasteries.
  • Walking around Buddhist temples or stupas is traditionally done clockwise.
  • Turn off your mobile/ cell phone and talk in a quiet tone.
  • It is customary to give a small donation when visiting a monastery.
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