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Eastern Circuit

Eastern Bhutan welcomes travellers into a world of unexplored trekking, historical and cultural escapades, great scenery, textiles highlights and natural wonders. The entire region is awash in unspoiled natural beauty, towering cliffs and pristine forests with great variations in altitude and climatic conditions. Completely off the beaten path, the Eastern circuit includes the districts of Mongar, Lhuntse, Tashi Yangtse and Trashigang, each of which has its own attractions including Dzongs, markets and stunning vistas.

The infrastructure and accommodation in some places will be a far cry from a luxury holiday but with the option to either camp or experience the unbridled warmth and hospitality of the locals during a homestay you’ll never miss the comforts of your hotel room.

East Bhutan Tour

Day 01: Guwahati – Samdrup Jongkhar

Fly from Delhi or Bangkok to Guwahati, the capital of the Indian state of Assam. Bhutan Excursion’s representative will receive you at the airport in Guwahati and then transfer to Samdrup Jongkhar across the border. It’s about two-hour drive.

Samdrup Jongkhar, the gateway to east, is a thriving commercial center on the northern edge of the Indian plains. Situated directly at the base of the Himalayan foothills, it is a fascinating mixture of Indian and Bhutanese, a perfect example of the mingling of people and cultures.

Altitude at Samdrup Jongkhar: 250m
Overnight: Hotel in Samdrup Jongkhar

Day 02: Samdrup Jongkhar – Trashigang
The Samdrup Jongkhar – Trashigang road was completed in 1970s. The road ascends rapidly from the plains through dense tropical forest with an abundance of teak, bamboo and ferns. Along the way, we pass by Deothang, which is remembered in history as the site of a famous 19th century battle fought during the Duar Wars, in which the forces of Jigme Namgyal defeated the British. Unlike western Bhutan, where the road goes over passes between one valley and the next, the road here follows ridges almost the whole way.

Trashigang lies in the far east of Bhutan, and is the country’s largest district. Trashigang town, on the hillside above the Gamri Chu (river), was once the center for a busy trade with Tibet. Today it is the junction of the east-west highway, with road connections to Samdrup Jongkhar and then into the Indian state of Assam. Trashigang, although is the biggest of Bhutan’s twenty districts in terms of population, it sees very few tourists.

Visit Trashigang Dzong (Fortress); built in 1659, the Dzong serves as the administrative seat for the district as well as the home of the monk body. The Dzong commands a remarkable view over the surrounding countryside, standing at the extreme end of a rocky outcrop far above the river gorge.

Approximate driving time: 08 hours
Altitude at Trashigang: 1070m
Overnight: Hotel in Trashigang

Day 03: Excursion to Merak
We will have day excursion to Merak and have intimate insight into the live of the tribes known as the Brokpas, the semi-nomadic people, whose way of dress is unique in Bhutan. Learn how these proud communities, which form a rich part of Bhutan’s ethnic diversity, have survived with their cultures intact to this day. Brokpas inhabit some of the most rugged terrains in the country. Their economy depends heavily on yaks, and although Brokpas are gradually entering in the cash economy, a greater part of their livelihood still depends on ancient bartering practices.

Approximate driving time: 05 hours
Altitude at Trashigang: 1070m
Overnight: Hotel in Trashigang

Day 04: Trashigang – Trashiyangtse
Drive to Trashiyangtse, which is a small, pretty, quiet town. The people are known for making wooden bowls and containers, which are said to be the best in Bhutan.

En route, stop at Gom Kora temple, behind which is a large black rock. It is said that Guru Rinpoche have meditated here in this cave and one can see the impression of his thumb, hat, and his body on the rock.

In Trashiyangtse, we will visit the following places;

Chorten Kora; The stupa that was built in the 18th century by Lama Ngawang Lodro, the nephew of Shabdrung in order to subdue a harmful demon believed to have been living at the site where the chorten is now located. The stupa is modeled after the famous Boudhanath stupa in Nepal popularly known as Jarung Khashor.

Chorten Kora took twelve years to construct and was consecrated by Je Yonten Thaye. The demon that had harmed the people of the valley was apparently subdued and banished. Thereafter, it is said that the people of the valley continue to live in peace and harmony.

Trashiyangtse Dzong; Accessible by road and only 4km away from the main town stands the Dzong of Trashiyangtse. Some believe that it was Gongkar Gyalpo, son of Lhasey Tshangma who built the Dzong but the Tibetan invasion made the people of Donglum flee and the Dzong fell into ruins. It was Tertoen Pema Lingpa who built the Dzong in the 14th century and named it as Trashiyangtse Dzong.

