Bumthang Valley – Jakar

Bumthang Valley – one of the most beautiful valleys of Bhutan, beside Phobjikha Valley that we’ve been. The name Bumthang have two probable origins. The first being named after a Bumpa – a vessel for holy water that the valleys resemble and the other being Bum being ‘Girl’ and Thang for ‘flat land’, and hence the Valley of Beautiful Girls. I prefer the latter.

31st October 2016. The day we rode in to Bumthang Dzongkha (District) from Trongsa. From the rough mountains roads of Trongsa, the valley of Bumthang opens up in your view. First impression was, as every visitor here will agree – it felt like…Switzerland. Similarly to Phitsunalok – Lomsak in Thailand. Same comparison was use in the tourism brochure. But still I feel both places are beautiful in their own ways without the unnecessary ‘official’ comparison.

Jakar, a small town in the Bumthang Dzongkha and a Dzongkha Thromde (district capital). This is where we spend two nights in a family run guesthouse.

Besides the national language of Dzongkha, they have their own local languages which include Bumthang and Brokkat, an endangered Southern TIbetic language spoken by about 300 people in Dhur, 10km from Jakar.

During the day, the sun are scorching hot but the air are cool but at night it will be cold. Preparing fire wood for the heating stove is a nightly task before bed. By waking, It is a very surreal experience to take a walk in the frosty and misty surrounding. Which can last till late morning, riding in the dreamy landscape when we left for Trashigang the day after.

Craving for some less-spicy dishes in town (Bhutanese consume chili like vegetables, not as a spice). We found ourselves a Pizza shop. By regulations, food are not pre-cooked, to prevent wastage. An Italian import that is total Bhutanize here in this shop. Though most are vegetarian, but meat are available. All meat here are sun dried for preservation. You will need a strong teeth to chew it.
Being a Buddhist country, till date there are no slaughter house in Bhutan. Ironically, all animal for consumption are imported lifeless from neighboring India, the birth place of Buddhism. I assume the beef too are from the Hindu majority neighbor. Bhutan must be the paradise for the animal realm, if it is born here.

Every Tuesday is a ‘Dry Day’, meaning no alcohol for sale! But our ‘kind’ chef was helpful enough to sneak in some beers for our fellow riders from his trust worthy connection.
Still, tobacco are banned in Bhutan, unless brought in from outside Bhutan and limited to 200 cigarettes.
That sounds like a good deal for one who don’t drink and smoke. A hard rubbery meat in exchange for a clean air and sober ambience. Though Cannabis plants are growing wild everywhere, but that’s another story for another day.

Pace of life is very slow here like the rest of inner Bhutan.Our few slices of pizza for lunch took us more than three hours to complete. From being seated, to ordering, to the kitchen, on to the table and finally to ‘see you again’. That’s how slow life here is…

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