Although we stayed there for 2 days and 2 nights, we were loathe to go back from Bumthang. So enamoured were we with the place! Sonam, our guide, reasoned with us and gave away a little secret, Gangtey is even more beautiful. Really, we asked in utter surprise. Possible? Yes, said Sonam.
And so, we checked out immediately after breakfast in our hotel, Ugyen Ling (Read — Review of Hotel Ugyen Ling in Bumthang). A quick stop at the market in order to get a couple of bottles of honey, and we were on our way. We stopped by once again at the Thokmed Yeshey Handicrafts & Yathra Production Centre to buy some knickknacks and a Yak-wool jacket. And then again at the Chume Valley. But then, we couldn’t leave Bumthang without a walk and run at the Chume Valley 🙂
Gangtey is about 3 hours away from Bumthang. You need to get back on the road that had brought you to Bumthang on your way from Punakha (read about the Punakha to Bumthang drive), and cross both theYutong La and the Pele La passes. Between these two Passes, you also pass through Trongsa. Since we had not stopped at Trongsa on our way from Punakha, we stopped by for the Dzong’s tour.
Trongsa Dzong: Ah! It’s a majestic Dzong, to say the least. Just as they are proud of all their Dzongs and Monastries, the Bhutanese are most proud perhaps of the Trongsa Dzong followed by the Punakha Dzong. Not without reason though. Trongsa Dzong is the largest Dzong in Bhutan and the seat of administrative power.
Its location, perched on a hilltop, is most interesting — against imposing mountains on all sides and drops down steeply into the valley of the Mangde Chu river. An extremely huge complex, we went around the temples inside and raved over the paintings. Note, the administration complex is closed to tourists.
Reaching Gangtey: Despite all the above stopovers, we managed to reach Gangtey in good time. Late noon, but still time for the sun to go down, Gangtey appeared to be a sparsely populated village. Unpaved roads, school children on their way home from school, the Phobjhika Valley extending till eternity on one side, Karma didn’t wait for our request to stop the car. He stopped the car and told us he’d be waiting a kilometer ahead. We, as had become usual now, jumped out of the car to live every moment of Gangtey….