Admiring the Punakha Suspension Bridge and the river that flowed underneath, we made a demand of Sonam, our guide. We wanted to go and play in the river!! Sonam smiled. And said that our hotel for the night’s stay in Punakha was by the riverside. Really?, we asked, scarely believing our ears.
Sure enough, Punatshanchuu Cottages are on the banks of the river. It, in fact, borrows its name from the river – for, the river too is called Punatshangchuu. By the time we reached the hotel, it was almost dusk. Soon the river would be covered in darkness. We begged Sonam to give us more time in the morning the next day so that we could have a fill of the river. By now he was used to our ‘please-some-more-time’ requests — re-worked the travel plans with Karma and soon confirmed to us that we could leave by mid-day the next day!! Yippee!! We’ll wake up early to take a look at the river and the bank, we promised.
How are the Punatshangchuu Cottages in Wangdue, Bhutan? Just what you will fall in love with!! The property is by the side of the main Wangdue road on the little slope that meets the Punatshangchhu river. Dotting the slope are small cottages, in the usual Bhutan architecture, to make you feel at once invited. Our cottage was the one that was closest to the river. Bonanza. We sat in the steps on the stone pathways in the evening, enjoying the twinkling of the city lights on the river. And in the morning the next day, we woke up very early to run past the shrubs, climb the little slopes, sneak in through the narrow stone-filled paths to go up to the river and look for stones, lizards, fishes, butterflies……
The dining hall is adjacent to the main lobby, with long French windows on all sides so that you do not miss the beautiful sight of the river no matter where you sit with the drink or for your meal. They also have a couple of tables laid out in the lawn outside. Have your Breakfast there. It’s ethereal.
Punatshangchhu Cottages offer free wifi but don’t expect the network to reach the rooms/cottages. I went up to the main lobby in order to get connected. They have a small desk at the lobby for your laptop as well. Pretty much what you need.
How is the food at Punatshangchhu Cottages? Remember, as you go to the interiors of Bhutan, the spread of food starts getting very basic. We started getting the feel of this from Punakha onwards. Dinner at the Punatshangchhu Cottages was a simple buffet of noodles, some tossed vegetables, a a chicken curry, white rice, lentils, deep fried brinjals, fresh cut cucumber and carrots. And cut mangoes for desserts. Frankly, we didn’t mind this modest spread. The tables are extremely clean and three days into your trip, you are thankful for the simple, almost homely food…just what can get you started the next day without upsetting your stomach and appetite.
Breakfast buffet is from 7-9 am and we missed it in our excitement to spend time by the riverside. By the time we washed up, packed our bags and got to the dining table, they had cleared the spread. So we ordered ala carte — breads, eggs, tossed veggies, juices, fruits, milk and tea, coffee. Basic, yet again. But we had a long journey (to Bumthang) ahead of us, and we preferred to keep it light and healthy. The staff was more than willing to pack some cut fruits and a small sandwich for our daughter.
Final word on Punatshangchhu Cottages: Perfect. Go ahead, book it for your Punakha stay.