Bumthang Valley

Jakar Dzong Courtyard, Bumthang - Amankora, Bhutan

Bumthang more than lives up to its name meaning ‘beautiful field’ and is known not just for its cottage industries, but as a treasure trove of Bhutan’s art and painting traditions. Home to 29 temples and monasteries, including the ancient Jambay Lhakhang, it is also where Wandichholing Palace is situated, with Amankora Bumthang resting right next door. From here, guests can embark on a multitude of cultural and spiritual experiences across Bumthang’s four valleys, namely Choekhor, Tang, Ura and Chhume.

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The gift of a name

Visit the monastic school of Sey Lhakhang, where a lama will perform a name-giving ceremony for you based on your birthday, year and exact time of birth. This ceremony will bless you with a Bhutanese name of your own, which the lama will then write down for you in Dzongkha in beautiful calligraphy. 

108-butter lamp offering

Take part in a lighting ceremony, an experience involving the lighting of 108 butter lamps to represent the dispelling of the darkness of ignorance at Jambay or Kurjey Lhakhangs. The former is an ancient temple home to the early-winter festivals that draw thousands of Bhutanese for their annual blessings, while the latter was once the resting place of Guru Rinpoche and is considered one of the country’s most auspicious monuments. 

Shugdrak hike and lunch

Shugdrak is one of four holy cliffs in Bhutan. Follow the steps imprinted on the mountain side that lead up above the rooftop of the temple to a farmhouse surrounded by prayer flags where hermits reside. This is the perfect spot for a picnic lunch offering the chance to appreciate the mountain scenery and absorb the peace of this sacred setting, before hiking back to the lodge.

Journey through Tang Valley

Explore Tang Valley, a seldom-visited area of temples and monasteries that are truly off the beaten track. Enroute, stop off at the Burning Lake, where famous Buddhist saint, Pema Lingpa, dreamt he dived into the water carrying a burning butter lamp and returned with treasures and the lamp still burning. Visit the nunnery, as well as Ta Rimochen Lhakhang, built by Pema Lingpa in the 14th century, its temple dominated by an enormous rock at which Guru Rinpoche meditated.

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Beer & Cheese Tasting at Red Panda Brewery 

Taste the fermented fruits of Bumthang with Red Panda Brewery, started in 2006 by Fritz Maurer, originally Swiss but a Bhutanese citizen since 1976. His brewery was the first established beer brewery in the country, and he is still the sole producer of the specialty Weiss bier.

A visit to the brewery includes a 30-minute tour of the premises to learn more about Red Panda’s production process, the beer ingredients and the health benefits of this Bhutanese specialty. The tour concludes with a Red Panda beer and local cheese tasting in the brewery garden. For those who prefer non-alcoholic beverages, Bumthang produced apple juice is also available.