Discover The Hidden Gems Of Trashiyangtse In Eastern Bhutan


Till date, the eastern part of Bhutan is still relatively unexplored as compared to the western region.

(Source: The Druk Girl)


By Tashi Choden | The Druk Girl

Most foreign visitors to the magical Kingdom of Bhutan typically visit the districts of Thimphu, Paro and Punakha in Western Bhutan.

Till date, the eastern part of the country is still relatively unexplored but with more frequent domestic flights connecting Paro International Airport to Bumthang and Yonphula, there is no excuse not to include some eastern districts in your itinerary.   

One of the highlights of this region is Trashiyangtse, located in the north-eastern part of the country, at an elevation of about 1880m.

Source: Map of Bhutan


Covering 1,437 of subtropical and alpine forests, with some of Bhutan’s most famous landmarks, Trashiyangtse is also known for its authentic cups and bowls (dhapa and dza) handmade by local artisans, using avocado or maple wood.

It is also well-known as a center of paper making. Craftsmen use the traditional tsasho technique to make paper with a bamboo frame, which produces a distinctive pattern on the paper.

For those with a penchant for spicy food, Trashiyangtse’s red and green Yangtsepa chilli, also known as Urka Bangala or Yangtsepa Ema will certainly whet your appetite.

Perhaps most importantly, for those seeking spiritual fulfilment, Trashiyangtse is blessed with many sacred landmarks and here’s a list of the prominent ones which you must not miss: 

1. Chorten Kora

Literally translated as stupa and circumambulation in the local language, Chorten Kora is a big white stupa built in 17th century by Lama Ngawang Loday to subdue evil spirits.


Photo: The Druk Girl


Located just beside the Kholong Chhu River, Chorten Kora is also the gateway to the town of Trashiyangtse.

What’s striking about this awe-inspiring stupa is the story behind it. The locals believe that a virgin princess from Arunachal Pradesh meditated and sacrificed her life inside the stupa to pacify a demon which brought peace to the village.

During the first month of the lunar calendar (February to March), an auspicious kora will be held here, where people would worship the princess by walking around the stupa.

On the 15th of the lunar month, the Dakpa community from Arunachal Pradesh, India will make a three day pilgrimage to commemorate the noble death of the young princess, who is believed to be a Dakini.

Another kora is attended by the Bhutanese, who hail from all over Eastern Bhutan to worship the princess. It is also believed that whatever you wish for at the stupa, your wish will come true.

Getting there

Chorten Kora is located at the gateway of Trashiyangtse town and can be spotted easily. From the capital, Thimphu, you can take a bus or taxi and it will take 24 hours to reach Trashiyangtse. The quickest option is to take domestic flights to Bumthang or Yonphula Airport.

Best time to visit

January to March is the best time to visit the Chorten Kora to witness the fascinating festivals.

2. Pema Ling Ney

Pema Ling Ney is a pilgrimage site blessed by Guru Rinpoche during his visit to Bhutan in the 8th Century.

It is located at around an elevation of 4500m, surrounded by many inspiring caves where Guru Rinpoche was said to have meditated inside.

A ‘Ney’ refers to a ‘space’ for abiding and it is usually a sacred and spiritually powerful area.

It can extend across an entire valley or a mountain but it can also be a very specific site such as a single rock, tree or temple.

The Bhutanese regard their land as spiritually potent, filled with numerous Neys.




Another highlight is the pristine lakes (Latshos) found at Pema Ling Ney. Many are considered sacred, including the Pel Dechog Khorlo Latsho which is one of the main sources of the Kholong Chhu river which flows into Trashiyangtse town.

On the trail to Pema Ling, one can also get to enjoy listening to the chirping of birds, beautiful waterfalls, as well as the rich flora and fauna along the way.

Getting there

Reaching Pema Ling Ney is a 3-day trek from Bumdeling. To get to Bumdeling, take a taxi from Trashiyangtse town. It will take you 30 minutes to reach Pamadung in Bumdeling.

Best time to visit

The best months to visit this fascinating place is from September to October, when the weather is neither too hot nor too cold and there is little rain.

3. Dechen Phodrang

Dechen Phodang is a monastery hidden in the valley amidst huge boulders of religious importance.

