Suspension bridges are ideal for Bhutan’s high mountains and deep valleys. Punakha Suspension Bridge is a wonderful illustration of this, for the decoration of colorful prayer flags. This is one of Bhutan’s longest suspension bridges. It connects Punakha Dzong to Shengana, Samdingkha, and Wangkha villages across the Po Chu river. It is, nevertheless, astonishingly stable for a 520-foot-long suspension bridge. The east side of the river is an excellent starting place for multi-day hikes in the surrounding mountains. Also, the bridge provides a beautiful view of the river and valley.
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Which is the longest bridge in Bhutan?
Punakha Suspension Bridge is one of Bhutan’s longest suspension bridges, reaching 160-180m and located high over the fast Po Chhu River. The bridge links Punakha settlement and the Punakha Dzong and is mostly utilized by inhabitants from the opposite side of town as a bypass to the Punakha Dzong.
How to get there?
Punakha Bridge is a short walk from Punakha Dzong, but because it is not on the main highway, people overlook this place. Follow the Puna Tsang Chu River north from the Dzong, through the crematorium, either by country roads on the west bank or the Trashigang-Semtokha Highway. If you are at Punakha campsite which is a mile from Punakha Dzong, cross the bridge.
The Suspension Bridge
The bridge in front of Punakha Dzong is an excellent example of this. The bridge at Punakha, unlike the others, takes the support of cables anchored to enormous concrete slabs on the banks. The bridge’s cantilever has some inherent elasticity that causes it to sway in high gusts, although not as much as you might anticipate. This is owing to the bridge’s stabilizing cables, which taper out at both ends. The deck is constructed of solid wood planks that are nested within the bridge structure.
Village on the other side of the bridge
Visit the lovely village on the opposite side of the bridge. The bridge connects Shengana, Samdingkha, and Wangkha villages to the Wangchuk Kings’ fortress. Apart from an exciting trek across the bridge, the bridge connects Punakha town to numerous holy and important locations worth visiting.
The best thing to do here is cross the bridge, visit the local shop and have the local tea. You get to hear the prayers, drum beats, etc from upstairs and lots many people chanting mantras. Enjoy the scenic view, have a cup of tea with the chanting mantra as your background music and then go around the prayer wheel. You can continue to explore the village further or go back to cross the bridge and visit the Punakha Dzong.
Also read: Punakha Dzong | Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan
Best Time To Visit Punakha Suspension Bridge
Punakha enjoys a pleasant climate throughout the year. Visit Punakha in the months of February to April and October to December. It’s best to stay away from this valley during the wet seasons, as flash floods are prevalent. Every year, the Tsechu festival takes place in late February or early March, giving it the perfect opportunity to appreciate Bhutan’s spring weather and culture. The spring season, with a mean temperature of 18°C, ushers in stunning purple jacaranda blooming sceneries all down the valley.
When was Punakha suspension bridge built?
Punakha Suspension Bridge in Bhutan is one of the world’s oldest suspension bridges, said to have been erected by the Buddhist monk Thangtong Gyalpo. It has been refurbished several times over the years, but it was originally one of the eight bridges that served as the prototype for many of our current suspension bridges. The bridge’s age is still a mystery.
To conclude, the place is unique with the walk along the longest bridge in Bhutan. The view of mountains in front and the traditional tea on the other side of the bridge makes this place interesting. Also, check the other spectacular and top 10 places to visit in Bhutan. In addition to these photos, watch the video below for more photos and to get a feel of the place in and around Punakha Suspension Bridge. Also, consider SUBSCRIBING to my YouTube channel.