Discover what Bhutan, the Last Shangrila on Earth, has in store for you...  
 
 

Places of Interest
From - To Distance Travel time
Thimphu - Paro

65 km

55 min

Thimphu – Phuntsholing

176 km

6 hrs

Phuntsholing – Bagdogra (India)

170 km

4 hrs

Thimphu – Ha

115 km

3 hrs 30 min

Ha – Paro

60 km

2 hrs 30 min

Thimphu – Wangdue Phodrang

70 km

2 hrs

Thimphu – Punakha

77 km

2 hrs 15 min

Punakha – Wangdue Phodrang

21 km

30 min

Wangdue Phodrang – Trongsa

129 km

4 hrs

Trongsa – Bumthang

68 km

2 hrs 30 min

Bumthang – Mongar

129 km

4 hrs

Mongar – Trashigang

90 km

3 hrs

Trashigang – Trashi Yangtse

55 km

2 hrs

Thimphu:

This is the capital of Bhutan with a population of approximately 100,000 people. It lies at an elevation of 2,320m. Thimphu became the capital in 1961 and the town is the largest in Bhutan. It is about 55 mins from the airport in Paro. As you enter the valley you drive on Bhutan’s first four-lane expressway which takes you right into the heart of town, over two dramatic flyover bridges.
Places to visit in Thimphu include the Textile Museum, the Folk Heritage Museum, the Trashichho Dzong, the National Memorial Chorten (a stupa dedicated to the third king of Bhutan), and the Centenary Farmer’s Market - a colorful market full of local produce and handicrafts. Buddhists can visit numerous monasteries around the valley as well as a vibrant nunnery.
The district of Thimphu, however, stretches beyond the town and goes past Dochu-la, the first mountain pass in the western part of Bhutan. The 108 Druk Wangyal chortens and the Druk Wangyal Lhakhang on the top of the pass where the ridges are draped in colourful prayer flags provide a scenic view. On a clear day, you can see a panorama of the Himalayan mountain range.

Paro:

The broad Paro valley is the entry point for all visitors flying into Bhutan on the national carrier, Druk Air. As the plane takes a dramatic sweep into Paro, the flight captain usually warns relieved passengers not to worry if the aircraft’s wings appear to be almost touching the mountainsides. Paro lies at an elevation of 2,280m.
Places to visit include the Paro Dzong, the National Museum housed in a round fortress called the Ta Dzong, and the ruins of the Drugyal Dzong, a 17th century fortress that used to keep invading Tibetan forces at bay, destroyed in fire in 1951.
The Tiger’s Nest or the Taktshang is one of the most popular spiritual heritage sites, perched precariously on the rock face of a sheer cliff 2950m above the ground. It is a short climb of 1.5 hours to 2 hours to the top. For those less inclined to climbing, you can catch a good bird’s eye view from the bottom of the monastery.

Punakha:

Punakha is the ancient capital of Bhutan and lies at an elevation of 1,220m. It takes approximately 2 1/4 hours drive from Thimphu across Dochu-la pass (3116m). Once you cross the pass, you wind down into a warm fertile valley and meander along a gently flowing aquamarine river that leads you to the Punakha Dzong.Built in 1637, the Dzong is a stunning example of Bhutanese architecture, sitting at the fork of two rivers, portraying the image of a medieval city from a distance. The Dzong was destroyed by fire and glacial floods over the years but has been carefully restored and is, today, a fine example of Bhutanese craftsmanship.
Punakha is a sub-tropical valley where food grains, vegetables and fruits grow in abundance.
A short drive up the valley is the Khamsum Yulley Chorten (stupa), constructed in 1992, as one of three such chortens in the world, one being the National Memorial Chorten in Thimphu.

Wangdue Phodrang

Wangduephodrang Dzong was founded by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal in 1638. It is located on top of a high ridge between the Puna Tsang Chu and the Dangchu, offering a spectacular view. This Dzongkhag is located in Western Bhutan and is bordered by Punakha in the north, Thimphu in the west, Trongsa in the east and Tsirang in the south. The dzong is the center of administration and all the sectors? offices are located within its premises. However, the Thrimkhang and its offices were however moved to another location, about 100 meters from the dzong.

Wangduephodrang is about 4308 square kms with an elevation ranging from 800 to 5800 meters above sea level. The summers are moderately hot with cool winters. The areas in the north remain under snow during the winter and the district receives about 1000 mm of annual rainfall.

