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Wangdue Phodrang Tourism And Travel Guide
21.4° C / 70.5° F
March to May
4 to 5 Days
Paro International Airport (107.3 kms)
Hasimara (243.9 kms)
The countryside of Wangdue Phodrang, the terra firma that gently swells and falls like the waves of a green verdant ocean, bordered by cloudy snow-capped mountain ranges and dotted with farmsteads or monasteries, conical pine trees and with cattle and yak grazing on the pastures, is a dream.
Wangdue Phodrang, also known as the ‘Shaa’ region, is one of Bhutan’s largest districts with an area of 4,308 sq.km of unsullied, pristine beauty. Wangdue Phodrang’s tourism and magnetism is further strengthened by the bucolic pastoral hamlets and the biological corridors that run through the district as they connect the sanctuaries and National Parks of Bhutan. If you are planning a trip to Wangdue Phodrang, our travel guide will help you create a most memorable holiday tour.
How to Reach
You have access to Wangdue Phodrang by air or road. You need to get a route permit from the Thimphu Immigrations Office to travel to Wangdue Phodrang.
You can book a flight to Paro International Airport which is at Bhutan’s capital city of Paro. From Paro you may travel to Thimphu for the travel formalities to be complete and proceed towards Wangdue Phodrang. The trip from Thimphu to Wangdue Phodrang takes about an hour and a half, so that makes travelling by air probably the easiest of all.
Once you cross over the India-Bhutan border at Jaigaon Phuntsholing, you can board a bus from the Phuntsholing Bus Station at Norgay Lam that will take you to Wangdue Phodrang which is about 224 km away. You could also get a bus service from Paro or Thimphu. Bhutan has Toyota Coaster buses that provide a comfortable journey into any part of the country.
You could take a train from Kolkata to Hasimara which is the Indian town closest to the Jaigaon-Phuntsholing Border. The moment you step across the Gate at Phuntsholing, you are in the Land of the Dragon Kings. From this instance you will be travelling into Bhutan by road and you may follow the course as you would for a trip by road.
Weather and the Best time to Visit
Wangdue Phodrang is stretched out on a vast area in Bhutan and has therefore, a diverse ambience. Winters could be mild in some areas and snowy in other places. Summer in the south of the district is hot and humid and rainy, too. Best time to visit Wangdue Phodrang would be spring and autumn when the weather is clear and soft.
Spring is the time for birds, bees and butterflies, so you could picture how the season would be. The valleys are spread in greens and in the colours of rhododendrons. Spring’s a great time for outdoor activities.
It rains during summer and it’s muggy and hot, all at once. There are intermittent downpours that might make travelling and sightseeing troublesome.
Walk down the valleys where you’ll find the villagers full of activity. It’s harvest time! The weather is pleasant and is the right time for photography.
Some places like Phobjikha Valley get covered with snow. It’s beautiful to watch the graceful Black-necked cranes that have landed at Phobjikha valley, migrating all the way from the Tibetan Plateau, feeding on the dwarf bamboo shoots that grow in profusion in the valley. Travel to Wangdue Phodrang during autumn to take part in the grand Wangdue Tshechu festival.
Things to Do
Most of Bhutan’s dzongkhags seem to have weekend markets. Wangdue Phodrang has one, too, by the Puna Tsang Chhu River. You can buy an assortment of native rice grown in Bhutan, organic fruits and vegetables, spices, river weeds, sausages and chillies, the most favourite vegetable of the Bhutanese.
The Shaa regions of Wangdue Phodrang are popular for Lozey or Ornamental speeches. Visit the familial home of Pemi Tshewang Tashi, a historical warrior of the 1800s’ who was well known for his Lozey.
Wangdue Phodrang Dzong Festival:
The Dzong Tshechu is one of the most significant festivals of Bhutan. After the Dzong was burnt down and is being rebuilt, the 3-day festival is being celebrated in the Tencholing Army ground in Wangdue Phodrang. The Tshechu holds some of Bhutan’s most beautiful Mask dances and you’d love to watch the dramatic scenes unravel before your eyes as the gaily dressed masked dancers step and swirl, enacting the legends of ancient Bhutan.
Take a Tour:
Just travel across Wangdue Phodrang where you will find a variety of charming villages with the most friendly and hospitable people you’d have come by. The chief language of Wangdue is Dzongkha, but when you pass through the north-eastern side besides Bumthang, people speak Lakha. Such sundry cultures are bound to give you a peek into the lives of the local people. So, go ahead and just travel for inspiration!
Go on some of the most exciting tailor-made treks and trails over Phobjikha valley, where you can cross over flowery meadows and experience the rural life of Wangdue Phodrang. Choose from the list of treks like Shashi La Trail, Kilkorthang Trail and Tenkhor Yuetshe Sum Trail.
Bhutan’s legacy of craftsmanship is modelled on Zorig Chusum or the 13 traditional crafts of Bhutan. Textiles are one among the many skills of the Bhutanese, with weaving fashioned out not only from cotton, but yak or sheep wool and even from fibres of nettle. Visit Adang Village in Wangdue Phodrang for their traditional textiles called Adang Mathra, Adang Rachu and Adang Kamar. In the wilderness of Wangdue Phodrang you find a whole lot of bamboo budding and naturally, you’d find plenty of Tshar Zo or bamboo products like baskets, mats, containers called Palangs in most of the local bazaars. You can buy mats, wall hangings, baskets, ropes, even bows and arrows made of bamboo. You could even buy souvenirs carved out of stone and slate which is one of Bhutan’s ancient art forms found in the Chortens and Dzongs.
Bajothang, also called Bajo is the governmental centre for Wangdue Phodrang district. Originally called Wangdue Phodrang town, Bajo is more commercialised with concretised buildings, but that’s no spoil, for you can shop for things like daily rations, juices and bites. Bajo Town is about 2.5 km north of Wangdue Phodrang.