Home to the lion's share of Bhutan's sacred sites and ancient temples, Bumthang is arguably the most historic area in all of Bhutan. Bumthang is known for its apples, wheat, and honey production, as well as its unique dialect, influenced by the Tibetan language. Due to its numerous landmarks and exquisite natural beauty, much of Bumthang is protected as a natural preserve. Enter a landscape of forested valleys, gentle hills capped with whitewashed monasteries, and azure skies.
Highlights of Bumthang include Jakar Dzong, a mighty fortress that is the largest one in the country; the tasty Red Panda Brewery, a microbrewery operation that is the first of its kind in Bhutan, and was founded by a Swiss citizen; and Wangdicholing Palace, once home to the royal family of Bhutan.
A handpicked selection of experiences endorsed by our experts. If you can’t see what you’re looking for, let us know, as our extensive network of local contacts can open many doors.
Visit a local village and receive a "chipdrel" ceremony in your honor. An age-old Bhutanese custom, the chipdrel is a lively and colorful procession in which residents carry Bhutan's distinctive prayer flags and chant prayers for your well-being.
Visit Jakar Dzong, said to be the largest dzong, or fortress, in Bhutan.The current structure was built in 1667 but was damaged once by fire and again by a major earthquake in 1897. Hike to the dzong via a stone-paved path, which will offer you stunning views of Choskhor valley.
Visit Membartsho, or Burning Lake, a famous site in eastern Bhutan. Physically, this beautiful lake is actually just a widening of the Tang Chhu River. There are prayer flags strewn across it, as this is a Buddhist holy site where Pema Lingpa, one of the most illustrious tertons, or “treasure finders,” of Vajrayana Buddhism, performed the second of his two miraculous acts. (The first act occurred at a smaller lake fed by water from the Tang Chhu River.)
Spend the afternoon with the villagers as they go about their various daily activities, including pounding rice, threshing wheat, and spinning and weaving.
Visit the Red Panda Brewery and enjoy a tour and tasting at this unique beer factory founded in 2006 by Fritz Maurer, a Swiss man who became a Bhutanese citizen in 1976. The brewery was the first of its kind in Bhutan, producing both a local beer called Weissbier and apple juice, for those who prefer non-alcoholic beverages.
Also visit Mr. Maurer’s Swiss Farm, home to Bhutan’s only commercial cheese factory. Maurer introduced modern farm equipment to the area, as well as green technology such as fuel efficient, smokeless wood stoves. If he is available, meet him and chat about his current projects and his relationship with the fairytale kingdom he now calls home.
Visit a local school and trade tidbits of your life and culture with the eager pupils. If you wish, teach an informal English or geography lesson – in Bhutan, English is a standard part of the curriculum.
Attend an evening prayer session at Wangdicholing Palace, the former residence of the Bhutanese royal family. Today, approximately 26 young monks reside and study in the palace, and every night they gather to perform prayers and chants in the altar room. The monks will also utilize drums and horns in their ceremony, and each session lasts approximately one hour.
Renew your vows with a traditional Bhutanese ceremony, a lively, spiritual event where red-robed monks chant, ring bells, and play six-foot long trumpets. Afterwards, sample exotic foods, from fried momos, or dumplings, to casseroles of meat, potatoes, and cheese cooked with chilies, as well as beverages distilled from a wide range of ingredients, including barley, wheat, millet, and rice.
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With Remote Lands you'll travel with people who have made Asia the solitary focus of their own lifelong adventure. As our guest, in the continent that our north American founders Catherine and Jay have adored and explored for decades, you'll discover Asia on a journey that is completely, authentically your own, adapted from our own remarkable experiences and adventures over the years.
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