4.7 / 5

Samdrup Jongkhar

πŸ—“ Best Time To Visit:October to April

⏰ Open Hours:N/A

🏞 Things To Do:Visit Mithun National Park, Explore local markets, Taste traditional Bhutanese cuisine

πŸ’° Budget:Bhutan Government has set a minimum daily package of $200 per person per day for tourists

🧳 Traveller Types:Nature Lovers, Adventure Seekers, Culture Explorers

πŸ“ Known For:Being the oldest town in Bhutan, Rich cultural heritage, Scenic beauty

πŸš‰ Distances:From Guwahati Railway Station - 105 kms, From Paro Airport - 535 kms

🍽 Local Cuisine:Ema Datshi, Phaksha Paa, Red Rice

πŸ› Shopping:Traditional Bhutanese handicrafts, Textiles, Local produce

🏨 Accommodation:Budget and luxury hotels available

πŸ”– Travel Tip:Carry Bhutanese Ngultrum, the local currency for small purchases

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Samdrup Jongkhar: A Gateway to the Land of the Thunder Dragon

Have you ever dreamed of visiting Bhutan, the land of the thunder dragon, where happiness is more important than wealth, where nature is revered and protected, and where ancient traditions and customs are still alive and well? If so, you might want to start your journey from Samdrup Jongkhar, a town and a district in southeastern Bhutan that shares a border with India.

Samdrup Jongkhar is one of the oldest and most important trade hubs in the country, and a gateway to the rest of Bhutan. It offers a unique blend of modern and traditional culture, as well as a variety of natural and historical attractions. Whether you are looking for spiritual enlightenment, cultural immersion, or wildlife adventure, Samdrup Jongkhar has something for everyone.

In this article, we will explore the best things to do, see, and experience in Samdrup Jongkhar, as well as some practical tips and information for travelers. Read on to find out why Samdrup Jongkhar should be on your bucket list of destinations to visit in Bhutan.

Things to do in Samdrup Jongkhar

Photo of Samdrup Jongkhar 1/1 by

Samdrup Jongkhar is a district that encompasses the town of Samdrup Jongkhar and other nearby villages. It has a rich and diverse landscape, ranging from subtropical plains to alpine mountains. It also has a vibrant and colorful culture, influenced by both Bhutanese and Indian elements. Here are some of the main attractions and activities that you can enjoy in Samdrup Jongkhar:

Religious and Cultural Attractions

Bhutan is known for its Buddhist heritage and architecture, and Samdrup Jongkhar is no exception. Here are some of the religious and cultural attractions that you can visit in Samdrup Jongkhar:

1. Zangto Pelri Lhakhang

This is a temple that resembles the celestial abode of Guru Rinpoche, the patron saint of Bhutan. It is located in the heart of the town, and is adorned with intricate paintings, statues, and murals. It is a place of worship and meditation for the locals, and a source of inspiration and awe for the visitors.

2. Samdrup Jongkhar Dzong

This is a fortress that serves as the administrative and religious center of the district. It was built in 1909 by the second king of Bhutan, Jigme Wangchuck, and is one of the oldest dzongs in the country. It is surrounded by a moat and a wall, and has a distinctive white and red color scheme. It houses the offices of the district governor, the district court, and the monastic body.

3. Dewathang

This is a historical town that was the site of a battle between the British and the Bhutanese in 1865. The battle was part of the Duar War, which resulted in the Treaty of Sinchula, which ceded some territories of Bhutan to the British. The town has a memorial that commemorates the brave Bhutanese soldiers who fought and died in the battle. It also has a museum that displays some artifacts and weapons from the war.

4. Trashigang

This is a town that is the largest and most populous district in eastern Bhutan, and home to the famous Trashigang Dzong and the annual Trashigang Tshechu festival. The Trashigang Dzong is a majestic and imposing fortress that overlooks the Drangme Chhu river, and is considered one of the most beautiful dzongs in the country. It was built in 1659 by the third Druk Desi, Minjur Tenpa, and is the seat of the district administration and the monastic body.