Bomdeling; A short drive from Chorten Kora, Bomdeling is an annual migration place for Black-necked cranes, which fly over from nearby Tibet to roost the winter months in a warmer climate. It will be fascinating to see these lovely birds here.

Approximate driving time: 03 hours
Altitude at Trashiyangtse: 1800m
Overnight: Hotel in Trashiyangtse

Day 05: Trashiyangtse – Mongar
The road runs along the Dangme Chhu River – the biggest of all the rivers in Bhutan with abundance of lemon grass along the roadside. Tackle the famous Yadi zigzags up the hillside to Yadi, a fairly recent and now fast – growing settlement, and then ascend gradually through corn fields and banana groves to reach Kori La Pass (2450m) marked by a pretty Chorten and a Mani wall. From here, it’s a short downhill drive through leafy forest filled with ferns to Mongar, the second largest town in the subtropical east, Mongar is built high on a gently sloppy hillside.

Enroute; Visit Drametse Monastery founded in 1511 by the great-granddaughter of Pema Lingpa (Treasure Discoverer) perched high up on the hilltop.

Approximate driving time: 05 hours
Altitude at Mongar: 1600m
Overnight: Hotel in Mongar

Day 06: Mongar - Lhuentse
On our drive to Lhuntse, the landscape is spectacular, with stark cliffs towering above river gorges and dense coniferous forests. Lhuntse is one of the most isolated districts in Bhutan. The region is famous for its weavers, and their distinctive textiles are generally considered to be the best in the country. The Kurtoe region of Lhuntse is the ancestral home of the monarchy.

We will visit Lhuentse Dzong, which sits high on a rocky outcrop overlooking the Kurichu valley. Lhuntse Dzong is one of the most picturesque in Bhutan.

Next in line, visit the newly built World’s tallest statue of Guru Rinpoche at Taki La in Tangmachu. The construction of the enormous statue of Guru Rinpoche in the form of Guru Nangsey Zilneon was started in 2008 and it’s been just completed now. The statue was built with the donations from devotees within and as well as from outside the country.

This 148 feet bronze statue despite becoming the tallest statue of Guru Rinpoche in the world, it is also one of the most prominent structures in the Buddhist world, as well as a place of pilgrimage for devotees from all over the world, plus an attraction for the tourists visiting Eastern Bhutan– built to ensure continued peace in the world, stands high and handsome on the hillock overlooking Kurichu Valley.

Later, we will drive to Bragong that is perched high up on the mountain slope opposite to Guru’s statue on the other side of the valley. Bragong is a small hamlet consisting of about a dozen of houses scattered here and there. The people of Bragong are not well off but happy and contented. They work in their fields and eat whatever they produce, and when there is no work, their time is committed for social gathering and drinking.

Approximate driving time: 05 hours
Altitude at Bragong: 2000m
Overnight: Home stay at Bragong

Day 07: Excursion to Dungkhar
Today, we will drive up towards north to explore Kurtoe region of Lhuntse and visit old Dungkhar palace. It was the palace of first king or it’s the origination of Bhutan’s royal family. Visit to the palace will give us an intimate insight into the life in the early days of Bhutan’s monarchy.

Approximate driving time: 06 hours
Altitude at Bragong: 2000m
Overnight: Home stay at Bragong

Day 08: Bragong
We will try out archery! Attached to the activity are several customs and practices that are quite weird. We will shoot, eat, dance and sing with the locals. Later, we will walk around the village to see how people live so happily in harmony with nature.

Altitude at Bragong: 2000m
Overnight: Home stay at

Day 09: Bragong - Trashigang
It's a return journey from here as we start our drive back to Trashigang via Mongar. We will have as many stops along the way to enjoy the views, take pictures and so forth.

Approximate driving time: 06 hours
Altitude at Trashigang: 1070m
Overnight: Hotel in Trashigang

Day 10: Trashigang - Samdrup Jongkhar
Start early and enjoy your last day in Bhutan on this road with beautiful sceneries  almost all the way down to the border.

Approximate driving time: 08 hours
Altitude at Samdrup Jongkhar: 250m
Overnight: Hotel in Samdrup Jongkhar

Day 11: Samdrup Jongkhar - Guwahati
After breakfast, drive to Guwahati, the capital town of the Indian north-eastern state of Assam, to catch up your onward flight to Bangkok, Delhi, Kolkata or for the onward program in that region.

Tashi Delek & Good Luck!!!