Tourist Destinations

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Paro

Paro (Altitude 2,200m/7,218ft.)

The cultural highlights of Paro resemble so much the intricate and beautiful textiles worn by the people during the valley’s annual festival. Here we take you through the rice fields, orchards, farmhouses and temples of various ages. The pride of Paro is the hanging temples on the cliffs from the legendary Taktsang to Kila Gompa and Dzongdrakha. Let your muscles baffle your spirits as you climb the rocky stairs of these medieval temples.

To complete your tour of Paro, take an opportunity to time yourself with the Grand Festival of Paro. If you are looking for a quite visit then choose one of the village festivities or be a guest of the annual family ritual. The farmers of Paro will be too happy to have you join them during plantation or harvest.

Drugyel Dzong

Let the ruins of this dzong tell you a tale of how Bhutanese warriors defended Bhutan from the invaders from the north in the 17th century. This dzong was built by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal in 1646, to commemorate his victory over the Tibetan invaders.  Though largely destroyed by fire in 1951, the outer walls and the central tower remain an imposing sight.  On a clear day, treat yourself with a splendid view of Mt. Jumolhari from the approach road to Drukgyel Dzong.

Rimpung Dzong

Explore the Rinpung Dzong which the locals call the ‘fortress of a heap of jewels’. Built in 1646 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, the dzong stands on a hill above Paro Township. It is linked by the traditional cantilever bridge (called the Nemi Zam) over the Pa chu where one may pose a photograph. Experience a walk up a paved stone path running alongside the imposing outer walls. Once inside the Dzong, you will be welcomed by the monks, architecture and the ancient frescoes.

Paro National museum (Ta Dzong)

On a ridge immediately above Rinpung Dzong is the Ta Dzong, built as a watchtower to protect the Dzong from intruders and warring factions.  In 1968 Paro’s Ta Dzong was inaugurated as the National Museum, and now holds a fascinating collection of art, relics, religious thangkha paintings, Bhutan’s exquisite postage stamps, coins and handicrafts, together with a small natural history collection.

Kichu Lhakhang

Go back in time and history and visit the 7th century Kyichhu temple. As the name suggests, the temple is a reservoir of peace, where you will really feel at peace here. Next to the temple is the house that is now turned into a museum dedicated to the late Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche. One can come across photographs and other artefacts belonging to Rinpoche.

Dzonggrakha lhakhang

Often called the mini- Taktsang, Dzongdrakha temples are built on the cliffs above Bondey village. The walk there is not as strenuous as to Taktsang. Legend says one of the temples is built around a levitating monument. Folks built a stronger temple around this monument with the hope that the levitating monument does not fly away into the sky.

Kila gonpa

If you are as fit as the mountain goat, Kila Gompa awaits you. This magnificent clusters of temples built on the cliffs have been home for nuns for a long time. Kila in Sanskrit means a subjugating spiritual dagger that destroys the negativities. Hike up this temple and subjugate all the negative energies within you. If it does not give you the spiritual satisfaction do not worry because you will feel physically rejuvenated after the hike.

Tiger Nest (Paro Taktshang)

Often called the Tiger’s Nest, perched on the cliffs, has awestruck many a visitor. “Trip to Bhutan is never complete without climbing to Taktsang”, says one tourist. Indeed it’s true as the journey there fills you with spiritual bliss. For those not choosing the spiritual side it is the dramatic, artistically built monument that becomes a hiker’s delight. Take a trip to this dramatically set Buddhist relic hanging from a cliff. Experience the uphill climb as you ascend more than two thousand feet from the valley floor.

Dungtse Lhakhang

The unusual and circular lhakhang, reminiscent of the Shanag, or the black hat worn by the Bhutanese Black Hat dancers was, built by the great “Builder of iron chain bridges,” Drupthob Thangtong Gyalpo. Experience a visit to this unique temple whose founder ws extended invitation by the two guardian deities of Ap Chundu and Jowo Drakey.

Tacho Lhakhang

This 14th century temple located on the base of a mountain across the Pa chu on the Paro-Thimphu highway, is a must visit temple in the Paro valley. Built by the great master architect Thangtong Gyalpo, the temple houses some unique statues. To get to the temple one may actually walk over the iron chains that spans over the Pa chu.

Paro Tshechu

The five-day Paro Tshechu is one of the biggest religious celebrations. Mask dances are performed to illustrate Buddhist moral tales from various Buddhist masters. You may attend the tshechu together with the Bhutanese people from all walks of life who join the residents of Paro in their best finery to attend the dances. One can witness the popular folk dance called the Wochubi Zhey that commemorates historical events.

Paro Farm

Picturesque farm houses dot the valley amongst fields and hillsides. We welcome you to enjoy the hospitality of the Paro farmers. Thrill yourself as the farmers welcome you to their homes with genuine smiles. The two to three-storied Bhutanese farm houses are handsome in appearance, with colourfully decorated outer walls and lintels, and are traditionally built.  A visit to a farm house gives an interesting glimpse into the lifestyle of a farming family

Haa

The Haa district is undoubtedly one of the most picturesque of the districts in the country. The district adjoins the districts of Paro, Chhukha and Samtse, covering an area of 1706 sq. Km. It is one of the smallest districts in the country. Legend says that the Haa valley, before the 8th century, was wrapped up in animist tradition. Still some elements of this belief system exist in form of festivals and rituals. The tantric master Padmasambhava visited the valley in the 8th century and transformed some blood sacrificing animist beliefs into peaceful Buddhist traditions. Ap Chundu and several other deities, once hostile animist forces, were subdued and made the guardians of the land.


