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Eastern Bhutan


With predominant ethnic group living in eastern Bhutan called Sharchops, who are generally followers of the Nyingma tradition of Buddhism and tend to be shorter and stockier than people in other parts of the country. Another characteristic of Eastern Bhutan is that the cities and towns are generally built on mountain slopes, a notable exception being Samdrup Jongkhar which is in a valley closer to the Indian border.

Eastern Bhutanese, called Sharchops, are known to be a very friendly and relaxed and in the villages they welcome their guests traditionally with a drink of the local drink ara, as part of the infamous tshoghchang ceremony.

Agricultural products range from rice, maize, millet, vegetables and various fruits such as mangos, oranges and papaya. Fruits are available throughout the year. Lhuntshe and Trashigang are famous for weaving local dress andpottery and Trashiyangtse for the production of the traditional wooden bowls called Dhapa. In the higher altitude of Merak-Sakteng you can meet with the semi-nomadic yak herders, known as Brokpa, famous for their unique appearance and traditions,along with their yak hide wrapped Yidpa,considered a delicacy.

Eastern Bhutan is still considered less developed than the West in terms of tourism infrastructure. That makes it an even more valuable and interesting place for adventurous travelers and those who do not want a cookie cutter itinerary. Not yet plastered with hotels and guesthouses, the landscape is rugged, the valleys are steep and flora and fauna exceptionally amazing and untouched.

Many villages in the East are not clustered but take on a different look with spread out households nestled within rice fields. The Architecture is slightly different from other parts of Bhutan and construction material is adapted to the respective climate. Travelers wanting to experience authentic rural lifestyle and hospitality traditions will find the East very fascinating.