Bumthang is a very picturesque region made up of four valleys. These are the Chokhor. Tang, Ura and Chhume valleys collectively known as Bumthang. This sort of landscape lends itself to long walks and treks and there is plenty to see here. There are monuments all through the valleys, some in remote locations, but a large concentration of them along the Chokhor Valley around the town of Jakar.
It’s great to plan a day by walking to some of these historic buildings and just taking in as many or as few as suit your interest. Probably the most culturally significant place here is the Kurjey Lhakhang (Kurjey monastery). It’s a temple complex that’s revered as a holy place and has been added to over the centuries starting in 1652 with the latest addition built by Ashi Kesang, the Queen Mother, in the 1990s. Or you might want to visit the nearby Jambey monastery which was originally built in the 7th century by Tibetan King, Songtsen Gampo. It is one of the 108 monasteries built by him to subdue evil spirits in the Himalayan region.
There are interesting sites in the other Bumthang valleys too, such as to Membartsho which is a lake in the Tang Valley. There’s a wooden bridge across the river where you can look down to the lake. The whole place is adorned with prayer flags and the small clay offerings called 'tse tsa' placed in niches in the rock.
Or you could go to the Ura Valley which is about 50 kilometres from Jakar. The road climbs through an interesting mix of open countryside, pastures and forests across yet another high pass with views of Mount Gangkhar Puensum. There are interesting little villages in the valley and a new temple which only opened in 1986.
There are several festivals in Bumthang dotted throughout the year. Most are religious festivals but some have other themes. There is one dedicated to mushrooms – the Ura Matsutake Festival, and there’s an annual Nomad’s Festival which focuses on the arts and crafts, traditional culture and cuisine, and all aspects of the way of life of the nomad community.
There is a new airport at Bumthang which makes it much more accessible with connections to Paro.
This small hotel is in a quiet rural location and makes a good base for exploring the Bumthang Valley.
Time: GMT +6 hours
National carrier Druk Air flies from several locations but commonly you'll connect from Delhi (2hrs), Koltata or Kathmandu (both just over an hour). You will need to come via one of these destinations which in turn are about 12 to 15 hours from the UK depending on the routing.
Language: Dzongkha is Bhutan's national language. English is widely spoken and is used in all schools.
Visas are required and are issued from Bhutan. Tribes will arrange your visa for you through our partners in Bhutan.
There are no compulsory vaccinations.
Tribes Travel, The Old Dairy, Wood Farm, Ipswich Road,
Otley, Suffolk, IP6 9JW.
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Telephone: 01473 890499