Is eastern Bhutan worth it?


When one thinks of Bhutan one may think of Thimphu, the capital city, or Paro, where the country’s only international airport is located. Others may think of Punakha or Bumthang, with very few considering Trashigang or Trashiyangtse. These eastern Bhutan districts, though far from the capital, are gems in their own right. They offer a distinct history and experience from that of western Bhutan. 

Eastern Bhutan

Trashiyangtse, the easternmost district is home to the Bumdeling Wildlife Sanctuary and Chorten Kora. The Bumdeling Wildlife Sanctuary is a United Nations Educational, and Scientific Organization (UNESCO) world heritage site. According to UNESCO, the sanctuary hosts one of the two habitats for the globally endangered Black-Necked Crane.

The sanctuary functions in partnership with the local community. 

Chorten Kora, located a few minutes from the main-town is one of the most important temples not only in eastern Bhutan but in the whole of Bhutan. It was built more than five hundred years ago and took twelve years to do so. The chorten was designed to look like the Boudhanath stupa in Nepal.  


For many Bhutanese Trashigang is home to Bhutan’s first university, Sherubtse College, located in Kanglung.

Trashigang is also the largest district in Bhutan. Ironically it has one of the lowest populations in the country. Its landscape is unique from that of the rest of Bhutan. During our visit to the district in 2021, we were amazed by how high the people there lived—away from the river, which contrasts somewhat with the settlements we see in Thimphu or Paro.


Trashigang is home to Merak and Sakteng. Merak and Sakteng are villages of the highland Bhutanese people called Brokpas. Their settlements, along with their customs and heritage are ones to marvel at. Brokpas speak their own language and adorn clothing made from yak wool. As per oral tradition, the Brokpas migrated to Bhutan after they reportedly killed a king named Drayba Jabu in Tibet in 1347. 

Brokpa Women

This year, Little Bhutan has curated an eastern Bhutan tour. A novel idea and experience, the heart of our tour includes the Dangling Tsho Trek. Though locals have completed the trek, it remains relatively unknown to many tourists. The actual trek is five hours long, and will take you through lush forests of Rhododendrons, Juniper and Bamboo plants. Expect to see some wildlife as well. On the trip, visitors will get to see other eastern Bhutan districts such as Mongar, Lhuentse, and Bumthang. The last day of the tour includes visiting the Tiger’s Nest, in Paro. 

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