Dobji Dzong


The fortress is located on 11 kilometers away from Chunzom towards Haa proper and was built in the 16th century by a Tibetan Lam Nawang Chogyal. The five storied fortress is perched on a hilltop and flanked by a hair-raising ravine descending to the basin of the Pachu-Wangchu. It was once one of the main centres of Drukpa Kargyupa teachings, the state religion of the country.


Tagchu Goenmba


This hundred year old temple was founded by Dali Lam Sangay Gyatso who served as the abbot of Nub Dali Dzong in Tibet. People believe that the temple is thus modeled on the lines of the Nub Dali Dzong. It is located in Lungsekha village in Isu Gewog.


Shekhar Drak


A place of importance in the valley is the Shekhar Drak temple that is ensconced at the foot of a cliff with its walls melded in the rock. A visit to the temple will be truly a spiritually fluffing one.


Lhakhang Karpo and Nagpo


Explore the two great temples namely the White (Lhakhang Karpo) and the Black (Lhakhang Nagpo). The temples are both located in the tiny village of Dumchoe. Lhakhang Karpo can be distinguished by its sparkling white walls while lhakhang Nagpo is easily distinguished by its grayish black wall. Mesmerise yourself with the stories of how the temples and the mountains were formed.


Tergo La pass


The pass is located at an altitude of 2900m to 3715m. If the weather is clear you will see Bhutan’s highest mountain (Gangkhar Puensum – elevation 7543m) and other peaks such as Mount Jomolhari, Jichu Drakey and Tsherim Gang.

 

Laptsa Teng (elevation 4250m),

 

It is the short hike from the Tergo La Pas. It is one of the amazing pass, where almost all the valleys, mountain of paro Valley are visible.


Dorikha Village


It is one of the beautiful villages in the Haa Dzongkhag. The Village is above the Tergo La pass, Laptsa Teng. The village has unique culture, tradition. One can enjoy the farmer working in the farm. Village has option to stay in farm house.


Dorikha Lhakhang


The oldest temple in the village is located at an approximately 5-6 hours walking in total.  It is also an option to stay the night in a farmhouse in Dorikha village either before or after the hike.

Juneydrak Hermitage


The walk is through rhododendron forest with fine views.  Start about 1 km north of Haa, by the hospital and just before the main bridge, where a 4 wheel drive track branches east to Katsho village.  The cliff- side retreat contains a footprint of Machen Labdrom (1055 -1132), a female Tibetan tantric practitioner.  A trail follows the stream past a Mani wall to a two-legged archway Chorten (known as a khonying).  Cross the bridge and ascend through a charming rhododendron forest.  At a red sign, take a trail to the left and climb up to a chorten that marks the entry to the Hermitage.  If there is no one meditating inside the temple then we can go in and take a look at the footprint.  If monks are meditating in the Hermitage you will not be able to go in, but it is a lovely walk and there is a beautiful view back towards Haa valley from the temple.  You should also be able to stop a visit a local farmhouse during your walk.

 

Shekhar Drak

A place of importance in the valley is the Shekhar Drak temple that is ensconced at the foot of a cliff with its walls melded in the rock. A visit to the temple will be truly an spiritually fluffing one.

Lhakhang Karpo and Nagpo

Explore the two great temples namely the White (Lhakhang Karpo) and the Black (Lhakhang Nagpo). The temples are both located in the tiny village of Dumchoe. Lhakhang Karpo can be distinguished by its sparkling white walls while lhakhang Nagpo is easily distinguished by its grayish black wall.  The temples are both located in the foothills of the three towering identical mountains venerated as Rigsum Gonpo. Mesmerise yourself with the stories of how the temples and the mountains were formed. They represent the essence of Wisdom, Knowledge and Subjugation. Maybe you can draw your own parables here. The people of Haa have a tradition of going on pilgrimage to the temples and you can join the pilgrims on foot.

Summer Festival

The summer festival at Ha valley is an annual festival where you get an opportunity to explore the Alpine valley which is a favourite haunt of the nature lovers with lakes and mountains. You also get an opportunity to participate in the nomadic life styles of the Haaps and feel the experience of ancient Bhutan besides savouring the delicacies of the Haaps, especially the Haapi Hoentoe, a dumpling. You may also take rides on Yaks and horses back and compete in the traditional game of khuru, archery and soksum and try hitting the bull’s eye.

You may also share a night or so in the traditionally built farmhouses and experience the true essence of cultural exposure. We can design tours that will allow you to experience farming of the valley’s staple crops of wheat, potatoes, barley, millet and ample green vegetables.  Trekking will reveal the legends of Nob Tsonapatra (highland lakes) and yak herders livelihood. We present the best of Haa during the Summer Festival and other festivals as listed here.

Thimphu

Thimphu (Altitude 2,400m / 7,875ft)

Thimphu, situated at an altitude of 2400m, is the centre of government, religion and commerce. The capital has an interesting combination of tradition and modernity, and includes some of the most advanced and remotest parts of the kingdom.  It is home to the Kings and the Royal family members, civil servants, expatriates, politicians, business persons and monks. Enjoy this cultural mix based on livelihood.  Of culture we will take you through temples, dzongs, chortens, museums, handicraft stores, nunneries, parks and many more. Allow yourself to meet both traditional and contemporary artist.

National Memorial Chorten

Chorten literally means ‘Seat of Faith’ and Buddhists often call such monuments, the ‘Mind of Buddha’.  Treat yourself with the extraordinary depiction of Buddhist teachings in the form of paintings and sculptures. As the name denotes this National Memorial Chorten was consecrated on July 28, 1974 in memory of the Third King.

