• Bhutan Bumthang Travel Guide 2021/2022
  • Bhutan Bumthang Travel Guide 2021/2022
  • Bhutan Bumthang Travel Guide 2021/2022
9 Days Bhutan In-depth Natural and Cultural Tour
Deep Exploration to Central Bhutan
9 Days Druk Path Trekking with Best Bhutan Highlights
Most Classic Bhutan Trekking Route
13 Days Bhutan Birding Tour

Bumthang - Sightseeing, Traffic, Weather, Hotels, Maps

Located in central Bhutan, Bumthang consists of 4 valleys: Chokhor, Tang, Ura and Chhume. As Chokhor covers a large area, it is also popularly called Bumthang Valley. There are two versions about the origin of the name “Bumthang”. One is that the valley shapes like “bumpa” - a religious container for holy water and “thang” means “plain”. Another explanation, which is also a less serious one, says that the name represents the beautiful girls living here because “bum” means “girls”.

Bumthang - Religious Heartland of Bhutan

Bumthang District is one of the 20 dzongkhag of Bhutan and it’s the most historic one with many of the oldest monasteries and religious sites in this nation such as Jambey Lhakhang and Kurjey Lhakhang. The story of Padmasambhava is spread all over the district. Here you can have a deeper feeling of the essence of Tibetan Buddhism in Bhutan and appreciate the local unsophisticated folkways. The fertile Bumthang is a land of buckwheat, rice and potatoes; apple orchards and dairy farms are also common here.

Top Places to Visit in Bumthang

As the cradle of Bhutan’s religion, there are many important monasteries and shrines in Bumthang. Many of them are related to Guru Padmasambhava and the tertons (“religious treasure-discoverers”), thus are of great importance to local people. There are occasional celebration activities held in the temples. It is definitely something you can not miss.


Jakar Dzong

Type: Historic Site, Dzong

Recommended Length of Visit: 1~2 hours

Legend has it that during site selection in 1549, a giant white bird surged into the sky and landed on a little ridge, which was considered as an auspicious omen. So Jakar Dzong was built here overlooking Chokhor Valley and the name means “The Castle of White Bird”. The perimeter of the Dzong is over 1500m and there is a half-round watchtower. It plays an important role as the fortress and the seat of the first king of Bhutan. A special feature of the Dzong is the utse (central tower) which is built on the exterior wall. Jakar Dzong is now half temple and half the administrative office.


Wangdichholing Palace

Type: Historic Site, Palace

Recommended Length of Visit: 1~2 hours

Wangdichholing Palace was built in 1857 as a former battle camp of Trongsa Penlop Jigme Namgyel. It is the first palace that is not designed like a fortress in Bhutan. The first king of Bhutan - Ugyen Wangchuck was born here. It was also the residence of the third king. Then in 1952, the king moved the whole royal family to Punakha. This grand palace is a landmark of Bumthang but hasn’t received enough attention and is now a lobdra (monastery school). There are apple orchards and quiet farmyards on the surrounding hills. Bhutan Foundation plans to renovate and transform it into a museum.


Jampey Lhakhang

Type: Religious Site, Monastery

Recommended Length of Visit: 1~2 hours

It is said that Jampey Lhakhang was built in 659 by Tibetan King Srongtsen Gampo on the same day of Kyichu Lhakhang in Paro to suppress an evil ogress. Padmasambhava visited this temple one day and saved the life of Sindhu Raja. There are 3 stone stairs in the temple representing the past, present and future. Locals believe that when the “present stair” sinks lower than the ground, it would be the end of the world. Inside the temple along the kora path are exquisite and colorful murals. In Oct. or Nov, one of the most magnificent festivals - Jampey Lhakhang Drup is held here.


Membartsho - Burning Lake

Type: Religious Site, Nature

Recommended Length of Visit: 1~2 hours

Membartsho is in Tang Valley, the most remote valley in Bumthang. It is where 27-year-old Pema Lingpa found several of Guru Rinpoche's treasures in late 15th century, so Membartsho is considered as one of the most sacred sites here. This place is a combination of nature, religion and mythology. A wooden bridge hangs over the valley covered with bright prayer flags and here offers a good view of the lake from above. A small altar dedicated to Terton Pema Lingpa has been set up nearby. On auspicious days, Bhutanese will come here and offer butter lamps at the lake.


