The Dzong at Trongsa, dating to 1644, is Bhutan’s largest, set impressively above a gorge on the Mangde Chhu River, was the seat of power to the first two hereditary kings of Bhutan, and still serves a function in contemporary royal ritual.

The watchtower above the Dzong provides a superb viewpoint over the soundings and houses a museum displaying Buddhist art and revealing the history of the Bhutanese monarchy.

Nearby Thruepang and Endu Choling Palaces are modest examples of Royal life, while a popular scenic drive beyond the city brings you through the agricultural landscape of Bhutan, to the Winter Palace of Kuenga Rabten, dating from the reign of the country's second king.


To the south of Trongsa, Phobjikha Valley leads south into the Black Mountains and Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park, prized internationally for its wintering flock of rare Black-necked cranes.

Gangtey village and its Monastery, dating back to 1613, is a feature of the Gantey Trek, and offers a stunning view over the scenic valley.

Within the National Park itself, the forests are home to over 390 bird species and are a haven for Himalayan Black Bears, Clouded Leopards, Red Pandas and the awesome Bengal Tiger among many other precious wildlife.


Further east from Phobjikha, Zhemgang Valley also leads southward to another of Bhutan’s natural havens, Royal Manas National Park, also home to Bhutan’s amazing iconic wildlife, including Golden Langurs, Asian Elephants, Gangetic Dolphins and the Greater One-horned Rhinoceros, who share this wonderfully rich natural jewel with numerous other animals, plants and birds.

The area abounds with Eco-camp facilities, enabling visitors to stay in log cabins and explore the natural treasures.

The region is also home to the Khengpa people, among some of Bhutan’s earliest inhabitants, living in traditional bamboo dwellings covered with banana leaves for roofing. Their villages are a fascinating place to visit the people and enjoy their Animist traditions, cultural dances, traditional sports and folk songs.

The trek here leads all the way to the Indian border, where Manas National Park overlaps with the Manas Tiger Reserve, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

The Bumthang area is the oldest settled area of Bhutan, and the small town of Jakar the focus point for visiting the surrounding valleys and their many historic sights. Around the town itself, Jakar Dzong, Wangdichholing Dzong, Namke Nyingpo Goemba and Lamey Goemba are the most significant heritage buildings.

As an alternative to vehicles, there are many satisfying trails to walk among the valleys. The most popular valley is Chahkar, and its main focal point is Jampey Lhakhang, dating to 659 AD, and said to be the birthplace of Buddhism in Bhutan.

Other notable sights are; Kurjey Lhakhang, which houses a revered body imprint of Guru Rinpoche, Chakhar Lhakhang, Thangbi Goemba, Ngang Lhakhang, Tamshing Goemba and Konchogsum Lhakhang.

A popular trek here is the Bumthang Owl Trek.