Bumthang

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Ideal duration: 2-3 days

Best Time: March-May and September-November Read More

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"Religious Heartland of Bhutan"

Bumthang Tourism

Home to four beautiful mountain valleys and an array of ancient monasteries and temples, Bumthang takes its place as the most historic of all districts in Bhutan. Considered to be the spiritual centre of the Himalayan Kingdom, Bumthang is a beautiful place to visit if one has a keen interest in religion, spirituality and history.

Directly translating to "Beautiful Field", the region gets its name from Jambay Lhakhang. Spanning over 4500m it is known to be the religious heartland of the kingdom with several old monasteries and Buddhist temples.

Bumthang is one among the twenty districts (Dzongkhangs) comprising of four valleys of Ura, Chumey, Tang and Choekhor. Endowed with the most picturesque views of the Ura La Pass, rhododendron forests surround the valley at a slightly higher altitude.

When in Bumthang, there is a lot to be accomplished. Apart from visiting the major sightseeing spots like the Kurjey and Tamshing Lhakhang; one must go trekking up the mountainside or taste the beer, cheese and buckwheat delicacies the region has to offer. If not, you can check out the palace museum or head to the burning lake of Bhutan. Bumthang hosts the Bhutanese nomad festival every year in February.

Things to do in Bumthang

1. Kurjey Lhakhang

Kurjey Lhakhang
Located in the Bumthang Valley by a mountain river, Khurje Lhakhang is a temple complex consisting of three beautiful temples. The oldest temple contains the rock which has the imprint of Guru Rinpoch (Read More)e's body and hence is considered to be the holiest. Another temple was constructed on the site where Guru Rinpoche had meditated. The Queen Mother Ashi Kesang built the third. A 108 chorten wall also surrounds the three temples. The Kurjey Lhakhang is where the festival of Kurjey Tshechu takes place in Summer.

2. Jakar Dzong

Jakar Dzong
The Jakar Dzong, also known as the "castle of the white bird" was initially built as a monastery by the great grandfather of the first Shabdrung but is now the centre of administration of Bumthang Dis (Read More)trict and also houses the regional monk body. It overlooks the Chokhor Valley, is visible from almost everywhere in Chokhar town and offers a good view of the Bumthang Valley as well. It is the site of the festival of Jakar Tshechu in which sacred masked dances take place.

3. Jambay Lhakhang

Jambay Lhakhang
Jambay Lhakhang is considered to be one of the oldest and the most sacred temples in Bhutan and is also where a number of festivals are held. Located between Khurjey Lhakhang and Jakar Dzong, it is a 10 minutes drive from Jakar town. It was constructed in the 7th century by King Songsten Gampo and is one of the 108 that he built and contains relics and statues of deities. One could also play witness to the sacred rituals and dances performed by the monks and locals in colourful and vibrant costumes and marvel at wonderful carvings and architecture. Following appropriate etiquette for attire is advisable.

4. Tamshing Lhakhang

Tamshing Lhakhang
Tamshing Lhakhang is just across the river from Kurjey Lhakhang, in the Bumthang district of central Bhutan. For those interested in art and paintings, this site is a must-visit. With a number of anci (Read More)ent paintings such as that of 1000 Buddhas and 21 Taras, the monastery was built by famous saint Pema Lingpa in 1501. It is slowly approaching ruin, however, it has a strong connection with scholars and historians for that very reason. Famous festivals like Tamshing Phala Chhoepa takes place in Autumn as well as other sacred masks dances. It is advisable to follow clothing etiquette while you're here.

5. Mebar Tsho, The Burning Lake

Mebar Tsho, The Burning Lake
Mebar Tso also known as the Burning lake, in Tang Valley, takes about 40 minutes to reach from Bumthang. This is considered to be a sacred site for pilgrimage as it is said to be where Guru Rinpoche's (Read More) hidden treasures were found by Pema Lingpa. It holds great spiritual significance for the pilgrims, marked with colourful prayer flags and butter lamps offered by them. It is more of a river gorge (Tang chhu river) with beautiful surroundings to suit a nature-lover's taste. However, tourists are advised to exercise caution while in the area as a number of lives have been lost due to the fast-flowing river.

6. Ura Valley

Ura Valley
Ura Valley is a one and a half-hour drive from Jakar town covering a distance of about 48 km. On the way to the drive, one can catch a glimpse of the highest mountain peak in Bhutan, Mt. Gangkhar Puen (Read More)sum. The route is marked with a marvellous view of the valley, sheep pastures and occasional forests. The valley itself is different from other regions in the sense that it is home to Ura village which has clustered houses separated by cobblestone alleys, a sight uncommon in the country.