Tashichhodzong

The “fortress of the glorious religion” was initially erected in 1641 and rebuilt by King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck in the 1960s.  Tashichhodzong houses some ministries, His Majesty’s secretariat, and the central monk body.

Simtokha Dzong

Stroll through the very first dzong, built in 1627 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal.  The Institute for Language and Cultural Studies is located here. Enthral yourself with the most noteworthy artistic feature in the form of over 300 finely worked slate carvings behind the prayer wheels in the courtyard.

Changangkha Temple:

This temple situated atop a small hound overlooking the Thimphu valley was built in the 13th century by the illustrious Lam Phajo Dugom Zhigpo. The temple is considered the spiritual home of children born in the Chang valley.

Thangtong Dewachen Nunnery

The only nunnery in the Capital it is popularly known as Zilukha Anim Dratshang. It is located above Zilukha Lower Secondary School, overlooking Tashichodzong in Thimphu valley and is a few minutes’ drive from the town. It was built in 1976 by the 16th emanation of Thangtong Gyalpo, Drubthob Rikey Jadrel. You may interact with some 60 nuns or so that has devoted their life to spirituality and Buddhism.

National Library

The National Library was established in the late 1960s primarily to conserve the literary treasures which form a significant part of Bhutan’s cultural heritage.  It now houses an extensive collection of Buddhist literature mostly in block-printed format, with some works several hundred years old.  There is also a small collection of foreign books, stock of which mainly comprises works written in English. Take the opportunity to see the world’s biggest book stationed in the ground floor.

Institute for Zorig Chusum

Commonly known as the Painting School, the Institute offers you a glimpse of novices learning 13 traditional arts and crafts of Bhutan.  It is a hands-on trip for you. Enjoy few moments with the future artists of the country.

National Institute of Traditional Medicine

In Bhutan, equal emphasis is given to both allopathic and traditional medicines. The rich herbal medicines made from medicinal plants abundant in the kingdom are prepared and dispensed here.  The Institute is also a training school for traditional medicine practitioners. The complex is closed to visitors due to considerations of hygiene, but one can still walk around and visit the showroom.
Folk Heritage and National Textile Museums: These museums, both of which opened in 2001, provide fascinating insights into Bhutanese material culture and way of life. One may come across some interesting facets from rural Bhutan that is slowly being replaced by modern amenities. The water driven grinding mill may captivate your zoom lens.

Handicrafts shops

A wide assortment of colourful, hand woven textiles and other craft products is available for purchase at the government-run Handicrafts Emporium and many smaller handicrafts shops around the town. One can pick up small items as souvenirs.

Weekend Market

Most of the Thimphu’s population and many valley dwellers converge on the bustling weekend market, held by the side of Wangchu River.  A wide range of foodstuffs and local arts and crafts are sold at the market, which runs from Friday afternoon till Sunday evening.  A visit to the market provides great photo opportunities, as well as the chance to mingle with local people and perhaps buy souvenirs.

Sangaygang Hill

The best place for photographers is perhaps a visit to the Sangaygang hill. A short drive from the town, the hill provides visitors with an opportunity to pause and reflect in the hustle-bustle of a busy city-life. You can also have a panoramic view of the valley. On the way back you can visit the small zoo dedicated to the Takin, the national animal of Bhutan.

Buddha Point

Another place from where you can get a good overview of the Thimphu valley is from the Buddha point (Kuensel Phodrang). It is again a short drive from the town. You can pay your obeisance and offer prayers to the Buddha, the largest statue in the country and then walk around and take a glimpse of the valley.

Thimphu Tshechu

The Thimphu tshechu that is held for four days is a major event in the capital drawing hundreds of people from the villagers to the civil servants and the politicians. It also draws a large number of tourists. One attraction of the tshechu is the Wang Zhey, a folk dance from the Thimphu valley.

Punakha

Punakha (Altitude 1,310m/4,300ft)

Punakha has been inextricably linked to some of the most momentous events in the Bhutanese history and deserves its reputation as one of the most beautiful and significant regions at the heart of Bhutanese culture.  This district, levelling from 1300m at the valley floor rises to almost 3000m around Dochhula pass, served as the capital of Bhutan from 1637 till 1907 and the 1st National Assembly was held here.  The dzong is historically important and stands as the symbol for a unified Bhutan.  Visit Punakha Domche and relish the revelry of medieval warriors and also the coming of textiles to life.

Punakha Dzong

Placed strategically at the junction of the Pho Chu and Mo Chu rivers, the dzong was built in 1637 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal to serve as the religious and administrative seat of the region. It was here that the dual system of government was introduced in the 17th century and in 1907, enthroned the first King Gongsr Ugyen Wangchuck. Damaged over the centuries by four catastrophic fires and an earthquake, the dzong has been fully restored in the recent years by the 4th King Jigme Singye Wangchuck.  At the dzong enrich your trip with the opportunity to see the highest standards in woodwork. Do not miss the massive Kuenray, the Coronation Hall of all Bhutanese kings, the Dzongchung at the entrance to the dzong and the cantilever bridge over the Mochu that has been recently renovated.

Khamsum Yuley Temple

There is no temple in Bhutan built elaborately as this. This fascinating temple was built by the Queen Mother of the 5th King to bring universal peace in this world. The best of the spiritual art works are painted on the inner walls. There are also paintings of Buddhist teachers and tutelary deities of the country. This is a great temple to study the symbolic meanings from frescoes and sculptures.

Chhimi Lhakhang

The divine madman also known, as Drukpa Kinley is a famous teacher with whom the phallic symbol is associated. Tales told by your guide would have excited you to visit Chhimi Lhakhang. The Divine Madman sits there though a statue this time. Do not miss the master’s deeds painted on the walls.  Japanese and several American couples visited this temple and were blessed miraculously with children. Ask yourself, do I need this Fertility Tour or not?

