Wangdue Phodrang – The Abode of Wangdue Phodrang Dzong
The last town in Western Bhutan, Wangdue Phodrang is the origin of the fascinating ‘Shaman’ culture and the magniloquence speeches of Shaa. Legends have it that Zhabdrung Rinpoche, while searching for an ideal location for a dzong, encountered an innocent local boy scampering along the riverbank. He was so touched by the boy’s innocence that he named the dzong as ‘Wangdi’s Palace’ and eventually the entire district got its name Wangdue Phodrang or Wangdue or Wangdi.
Pristine and gorgeously cossetted by lush greeneries, this Bhutanese region is the home to many endangered flora and fauna. Thus, the district is listed as one of the environmentally protected regions in the Land of Thunder Dragons. Wangchuck Centennial Park, Jigme Dorji National Park, and Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park are three of the captivating national parks that can be accessed from Wangdue Phodrang.
Red Pandas, Leopards, Tigers, Black Necked Cranes, White-Bellied Heron, and Spotted Eagle are some of the rare and exotic wildlife and avifauna species found in this region.
Best Time to Visit Wangdue Phodrang: Spring (March to May) and Autumn (September to November)
How to Reach Wangdue Phodrang
As Wangdue Phodrang doesn’t have any airport, Paro International Airport would be the best access point to reach Wangdue Phodrang by air. And in order to fly to Paro, you can book flights from these Indian airports:
Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi
Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport in Kolkata
Bodhgaya Airport in Gaya
Bagdogra Airport in Siliguri (West Bengal)
Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport in Guwahati (Assam)
Once you reach Paro, you can hire local cabs or take a bus ride to reach Wangdue Phodrang; the distance would be around 111km and travelling time would be around 3 hours.
Siliguri, New Jalpaiguri, New Alipurduar, and Hasimara railway stations in West Bengal are the closest railway stations to Bhutan. To reach Wangdue Phodrang by train, you can book trains to any of these railway stations. Upon reaching these stations, you can take a further drive to Jaigaon in West Bengal’s Alipurduar district, and reach Wangdue Phodrang via Phuentsholing town of Bhutan.
Wangdue Phodrang is located around 106km away from Thimphu and around 214km away from Gelephu. If you are planning to reach your favourite Bhutanese destination via Thimphu, you can board direct buses plying between Kolkata and Thimphu. These buses are run by the Royal Bhutanese Government, and are available on a daily basis.
Another way to reach Wangdue Phodrang by road would be through Jaigaon town in West Bengal. This town is located adjacent to Phuentsholing, which is around 207km (5.5 hours’ drive) away from Wangdue Phodrang.
In case, you want to reach Wangdue Phodrang by road via Gelephu, you should first reach the Bongaigaon town in Assam (186km/4 hours’ away from Guwahati). Once you are in Bongaigaon, you can take another roadway journey of 50km (1 hour) to reach Gelephu. Upon reaching Gelephu, you can board the local Bhutanese buses or rent out a private taxi to reach Wangdue Phodrang by road.
Places to Visit in Wangdue Phodrang
Wangdue Phodrang Dzong
Wangdue Town (or Bajo)
Wangchuck Centennial Park
Jigme Dorji National Park
Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park
Sha Radap Temple
Gasleo and Nahee Village
Adha and Rukha Villages
Things to Do in Wangdue Phodrang