Lhuentse – The Land of Kishuthara Textiles
The once a home to the Bhutanese kings, Lhuentse (or Lhuntse); also known as Lhuntshi, in the Lhuntse district of Bhutan is a scenic tourist destination in the Last Himalayan Kingdom. Located on the north-eastern corner of the country, this gorgeous town is adorned by the enchanting beauty of fascinating cliffs, picturesque gorges, and riotous conifer thickets all around.
Historically rich, the region is also famed as the home to the best weavers in Bhutan. Local women belonging to the ‘Kurtoep’ ethnic group in Lhuntse are very proficient in weaving a unique textile that is locally known as ‘Kishuthara’. The Khoma viallge in Lhuntse region is the store house of this unique textile; most of the Kishuthara artists hail from this hamlet in Bhutan.
Located within an elevation of 800-5,700m, this scenic town is located around 3 hours’ drive (77km) away from Mongar. Its rugged locales and trails surely make it a befitting destination for trekking, hiking, camping, and several other exciting activities. Well, in case, you are not aware, you must know that this region is also known for the traditional Bhutanese alcoholic drink called ‘Ara’. Locals brew this drink in their homes from either rice or maize.
Best Time to Visit Lhuentse: Fall (September to November)
How to Reach Lhuentse
Paro International Airport is the only international airport in Bhutan. If you are planning to reach Lhuentse by air, you should book your flights to this airport. However, while booking flights to this airport, you should keep in mind that not all the airports in India offer flights to Paro.
Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi, Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport in Kolkata, Bodhgaya Airport in Gaya (Bihar), Bagdogra Airport in Siliguri (West Bengal), and Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport in Guwahati (Assam) are some of the Indian airports that offer flights to Paro International Airport.
Once you are in Paro, you can reach Lhuentse by road after traversing around 503km (15 Hours) along the Bumthang-Ura Highway.
As Bhutan is not accessible by train, you won’t be able to reach Lhuentse by train. However, you can book your train rides to some of the closest Indian railway stations, and cover the rest part of the journey by local transportation.
You can book your train journey to Kolkata, New Jalpaiguri, New Alipurduar, Siliguri, or Hasimara railway station in West Bengal. If going for Kolkata, you can avail direct Bhutanese buses to Thimphu. From Thimphu, you can board direct buses to Lhuentse on Monday, Thursday and Friday at 7 in the morning. These buses take around 10 hours to reach Lhuentse by road.
From New Jalpaiguri, Hasimara, Siliguri, and Siliguri railway stations, you can enter Bhutan through Jaigaon town in West Bengal’s Alipurduar district. Jaigaon is located adjacent to Phuentsholing town of Bhutan. Once you gain your Bhutan entry, you can hire local taxis to reach Lhuentse by road.
As mentioned above, Kolkata serves as the best option to reach Lhuentse by road. Though Jaigaon-Phuentsholing is also a good option, the journey would take longer; around 17 hours (603km).
Places to Visit in Lhuentse
Guru Nangsey Zilneon Statue
Tsokar Tsona Lakes
Wangchuck Centennial Park
Thrumshingla National Park
Bumdeling Wildlife Sanctuary
Things to Do in Lhuentse
Trekking and hiking