Wangdue is the second largest district in Bhutan, comprising of 15 vast and diverse geogs. They are Athang, Bjena , Daga, Dangchu, Gangtey, Gasetshog Gom, Gasetshog Wom, Kazhi, Nahi, Nyisho, Phangyul, Phobjikha, Rubeisa, Sephu & Thedtsho. Food security and rural access is the most obtainable in Thedtsho geog (were the present town and the developing Bajo town are located). They are the least accessible and found lacking in Athang (the most remote geog)

Bumthang:
Elevation 2,700m

Bumthang is often described as the spiritual heartland of the kingdom. There are numerous monasteries and spiritual sites in this charming valley where history and mythology help to bring alive much of Bhutan’s culture and traditions. Bumthang is a picturesque valley of beautiful houses, and fields of buckwheat, barley and apples. A strong sense of spirituality pervades the atmosphere and, at auspicious times of the year, the valley resounds with the chants of the spiritual community as temples all over offer prayers for the well-being of all sentient beings.
Some of the well-known temples include Kurjey Lhakhang (associated with Guru Rinpoche, who brought Tantric Buddhism to Bhutan and Tibet), Jampey Lhakhang (dating from the 8th century) and the historic Jakar Dzong. Bumthang’s tsechus are well-known and even its small local festivals are a privilege to attend to catch an insight of the culture and spirit of Bhutan.
For those with enough time on their hands, venture into eastern Bhutan for something quite different. This is the land of the Sharchops who speak their own language and nurture their own culture and weave beautiful textiles.

Trongsa

About four hours’ drive from Wangduephodrang is the central district of Trongsa, at an elevation of 2000 m. It is the ancestral home of Bhutan’s royal family and from where the first two kings ruled the kingdom. Long before you reach it, you see the resplendent Trongsa Dzong in the valley centre. Its labyrinth of temples, corridors, offices and living quarters for the monks add up to a masterpiece in Bhutanese architecture preserved through professional restoration in 2004.
Trongsa is a convenient place to halt for the night if you are travelling to the east or the south of Bhutan. The Trongsa Tsechu (festival) usually falls between late November and mid-December.

Chhukha

Chhukha Dzongkhag was established in April 1987, coinciding with the beginning of the sixth plan. The dzongkhag has one Drungkhag and 11 geogs Viz Bhalujhora, Bongo, Bjachho, Chapchha, Darla, Dungna, Getena, Geling, Lokchina, Metakha and Phuentsholing.

Chhukha is the main entry points for import and commercial hub of the country. Major hydro power plants, which are key source of national income are also located in Chhukha dzongkhag. This comparative advantage can foster rapid economic growth of the Dzongkhag

Chhukha dzongkhag covers an area of about 1,802 sq.kilometers with elevations ranging from 200 to 3500m above sea level. Cultivatable agricultural land forms only around nine percent of the total area of the dzongkhag.

Majority of the people depend on livestock and subsistence agricultural farming. mandarin, potatoes and cardomom are the principlal cash crops in the dzongkhag. Despite favourable climatic conditions, farm productivity is low due to terrain conditions and lack of adequate farm infrastructure in particular farm roads.

Lhuentse

Lhuentse is one of the least developed Dzongkhags in the country. Apart from the district highway, the Dzongkhag lacks internal motor roads and most villages still remain remote and inaccessible by motor roads. Majority of the households have no access to electricity. Difficult terrain and scattered settlements make delivery of services costly and challenging.

The Dzongkhag has eight gewogs, namely Gangzur, Jaray, Khoma, Kurtoe, Menbi, Metsho, Minjay and Tsenkhar with a total of 2506 households. One hospital, 11 Basic Health Units (BHUs) and 31 Outreach Clinics (ORCs) render public health services in the Dzongkhag. About 50% of the households have access to piped drinking water supply. The Dzongkhag has 12 Community Schools, six primary schools and two Lower Secondary Schools rendering education coverage.

Pema Gatshel

Earlier the entire regions which presently fall under Pemagatshel and Samdrup Jongkhar districts were popularly known as Dungsam. The term is still used both officially and locally. Two oral sources explain the meaning of Dungsam. According to one source, out of many high hills surrounding Pemagatshel, there are three conch-shaped hills. So the word Dungsam originated from the three hills. In Sharchop dialect,dungkar is a conch or simply dung, and sam means three; so Dungsam literally means three conches. The second source has it that there was a tsho, a lake, called Dungtsho Karmathang on a hill above the present day Khar.Terton Pema Lingpa (1450-1521) was known to have revealed a ter (a sacred hidden treasure) from Dungtsho Karmathang. Later when the lake dried up, humans settled there, and these settlers became ancestors of the Khoche nobility in Dungsam. Thus, they came to be called Dungtshopa – the people of Dungtsho. So Dungsampa is the corrupted form of Dungsapa; Dungsapa itself being the corruption of Dungtshopa.

