Samtse is a small and humble place which is at the extreme corner of southwestern Bhutan. If you refer map of Samtse Bhutan, this subtropical district shares its border with Chukha and Haa. It’s also closer to West Bengal and Sikkim of India.
Since Samtse isn’t closer to any commercial towns or the capital city of the country, it’s one of the least travelled places of Bhutan. It’s only its residents and few civil servants working there visit it.
However, it has never failed to impress travel enthusiast like me. It’s a bowl of different cultures, traditions and people of various ethnic groups. But Samtse celebrates diversity embracing good communal living principles. It’s small but beautiful in its own ways.
You get to observe its humbleness. You’ll find almost zero tourists there. So you can have all moments for yourself. The various cultural practices prevalent among its ethnic communities would be but a ground to experience remote yet one of the few truest parts of Bhutan.
Places to visit in Samtse Bhutan
Samtse might be small. However, it has its own manners of welcoming the tourists and visitors. There are various places of interest at Samtse. Some of them are religious sites, some are architectural structures and some are just viewpoints.
#1 Hindu Mandhir of Samtse
This Shivalaya Mandhir is the first Hindu temple in Bhutan that is in devotion to Lord Shiva. This temple not only provides a house of prayers and devotion for Hindu Community of Samtse but is also one of the most iconic structures of the Dzongkhag.
It’s the only temple in Bhutan that is built out of intricately carved sandstone. I was told that materials and its statue are gifts from Rajasthan India. It’s in the heart of Samtse town and below Samtse Khorlo Chorten. Therefore, it’s one of the most popular places to visit in Samtse.
#2 Daina Suspension Bridge
This suspension bridge is longer than even the 160 mtr long Punakha Phochu Suspension Bridge. It’s so long that you cannot accommodate whole part of it in single frame of a photograph. It’s an iron bridge but has wooden planks laid at its floor.
The moment of driving a car over it is exciting with cricking sound of planks so much it’s heart-pumping running over it. There is a small natural pond beneath it where you can enjoy swimming during hot monsoon season. Photography enthusiasts get to shoot this bridge with a backdrops of sunrises and sunsets.
#3 Samtse Khorlo Chorten
There is a stupa just above Hindu Mandhir with small Buddhist temple beside it. Its vast serene compound provides good place to hangout with friends and families. Presence of numerous shade-providing mango trees makes it cooler compare to other open hangout places.
It was built by community of business people and local residents in dedication to 60th birth anniversary of K4 of Bhutan in 2015. It was built from carved marbles to represent kindness of K4 to his people and equally reverence of his people for him.
#4 Tendu Community Temple
You can drive to Sipsu and then to Tendu. On the way, you’ll not only get to enjoy views of Indian river banks, villages and waterfalls, but also you’ll be able to visit Tendu Community Temple. It’s located few meters above road.
Its hilltop location provides good views of nearby places like Bara and Biru. It’s also a good point of landscape photography. It has number of statues of Buddhist religious figures. It’s not only a good place to visit but is also a house of devotion for local Buddhist community.
#5 Gomtu Industrial Estate
Gomtu Dungkhag is also a small town closer to Indian state of West Bengal. Birpara, a small Indian town near Gomtu lets you experience parts of India. Gomtu is one of the popular Industrial towns of Bhutan.
Otherwise for dusty winter and foggy summer, Gomtu also has its own number of places to visit to hangout with your friends and families. Few kilometers away from the main town, there is one private monastery from where you can get views of Industries of Gomtu like Penden Cement Authorities.
There is also a small park amidst Gomtu town. Its small temple and Mani Dungkhor (prayer wheel) add more to the beauty of this landmark. It takes about 1.5 hours of drive to reach Gomtu from Samtse. The road is through thick jungle of West Bengal with occasional detours of small Indian towns.
Things to do in Samtse Bhutan
#1 Bird watching Experience
I could see many cranes-like birds in open fields in Samtse. There would be many birds as Samtse has good forest coverage. Therefore, Samtse can be a good place of bird watching for tourists.
# 2 Open Swimming in River
People who travel from higher altitude places might find climate of Samtse quite hot. However, you can fight the sultry weather by engaging in open swimming. There are number of clean streams or natural ponds where swimming is allowed.
#3 Unique Cultural Tours
Samtse is a land of unique ethnic communities of Doyaps, Adibashis, Drukpas and Lhotshampas. Which place in Bhutan would be better than Samtse to experience different culture, traditions, customs and practices in one single trip. Ramtoe village is recently declared as important cultural site of Bhutan by the Ministry of Home and Cultural Affairs.
#4 Experience Indian Cultures
Samtse is one of the districts of Bhutan that shares maximum borders with India. Indian towns like Birpara and Chumurchi. There is so much social and economy interactions among places of two countries. Therefore, visiting Samtse will be an expedition to experience cultures of Indians along with that of Bhutanese.
#5 Walk Through Terraces
Samtse is one of the most cultivated districts. People there grow quite an amount of paddy besides cash crops like cardamons, oranges and mangoes. During appropriate seasons, walking through their terraced golden paddy fields is quite an experience.
#6 Fishing in stream or river
When I travelled Samtse last time, I had a good experience of fishing in Samtse river. There are number of fishing spots just few kilometers away from Samtse town. But you must have to seek prior approval from concerned agencies for it.
What is the best time to visit it
Samtse is geographically in subtropical zone. This means you can expect to be dry in winter and sultry in summer. People residing in cold places would find Samtse quite hot. Therefore, I would like to recommend Autumn season (September-October) for visiting Samtse.
Search Words: Samtse Dzong. History of Samtse Dzong. Who Built Samtse Dzong. Samtse Dzongda. Samtse Dzongkhag Administration Website. Samtse Places of Interest.
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