Bhutan Travel & Tourism Blog

Eastern Bhutan promotion discount and Yongphula airport

Padmasambhava statue in Takeyla

Exciting news is that stay in Eastern Bhutan will be discounted by 65 USD per person per night till the end of 2020. At the same time, the Yongphula airport near to east's capital of Tashigang became operational with 3 flights a week. The eastern Bhutan is now finally opening to tourism. If you are planning to come to Bhutan for the second time or even if you want to visit it first time, eastern Bhutan package is worth of considering for many reasons. If you want to know details about discount, practical information about how to get to eastern Bhutan and what to see there, read our most recent blog post below!

Discount on eastern Bhutan packages

All tourist staying in Bhutan has to pay 65 USD Sustainable Develpoment Fee per person per night. Thanks to bold decisions of Bhutan government, this fee will not be levied for stay in this six eastern Bhutan districts: Mongar, Lhuentse, Tashigang, Tashiyangtse, Pemagatshel and Samdrup Jongkhar. Discount will be applicable till the end of 2020.

Namling waterfall on the Bumthang to Mongar road

The government intention is to spread tourism over the wider area of the county. While too many tourists are visiting to Paro, Thimphu, Wangdue and Punakha districts, just friction makes it to the east.

The southern districts (Dagana, Tsirang, Zhemgang, Sarpang, Chhukha) are even more neglected. It's believed that if eastern Bhutan policy will succeed, the southern districts may follow. Let's see after 2020...

Yongphula airport opening

Another reason for tourists neglecting eastern Bhutan, is it's geographical distance. Two full days drive is necessary to reach east from Paro.

Luckily to our rescue, the Yongphula airport, some 45 minutes drive from Tashigang town, was reopened after many year of repairs. Three flights a week are being operated there and in case of high demand in high season, some additional flights might be put on the route.

Yongphula airport
Courtesy of Drukair

Yongphula airport makes it possible to for tourist to skip long drive from Paro to the east and visit it's sights directly, or travel to eastern Bhutan by land and go back to Paro by flight.

Land access from Guwahati

Eastern Bhutan is still best reached from Guwahati, the capital if Indian state of Assam. Security situation in Assam got significantly improved in recent years. So if you're planning to visit eastern Bhutan and you don't mind to skip Paro and other places in the west, you better go through Guwahati. It is just three hours drive from Guwahati airport to Bhutan border town of Samdrup Jongkhar and flights from Delhi to Guwahati are frequent and reasonable.

Lhuentse dzong

What to see in the east

Although the sights of eastern Bhutan are not as famous as the monuments in the west, there are many good reasons to come and explore. Culturally the east is slightly different from the west as the most inhabitants belong to Sharchop community who speaks different language and mostly adhere to Niyngma school of Tibetan Buddhism rather than Drukpa Kagyu, the state supported branch. See below what to do in eastern Bhutan, starting with the eaternmost sights and advancing to the west:

  • Merak-Sakteng is highland area east of Tashigang. It's wonderful place to explore the life of semi-nomadic Brokpa community, who are distinctive from both western and eastern Bhutanese, more akin to Monpas of Arunachal Pradesh. They traditionally herds yaks and live in two villages, Merak and Sakteng. Merak is now connected by the farm road so you can visit village for one or two nights or yu can do few days hiking tour driving to Merak, then hike to Sakteng over the 4500 meters hight pass and finally reach by half day walk to the road head. One of the greatest experience in the East!
  • Gom Kora and Chorten Kora pilgrimage spots in Tashi Yangtse are both centers if interesting local festival and beautiful religious sights.
  • Bomdeling bird's sanctuary in Tashi Yangtse is one of the few places where black neck cranes might be spotted in winter. It's wild nature also give habitat to Bhutan Glory, the unique butterfly which was long considered extinct, until it was rediscovered here.
  • Omba-Nye Trekking in Tashi Yangtse, also know as Far-Out trek, is one of the most rewarding trekking routes in easter Bhutan. It can be done in 3-5 days trekking. Inquire with us for detail.
Near Merak
  • Takey-la statue of Guru Rimpoche in Lhuentse is the largest metal statue of eight century saint Guru Padmasambhava (also called Rimpoche), who is revered as the founder of Tibetan Buddhism and particularly it's Nyingma school.
  • Khoma weaving village in Lhuentse is probably best place for shopping of most intricate fabrics made in Bhutan. Almost every household here is involved in weaving and even royal family of Bhutan do shop for textiles for their clothes here. Farmhouses are available for overnight stay.
  • Pottery making in Gangzur village is another sights you can experience in Lhuentse. Earthen pots are now disappearing in Bhutan, giving a way to aluminum, and here is one of the few places where you can still see this traditional craft being utilized.
  • Birdwatching in Yongkhola is ideal place for this activity. Due to substantial difference of altitude on short distance, many different bird species might be spotted here. Unlike the other birdwatching spot, 3* hotel is available just on the best spot, making camping obsolete.

This and many more can be experienced during eastern Bhutan tour. Please check our eastern Bhutan tours.

You can also contact us for details.