Talo Excursion

A day excursion to Talo would be great with picnic lunch. The festival there happens in spring and will capture any visitor’s attention. Let your tour take you there in summer during corn harvest. It’s an adventure to enjoy corn harvest with the farmers and also an opportunity to look for Himalayan bear. A walk through Talo and down to the other village of Nobgang will be a great day’s itinerary.

Gasa

Gasa (4500m)


The northern most district of the country adjoins the districts of Punakha, Thimphu and Wangdue
Phodrang and with Tibet to its north. This starkly beautiful region with elevations ranging from 1500 to
4,500 meters experiences extremely long and hard winters and short but beautiful summers. It has the
smallest population with just about 3000 inhabitants. Of culture meet the people of Laya, the nomads of
western Bhutan. These people live on yaks and harvest of Cordycep (fungi of high value, used in oriental
medicine).


Gasa Dzong


Locally known as the Tashi Thongmon Dzong, the fortress served as a defending barrack in the 17th
century. It was named after the region’s protecting deity Tashi Thongmon. The fortress is unique with a
circular shape and three watch towers that are placed at strategic points. The beauty of the Dzong is
heightened during clear days with view of Mt. Gang boom.


Gasa Springs


Gasa is famed for its numerous hot springs or Tshachus with renowned medicinal properties. The hot
springs at the base of the Mochu River draws not just the locals but as well as Bhutanese from other parts
of the country and tourists. Taking a hot dip in the Tshachus will be not just a wonderful experience but
give you a healing experience.


Natural Trip


The natural splendor of Gasa is unparalleled in the country. It has some of the highest peaks arrayed like a
saw along the natural border with Tibet. Over a hundred glacial lakes are at the foot of these mountains
that feed the two major rivers in the country. The entire district falls under the Jigme Dorji Wangchuck
National Park that has some rare flora and fauna species. One can come across the elusive snow leopard,
Takin – the national animal, Red Panda, the mountain goats, Blue sheep and the Blue Poppy, the national
flower of the country. Each year a number of tourists pass through the region along its popular trails
including the famous Snowman, one of the most arduous treks in the world.

 

Wangdue Phodrang

Wangdue Phodrang (Altitude: 1,300m/4,265ft)

Wangdue Phodrang is an important gateway to the far flung districts of Eastern Bhutan. The dzong perched on a ridge overlooking the Punatsangchu and Dangchu rivers was built in 1639. As the name speaks the dzong of Wangdue held a powerful position during pre-monarchy days. Apart from the great dzong, its cultural wonders lie in the villages. Detour the villages of Gaselo and Nahee towards the west of the dzong. Likewise enjoy the tales of shaman culture in the Shaa regions of Wangdue and listen to the ornamental speeches or Lozeys of Shaa and visit the ancestral home of Pema Tshewang Tashi, the knight whose Lozey still remains a favourite amongst the Bhutanese.

Wangdue Phodrang Dzong

Stretched along the hilltop above the confluence of the Punatsangchhu and Dhangchhu rivers, the imposing Wangdue Phodrang Dzong was built in 1638 and is the town’s most visible feature.  During pre-monarchy days, the governor of this dzong played an important role. The annual festival takes place in autumn so be the guest and enjoy the tour of the dzong.

Gangtey Goemba

In the mountains east of Wangdue Phodrang lies the beautiful Phobjikha valley, on the slopes of which is situated the great monastery of Gangtey, established in the 17th century.  The village of Phobjikha lies a few km. down from the monastery, on the valley floor.  This quiet, remote valley is the winter home of black necked cranes, which migrate from the arid plains of Tibet in the north, to pass the winter months in a milder climate.

Trongsa

Trongsa (Altitude 2,300m/7,545ft.)

Pelela pass at 3300m is an important dividing range that separates Western Bhutan from Central and Eastern Bhutan. Crossing this important Pass, one may enjoy the pastoral feeling as you drive deeper into the valley with meadows where sheep and yaks graze. The bamboos that grow plenty on these hillsides are trimmed by yaks. Yaks love the dwarfed bamboos. If you are a bird watcher, look out for the specialty called the Wren Babbler taking refuge underneath those bamboos. In the months of April-June, the hillsides are painted with the rhododendron blooms. Trongsa, the sacred and the temporal heart of the country is the first district that you will come across.

Trongsa Dzong

Built in 1648, it was the seat of power over central and eastern Bhutan.  Both the first and second kings of Bhutan ruled the country from this ancient seat.  All four kings were invested as Trongsa Penlop (“governor”) prior to ascending the throne.  The dzong is a massive structure with many levels, sloping down the contours of the ridge on which it is built.  Because of the dzong’s highly strategic position, on the only connecting route between east and west, the Trongsa Penlop was able to control effectively the whole of the central and eastern regions of the country from here.

Ta Dzong

This watchtower, which once guarded Trongsa Dzong from internal rebellion, stands on a promontory above the town. It was built by Chogyal Minjur Tempa, the 1st Governor of Trongsa in 1652. It has four observation pints resembling Tiger, Lion, Garuda, and Dragon. Climb up the path to visit Ta Dzong which now houses a shrine dedicated to the epic hero, King Gesar of Ling.  A visit to this former watchtower provides visitors with an insight into the significance of Trongsa in Bhutan’s history. As of date the Ta Dzong of Trongsa is the most fascinating museum of the nation.

