5 Top Places To Visit in Samtse Dzongkhag; The Tropical Paradise of Bhutan

 In Best Time to Visit, Bhutan, Food, Hotels, Lakes, religious, temple, Things To Buy, Things to do, Weekend Trips

You may have traveled to Bhutan earlier either with friends or on a family trip to Bhutan covering the popular destinations to visit in Bhutan. 

But today we will take you to another travel destination in Bhutan, you might have never even heard of before. Sounds interesting isn’t it? Then what are we waiting for, let’s begin!

This lesser-explored jewel of Bhutan is known as Samtse. The district of Samtse is situated in the southwest region of Bhutan. 


History of Samtse

A sleepy village, lying in the lower areas of the land of the thunder dragon, Samtse Dzongkhag appears to be a low-lying area but it slowly reaches a height of 3,800m above sea level.

Back in the 20th century, Samtse was sparsely populated, due to its low-lying geographical location, it was considered an area prone to tropical disease. 

But with time, Samtse Bhutan has become a home to numerous ethnic groups and has people from the Buddhist and Hindu faiths living together for centuries. 

Two of the most primitive ethnic groups inhabiting the district are Lhotshampas and Doyas.


Why is Samtse a unique tourist destination?

Samtse is a unique tourist destination in Bhutan due to its cultural diversity, rich tradition, and beautiful landscapes. 

What sets it apart from the more popular tourist destinations in the central region of Bhutan, is that it gives visitors an authentic and unique insight into the country’s multifaceted culture and history. 

  • Geographical Location: Imagine a village oozing with multiculturalism, set across the banks of the nurturing river Indus, sharing a side border with the Indian State of West Bengal and on the east by Chukha, Bhutan’s southern neighbor.
  • Unity in Diversity: Samtse Bhutan is one of the places, that still houses, numerous ethnic and primitive groups. People from different faiths, religions, cultures, and backgrounds co-exist in peace and harmony and celebrate various amazing festivals in Bhutan, together.

With the zeal and fervor with which, Buddhists celebrate their famous festival ‘Losar’, the Hindus celebrate their major festivals like ‘Diwali’ with similar enthusiasm. 

  • An Exotic Paradise: Regions with tropical temperatures make for great climatic conditions for fascinating flora and fauna generation. 

Samtse in Bhutan, has a tropical climate, as a result of which, the place is filled with thickets and tropical plant life. 

Elephants and many other exotic wildlife animals can be spotted roaming around freely. 

  • The most fertile land: Although, not as popular as other places in Bhutan, Samtse has major geographical importance. It is famed as one of the most fertile regions in Bhutan. 

Some of the most popular agricultural produce include Oranges, Bananas, Pineapples, Cardamom, Ginger, Tea, and Areca Nuts. 

  • A Mineral- Treasure Trove: Samtse is a significant city when it comes to rich natural resources like minerals. Some of the major minerals found in Samtse in Bhutan include- Limestone, Talc, Dolomite, Gypsum, and Quartz.

While Samtse doesn’t have the historical dzongs or monasteries like other parts of Bhutan, it does offer an offbeat travel experience. 

You’ll be able to roam the scenic hillsides, mingle with locals and fellow tourists, and immerse yourself in Bhutanese culture at a closer level.

Let’s go further down and explore the best places to visit in Samtse:

  • Daina Suspension Bridge: When seen from a layman’s perspective, this bridge is just an ordinary suspension bridge, but this one is different. 

The Daina Suspension Bridge in Samste is a vast and expansive structure of steel and wood. Although not one of the best photography places in Bhutan, but we bet you can’t capture the whole length of this bridge in a single frame. 

Taking a bike ride or driving on a four-wheeler is possible on this bridge, but it is not appropriate for a faint-hearted person, as when you step on this structure in Samtse, the shudder of the wooden floor and the view of the pond from atop, sends chills down the spine. 

  • Shivalaya Mandir: The Shivalaya Mandir in Samste is not an ordinary Shiv temple. 

Although re-built on a site where an old Shiva temple once stood, the Shivalaya Mandir has a special significance in the lives of Samtse Hindus. 

This temple was built on the orders of His Majesty, the King, in honor of the royal wedding. The temple is built with pink limestone and marble and is adorned with beautiful and intricate carvings. 

Moreover, it is the first temple in Bhutan, dedicated to lord Shiva, making this temple visit, one of the best things to do in Samtse and one of the most special temples to visit in Bhutan

  • Gomtu Industrial Estate, Samste: Visiting Gomtu is equivalent to visiting some industrial estate, but what’s so special about it?

Gomtu is one of the border towns in South-West Bhutan, close to the Indian border. It is situated in Samtse District, Bhutan. The population of Gomtu is estimated to be around 4500. 

The two cement companies in Gomtu are: Penden Cement, a government-based company, and Lhaki Cement, a privately owned company Gomtu town is built on the land owned by the company, PCAL.

The company leases the land, and 21 buildings in Gomtu town pay lease amount to the company. The development and maintenance work of Gomtu town falls under the company’s responsibility, Penden Cement.

  • Sidhok Khorlo Chorten: The chorten, standing 30 feet tall, was constructed to commemorate the 4th Druk Gyalpa’s 60th birthday, as well as to symbolize Bhutan’s peace, longevity, and happiness. 

The Chorten is intricately carved white marble and serves as an important religious and cultural monument for the people of Bhutan. 