7. Ogyen Choling Palace Museum

Ogyen Choling Palace Museum
The gem of Tang valley in Bumthang, Ogyen Choling Palace Museum holds great significance to both Bhutanese and Tibetans. It is a wonderful place that preserves and shows the rich history and values of (Read More) Bhutan. The heirs of the Choling family decided to convert their ancestral home into a museum to share their history. It houses artefacts and traditional household items and gives a good insight into the heritage of this Himalayan kingdom. A paradise for history lovers, the museum gives an insight into the rural life of the country.

8. Red Panda Brewery and Cheese Factory, Bumthang

Red Panda Brewery and Cheese Factory, Bumthang
Situated right next to each other in Bumthang, Red Panda Brewery and Cheese Factory are quite interesting to visit and are in fact owned by Fritz Maurer, the same Swiss national who owns the Swiss Gue (Read More)st House. Established in the 1960s, the site produces Emmenthal and Gouda using state-of-the-art cheesemaking machines. At the brewery, one can witness the process which results in unfiltered Weiss Beer. Apple cider and wine are also available. Since it is not brewed every day, prior calling and confirmation have to be done. The cheese factory offers not just an insight into the cheese-making process but also offers a variety of cheeses to buy and also produces apple brandy and clover honey.

9. Nomad Festival

Nomad Festival
Known for its rich cultural heritage and high standards of well-being, Bhutan celebrates its joy through abundant festivals. One of such celebrations is the annual Nomad Festival; rejoicing the untouc (Read More)hed Bhutanese culture, squished for centuries by neighbouring giants. Date of 2019 - 23rd February 2020

10. Kenchosum Lhakhang

Kenchosum Lhakhang
Founded in the 8th century by Pema Lingpa, Konchogsum Lhakhang is situated south of Tamshing Lhakhang. Known to be over a 1000 years old, it was rebuilt after a severe fire accident that took place on (Read More) February 2010. The mesmerizing paintings and statues of Buddhist Gurus are striking. The modern architecture and the serenity of this place are what makes it beautiful and worth visiting.

11. Bumthang Cultural Trek

Bumthang Cultural Trek
From the verdant gradients to the ancient temples, from the rivers filled with trouts to the monasteries dedicated to Buddhist ideology –the Bumthang Cultural Trek lets you enjoy the countryside vibe (Read More)of this cultural heartland in the land of happiness.

More on Bumthang

Bumthang - The Religious and Spiritual Heartland of Bhutan

Bumthang is at the heart of religion in Bhutan as is evident in the number of historic temples and monasteries in the region. It lies at the centre of the country's Buddhist faith which traces back a number of years.

There can be found temples or monasteries dedicated to Guru Rinpoche and also Saint Pema Lingpa and the spirituality and religion are clearly witnessed in a number of festivals held in different religious sites and places of significance throughout the year across the region.

Various such places in Bumthang are revered and considered highly auspicious by people not just in the district but all over Bhutan.

Shopping in Bumthang

Jakar town has a lot of scope for shopping for souvenirs and other products. However, the Chumey Valley is famous for yatra wool with which products such as scarves, blankets,bags and sweaters are made.

Nightlife in Bumthang

Bumthang doesn't have many options as far as nightlife goes. However, one could try their hand at singing at Hangout Karaoke in Chamkhar. ( Open from 9:00 to 23:00 on Mondays,Wednesdays and Thursdays, 9:00 to 12:00 on Fridays and Saturdays, Sunday 9:00 to 11:00 and closed on Tuesdays)

History of Bumthang

By virtue of being endowed with a large number of ancient temples and spiritual sites, Bumthang is considered to be the most historic out of the 20 Dzongkhags (administrative and judicial districts) of Bhutan. It is also the ancestral home of the House of Wangchuck, descendants of Saint Pema Lingpa.

Language of Bumthang

Bumthangkha is commonly spoken. English is the medium of instruction in schools and is spoken in urban centres. The Indian language Hindi is also widely understood.

Bumthang Customs

People mostly follow and practice Buddhist customs and traditions.

Religion of Bumthang

It is important to note that it was in Bumthang where Buddhism in Bhutan first took its footing. It is considered to be the religious and spiritual heartland of the country.

Switzerland of the East

Bumthang is also known as mini-Switzerland or the Switzerland of the East not just due to its topography of snow-capped mountains, beautiful lush countryside and swift mountain rivers, but also because of the surprising availability of a number of Swiss products here.

One could hope to find Swiss cheese, brandy, honey and marmalade. Swiss meals are also available in many hotels and restaurants. The Swiss Guest House in Jakar is indeed owned by a Swiss national (Fritz Maurer) who was trained in Switzerland.

So one is sure to find Swiss specialities there. He came to Bhutan a number of years ago in response to an advertisement for a cheese-maker required in Bhutan. The brother of the third King of Bhutan convinced him to stay despite the absence of milk in the region.

But now Mr Maurer is also the owner of the Bumthang Cheese Factory which offers some exotic and authentic cheeses and the Bumthang Red Panda Brewery from which one could hope to sample some fine, unfiltered Swiss beer.