Chendebji Chorten

En route to Trongsa is Chendebji Chorten, patterned on Kathmandu’s Swayambhunath Stupa, with eyes painted at the four cardinal points.  It was built in the 18th century by Lama Zhida, to cover the remains of an evil spirit that was subdued at this spot. Legend says that the evil spirit manifested as a gigantic snake.

Bumthang

Bumthang

Altitude (Jakar 2,800 m/9,185 ft.)

(URA 3,100m/10,170ft )

Bumthang is the most center region of Bhutan. In beautiful valley of Bumthang, many significant temples and monastery, and Dzong are seen. Due to its being center region of Bhutan, passenger passing from east to west, west to east are all halt night at Bumthang. Bumthang is also known for being one of the best pilgrimage sites.

 

Jakar Dzong

The Jakar Dzong dominates the Chamkhar Valley and overlooks the town. The Dzong was constructed in 1549 by the Tibetan Lam Nagi Wangchuk. The Dzong plays and important role as  the fortress of defense of a whole eastern Dzongkhag.. The other unique feature of the Dzong is a sheltered passage, with two parallel walls, interconnected by fortified towers, which gave the population of the fortress access to water in the case of a siege. The protected water supply is still intact to this day.

Jambey Lhakhang:

Jambay Lhakhang was built in the 7th century along with paro Kichu Lhakhang and 108 Temples   by the Tibetan King Songtsen Gyembo in a single day. The reason for building 108 Temples in a day was to subdue evil spirit in the Himalayan Region

Kurje Lhakhang

Kurje Lhakhang is composed of three temples. The one on the right was built in 1653 against the standing rock face where guru Padmasambhava mediated in the 8th century. The middle temple is built on the site of a cave containing a rock with the imprints of gurus body and its therefore considered to be most holy. 108 chortens are built surrounding the three temples.

Tamshing Lhakhang

In 1501, the great treasure hunter, pema Lingpa, who is said to be the reincarnation of Guru Rinpoche, built a temple, today known as Tamshing Monastery. Tamshing Monastery is located across the river from the kurji Lhakhang.

Thangbi Goemba

Founded in 1470 by Shamar Rinpoche of the Karma Kargyupa religious school, the building comprises two sanctuaries and a temple of terrifying deities.  The sanctuary on the ground floor contains statues of the past, present and future Buddhas and three clay statues probably dating to the end of the 15th century.  On the upper floor, the vestibule contains two remarkable paintings of Guru Rinpoche heaven, and the Buddha Amitabha’s heaven. The temple is located 30 minutes walk from Kurje Lhakhang.

Gang Lhakhang

Gang Lhakhang is located above the Thangbi Lhakhang in the small village of Ngang Yule. The site was blessed by the visit of Guru Rinpoche, and later the temple was built by Lama Namkha Samdrup in 15th century.

Ura Valley

Driving to the east of Bumthang Chamkhar Town, at approximately, 48kms lies a beautiful village known as Ura. To reach Ura, the road climbs through amazingly open countryside, only occasionally running into forest.  Sheep pastures line the road up to 20 km. behind the southern tip of the Tang valley.  The road crosses Ura-la pass (3,600m), on the approach to which there is a magnificent view of Mt.  Gangkar Puensum.  Villages in Ura have clustered houses, which is quite unusual in Bhutan.  Above Ura village (3,100m) there is a new temple is dedicated to Guru Rinpoche.  Inaugurated in 1986, it contains a huge statue of the Guru and remarkable wall paintings of the cycle of his teachings.  Within the last 25 years Ura has been transformed from a marginal community to a prosperous valley.

Membartsho (The Burning Lake)

Membartsho, the burning lake is the significant lake in Bumthang. The lake is formed along the Tangchu and is one of the most visited pilgrimage site in Bumthang. Pema Lingpa, the great treasure hunter, found a hidden treasure from the lake. The lake is significantly array with the prayer flags and small clay statue in rock niches.

Ugyenchholing Palace

Ugyenchholing Palace is also lies in the Tang region of Bumthang. The palace is exhibition house of the life style of the Trongsa Penlop (Governor) Tshokey Dorji and his house hold. It is also the retreat for those who engaged in religious history of Bhutan. The palace was restored in 19th century, though it was built much earlier.

Tang Rimochen Lhakhang

A rock in front of temple bears a body print of Guru and two khandroms (female celestial being), which indicates the places was blessed by the visit of Guru Rinpoche. The site is named after the tiger stripe markings on the cliff above temple. Footprints of the Guru Rinpoche and his consorts Mandarava and Yeshi Chhogyal are found below the temple. Two large boulder nearby are said to be the male and female garudas.

Kunzangdrak Goemba

Kunzangdrak Goemba is located in Tang region of Bumthang. Two hours of walk above Chel Tang Valley will reach one to Kunzangdrak Goemba constructed in 1488. The site is significant because it is related to the great treasure hunter Pema Lingpa. Mot of the relics of the temples is of Pemalingpa. The temple also has a foot print of pema Lingpa on the stone.

 

Pelseling Goemba

Pelseling Goempa is half day trek (3-4) hours walk from the Jakar Dzong. The trek starts off at a mild pace. Along the trekking route, the travelers are gifted with the astonishing view of valley and many species of flora and fauna. Just before reaching pesling Goemba, there is a meadow, which is perfect spot for the picnic. Little walk from there will reach you to spot, from where you will get perfect view of pesling Goemba.

 

Chumey Valley

Chumey Valley is one of the beautiful valleys, and it is considered as good spot for nature lover. The valley is located few kilometers from Bumthang. It is wild and open and main road, which is the only road, is a small. The Bhutanese houses are spread all over the valley, thus making it even beautiful. The valley is covered with the pines and you can view some of the interesting settlement in the pines.

