Central Bhutan’s evergreen mountains and neatly cultivated valleys comprise the country’s cultural heartland, accented by several of Bhutan’s oldest and most significant temples and monasteries. Spectacular festivals celebrate tradition and there are dozens of great day hikes throughout the region.
Across the 3420m-high Pele La and the Black Mountains is the magnificent and historically important Trongsa Dzong, commanding the junction of three major roads. From Trongsa, a short, steep drive over the Yotong La (3425m) leads to the four valleys of Bumthang, a magical region of saints and treasure-seekers, great demon-subduing struggles and fabulous miracles, rich with relics, hermitages and sacred sites from the visits of Guru Rinpoche and Pema Lingpa.
Central Bhutan sees fewer tourists than western Bhutan, though Bumthang’s airport makes travelling here easier than ever. To really get off the beaten track, head south to visit remote village lhakhangs and the wildlife-filled jungles of Royal Manas National Park.