Eastern Bhutan

The wild and rugged east of Bhutan sees far fewer tourists than the western regions, which is reason enough to go. Intrepid travellers venturing east will be rewarded with group-free dzongs and temples, beautiful silks and embroidery, and lush, bird-filled forests. Food and accommodation options can be modest and simple, attesting to the region’s remoteness. However, despite this remoteness, the east is surprisingly densely populated. Most of the population live in remote settlements; secreted high above the road or in isolated valleys, some are home to minority ethnic groups comprising fewer than 1000 people.

The east is opening up to tourism but it remains a frontier for adventure travel in Bhutan. The new airport at Yongphula is not yet a reliable gateway, but there are new hotels and trekking routes being developed, and the east–west highway has been widened. If you want to get off the beaten track, this is your place.