Prakar Goemba

Prakar Goemba is located on the promontory on the opposite side of the river from Zugney village.  Prakar Goemba or monastery was built in 17th century. According to the oral history, the white monkeys helped to build the monastery. The name of monastery was derived from this history. (Pra – Monkey and Kar – White)

Tang Valley

Tang is one of the four valleys of Bumthang District and it is higher than Choskhor (Jakar). The village is located to on the highway of west east toward Ura at about 10 Kms. Excursion to this valley takes around 2hrs steep uphill journey. In recent years, the valley is connected with the feeder road. One can enjoy the valley, settlement and herder taking their herd through the valley.

 

Tharpaling Monastery

Tharpaling monastery is located above Chumey Valley at an altitude of 3600m above sea level. A 10 Km feeder road connects the temple to Gyetsa Village in Chumey Valley. The main part of monastery was founded by Longchenpa or Longchen Rabjam Pa (1308 -1363) during his self exile from Tibet for ten years. This monastery was also used as place for meditation by Jigme Lingpa and many great Buddhist masters. The view from the monastery will enable one to enjoy the Chumey Valley.

 

Wangdicholing Palace

Wangdicholing was built in 1857 on the site of the battle camp of the Trongsa Penlop Jigme Namgyel, the father of the first King of Bhutan. It was the first palace in Bhutan that was not designed as a fortress. Both the first and second king adopted Wangdicholing as their main summer residence.

 

Yathra Weaving Centre

Yathra is one of the beautiful textiles in Bhutan. It is textile made from the wool. In the village of Zungney in Chumey Valley, there are shops, where you can see the weavers at work.  You may able to see the traditional method of dyeing of the wo

Mongar

 

 

 

 

Mongar Altitude (1,600m/5,250ft.)

Mongar is located between the Bumthang and Tashigang. Mongar district is the largest district in Bhutan. The journey from Bumthang to Mongar is one of the most beautiful in the Himalayas crossing 4000m high Thrumsingla, Ura Valley and the one of the dangerous cliff – Namling. The journey will also bring you the beautiful and long waterfall. Mongar marks the beginning of eastern Dzongkha of Bhutan.

 

Mongar Dzong

Mongar Dzong was built in recent year (1930s) but without compromising the traditional method and style of building Dzongs in Bhutan. Bhutanese build such a big structure so called Dzong without using single nail. The art and craft work of the Dzong are done exactly in the same way as what the ancient Dzong has. The Dzong lies on the sloppy hills above Mongar town.

 

 Zhongar Dzong

As you descend down from the Namling, you will see a large structure of ruin, standing on the opposite hill from the road; this is the ruins of Zhongar Dzong. Zhongar Dzong was built in 17th century. According to the legend, the Dzong was built on the spot where the chief architecture of Dzong Dzo Balip found a white bowl. The Dzong, in ancient year was the administrative centre for eastern districts.

 

Drametse Lhakhang

The Drametse Lhakhang was built in 16th century and is located in the village of Drametse. The Temple was built by the Ani Choten Zangmo, the daughter of renowned Terton pema Lingpa. One of the mask dances Drametse ngacham was originated from the Drametse Lhakhang and it is popular all across the Bhutan. It is esteemed as UNISCO world Heritage site.

 

 Jarung Khashor Choeten

The Jarung Khashor Choeten in Lingmethang next to the bridge over the Kurichu River is another monument in the district that is worth paying a visit. The Choeten is modelled after the Jarung Khashor Choeten in Nepal. One can enjoy the view of lake formed by the damn of Hydro Power Plant.

 

Yadhi Village

Yadhi Village is located along the highway between Mongar and Tashigang. As you ascend from the Mongar, one will reach to Korila. Then one descends down through the villages to the Yadhi Village. Yadhi village is one of the finest examples of eastern villages. One can enjoy the great view of villages, which lies in the pine over the sloppy valley.

 

Kalapang Village

Kalapang Village lies above the Gyelposhing Town. Though, the village is connected by the feeder road, one can hike through the pine forest, enjoying the view of dam and wate reservoir below, and enjoying the view of Gyelposhing Town. Kalapang Village is consederd as one of the least developed village in Mongar Dzongkhag. You can enjoy, interact and watch their life style. One can also enjoy the biking and slef driving to the Kalapang Village. It is one day hike.

 

 

 

 

Lhuentse

 

 

 

Lhuentse (Altitude: 1460m/4789ft.)

Lhuentse is the eastern most districts of Bhutan. It is located at 77km from Mongar. The ancestral house of Bhutan’s Monarch is still there in Lhuentse. The landscape is spectacular, with stark cliffs towering above river gorges and dense coniferous forests.  The region is famous for its weavers, and their distinctive textiles are generally considered to be the best in the country. Kishuthara is one textile that the Kurtoe women are deft in weaving.

Lhuentse Dzong

Lhuentse Dzong, built in year 1654 by the Trongsa Penlop Chogyal Minjur Tempa on the site of small temple built by Nagi Wangchuk in 1552 is majestically overlooking the Lhuentse town. Today, the Dzong serves as the administration centre for the Lhuentse District. The main relic of the Dzong is Tsepamey Statue. Only once in a year, the statue is exhibit for blessing to people.

Dungkar Nagtsang

40 Kms by feeder road, to the east of the Lhuentse town is the ancestral home of Bhutan’s Monarch. This is the home of Trongsa Penlop Jigme Namgyal. Dungkar Nagtshang, the ancient home of the Dungkhar Choje or the ancestral domicile of the Wangchuk Dynasty stands tall amid the scenic backdrop of the towering mountains overlooking. The dungkhar village is one of the beautiful high valley villages in Bhutan.