The word Dungsam was recorded and widely used since the time of the First Zhabdrung, Ngawang Namgyal (1594-1651?), and the nearby villages happened to be called Dungsam. In western Bhutan, a Dungsampa is understood to be either from Dungsam Nganglam or Dungsam Pemagatshel. The regions was an independent political entity until they were merged with Zhongar following the surrender of the petty rulers of the regions to the Drukpa Kagyud force led by the first Chhoetse Penlop Chhogyal Minjur Tenpa and Lam Namsey who were acting under the command of the Unsurpassable Lord, the First Zhabdrung. Until 1970, Pemagatshel and Samdrup Jongkhar were known as Dungsam Khoi Dung and Dungsam Kothri respectively. It was His Holiness Dudjom Rinpoche who thus christened the two districts. Dungsam comprised of prominent villages like Dungsam Dewathang, Dungsam Nganglam, Dungsam Dechheling, Dungsam Khar and Dungsam Khoi Dung. It was well-known as a trade route to India for the people of eastern Bhutan.

From the time of Zhabdrung it was recognized as one of the four gateways to Bhutan: Shar Dungsamkha. The three others are Pasakha in the south, Taktserkha in the north and Dalingkha in the west. Dungtsho Karmathang was blessed with the sacred visits of Mipham Tenpai Nyima (1567-1619), the father of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal. By then the Dungtsho Karmathang had dried up and a settlement had already started. Tenpai Nyima founded the Dungkar Goenpa and fathered the son from a virtuous lady. The son went to Tibet at a young age, only to return to Bhutan to play an important role in country’s history. He was Tenzin Drukdra whom most historians believe him to be a Tibetan. A mysterious epidemic struck the settlement at Dungtsho Karmathang, and the people died except for two khoche brothers who escaped to others places. The ruins of Dungtsho Karmathang can be still seen submerged beneath the earth today.

Samdrup jonkhar

The Dzongkhag has total area of 1877.37 sq km sharing border with Indian state of Assam in the south and Arunachal Pradesh in the east. Dzongkhag shares national borders with Pemagatshel Dzongkhag in the west, and with Trashigang Dzongkhag in the north. There are two Drungkhags viz Samdrupcholing and Jomotshangkha. Samdrupcholing Drungkhag comprises of four Gewogs namely Marthalla, Pemathang, Phuntshothang and Samrang. Jomotshankha Drungkhag has three Gewogs namely Lauri, Serthi and Langchenphu. Rest of the Gewogs namely Gomdar, Wangphu, Orong and DewathangareadministeredbytheDzongkhag. The largest gewog in terms of area is Marthsalla with 18% while Samrang, Gomdar and Wangphu are the smallest with 3% each of the total area.

The population of the Dzongkhag is 33,889, of which17444 are male and 16445 are female. The sex ratio is 105 male per 100 female. 12467 people from this Dzongkhag are out migrants and have immigrants of 2935 people. The population is fairly distributed amongst the gewog except in Samrang with only 1% of the total population. More than half of the Dzongkhag population (18420) is in between the age group of 15 years-44 years and half of the population (14044) are less than the age of 15 years. The Dzongkhag has a minimum (7000) population in the age group of 45 years and above.

The Dzongkhag is located in the sub-tropical climatic zone with fertile plain land mostly in Pemathang, Phuntshothang, Langchenphu and Samrang Gewogs. Altitude in the Dzongkhag ranges from 200 meters to 3600 meters where major portion of the land falls within the altitude ranging from 600 meters to 1200 meters above sea level. The Dzongkhag experiences highest temperature of 36 degree centigrade and minimum temperature of 14 degree centigrade.
Dzongkhag receives average annual rainfall of 5309.4 millimeters recorded at Aerong. The highest rainfalls at two stations receive in the months of June and July measuring 916.4 millimeters to 1887.2 millimeters.