Best Time to Visit Bumthang

How to Reach Bumthang

How to Reach Overview

The amount of time taken to reach the destination is subject not only to the mode of transport, but also the route taken. There exist the following ways to reach Bumthang:

How to reach Bumthang by flight

Nearest Airport to Bumthang is Bathpalathang Airport which is a domestic airport situated right in the town of Jakar.
Bhutan's national carrier, Druk Air and Bhutan Airlines both provide international flights to its international airport at Paro. ( It is to be kept in mind that due to the changeable weather conditions and the fact that Paro Airport can only operate during daylight hours, delays might occur. Travellers are advised to keep sufficient time at hand for connecting flights). One then has to take a connecting flight using the services from Tashi Air or Druk Air (both provide domestic flight service)

How to reach Bumthang by bus

From Thimphu, Meto Transport plies buses that leave for Bumthang every day at around 7:00 AM - 7:30 AM except on Mondays. Expected time of arrival is 17:30 - 18:00. From Gelephu, Dungkar Transport supplies buses to Bumthang on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays at 6:00 AM. Expected time of arrival is 18:30. Special Luxury Tour buses can also be hired.

Local transport in Bumthang

Bus - Metho Transport ( Bus station in Jakar): From Jakar to Thimphu at 7 AM (11 hours, BTN 371).
Taxi - Taxis congregate near Zakar Lhakhang.
Bicycle rental - Rent a bike from Dragon Ride in Nu 1800 per day.

Bumthang Photos

Bumthang, Bhutan
Kurjey Lhakhang - Sacred Place with the Body Imprint of Guru Rinpoche
Jakar Dzong - Largest Dzong in Bhutan
Mebar Tso - Religious Site in Bumthang

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photos

FAQs on Bumthang

What is famous about Bumthang?

Best for experiencing core of religion in Bhutan.

What are the places near Bumthang?

The top places near to Bumthang are Punakha which is 78 km from Bumthang, Thimpu which is located 104 km from Bumthang, Paro which is located 126 km from Bumthang, Trongsa which is located 22 km from Bumthang, Jakar which is located 10 km from Bumthang

What are the things to do in Bumthang?

The top things to do in Bumthang are Kurjey Lhakhang, Jakar Dzong, Jambay Lhakhang, Tamshing Lhakhang, Mebar Tsho, The Burning Lake, Ura Valley. You can see all the places to visit in Bumthang here

What is the best way to reach Bumthang?

The amount of time taken to reach the destination is subject not only to the mode of transport, but also the route taken. There exist the following ways to reach Bumthang:
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What is the local food in Bumthang?

For those looking to sample local delicacies, visiting what is known as the Buckwheat House, near Jakar Lhakhang is a must-try. Buckwheat is eaten mainly in Bumthang and this place offers 'Bumthang Indigenous Organic food' such as puta (noodles), Khuli (pancake), jangbali(pasta) among other dishes.

Alcohol beverages include ara, bangchang, singchang and changkoe. Unfiltered weiss beer is available at Panda Beer Garden and Bhutanese meals are for BTN 450. One could also try the tasty apple cider and wine available there. Bumthang Cheese Factory sells various cheeses, clover honey and apple cider.

For an authentic taste of Bhutanese cuisine, one could visit the following restaurants: Sonar Yangkhel and Sunny Restaurant (both in Jakar), Noryang Restaurant and Bar (opposite Wangdicholing Palace). For those bored of Bhutanese food, the following might provide some respite: Himalayan Pizza (Jakar), Cafe Perk (Jakar), Bumthang Pizza (near Jakhar Lhakhang).

Read more about Local Bhutanese Dishes

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What is the best time to visit Bumthang?

March-May is the best time to visit Bumthang. During Spring, the flora and fauna are at their best along with the pretty Rhododendrons at higher altitudes. It is also a good season for trekking. Rain approaches only in the month of May. This is also the time for the famous Ura Yakchoe festival.

September-November denotes the season of Autumn which is a beautiful time of the year with temperatures being comfortable and just right. It is the season of a number of festivals all over the country but of particular significance to Bumthang are Jambey Lhakhang Drup, Prakhat Tsechu and Thangbi Mani through which one gets to witness Bhutanese culture. There are also celebrations held in the Jakar Dzong.

Summer in Bhutan (June-July, August) isn't that warm and uncomfortable. It is characterised by spells of rain but adequate planning can eliminate problems. The Nima Ung Tshechu festival is held sometime in June. 

Winter (December - February) temperatures can vary from 0C - 7C. Nights could get pretty cold and the evenings slightly windy. Trekking doesn't remain an option as routes might become impassable due to snow. This is the time one could see the clearest of skies and witness the Bumthang Nalathar Tshechu festival. One may also catch a glimpse of the endangered Black-necked crane which spends its winter in Central Bhutan.
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What is not so good about Bumthang?

Roads are not very good making it difficult to reach Bumthang

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