Gangzur Village

Gangzur Village lies below the road towards Dungkhar from Lhuentse. Gangzur is well known for their artistic skill in the production of earthen pot. Some family still depend their lives on the income from selling the earthen pot. Gangzur is example of clustered village in Bhutan. You can also enjoy the view of Kurichu Down below.

Khoma Village

One has to cross the bridge over the Kurichu 7 kilometers down the Lhuntse Town. Then, feeder road takes one along the Khoma Chu to the beautiful village of Khoma. Khoma is located on the way to one of the famous pilgrimage site – Singye Dzong. One can see the crimination ground just below the road. This crimination ground is one of the most blessed crimination ground in Bhutan. 10 Kilometer through the farm road will lead you into the Khoma Valley. Khoma has clustered housed surrounded by beautiful peaks and mountains. Khoma village is well known for their artistic skill in weaving the highly intricate and patterned textile – Kishuthara.

Zepadur

Sangay Lodru is located at an hour walk from the Khoma Village. It is the hike through steep uphill. As one ascends through the pine, enjoying the breeze, one can enjoy the very beautiful view of Khoma Village. It looks so nice that one feel at home. Sangay Lodru has one temple. It is the beginning to the pilgrimage to the Singye Dzong. There is the cave, where the Guru Rinpoche mediated for six month.

Singye Dzong

The famed Singye Dzong, one of the most important sites of pilgrimage in Bhutan is a three days uphill walk from Lhuentse Dzong. It is located at an altitude of more than 3,000 meters. It is believed that Guru Rinpoche, the Precious Tantric Master once meditated here. Singye Dzong is the main sacred place where Guru Rinpoche meditated. A journey to Singye Dzong will be a rewarding experience.

 

Takila

Takila is located at 15 Kilometers from the highway. Passing the Tangmachu Village, popular in rice cultivation, sighting various designs of house, take you to the top of hill – Takila. Takila is one of the significant places in Bhutan because; the largest statue of Guru Nangsi Zillion is standing on the hill overlooking the Tangmachu Valley. The Statue was constructed by the Druk Odiyana Foundation leading by late Khenchen Karpo. One can see the superb view of Tangmachu Valley below and also the view of Tangmachu School.

 

Rowabe Monastery

Approximately, around 14 kilometer drive through farm road will take you even to higher hill top. On the hill top is a monastery. The feeder road will take you through the Nabi Village, crossing the small stream and then Zhungkhra and then finally, the Rawabe Monastery. Today, the monastery is under the care of Lam Longyang.

 

Hike to Yomenla

From just below Tangmachu School, the drive takes you towards the Manjabee Village. Manjabee Village is located on the opposite hill of Tangmachu dividing by the Bagangchu Stream. The drive through the feeder road will take you through the pine forest. 10 Kilometers from the Manjabee, will take you to the Yomin village, from where, the lower part of Kurtoe is visible. Then, hike up to the Yoemin La, which is plain meadow but perfect place to look down upon the beautiful villages of Lhuentse.

 

Tarkachen Bird Watching

Budur is located at the 7 Km from Tangmachu Bridge and It is the place where you journey to Tarkachen will start. Tarkachen is a dense forest, and it is the famous place for the herders of the villages. As you pass through the Tarkachen Road, you will see a Kupinyelsa Village located above the road. Driving further into the road will take you to the Tarkachen. Tarkachen is home to different kind of flora and fauna. The forest is rich with birding, wild animals. You will also enjoy the very dense forest.

Peyphu Goenpa

Peyphu Goenpa is almost 19 Kilometer drive from the Gorgan Bridge. From Gorgan, you will drive down to the Kurichu Zampa. Then road will lead you along the Ungar Chu until Ungar Village. Ungar Village is one of the least developed village in Lhuentse Dzongkhag. You will get to enjoy the natural scenic beauty of Ungar Village. Then continue driving to the Zhongmae Village. Zhongmae Village is located at the base of Peyphu Goenpa. Then take walk to Peyphu Goenpa from Zhongmae village. Peyphu Goenpa is the monastery of the Khenchen Karpo, who built Guru at Takila.

 

Kilung Lhakhang

The tiny village of Kilung is a twenty minute drive from the Dzong on the route towards Kurtoe Dungkhar. This village is inhabited by the Tshanglas who migrated and settled here during the late 1880’s. In the village you will come across the Kilung Lhakhang situated on a ridge overlooking the Kurichu River. It was built on the former site of the Kilung Gyalpo, a regional chieftain. This temple houses the sacred chain mall that was once used to recapture a statue that miraculously flew away from the Lhuentse Dzong.

 

Jangchubling monastery

 

This is another monastery that is definitely worth paying a visit. It was founded in the 18th century by Pekar Gyatso and until recently was under the patronage of the 16th Karmapa Rangjung Rigpe Dorji. The daughter of 1st King, Ashi Wangmo lived here at the monastery as a nun. The monastery is easily accessible from a feeder road.

 

 

 

Trashigang

Trashigang (Altitude: 1,100m/3,610ft.)

Trashigang spans the easternmost corners of the kingdom, skirting up to the edge of the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh, and is the country’s largest district.  The district has an altitude ranging from 600 m to over 4000m and Bhutan’s largest river, the Dangmechu, flows through the district. Trashigang town, on the hillside was once the center for a brisk trade with Tibet.
Today it is the junction of the east-west highway, with road connections to Samdrup Jongkhar and then into the Indian state of Assam.  Trashigang town is also the principle market place for the semi-nomadic people of Merak and Sakteng, whose way of dress is unique in Bhutan.

