HAA (1000-5600MTS)

Haa is located to the South West of Paro and covers an area of roughly 1,706 sq. km, it is one of the smallest Dzongkhags in the country. This tiny region is one of the most beautiful and isolated areas in the kingdom, adorned with pristine alpine forests and tranquil mountain peaks. However, there are many things to do in Haa and amazing sightseeing places to visit in Haa valley.

It is the ancestral home of the Queen Grandmother and the illustrious Dorji family. This valley remains one of the least visited areas in the country and retains the air of an unspoiled, primeval forest.

A visit to Haa allows you to delve into the age-old tradition and Nomadic Lifestyle. It takes you away from the bustle of towns into the sacred world of Mysticism, Spirituality, and Nature. Here, the modern change has been minimal; remnants of the past are so strikingly visible and the connection with nature is vibrant.

It has many legends, myths, and stories to tell. As an added bonus one can also come across the rare White Poppy. Or relish Hoentay ( a local delicacy in the form of a Dumpling) which is endemic to Haa and cannot be found anywhere else in the world.

Top 10 Interesting Facts about Haa Valley, Bhutan

  1. It is one of the smallest Dzongkhag in the country.
  2. Haa is the least visited areas in the country and retains the air of an unspoiled, primeval forest
  3. It is an alternate name for ‘hidden-land rice valley’
  4. The land is 78% covered with forest
  5. The northwest boundary of Haa meets the Tibet
  6. Alongside Buddhist practices, the Haaps also continue their old Shamanistic tradition
  7. The wooded hills here provide an ideal location for hiking and mountain biking.
  8. Haa Summer Festival is held in mid of July
  9. The famous Nub-tshonapatta Lake is located here
  10. Top things to do in Haa includes hiking, biking, and homestay

Here, check out the popular tourist sightseeing places to visit  in Haa Valley, Bhutan

Dobji Dzong

Dobji Dzong is considered to be the first model Dzong in Bhutan. The name Dogar, which means white border, is a reference to the “Five White Boulders” in the village of Dogar.

Because of its strategic location, the government  was once turned it into a jail.However, it has now been restored to its religious roots and is maintained as a school by the central monastic body.

The Dzong was built in 1531 by Ngawang Chogyal, the brother of Chojie Drukpa kuenley, who is popularly known as the “Divine Madman”. Legend has it that Ngawang Chogyal has followed the spring originating below the throne of Jetsun Milarepa in Tibet. The source of the spring was found to be a rock located on the current location of Dobji Dzong, which was then chosen for its religious significance.

Lhakhang Nagpo(Black Temple)

Lhakhang Nagpo or Black Temple in Haa valley is one of the two temples built by the Tibetan Emperor Songtsen Gampo in the 7th century. Legend has it that the Emperor released two doves, white and black from his heart to find auspicious locations to build the temples. The place where the black dove landed is where the black temple, the Lhakhang Nagpo was built. And where the white bird landed is where the white temple or the Lhakhang Karpo was built.

The Black Temple is said to have been built on top of a lake and there is a doorway on the floor of the temple inside that is believed to be a passage to the underworld of the water spirit (tshomen/mermaid). The temple also has a shrine of the local diety Dado Chen. This is a mysterious place with lots of myths and legends and probably one of the oldest temples in Bhutan. It is one of the best places to visit in Haa valley.

Located close to the huge Lhakhang Karpo (white temple) complex, the Black temple is about 15 minutes walk following the footpath above the White temple. You also have the option to drive to the temple but the walk is really enjoyable. It is a highly recommended place to visit in Haa valley. 

Jungney Dra

Jungney Dra Lhakhang or temple is a visually striking temple perched on a majestic rocky mountain in rustic Haa valley. One can’t miss talking about Jungney Dra Hike while discussing Hiking and Walking Tours in Haa. The hike is a short 45 minutes hike encircled by the stunning view of mountains.  It is one of the least explored and best places to visit in Haa valley.  

It is said that the cliff where the Jungney Dra Temple sits right now, is going to be the place or the source from where the hidden treasure teachings of Guru Rinpoche will be discovered in the future. ‘Jung’ means origin or source; ‘Ney’ means a place and ‘Dra’ is a cliff. So, it can be roughly translated as the Source of Hidden Treasure.

The hike starts with a walk through an authentic Bhutanese village until you reach a pastoral surrounding past the Mani Dangrim. Mani Dangrim is a long wall-structured stupa. Following this, ascend the pine path for about 40 minutes till you reach an old stupa gate from where you will notice the Cliffside temple and the steep stair leading to it. The sight of the valley below and the sky behind the temple is truly remarkable. Before entering the main temple which houses an ancient statue of Guru Rinpoche and the right footprint of Machig Labdron on a rock, you will have to squeeze your way through a natural stone entryway.

Being a spiritually blessed place yet unstained by the crowd, the Jungney Dra Lhakhang is one of the best places to visit in Haa valley.

Chele La Pass

Chele La Pass is one of the highest road points in Bhutan and offers breathtaking views of the mountains. It is situated at an elevation of 3,988 meters/13,084 feet between the Paro and Haa valleys. The drive to Chela La Pass from Paro is as charming as the Mountain Pass itself. Post the pass you descend and gradually enter the Haa valley. Explore Places to visit in Haa.

Drive-Up to Chele La Pass 

Your first few days of the Bhutan Tour will be steeped in culture and history. It will be good to fuse nature on your trip; take a break indulge your visual senses with some natural beauty and give yourself some time to relax and soak in the atmosphere. You have the option to take a leisurely drive and carry a picnic lunch as well as a beverage of your choice. It is just over  40 km to the pass; you drive 5 km to Bondey from Paro town and take an ascending road that leads to Haa (61km) via Chelela Pass.

The Chele La pass is at a cool crisp mountain pass and your route takes you through a spectacularly lovely forest of pine, oak and rhododendrons that ablaze with blood red and pink blooms in April and May. The heady scent of daphne permeates the air and the sun-dappled – as enchanting a drive as you could have hoped for. Around 10 km from the top you can spot the Kila Nunnery perched on the opposite hillside with prayer flags lining the walking path to it and surrounding the complex. Once you cross the tree line, you are likely to come up with yaks grazing in the alpine meadows. The pass itself is marked by a multitude of prayer flags that seem to spear the intense blue skies! On a clear day, you can get a breathtaking view of Mt. Jomolhari and other Himalayan giants.

On the other side of the road descends to the remote Haa valley. There are plenty of opportunities to explore places to visit in Haa valley and other cultural experiences. 

Karpo Lhankhang

There are legends of the Tibetan Emperor Songtsen Gampo setting out two birds (white and black) to locate auspicious sites for the construction of temples during the 7th century. The place where the white bird landed is where the Lhakhang Karpo (meaning the white temple) was built. It has been renovated and extend recently.

Viillages Of Haa

The villages of Haa exudes a strong sense of the old ways. Even the obvious signs that told us that modernity has arrived are somehow subdued.

The villages of Haa are picturesque. They are quaint, charming and delightful. In the background you can feel the protective gaze of the three prominent tapering mountains, standing side by side.

Some of the beautiful villages that you can visit are Lenchunna Village,Yangthang Village and Jangangkha village. The village serves various kind of activities and attractions such as hiking,biking  village homestays, local sports and hot stone bath.