Wangdue has two of Bhutan’s most well-known attractions Gangtey Goenpa, the acclaimed 17th century monastery, and the Phobjikha valley, winter home to the endangered black-necked cranes.
|Surface area||4,308 sq. kilometers|
|Altitude||800 to 5,800 meters above sea level|
Getting to Wangdue
The drive to Wangdue is about 2 hours from the capital. Along the way, you will pass through the 3050 meters high Dochula pass with its beautiful assemblage of the 108 Druk Wangyel Chortens.
Places of Interest
Wangdue Dzong: The Dzong was built in 1639 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal. It is perched on a ridge that is said to resemble a sleeping elephant and looking over the convergence of the Punatsang chhu and the Dang chhu. The Dzong underwent expansion, modifications and restorations under several powerful lords of the time. In 1837, it was destroyed by a fire and later rebuilt. During the reign of the third King of Bhutan, the Dzong was renovated.
Gangtey Sanghacholing Goenpa: This monastery was founded in 1613 by Gyalse Pema Thinley, the grandson of Terten (treasure revealer) Pema Lingpa. Today, the monastery is under the headship of the 9th reincarnation of the Gangtey Trulku. Gangtey Goenpa underwent major renovation that lasted for almost eight years and was completed in 2008.
Phobjikha Valley: Almost one and a half hours drive from the main Wangdue town is the wide and beautiful alpine valley of Phobjikha. It lies at an average altitude of 3000 m and falls within the Jigme Singye Wangchuk National Park. The valley has a stream flowing through thickets of dwarf bamboo, and small settlements of wood cabins and traditional homes. On the surrounding slopes, farmers grow potatoes and turnips, and beyond that are pine forest covered hill sides, interspersed with rhododendron trees. It is also one of the nesting grounds of the endangered Black-necked cranes. The birds migrate here from early November each year till the end of March from their northern habitats in Tibet and Siberia. There is a Black-necked cranes information center in the valley which has informative displays on the cranes and the valley environment. Each year in November, a Black-necked crane festival is held to celebrate the arrival of the cranes and to create awareness on the importance of crane conservation.