Natural and Wildlife Attractions

Bhutan is known for its pristine and diverse nature, and Samdrup Jongkhar is no exception. Here are some of the natural and wildlife attractions that you can visit in Samdrup Jongkhar:

1. Khaling Neoli Wildlife Sanctuary

This is a wildlife reserve that hosts a variety of endangered and endemic species, such as the golden langur, the pygmy hog, and the hispid hare. It covers an area of 273 square kilometers, and is one of the most biodiverse and ecologically important areas in Bhutan. It also has a rich flora, with over 600 species of plants, including orchids, ferns, and medicinal herbs. You can explore the sanctuary by taking a guided tour, or by trekking, camping, or birdwatching.

2. Mithun Breeding Farm

This is a farm that breeds the mithun, a semi-domesticated bovine that is considered sacred and auspicious in Bhutanese culture. The mithun is a cross between a wild gaur and a domestic cattle, and is valued for its meat, milk, and dung. It is also used as a dowry and a gift in weddings and ceremonies. You can visit the farm and learn more about the mithun, its history, and its significance. You can also feed and pet the animals, and take some photos with them.

3. Samdrup Jongkhar Park

This is a park that offers a scenic and relaxing spot for picnics, walks, and birdwatching. It is located near the town, and has a well-maintained garden, a playground, a fountain, and a pond. It is a popular place for the locals and the visitors to enjoy some fresh air and greenery, and to observe some of the native birds, such as the hornbill, the kingfisher, and the parakeet.

Shopping and Dining Attractions

Bhutan is known for its unique and authentic products and cuisine, and Samdrup Jongkhar is no exception. Here are some of the shopping and dining attractions that you can visit in Samdrup Jongkhar:

1. Samdrup Jongkhar Market

This is a market that sells a range of local and imported goods, such as handicrafts, textiles, fruits, vegetables, and spices. It is located in the town, and is open every day from 8 am to 6 pm. It is a great place to buy some souvenirs and gifts, such as wooden masks, woven baskets, silk scarves, and prayer flags. You can also bargain and haggle with the vendors, and enjoy the lively and colorful atmosphere of the market.

2. Samdrup Jongkhar Food Street

This is a street that offers a variety of cuisines, from Bhutanese to Indian to Chinese, as well as some street food and snacks. It is located near the town, and is open every day from 10 am to 10 pm. It is a great place to taste some of the local delicacies, such as ema datshi (chili and cheese), momos (dumplings), thukpa (noodle soup), and jasha maru (chicken curry). You can also try some of the exotic and spicy dishes, such as phaksha paa (pork with chili), shakam paa (dried beef with chili), and sikam paa (dried pork with chili).

3. Samdrup Jongkhar Bakery

This is a bakery that is famous for its fresh and delicious pastries, cakes, and breads. It is located in the town, and is open every day from 7 am to 7 pm. It is a great place to treat yourself to some of the sweet and savory treats, such as croissants, muffins, donuts, pies, and sandwiches.

Best time to visit Samdrup Jongkhar

Samdrup Jongkhar has a subtropical climate, with hot and humid summers, mild and dry winters, and moderate rainfall throughout the year. The average temperature ranges from 15Β°C to 30Β°C, and the average rainfall is about 2000 mm per year. The best time to visit Samdrup Jongkhar is from October to March, when the weather is pleasant and clear, and the festivals are celebrated.

How to reach Samdrup Jongkhar

Samdrup Jongkhar is well-connected to the rest of Bhutan by road, and to India by air and rail. Here are some of the ways that you can reach Samdrup Jongkhar:

By air: The nearest airport to Samdrup Jongkhar is Guwahati International Airport in Assam, India, which is about 110 km away. From there, you can take a taxi, a bus, or a private car to reach the town.

By train: The nearest railway station to Samdrup Jongkhar is New Bongaigaon Railway Station in Assam, India, which is about 150 km away. From there, you can take a taxi, a bus, or a private car to reach the town.

By road: The road connectivity to Samdrup Jongkhar is good, as it is connected to the rest of Bhutan by the Samdrup Jongkhar-Trashigang Highway, which is a scenic and smooth road that passes through several towns and villages. You can rent a car or a bike, or hire a driver or a guide, to explore the highway and its surroundings. The journey takes about 6 hours from Trashigang, and you will need to show your passport, visa, and permit at the various checkpoints along the way.

Samdrup Jongkhar is a gateway to the land of the thunder dragon, where you can experience the best of both worlds: the modern and the traditional, the natural and the historical, the cultural and the spiritual. It is a place where you can discover the hidden gems of Bhutan, and create some unforgettable memories.

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