Kurjey Lhakhang

Type: Religion & Culture

Length of Hiking: 1~2 hours

Kurjey Lhakhang, named after the body (kur) print (jey) of Padmasambhava, is next to Jampey Lhakhang. The print is preserved inside the oldest cave of the three buildings that comprise Kurjey Lhakhang. Among the three, Guru Lhakhang is the most ancient one built in 1652. The sanctuary on the upper-floor is the holiest with about 1000 small statues of Padmasambhava as well as Pema Lingpa and Drolma (Tara). The second one is Sampa Lhundrup Lhakhang built by the first king of Bhutan in 1900 and the third one is in 1984 by the third queen of Bhutan.


Bumthang Festivals

Type: Religion & Culture

Date: February, October, November...

There are many festivals in Bumthang, among which the most important one is Jampey Lhakhang Drup usually held in October or November. Apart from the cham, it is famous for the mewang (fire blessing ceremony) and tercham (dance of treasures performed by naked males around a bonfire). The 3-day Jakar Tsechu is about a week before that, also a religious festival with mask dances. Another special festival is Nomad’s Festival held in the third weekend in February in Nangsiphel. There will be a series of sports such as archery, wrestling, and tug-of-war and local people will sell specialties like buckwheat and cheese.

Useful Bhutan Travel Notes

  • 1. How to Apply Bhutan Visa
    Bhutan Visa is a must to travel to Bhutan, which can only be applied by authorized travel agency (like Tibet Discovery) on behalf of independent travelers. You just need to send us clear scanned photocopy of your valid passport. As we receive your passport information, we will apply it from Tourism Council of Bhutan. When we get your visa (a visa clearance letter), we will send the photocopy to you by Email, with which you are able to border a flight to Bhutan. Upon arrival on Paro International Airport, the visa will be given to you.Read More>>
  • 2. How to Plan a Bhutan Tour
    A classic Bhutan tour always takes about 5-6 days involving Paro, Thimphu and Punakha. Apart from the arrival and departure days, you get four full days to explore the landmarks in Bhutan - three days in the towns of Paro, Thimphu and Punakha, and another day in Traktsang Monastery. If you want an in-depth tour to central Bhutan, you are suggested to spend extra 4 days to Bumthang via Wangdu Phodrang and Trongsa. In fact, many travelers prefer an overland tour in Nepal, Tibet and Bhutan. If you time permits, you can take a one-hour flight from Bhutan to Nepal, where you can admire the medieval architectural wonders and marvelous landscape of Himalayan Peaks. After that, take an overland driving journey to the holy city Lhasa via Mount Everest. Read More>>
  • 3. How to Get to Bhutan
    There are two choices to get to Bhutan - by international flights from some Asian countries (Nepal, India, Thailand, Singapore and Bangladesh) and by overland driving from India. Since Paro is the only international airport, all the flights to Bhutan lands on Paro. There are three accessible ports connected Bhutan and India, including Phuentsholing, Samdrup Jongkhar and Gelephu. Phuentsholing is the primary one which connects Chhukha of Bhutan and West Bengal of India. From Phuentsholing, it takes about 6 hours to drive to Paro or Thimphu. The other two ports are located in central and eastern Bhutan. Read More>>
  • 4. Other Destinations in Bhutan
    Apart from Wangdue, there are many other destinations worthy of your visit, including Thimphu, Punakha, Paro, Trongsa, Bumthang etc. With the only international airport, Paro is probably the first destination of your Bhutan trip. And it is also where the Taktsang Monastery - Landmark of Bhutan locates. As the capital city with natural and cultural glamour, Thimphu is a must-be-visited city in Bhutan. Its National Memorial Chorten is an important holy site. Besides, there are many interesting and significant museums and institutes to catch a view of Bhutan’s rich history and culture. Punakha has the most beautiful Dzong in Bhutan - Punakha Dzong. It looks surreal especially with the purple Jacaranda in blossom between April and June.

Most Recommended Bumthang Tour Packages

Following are some other recommended Bumthang tour packages that you may be interested in. All of our Tibet tour packages are customizable to meet your personal requirements. You can also contact us to customize a trip if you want.

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