Wangduephodrang is one of the largest dzongkhags (districts) in the country. As the district covers 4,308 sq km and ranges from 800-5800 m in altitude it has extremely varied climatic conditions ranging from Sub-Tropical forests in the south to cool and snowy regions in the north.
One of the most notable sites in the district is Phobjikha Valley. This valley is the habitat of rare and endangered Black Necked Cranes that roost there during their annual migrations. The residents of the valley have garnered much acclaim for their conservation efforts to preserve the habitat of these beautiful birds. Every year the Black Necked Crane Festival is held in Phobjikha in order to protect and spread awareness of the cranes. The Festival includes songs, masked dances and plays by the local school children. This event is one of the most unique and popular festivals in the country.
Wangduephodrang district has a rich tapestry of ancient Buddhist temples and monasteries that is sure to enrapture any visitor. The following are a few of the most notable religious sites:
Gangtey Monastery: Situated atop a hill at an altitude of 2800m, Gangtey Monaster (also known as Gangtey Sanga Choeling Goemba) offers a stunning view of Phobjikha valley, winter home to the rare Black Necked Cranes. This venerable monastery was founded in 1613 by Je Kuenga Gyaltshen.
Dargay Goempa: This monastery was built in the spot where Divine Madman Drukpa Kuenley first met Ashi Genzo who was renowned for her beauty. When it was first constructed the monastery was a simple Drubdey or meditation center. Lam Drukpa Kuenley is widely considered to be Bhutan’s favourite and most iconic saint due to his unorthodox method of teaching through ribald humor.
With its diverse climates and rich natural resources Wangdue Dzongkhag is home to many rare and exotic animals like Red Pandas, Tigers and Leopards. There are also large numbers of rare birds such as the Black Necked Crane, White-Bellied Heron and the Spotted Eagle.
Adha and Rukha
The villages of Adha and Rukha are excellent places to gain insights into the lives of rural Bhutanese farmers.
While it is possible to camp out during your visit we recommend asking your guides to arrange a home-stay with one of the local families. The farmers will happily welcome you into their homes and regale you with local legends of mermaids and ancient kings. It is usually better to schedule your visit during autumn as these areas are prone to leeches, sand flies and mosquitoes during the summer.
Gaselo and Nahee Village
These two villages are located in the west of the province. Take picnic lunches and drive to these villages on a day excursions.
Village life here is still medieval and farmers are always happy to see visitors. If visiting during early summer you’ll be fascinated by the age old traditional methods used during rice plantation. Experience the joy and simplicity of farming life. In autumn you’ll be able to share the happiness of farmers over a bountiful harvest and truly experience Gross National Happiness.