Bumthang The Switzerland of Bhutan Beyond Itineraries
Bumthang in Bhutan is the most historic dzongkhag if we consider the number of ancient temples and sacred sites. Being a combination of four valleys: Ura, Tang, Choekhor and Chumey, Bumthang offers breathtaking views however this articles offers readers bunch of things to do when in Bumthang which are rarely mentioned in tour itinerary.
Paved cycling trails in Bumthang are for amateur as well as professional cyclists. The geographical gradient allows one to learn cycling.
Want to freewheel from a mountaintop on asphalt? Or you want the passionate juices flow battling cycling uphill and offbeat cycling trails? If that is less, the region allows awkward geographical slopes to make a trail at your own risk.
Bumthang has plenty of cycle rentals and to make it easier, you can also ask your hotel to look for a cycle, they will easily find one.
One of the most unique experiences will be to make Bumthang’s delicacy. The kule/kepthang (buckwheat pancakes), chogdan(buckwheat polenta),puta (buckwheat noodles),jambuli (buckwheat flat noodles) and churu (freshwater algae) - these delicacies are only served in Bumthang.
You must try the pancakes spicing up with any curry you want, it goes well with anything. However, if you are vegetarian, go for aspharagus fried in local butter with a dash of salt. If not, the pancakes are for you to experience.
In Bumthang, there is National Horse Breeding Farm in Nasphyel. However, currently, they don’t have horse riding activity. In order to promote eco-tourism and local horses, the farm is planning to set up an area for horse riding training. This is also expected to encourage horse demand; there is a limited demand for horses at the moment.
Eevn the locals are clueless about the existence of horse riding activity in Bumthang, so beat the locals and take a happy ride. Please bear the rocking horses, if it your adventure to keep, it’s a must do activity.
For tourists, few travel agencies arrange horseback ride for their guests to relish every moment of mountainous terrains of Bhutan.
Sheep Breeding Farm
On the way from Tang, You should visit Sheep breeding center. It is the only sheep Farm in whole Bumthang District. Today there are 95 sheep at the farm. The center sells sheep products like wool.
The wools are used to make yathra textile. The center serves educational purposes for children’s and visitors to learn about sheep farming & breeding. Take a tour of the breeding farm- rearing wool in the best way possible; in accordance to PETA, you will only fall in love with farm.
Dotted by colonies of little houses, don’t get confused it for domesticated animal shelter- they are all beehives. The farmers in Bumthang raise honeybees in log hives and movable frame hives.
Beekeeping started ’86 in Bhutan through the initiatives of Helvetas project. For a few farmers, beekeeping has become the main source of cash income. They produce one of the best honeys. To purchase the most organic Bumthang honey , Bhutan Natural sells online.
Picking Wild Berries
Bumthang grows strawberries and raspberries. During summer, locals engage themselves to pick wild berries in the wilderness as their leisure activities. However, some household makes hay while the sun shines, it mints income for them. They make homemade jam for self-consumption and for sale.
If you travel to Bumthang in advent of summer, go out to pick wild berries. However, don’t stumble at apple orchards, trespassing is a selfish motive and it is exists in nooks and crannies of the 207 countries in the world.
More handlooms, more Yathra - the textile popular around the country hand-woven by womens’ in Bumthang, it goes on sale in all the textile counters of the country and it is also collected by tourists.
This beautiful and intricately woven Yathra tells a story, a story knitted by values of culture and tradition and keeping the harsh cold at bay- to make Yathra , weavers use yak and sheep wool, the impeccable fabric to keep the harsh cold at bay.
At many counters around the country, you will find tents, jackets, bags and other produce of Yathra on display. Most of the visitors take it as a souvenir and the locals buy as an essential clothing commodity.
To explore Bumthang, @DRUKASIA is one of the leading tour operator in Bhutan.
Writer Tshering Denkar