Hot springs are found in most places in Bhutan and have been used for centuries to cure the Bhutanese of various ailments ranging from arthritis, body aches, to even sinuses. Come winter and it is a tradition for the Bhutanese to visit the well known hot springs. Known as Tshachus, the hot spring at Gasa in western Bhutan that is situated close to the banks of the Mo chu river, is the most desired for. The Gasa hot
springs are frequented not just by the people but even wild animals such as the Takin.
Getting to Gasa hot spring is about ten hours trek from Punakha district or one can choose to travel half way by vehicle till a village called Damji. From Damji is about six hours trek till Gasa hot spring through beautiful hills of pine and oak forests. The route also takes us through small villages, bamboo forests and small streams. On reaching a pass one can see a beautiful view of Gasa dzong(fortress) seated below snow covered mountain. On the way one can enjoy nice outdoor picnic with packed lunch.
The other well known hot spring is the Chubu tshachu in Punakha. This hot spring is also located by the banks of the Pho chu river and can be reached within a days journey from Punakha town.
In central Bhutan in Bumthang, we have the Dur Tshachu. Located in the village of Dur, this tshachu also has medicinal value and are known to cure body aches. Then we have the Duenmang tshachu in Zhemgang. Situated by the banks of Mangde chu, Duenmang tshachu is also being frequented by the Khengpas and the rest of the Bhutanese population.
In southern Bhutan, you have the Gelephu tshachu situated yet again next to a stream. The tshachu is mostly frequented by the local residents and in winter by the other Bhutanese people that take trips to get cure themselves of diseases.
Besides, there is the Menchu, a tradition of heating up stones and then soaking in the water that is in turn heated by the stones. This is also a curative method and is used throughout the country.
The five most well known hot springs are:
THE GASA TSHACHU
To get to the Gasa Hot Spring visitors must trek for approximately 40 minutes from the nearby road to the springs located on the valley floor. The option to travel half way by vehicle until the village of Damji were it is a beautiful six hour trek to Gasa through gorgeous hills covered in verdant.
Another well known hot spring is the Chubu Tshachu in Punakha. This hot spring is located by the banks of the Pho Chu River and is within a day’s journey from Punakha town.
Dur Tshachu is located in Central Bhutan in Bumthang Dzongkhag. Situated in the village of Dur, this Hot Spring is renowned for its medicinal value and is known to cure body aches.
Then we have the Duenmang Tshachu, situated by the banks of Mangde Chu River. This Hot Spring is especially popular amongst the Khengpa (indeginous ethinic group of Bhutan) population who frequent it regularly.
This Hot Spring is mainly frequented by the local residents but in winter people from all over Bhutan journey here to cure themselves of diseases. Visitors can also try out the ancient Bhutanese tradition of ‘Menchu’ or Hot Stone Baths. In this method water is heated by submerging red-hot stones.
We normally customize the Itinerary for this trip depending on the number of days our clients want to spend. This trip needs whole day of soaking in the hot spring and just relaxing. And need to stay in tents as there are no hotels nearby.
Day 01: Arrive Paro. Drive to Thimphu, half day sightseeing in Thimphu. Overnight in Thimphu.
Day 02: Cultural sightseeing in Thimphu. Overnight in Thimphu.
Day 03: Drive to Punakha/Wangdue with sightseeing en route. Overnight in Punakha/Wangdue.
Day 04: Drive till Ramthang the end of motorable road. Hike for about an hour to the Hot spring site. Overnight in tents.
Day 05: Hot spring bath, overnight in tents.
Day 06: Hot spring bath, overnight in tents.
Day 07: Morning Hike to for about two hours to visit Gasa Dzong (fortress) one of the remotest district head quarters. After lunch take hot spring bath, overnight in tents.
Day 08: Hot spring bath, overnight in tents.
Day 09: Hot spring bath, overnight in tents.
Day 10: Hike to your pickup point and drive to Phobjikha. Overnight in Phobjikha.
Day 11: Sightseeing in the morning and drive to Trongsa. Visit Trongsa Dzong. Overnight in Trongsa.
Day 12: Drive to Bumthang with sightseeing. Overnight in Bumthang.
Day 13: Bumthang sightseeing. Overnight in Bumthang.
Day 14: Drive to Punakha. Overnight in Punakha.
Day 15: Drive to Paro via Thimphu. Overnight in Paro.
Day 16: Sightseeing in Paro. Overnight in Paro.
Day 17: Depart from Paro Airport.