Lhuentse Dzong

Eastern Bhutan

Lhuentse Rinchentse Phodrang Dzong, as it is correctly known, sits high on a rocky outcrop overlooking the Kuri Chhu valley, with near-vertical drops on all sides. It has been renovated several times, most recently to repair damage caused by an earthquake in 2009. A three-day tsechu fills the dzong to capacity in December/January.

Although Pema Lingpa's son Kuenga Wangpo established a small goemba on this site early in the 16th century, the dzong itself was built by the Trongsa penlop Mingyur Tenpa in 1654.

Visitors can visit seven lhakhangs, assuming you can find someone with the keys to gain access. The 100 or so resident monks see few tourists and are very friendly, which perhaps explains why visitors here have more freedom to explore than they do in any other dzong in Bhutan.