The construction of the chorten was built as a collective endeavor, of civil servants, local representatives, the business community, and the public of Samtse contributing to the project. 

In Buddhism, Chortens are revered as religious places symbolizing the value of community.

Bhutan commemorates an important milestone and conveys the ongoing respect and admiration of the four Druk Gyalp’s leadership and legacy, by constructing this Chorten,

  • Tendu Community Temple: Tendu Community Temple which is believed to be built several years ago is one of the main places to visit while in Tendu. 

Tendruk Gewog under Tashichholing Dungkhag is located in the north-west region of the Samtse Dzongkhag and is surrounded by Norgaygang gewog in the northwest, 

Namgaychholing gewog in the east, Haa Dzongkhag in the north, and the Indian State of West Bengal in the southwest. 

The gewog falls in the sub-tropical zone with warm summer and cold winter with snowfall in the northern regions of the gewog. It is about 1.5 hours drive from Samtse town.

How to reach Samtse?

Blessed with breathtaking views and nature’s impeccable beauty, Samtse can be reached via Air and by road. Here’s how

By Air: The nearest airport to Samntse is Paro International Airport.

It is one of the most dangerous airports in the world, and the only international airport in Bhutan.  

Direct and connecting flights to Bhutan are available from Major Indian cities such as Delhi, Siliguri, Kolkata, Guwahati & Gaya. Speaking of International countries, the airline also flies to Nepal and other countries such as Singapore, Bangkok & Dhaka. 

Once you reach Paro, you can arrange a private taxi from the airport to the Samtse area. A more economical option would be, to take the bus that departs from Paro every alternate day at 7.00 AM.

By Road: You can drive from Jaigaon, West Bengal, to Samtse.

Buses run by the Royal Bhutanese government from Kolkata’s Esplanade Station to Bhutan’s capital Thimphu.

You can hire a private taxi from Thimphu to Samtse, or take a bus from Kolkata to Paro, and then take another bus from Paro to Samtse.

Since the journey is long, it is advisable to spend a night in Paro, as the buses from Paro leave at 7:00 am every alternate day.

Travel Tip: If you want to make the best of Samtse Travel, then travel by flight, as it is more convenient and fast.


What is the best time to visit Samtse?

Samtse experiences good weather all year round. It mostly stays warm and experiences a moderate climate.

However, winter is the best time for visiting Samtse as the weather is cold enough to visit the places of interest in Samtse and the surrounding areas. 

The average temperature in Samtse is 28°C with an average minimum temperature of 13°C.

Here are some Samtse Travel Tips, to make your visit to this haven of spirituality even more fun:

Visa and other requirements: To travel to Bhutan, you must fulfill specific visa requirements. You can get a visa through a registered and licensed travel agency in Bhutan or other international collaborators. 

Pack Appropriately: Although Samtse experiences a moderate climate, the kind of clothes you need also depends on the season in which you are visiting Samtse. 

Even during summers, along with light clothes carry a few warmer clothes.

From June to August, do carry raincoats, umbrellas, and water-resistant footwear. As monsoon in Bhutan can be quite heavy.

Travel Itinerary: Travelers visiting Bhutan, must plan and decide on a proper travel itinerary with their travel operator in advance. Especially when traveling to small towns like Samtse.

Travel Insurance: It is always advisable to take travel insurance before going on any trip. But when traveling to Bhutan, it is a must. Especially due to its rough and rugged terrain, handy travel insurance might give you peace of mind. 

Cash and Currency: Even though the world is moving toward digitalization, it is always better to carry cash when traveling to places like Bhutan. 

Firstly, there are chances, you might not find good internet signals in many areas, which would hamper your online payment. 

Secondly, in smaller towns like Samtse, credit card facilities, and even online banking might not be available. 

Dress Appropriately: Samtse is a very sacred place and many Bhutanese religious sentiments are attached to it. Therefore, dress properly and remove your shoes before entering any temple or Dzongs. 

Avoid taking photographs: Many ancient sites and buildings with cultural heritage restrict the usage of phones and video cameras. Be respectful and refrain from clicking pictures, without permission. 

Environmental conservation: The environmental conservation of Bhutan is paramount to its government and locals alike. Be sensitive and sensible, do not throw rubbish on the ground or go around spoiling the environment.

Health and Safety: Places like Samtse are not heavily crowded and therefore you might not find a lot of medicines you need, so carry your first aid kit, and all the medicines you need. 

Avoid drinking tap water, if you have a sensitive stomach, and do good research on the best places to eat in Bhutan, to enjoy some authentic Bhutanese flavors. 

 Respect the Customs: Samtse is an extremely serious place when it comes to respecting one’s religion or ethnic sect. A diversity of clans and communities can be spotted here, living in total peace. Kindly be mindful of tourists and humans and respect the customs or people of Samtse.  

What makes Samtse a unique destination in Bhutan?

Its major religious and cultural significance in Bhutanese history and the number of different sects living together in peace makes it a unique destination.

How do I get to Samtse from Thimphu?

You can either go by air or take a bus to Thimphu.

What are the must-visit attractions in Samtse?

Samtse is not a very popular tourist destination but many places like Daina Suspension Bridge and Shivalaya Temple are must-visit places here. There are many attractions near Samtse as well.

What is the best time to visit Samtse?

The best time to visit Samtse is during winter.

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