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The Punakha region of Bhutan, much like the rest of the country, is fairly remote. Its landscapes are dominated by thick forests, hills, valleys, and small rural communities shrouded in rice paddies. While Punakha has a population of less than 30,000 residents, visiting this far-flung district in western Bhutan guarantees some of the most spectacular views in the whole country.
Visiting the Punakha region would not be complete without seeing the Nyizergang Stupa. A memorial to previous Buddhist monks, the stupa is the largest of its kind in Bhutan. Standing on a mountain overlooking the Mo-chu River, this imposing national landmark measures 31 metres tall and contains four floors of murals, mandalas, and memorials to various deities. The district is also famed for the Pungthang Dechen Dzong, an enormous fortress. Oddly enough, this architectural gem was funded through Bhutanese-German collaboration and formally inaugurated in 2008 by members of both governments. The Dzong contains four courtyards, a vestibule, and an assembly hall.
Besides these areas, Punakha is also known for the Pho-chu Valley, where the Samtengang winter trek originates. This four-day trek from Punakha to Chungsakha can be completed at any time of year, including winter, due its reasonably low elevation. The trail leads to various monasteries and temples, and onwards into verdant forests. Replete with outstanding natural and religious beauty, in some ways, Punakha region is emblematic of Bhutan as a whole.