Samtse

Samtse Dzongkhag has an area of approximately 1309.1 square kilometers and has two drungkhags - Dorokha and Sipsu and 15 gewogs. These gewogs are Samtse, Chengmari, Ugentse, Yoeseltse, Lahireni, Sipsu, Chargharey, Pagli, Bara, Biru, Dungtoe, Denchukha, Dorokha, Tendu and Tading. It is bordered by Chukha dzongkhag in the east, Haa and Paro dzongkhags in the north and the Indian state of west Bengal and Sikkim in the south and west respectively. It has an elevation of 600-800m above sea-level and lies in the sub-tropical monsoon climate zone with good forest cover. The monthly temperature ranges between 15 degree Celsius in winter to 30 degree Celsius in summer and receives an annual rainfall between 1500-4000 ml. The summer is hot and humid and winter is dry and moderately cool.

Trashigang

Trashigang Dzong was built in 1659 by Trongsa Penlop, Chogyel Minjur Tempa (1659-1676 AD, the 3rd Deb of Bhutan). The Dzong was then named as Trashigang, “the Fortress of the Auspicious Mountain”. The Dzong was expended by Tenzin Rabgye, 4th Desi of Bhutan (1680-1694) and restored it around 1950 by Dasho Dopola, Trashigang Dzongpon. During 1960s and 1970s late Lyonpo Tamji Jagar (then the Nyerchen of Trashigang) and Dasho Kuenzang Tangbi carried out some repairs and changed the shingle roofing with asbestos sheet.

The Dzong has 8 different Lhakhang and these are Lam Lhakhang in the central tower which is dedicated to Shabdrung Rimpochhe, the Tshechu Lhakhang with Guru Tshengye, the Goenkhang dedicated to deities Mahakala and Mahakali, the Dupthob Lhakhang for Dupthob Thangthong Gyalpo and other great Buddhist saints, the Kuenray Lhakhang, the Tshokshing Lhakhang which has the lineage of Drukpa, Karamapa, Nyingmapa and Zogchen displayed and theDemaLhakhangwith21kindsofDemas.

Trashigang Dzongkhag has borders with Mongar Dzongkhag in the west, Samdrup Jongkhar and Pemagatshel Dzongkhag in the South, Trashi Yangtse Dzongkhag in the north and Indian state of Aranachal Pradesh in the east. Trashigang is 555 km away from Thimphu, the capital city and is one of the largest Dzongkhag in the Kingdom with total area about 3066.90 square kilometers. Dangme chu, one of the largest river in the country passes through the Dzongkhag. The elevation ranges from 600 m to over 4500 m above sea level. The climate is mainly temperate with an annual rainfall between 1000 mm and 2000 mm. The lowest human settlement is found at an altitude of 550 m above sea level at Deno of Lumang Geog and the highest at Merak at an altitude of 4600 m above sea level.

Tsirang

Tsirang Dzongkhag is located in the south-central part of the country and has
an area of 638.3sq.km. The altitude ranges from 400 to 2000 meters above sea level. Approximately 58% of the land is under forest cover comprising mainly of broadleaf and chirpine species while 42% is under agricultural cultivation.

Tsirang Dzongkhag is administratively divided into 12 Gewogs namely Barshong, Beteni, Dunglagang, Gosarling, Kikhorthang, Mendrelgang, Patala, Phuntenchu, Rangthangling, Semjong, Tsholingkhar and Tsirangtoe. Changchey which is located under Gosarling Gewog is the satellite town and Mendrelgand which is located under Mendrelgang gewogs is also one of satellite town. Damphu which is located in Kikhorthang Gewog is the main town and the administration center. Under 12 Gewogs there are 96 villages and 65 chiwogs. Each chiwog has one Tshokpa and one chipon.

The Dzongkhag has good development potential. Favorable as well as diverse agro-ecological features provide the Dzongkhag with potential for the cultivation of many different types of cereals as well as horticulture crops. Paddy, Maize and Millet are the major cereal crops grown while orange, cardamom and vegetables are the principal cash crops. Mandarin constitutes an important source of cash income for most of the farmers. Livestock rearing is also an important economic activity contributing to both subsistence consumption and income generation although livestock productivity is limited due to the dominance of local livestock population.

With the Wangdue-Sarpang high way passing through the Dzongkhag and a good internal road as well mule track network, most of the gewogs in the Dzongkhag are well connected. The Dzongkhag benefits from market access to major towns like Gelephu and Thimphu. The shortage of power supply is, however, a major constraint faced by the Dzongkhag. At present, only households in Damphu town have electricity connections.

 


 
 
 
         

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