Literally meaning ‘Palace of Great Bliss’, the monastery is monitored by UNESCO and houses a number of historical Bhutanese artefacts including some rare 12th century paintings.

Many supernatural tales are tied to this place of worship and Guru Rinpoche was believed to have personally visited and meditated there.

A narrow waterhole in the rock near the monastery, believed to be as deep as the huge tree nearby is one of the natural wonders found here.

Dechen Phodang is also popular for those seeking blessings, such as childless couples who want to be blessed with kids.

Getting there

By car, getting to the monastery takes about 1 hour from the main town of Trashiyangtse and by trekking, it takes about 3 hours.

Hikers will be delighted to see picturesque villages with traditional Bhutanese houses and farmers working. There is also a campsite along the trail, right across the Woogmanang river.

Best time to visit

The best time to visit is in springtime where you will be greeted by the scent of wildflowers and plants and chirping of birds.

4. Rigsum Gonpa

The Rigsum Gonpa is a traditional religious school for about 40 monks. It was built by a disciple of the 9th Je Khenpo Shacha Rinchhen, Lama Tshering Gyamtshi.

The Jowo Shakya Muni Statue which is a replica of the one found in Lhasa, Tibet, was brought there from Punakha.

It is believed by the locals that if you cannot make it to Tibet for pilgrimage, then visiting this place is another option to get the same merits.

Getting there

It takes 4 hours to walk from Bumdeling, and the monastery is located on a ridge with awesome views of the Bumdeling Valley and Trashiyangtse Dzong (Monastery).

Best time to visit

Any time except June, July and August due to heavy rains.

5. Omba Ney

Known as the ‘Taktshang’ (Tiger’s Nest Monastery) of East Bhutan, Omba Ney is a very unique place of pilgrimage where the holy letters ‘OM’ can be seen on the rocks.

It is built on a cliff where there are temples, caves and various sites of religious importance nearby.


Source: Youtube/Sonam Zangpo


A short crawl through a narrow cave passage on the cliff above the lhakhang (temple) will cleanse you of your sins as you can climb even higher up the cliff through a crack in the rock.

There is also a homestay and some good camping sites in or near the pretty village of Omba.

Getting there

You can get to Omba Ney after a three-hour climb from Kheni Village.

Best time to visit

The best time to visit Omba Ney is from March to April for its pleasant weather. 

6. Gongza Ney

Gongza Ney is found at an altitude of 950m and is also linked to the Guru Rinpoche.

Gongza Ney was initially called ‘Gung Jha’ as the locals believe that Gung refers to the time between 11 am to 12 noon and Jha means ‘tea’.




This is the site where Guru Rinpoche was offered tea while subduing a demon in the area. Gongza Ney also holds a shoe belonging to Guru Rinpoche, the devil’s egg and many other important relics.

Though the temple is small, there are so many interesting things to discover in this sacred place as well as the riverbed of the Drangmi Chu River.

Getting there

From Trashiyangtse, you can get to Doksum in about 45 mins by car. From Doksum, it is a 2 hours walk to Gomphu Kora.

Best time to visit

People usually visit during winter and spring because many sacred places are submerged by the river flowing along the temple in summer. Also in the summer, the heat and humidity make it unpleasant to travel.

7. Gomphu Kora

Gomphu Kora is a beautful temple located by a river and is one of the most important religious site in eastern Bhutan.

If you had come straight from Gongza Ney by walking along the river for about 4 hours, you will see Gomphu Kora.

The story of Gomphu Kora goes as far back as the 8th century AD. The locals believe that Guru Rinpoche meditated under a big rock and subdued an evil demon there.

Legend has it that an evil spirit named Myongkhapa escaped from Samye in Tibet when Guru Rinpoche, the progenitor of the Nyingma strand of Buddhism, was spreading the Dharma in the Himalayas.

Myongkhapa followed the course of the present-day Kholong Chhu stream and concealed himself inside a rock where Gomphu Kora stands today.

The Guru followed the devil, mediated for three days inside the rock cave and finally vanquished it.

Another reason to visit this place is the Gom Kora Tshechu (Festival) held from the 8-11th of the 2nd Bhutanese month.

