Bhumtang to Ugen Choling
After breakfast we will depart for our first destination in the remote eastern side of Bhutan, the Tang valley and the village of Ugen Choling. Our journey is 20 miles, 13 miles of which is on an unpaved road. We stop at a roadside temple and a nunnery at Bapzor village then drive to the end of the road at the village of Kesum. After a roadside picnic lunch by noon we should be at the end of the road where those who want to can take a one-hour hike over a suspension footbridge, through farm fields and cluster villages and up a "hill" to the mystical Ugyen Choling Palace where we will spend two nights in the owner's guesthouse. The road and bridge over the river were recently completed so those who want to can ride all the way to Ugen Choling. (Robin wrote a story on Ugyen Choling for Tashi Delek magazine, available on the Rainbow web site.)
Ugyen Choling is a national treasure, privately owned by the same family for hundreds of years. It's remote location makes it one of the less frequently visited historical sites in Bhutan, hosting fewer than two hundred guests per year. One of the owners wrote a book on Bhutanese folk tales of the Yeti and her brother is the property's caretaker. The best part of the Palace is the quaint museum housing permanent exhibits on three floors in the main building and the Utse, the central tower. Traditional living quarters are recreated to capture the realistic ambiance of the ancient lifestyles and conditions of the households. Everyday kitchen and weaving utensils, war weapons--including gun powder made from petrified yak dung--tools and farming implements are the main part of the exhibits.
Overnight: Ugencholing Guest House