Trashigang Dzong

Built in 1659, atop a spur overlooking the Dangmechu river, Trashigang dzong or the fortress of the auspicious hill has been the political stronghold of eastern Bhutan for over 300 years. The Landscape on which the Dzong stands is not only picturesque but arouses curiosity. The hillock like Mount Meru is the site of the palace of the Druk Chhoglay Namgyal (victory of Bhutanese Over enemies in all directions). It is accessible only from the north, through a slender road, paved by blasting the cliff. Due to its location Trashigang Dzong is one of the most strategically placed Dzongs in Bhutan. The present Dzong was enlarged by Dzongpon Dopola, in 1936.

Sherubtse College

Sherubtse College or the Peak of Learning. Founded in the late 1960’s as a Higher Secondary School, Sherubtse College was until recently the only Institute of Higher Learning in the Country. It was run by the Jesuits from Canada and Late Father William Mackey was its first Principal. The College has been instrumental in providing the much needed human resource for the country as much of the Graduates were employed by various Ministries, Corporations and Organziations.

Rangjung Lhakhang

Further east from Trashigang, driving north will take you to another commercial hub in Trashigang, the Rangjung town. This once sleepy town is today a major commercial center where people from five gewogs congregate and carry out brisk businesses. Besides the town one can visit the Rangjung temple located on a small hillock overlooking the town. The temple built in the architectural style of the Tibetans has a monastic school supported by HH Garab Rinpoche.

Radhi Village

Above the Rangjung town is the famous Radhi village known as the Rice Bowl of the East. A drive through the terraced rice fields is an unusual experience and one can visit the traditional farm houses and peep into women folks strapped to the traditional looms. Radhi women are experts in weaving and are known for the silk textiles that has found their way into many handicraft shops in the capital town of Thimphu.

Trashi Yangtse

Trashi Yangtse (Altitude: 1,830m/6003ft.)

Trashiyangtse is a rapidly growing  town and the administrative and religious center for the people of Trashiyangtse. It was carved out from Trashigang district in 1992 as a separate district. The district pushes up to into the north-east Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh and elevations range from 1000m to 5000 m. Situated in a small river valley, it is a lovely spot from which to take walks in the surrounding countryside.  Trashiyangtse is famous for its wooden containers and bowls, which make inexpensive, attractive and useful mementos of a visit to this remote region.

Dongdi Dzong

One of the oldest Dzongs to have been built in the region, Dongdi Dzong is located on a small spur flanked by Kholong chu and Dongdi chu. A traditional cantilever bridge over Kholongchu links with the Dzong. It was established sometime in the 8th century by Gongkar Gyalpo, son of Lhasey Tsangma, a Tibetan Prince who sought refuge in Bhutan after his exile from his native country. In the 14th century it was reconstructed by Terton Pema Lingpa and named as Trashiyangtse. The current structure was renovated in the early 1990’s. Today it houses the monk body and a sacred relic is a statue of Avaloketeshvara that was offered as a relic or nangten by the deity of the river.

Chorten Kora

This dazzling white stupa is situated on the riverbank below the town. Constructed in 1740 by Lama Ngawang Loday, it is built in the same style as Bodnath Stupa in Nepal, with eyes painted at the four cardinal points.  It was consecrated by the 13th Chief Abbot Sherub Wangchuk. During the second month of the lunar calendar there is an interesting celebration here, known as ‘Kora’ during which it is frequented not just by the locals from eastern Bhutan but also by the people from Arunachal Pradesh.

Institue of Zorig Chusum

A visit to the traditional institute of Arts and Crafts above the town will provide you with an insight into the different arts and craft works practiced in Bhutan. The institute started a few years back and with support from the Government, trains many school drop outs in the arts and crafts.

Gom Kora

24 km. from Trashigang, the temple of Gom Kora is set on a small alluvial plateau overlooking the Dangmechu river.  Surrounded by rice fields and clumps of banana trees, it looks like an oasis in an arid landscape.  It is one of the famous places where Guru Rinpoche meditated in order to subdue a demon which dwelt in a huge black rock. An annual tshechu held for three days in spring draws a lot of attraction with pilgrims coming as far as from Arunachal Pradesh, India.

Samdrup Jongkhar

Samdrup Jongkhar (Altitude: 160m/525ft.)

The gate way to Eastern Bhutan, Samdrup Jongkhar is situated in the south eastern part and shares borders with the Indian state of Assam. It is by far the largest urban centre in eastern Bhutan. It lies at elevations ranging from 200m to 3,500m. In the earlier past, many British Political Officers stationed in Sikkim took the rote from Samdrup Jongkhar to enter into Bhutan. Historically it was administered by the Gyadrung stationed at Dewangiri. Today the road from Trashigang to Samdrup Jongkhar, completed in the 1960s, enables the eastern half of the country to access and benefit from trade with the south as well as across the Indian border as in the past where it was the main trading centre for the Bhutanese. Samdrup Jongkhar is a convenient exit town for tourists who have arranged to visit the neighboring Indian state of Assam.

Dewathang

The small town situated 18 kilometers from Samdrup Jongkhar along the highway used to have the office of the Gyadrung, the administrator in the earlier times. It was also the site where, in 1884, the last battle with the British was fought. Jigme Namgyal, the father of the first King, Gongsar Ugyen Wangchuck, who led the Bhutanese troops put up a strong resistance against the British though he ultimately signed the treaty of Sinchula with the British in 1865.

The Town

The town in Samdrup Jongkhar is one of the oldest in Eastern Bhutan and has seen gradual development over the years. It is a bustling small town with shopkeepers and hawkers from the nearby border of Assam. It also houses the oldest cinema theatre in the country that is frequented by Assamese from across the border especially to view the Hindi films

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