From Zhiwa Ling Ascent you can experience a number of Thimphu’s main attractions all within easy reach.
Walking Distance: 15 Km Return
Walking Hours: 6 – 7 Hours Return
Elevation Gain: 1,100 m / 3,300 ft
Phajoding (3,650 m / 12,045 ft) takes its name from the saint Phajo Drugom Zhigpo, who is believed to have meditated here in the 13th century and is considered to be one of the most sacred meditational sites in Bhutan. The monastery itself is an open complex that comprises many holy buildings and relics and a State monastic school that currently houses 50 monks.
It was once one of the richest and most decorated monasteries in the country. However, due to years of neglect and the encroachment of development, it was watch listed in 2010 by the World Monuments Fund as one of five endangered cultural monuments that needed the most help in the world. Today it is undergoing renovation with the financial support from the Royal Government of Bhutan.
About ten minutes’ drive from Zhiwa Ling Ascent to the start point (or drive further up to BBS Tower), the trek to Phajoding is an uphill climb with 3 hours hiking distance through forested area of blue pine, fir and spruce. Bhutan is the least deforested country in the world, covered with 70% virgin blue pine forest. The walk, at a leisurely pace, takes about four hours. Phajoding provides an excellent view of Thimphu Valley below and is also a retreat center for monks and nuns and any who’s interested to. You can visit some ancient monasteries and commune with the monks here.
National Memorial Chorten
Memorial Chorten is a monument to the Third Druk Gyalpo and to World Peace. Chorten literally means ‘Seat of Faith’ and Buddhists often call such monuments, the ‘Mind of Buddha’. The chorten is an extraordinary example of Buddhist architecture and artwork with its gorgeous paintings and intricate sculptures. This beautiful monument is located close to the center of Thimphu city and is one of its most iconic monuments.
(Source: Tourism Council of Bhutan)
Zhilukha is said to be the largest nunnery in Bhutan. It is perched on a ridge overlooking the Tashichhoedzong or Thimpu Dzong and its surrounding golf course.
Additional sights and experiences
You can also access the following places from Zhiwa Ling Ascent. For more information about these, please ask one of our staff at reception.
Motithang Takin Preserve
National Textile Museum