Bumthang - Bhutan | Druk Asia


Bumthang is a region that is the religious heartland of the nation.

Bumthang is known as the spiritual heartland of the kingdom. Bumthang is one of the most historic districts in Bhutan with many sacred sites and monasteries. It was here that Guru Rinpoche cured a local king from a spirit induced ailment in the 8th century CE. This resulted in the king, and finally the whole country, embraced Buddhism. The Buddhist saint Pema Lingpa was born in Bumthang, and many other famous Buddhist yogis lived and practiced here. Consequently, Bumthang is a repository of sacred artifacts and monasteries.



Bumthang in central Bhutan comprises four valleys - Choekhor, Tang, Chumey and Ura. These picturesque valleys are carved by ancient glaciers. It’s a peaceful place with potatoes, rice and buckwheat fields. Hence, the name Bumthang translates directly to ‘beautiful fields’.

Accessibility to Bumthang: Bathpalathang Airport

You can either get to Bumthang through Paro Airport or the domestic airports like Gelephu Airport, or Yonphula Airport. Otherwise the drive from Thimphu to Bumthang will take around 7hrs 30 mins. It will take about 4 hours to drive from Trongsa to Bhutan.

Top 10 Things to Do in Bumthang, Bhutan

1. The Scenic Town of Jakar - The scenic town of Jakar is a delight for tourists. It’s often an overnight destination for travelers. Jakar features undulating terrain with ancient Buddhist temples and apple trees. Visitors can get a panoramic view of Trongsa Dzong with its background of beautiful clouds.

2. The Bumthang Owl Trek - The Bumthang Owl Trek is short, yet fascinating. You can hear the sound of hooting owls punctuating the silent nights. The trek extends from Manchung through the Drangela Pass and the Tharpaling monastery. Along the trail, there are dense forests with bamboo, juniper, blue pine and rhododendron trees. There is a spectacular view of the famous Mt. Gangkar Puensum peak.

3. The Wild East Rodung La Trek - This trek has some steep climbs and descents but it is well-worth the effort. It’s an ancient trade road that passes through Bumthang. There are mountain passes, green pastures and beautiful meadows. It’s absolutely jaw dropping and the hike typically takes 10 days to complete. It’s best to go on the hike during winter between October to early November or during spring, between April to early May.

4. The Bumthang Valley - Check out the Bumthang Valleys of Choekhor, Tang, Chumey and Ura. Each valley has its distinct ambience and dialect. It offers some of the best sceneries in Bhutan with its lush green environment and peaceful vibes. The landscapes are breathtaking and provide a natural environment for you to relax and slow down.

5. Kurjey Lhakhang - Kurjey Lhakhang is a very sacred site. It has three revered temples, Guru Lhakhang, Sampa Lhundrup Lhakhang, and Ka Gon Phor Sum Lhakhang, surrounded by 108 chorten walls. Guru Rinpoche meditated there, and there’s even a colossal statue of him. Here, tourists can explore the faith, tradition and culture of Bhutanese people. There are elaborate paintings of important deities.

6. The Kurjey Tshechu Festival - This famous one-day festival is celebrated in Kurjey Lhakhang with cham dances. This annual masked-dance festival is usually in June and it is performed by the monks of Kurjey Lhakhang. On the final day, there will be unfurling of the giant thongdrel featuring Guru Rinpoche.

7. The Jambay Lhakhang Festival - This interesting festival features Terchham (Naked Dance), a ritualistic naked dance on fire and is celebrated for five days. It takes place at the Jambay Lhakhang Temple. The festival is performed to suppress demons in the Himalayan region. The temple has more than 100 statues of goddesses and gods in addition to the relic of Buddha.

8. The Palace of Wangdichholing - This palace was built in 1857 on the site that used to be a battle camp. The palace is the principal residence of the first king of Bhutan, Ugyen Wangchuck and served as a summer residence for the second king, Jigme Wangchuck. Today, it’s converted into a monastic school. The palace is a sleek grand building with five giant prayer wheels inside square chortens.

9. Shugdrak Cave - Off the beaten track, you can hike to the sacred Guru Rinpoche cave , known as the Shugdrak cave. It’s just 2km past Thangbi and has a series of ladders passing a butter-lamp shrine that leads to a rock-face chapel, where you can find the stone handprint and footprint of Guru Rinpoche.

10. Tamshing Goemba - Tamshing Goemba, formerly known as Tamshing Lhendup Chholing is a Buddhist monastery in Chokhor Valley. It was built in 1501 by Pema Lingpa and considered the most important temple of Nyingma. The entrance to the temple is via a courtyard lined with monks quarters, and in the chapel, there are three thrones for the three incarnations (body, mind, speech) of Pema Lingpa. The primary statue in the main temple is the inner sanctuary of Guru Rinpoche flanked by Jampa and Sakyamuni Buddha.

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