There are many natural wonders in the world, and hot springs are definitely one of them. A hot spring is a place where groundwater is heated by an energy that is created by the earth. The groundwater is made as rain and snow seep deep into the ground until it hits a solid rock. It is collected in underground pools and eventually rises back up to the surface of the earth through small cracks in the earth’s crust to form a pool of water called hot springs. The water in these hot springs contains dissolved minerals that are of great medicinal value and can do wonders to the skin and body.
In Bhutan, hot springs are known as Tshachu, the mineral water as Drubchu and the medicinal water as Smenchu. The people believe that the Tshachu, Drubchu, and Smenchu are blessings of the Buddha and so, the hot springs are generally found in sacred sites in the country. The hot springs are not only a tourist spot but the water is also used for hot spring therapy in Bhutan. The Bhutanese take their healing therapies very seriously and sometimes set up camps at various locations during winter.
Hot Springs In Bhutan
A dip in the hot springs is best enjoyed in the rainy and winter months. So if you are planning to visit one of the greenest and happiest countries in the world in your next vacation, here is a list of hot springs in Bhutan to take a dip in, should you wish to relax your mind and body in picturesque locations.
1. Gasa Tshachu
The Gasa Tshachu or the Gasa hot springs in Bhutan are extremely popular all over the country for their healing powers. The hot springs are believed to cure arthritis, skin diseases, ulcers, rheumatism, indigestion, tuberculosis, and different other ailments. However, the results show only if you soak in the waters for a prolonged period.
Gasa is about 134 kilometers from Thimpu and 47 kilometers from Punakha. It is recommended to travel in a light or medium sized vehicle due to the road conditions. No public transport is available, so you need to hire a car or take your own vehicle.
The Gasa hot springs witnesses around 7000 visitors every winter to soak themselves in the curative waters and get rid of various ailments. There are four ponds of about three feet deep meant for different ailments. The ponds are clean, made of concrete, has a roof and can hold 12 people at a time. There are no hotels in the area; however, a visitor can put up in any of the four guesthouses in the area. The hot spring watersheds are open 24/7 for the public and is well-maintained with compound lighting, private bathing space, etc.
2. Duenmang Tshachu
Also known as the Kheng Tshachu, the Duenmang Tshachu is situated on the banks of river Mangde chu and the base of the Kamjong hill. The Duenmang hot spring is popular among the Bhutanese people for curing ailments like joint pain, sinusitis, tuberculosis, headaches, and skin diseases.
The Duenmang hot spring is located at the center of the Kheng region in a remote village. To reach the hot spring, one needs to reach the Tingtibi town first. It takes about a one hour drive from Tingtibi to reach Gomphu town. From Gomphu, it takes about 45 minutes to one hour trek to reach the Duenmang Tshachu. You can also hire ponies and porters to carry your luggage during the trek.
Around 500 to 800 people visit the Duenmang hot springs in Bhutan every year, most from the month of November to March. Initially, there were four ponds, but recently, six new ponds have been made to cater to the increasing demand. There are toilets, water taps and waste bins in every corner of the area. The path within the hot spring is covered by a canopy, and it is secured with railings. As expected, there are no hotels in the region. However, there are two guesthouses for accommodation. If you fail to get a room, you can pitch your own tent and stay there as long as you want.
3. Dhur Tshachu
Considered as one of the most beautiful hot springs in Bhutan, the Dhur Tshachu is a hiker’s paradise. Tour organizers arrange numerous treks to this beautiful place, where you can relax and cure body aches after a tiring hike. However, reaching these hot springs is not that easy. It takes you 3 day from Bumthang to hike to this hot spring. The 3-day hike is actually rewarded in the form of a rejuvenating bath in these hot springs. You can ask any of the local tour operators to organize this trek for you. Not only will you get to take bath but also enjoy rejuvenating views of nature this trek has to offer.
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4. Gelephu Tshachu
Opened to the public in 1962, the Gelephu Tshachu is located uphill from Gelephu, around 15 kilometers. The Gelephu Tshachu consists of five pools that look like wells, and the water is known to cure arthritis, anal fistula, stomach pain, wounds, and skin diseases.
To reach the hot spring, one needs to reach the quaint little town, Gelephu. You can then drive 15 kilometers uphill to reach the hot spring.
Mostly frequented by the locals, the Gelephu Tshachu also receives visitors from all around the world. Besides the bath in the hot springs, one can also try the ancient Bhutanese therapy known as Menchu, or the Hot Stone Bath. Red hot stones are submerged in the bath where people enter and soak themselves in the water to rid themselves of various ailments. There are three guest houses that can accommodate around 40 people. You can set up your own tent too. New additions and renovations are being planned by the Gelephu Dungkhag administration as the number of visitors keep increasing every year.
5. Chuboog Tshachu
Snugly set by the banks of the Pho Chu River, it takes about a day to reach the hot spring from the Punakha town. The healing water of this hot spring is known to cure various ailments. The Tshachu has two ponds and the water in the first pond can cure dermal diseases, tuberculosis, and stomach ailments. People visiting the second pond can get cured of muscle sprains and diabetes.
The road to the Chuboog hot spring is inaccessible by road and can be reached by trekking. It takes about three hours to trek your way to the Tshachu from Woolathang. You can also hire ponies and mules to reach the hot springs.
A lot of visitors who take a trip to Bhutan, including the locals, frequent these hot springs during winter. There are guest houses in the area, and, if you like, you can also pitch your tent. The administration is planning to build more guesthouses to meet the requirements of the visitors that seem to be increasing every year.
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