One can witness how the tribal, locals and visitors from Arunachal Pradesh circumambulate the massive rock where Guru Rinpoche meditated and subdued the demon.

Getting there

Gomphu Kora lies between Trashiyangtse and Trashigang near Doksum. It is easy to get a taxi that will take you directly to the Kora.

Best time to visit

March is the best time to visit to catch the festival, when people all over Eastern Bhutan would descend upon the valley.


This article first appeared in The Druk Girl and has been edited for Daily Bhutan.



Related Posts

Traditional Art Of Making Wooden Bowls (Dhapas) Thrives In...

There is a strong demand for Trashiyangtse's dhapas and dzas both locally and internationally.

May 30, 2018 18:13

Plans In The Pipeline To Set Up More Homestays In Sakteng,...

We are hopeful that our homestay business in Sakteng will boom with the increase in the number of tourists."

Oct 12, 2019 12:43

Revival Of Lemongrass Oil Production In Eastern Bhutan

Lemongrass oil is used to make various products such as sprays and soaps.

Jun 28, 2019 20:08

Brahmis Of Trashigang Cannot Resist The Winds Of Change And...

Their origins are linked to the northern part of Arunachal Pradesh, India.

Dec 21, 2019 23:08

359 Year Old Trashigang Dzong In Bhutan Ready To Be The Festive...

The preparations for the annual tshechu scheduled for 17 November began on 23 Oct 2018.

Oct 30, 2018 15:23

New Chador Lhakhang In Trashigang, Bhutan Almost Completed After...

Almost 90% of the works are completed and the consecration of this new Lhakhang is expect­ed to take place by the end of...

Jan 06, 2019 07:58



Bhutan is expected to receive the first consignment of the vaccines today

According to Indian media, the consignment of 150,000 doses of Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, Covishield for Bhutan was airlifted...

Jan 20, 2021 15:04

What are the different local governments in Bhutan?

Bhutan’s development planning is guided by the development philosophy of Gross National Happiness (GNH), which encompasses four pillars that...

Jan 19, 2021 11:03


What are the types of traditional dances and music in Bhutan?

In general, there are three classifications of Bhutanese classical and contemporary performance - Zhungdra, Boedra and Rigsar.

Jan 17, 2021 20:27

Splendid Bhutanese architecture inspired the design of the entire university campus in Texas

The architectures of the Kingdom of Bhutan are undisputedly world-class.

Jan 14, 2021 15:24


Contributing to the country through the love for football

It's been a month since the conclusion of Bhutan Premier League 2020. Daily Bhutan interviews Paro FC to find out more about the club. Below...

Dec 21, 2020 17:05

Football clubs in Bhutan gearing up for Bhutan Premier League (BPL) 2020

Bhutan Premier League (BPL), the top national football tournament in Bhutan is set to commence on August 1.

Jul 24, 2020 14:33


Authentic Bhutanese Souvenirs from Eastern Bhutan

Every district and village produce distinct products in Bhutan. To encourage rural communities to produce more authentic souvenirs and...

Dec 25, 2020 22:13

Bhutan- The Kingdom of Peppers

Bhutan is a country with the highest per-capita consumption of chilli.

Sep 26, 2020 09:15


Get ready for the upcoming record-breaking longest East meets West trekking trail in Bhutan

With the revival and restoration of the historic east-west trails, long-distance trekking is going to be a new tourism product in the...

Jan 25, 2021 10:53

Bhutan Strives to Keep Up With 4th Industrial Revolution through Digitalization in Tourism Sector

The pandemic has affected the tourism industry globally including Bhutan. The stakeholders involved in the tourism industry is taking the...

Jan 12, 2021 00:38


Elaborate death rituals and funerals by Bhutan's indigeneous community

Unlike majority of the Buddhist population in Bhutan where dead bodies are cremated, for the Lhop community, bodies are buried nearby their...

Jan 27, 2021 00:24

Food on Wheels- First of its kind in Bhutan

The World's Largest Fast Food Restaurant Chains doesn't exist in Bhutan.

Mar 04, 2020 09:39

Subscribe to our newsletter

Never miss out on new happenings and news stories!

Download Daily Bhutan Mobile App

Connecting with us just got easier!