DAY-5: DRIVE TO BUMTHANG (145 KMS/5 HRS)
The journey will take you across Pele La pass (3,300m), which is marked by a chorten and an array of prayer flags. On a clear day, you can get spectacular views of the highest peaks of the kingdom and it’s quite common to spot some yaks and yak herders on this pass. This point marks the boundary between western and central Bhutan as well as the western border of Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park. Beyond Pele La is Longte Valley where people raise sheep and yaks. You’ll come to the village of Rukubji Valley, with its big school and Gompa.
The houses here are clustered amid extensive fields of mustard, potatoes, barley, and wheat. As you drive down through rhododendron trees and ferns, you’ll reach Chendebji village. This was a night halt for mule caravans traveling from Trongsa during the reign of the 2nd King of Bhutan. Just below Chendebji village is the Chendebji chorten, a large white structure beside a stream. This chorten is modeled after Swayambhunath in Kathmandu.
The last village before you reach Trongsa is Tangsibji, which provides full view of Trongsa Dzong and its distinctive red roof. Visit the ancient Watch Tower which has been now turned into a historical museum. The top part of the tower provides great view of the fortress and its surrounding villages.
Drive to Bumthang from Trongsa (68km/ 3hr), the spiritual heartland of Bhutan. This journey will take you over one of the most scenically beautiful routes in Bhutan via the Yotong La pass (3425m), which is also the habitat for the Satyr peasant. Good for photography. As you enter the Chhume Valley (the first of the four valleys that comprise the Bumthang Valley) you can visit a centre of Yathra weaving. Yathra is the name for the locally produced hand-woven woollen cloth. Distinctive patterns and bright, earthy colours enliven the fabric, which is used for a wide variety of purposes and sought after throughout the country.
Overnight Bumthang (Alt; 2,580m)