Situated in central Bhutan, the valley of Bumthang is considered the religious heartland of Bhutan. with various sacred Nyes (places of pilgrimage) and some of the oldest temples in the country, one will feel a sense of spirituality and solemn reverence when you visit. Often called the Switzerland of the east, you can see the resemblance between these two areas in terms of the scenery. On top of that one of the first guest houses in the region was started by a Swiss national.
There are four main valleys in Bumthang, Ura, Chumey, Tang and Choekor. The largest valley is Choekor valley with Jakar town as the main urbanized area. Most of the hotels are in the surrounding area and little cafes dot this quiet town making it the ideal hub to explore the rest of the region. Buckwheat is one of the main crops grown in the area, in fact the regional specialty is buckwheat noodles and buckwheat pancakes.
Places of interest in Bumthang include Jakar Dzong, a 16th century fortress overlooking the township of Jakar. The Jambay Lhakhang, built around 659 CE is one of the oldest temples built in Bhutan and is worth a visit. The mysterious burning lake (Mebar-tsho) with its legendary stories of saints and miracles is also in the area. Temples in honour of Guru Rinpoche such as the Kurjey Lhakhang attracts Buddhist pilgrims from all over Bhutan.
The Owl trek is one of the major hikes in the valley, it is a 3-day trek that will take you through a rich forest filled with numerous species of trees, the area is also rife with birds of different shades and songs that inhabit the area. The trek also promises a view of one of the highest unclimbed mountains in the world, Mt Gangkar Puensum.