Elevation 2,600-4,000 meters
Bumthang is known as the spiritual heart of the kingdom, as it was here that Guru Rinpoche cured a local king of a spirit induced ailment in the 8th century CE, an event that resulted in the king, and finally the whole country, embracing Buddhism. The Buddhist saint Pema Ligpa was born in the region and many other famous Buddhist yogis lived and practiced here. Consequently, Bumthang is a repository of sacred artifacts and monasteries.
Bumthang consists of four main valleys: Ura, Chumey, Tang and Choekhor. These fertile valleys are covered in fields of buckwheat, rice and potatoes. Apple orchards and dairy farms are also common sights in the area.
Some of Bhutan’s oldest and most venerated temples are found in Bumthang, including Jambey Lhakhang. According to legend this ancient temple was built by the Tibetan King Songtsen Gampo in 659 A.D. as part of a chain of 108 simultaneously constructed temples in order to subdue an evil demoness that lay over the Himalayan region. It is the oldest Lhakhang in Bhutan.
Other sacred sites to see include Kurjey Lhakhang, one of Bhutan's most sacred sites; Tamshing Goemba, which contains lovely frescoes; Sumthrang Lhakhang; and many others.
The best accommodation in Bumthang is Amankora Bumthang, a luxury hotel with a full programme of cultural and trekking options, reflexology room and yoga room.
Other upmarket options are the Jakar Village Lodge, which features chalet-style rooms; Wangdu Choling Lodge; Yangkhyil Resort; and Yu-Gharling Resort, which has two conference rooms and spa facilities.
There are several mid-range hotels such as Gongkhar Lodge, Home Hotel, Lekyi Lodge, Mipham Guesthouse, Mountain Lodge, Peling Hotel, Rincheling Lodge, River Lodge, Swiss Guesthouse, and many others.
The best international standard cuisine is found at the Amankora Bumthang and the Wangdu Choling Lodge. Fondue and other Swiss specialties are available at the Swiss Guesthouse.
All the hotels and lodges have wholesome Bhutanese cuisine on the menu. Roadside restaurants also serve Bhutanese, Tibetan and Bumthang buckwheat dishes--some the best include Sunny Restaurant, Damcho Restaurant & Bar, Travellers' Restaurant and Coffee Corner.