Wangchuck Centennial National Park is one of the largest national parks in Bhutan that has a global identity. The park is worth visiting, as its spans to 4,914 square kilometers with its area covering the popular districts like Bumthang, Lhuntse, Wangdue, and Phodrang. The name “Wangchuck” has been given to this national park to offer significance to Wangchuck Dynasty (1907) for leading and developing Bhutan for 100 years. Being the biggest national park in Bhutan, it covers 51.32% of country’s protected areas.
If you want to explore the Himalayan ecological biomes that range from the blue pines to alpine meadows, this park would definitely be the perfect choice amongst the places to visit with your family or friends. To witness and enjoy the snowfall, you are suggested to look for a place to see the higher altitudes of the attraction where snow spreads over the five districts of Gasa, Wangduephodrang, Trongsa, Bumthang, and Lhuentse Dzongkhags.
About Wangchuck Centennial National Park
Wangchuck Centennial National Park’s total area spans 4,914 square kilometers (1,897 sq mi) and is, therefore, one of the largest Bhutanese parks. The park accommodates nearly 200 species of rare vascular plants, 23 species of large mammals and 100 species of migratory and local birds. It remains home to numerous rare and protected species, which include the Royal Bengal Tiger, Snow Leopards (Uncia uncia), Himalayan Musk Bears and black bears, Takin (Budorcas taxicolor whitei), and Common leopard (panthera pardus) in the lush green forest of this park.
Apart from the Wangchuck Centennial National Park wildlife, scenic beauty, and flora, this park also has the headwaters of four major river systems of Punatsangchhu; Mangde Chhu; Chamkhar Chhu, and Kuri Chhu. The park has several trails for the tourists that ascertain the hikers get to see the two main types of vegetation in this park. Trailers can witness the Fir, Hemlock, Spruce, and Juniper trees at close proximity.
Along with its three ecological zones, this park is also a home to the six types of Cool Broadleaf Forests; Mixed-conifer Forests; Fir Forests; Juniper Forests; Alpine Meadows, and Scrubs or Alpine Scree.
Best Time To Visit
Wangchuck Centennial National Park remains open throughout the year, therefore one can visit anytime. You can simply plan your visit as per your convenience and enjoy the exploring nature here. There is no such particular Wangchuck Centennial National Park weather that needs to be considered suitable for the visit.
For trekking purpose, you should have all the equipment and desired items like camera and trekking shoes ready with you. Trails remain in good condition round the year, so there is no need to worry about coming across bumpy path while trekking!
Things To Do in And Around Wangchuck Centennial National Park
There are various activities one can get involved in while hanging out in this national park. However, there are some of them that one should not miss doing in order to make the Bhutan trip more interesting!
1. Nomads Festival
Tourists and travelers from all over the world come to Wangchuck Centennial National Park to attend the Annual Nomads Festival. This annual three-day festival is a mega event held in the park headquarters. Being a popular Bhutanese festival, it takes place in a village named Nagspel village at a distance of approximately 22 kilometers from the nearest Bumthang town, Chamkhar.
The main goal behind hosting such a festival in this national park is to spread an awareness campaign and educate the masses on wildlife and environmental conservation.
2. Orochhoto Day Hike
If you love hiking and are ready with the required equipment, then you should consider the Orochhoto Day Hike for great fun and adventure. This one-day hiking trail is short and is named after the Raven (National Bird). This hiking activity would take you through a mix of the blue pines, Himalayan forests, hemlocks, fir forests, and Rhododendron.
In addition to that, you also get an opportunity to experience nature’s beauty and wildlife in its natural habitat. The trail not only overlooks the valley but also offers you a magnificent view of the nearby hills and hamlets.
In Wangchuck Centennial National Park, you will come across several farmhouses which offer accommodation to the tourists amidst nature’s beauty. The Alpine Organic farmhouse located at the Nasiphel and Tang Valley can be the perfect place of stay for the visitors to have an exclusive experience, letting you live freely and receive the true, bucolic Bhutanese hospitality.
Some additional facilities at these farmhouses include the hot stone bath, village walks, Orochhoto trail and Bumthang cultural trek, amongst others.
4. Dapham Dzong Ruins
Since ages, there is a business relationship between Bhutan and Tibet. In the Chokoreto valley though, you can witness the ruins confirming the trade routes between these two ancient nations that have great historic bonding.
If archaeologists are to be believed, Dzong could belong to the second half of the 16th century and its upper castle could belong to the 1550-1700 time period. The ruins can be reached within a half an hour of walk from the Ngang Lhakhang.
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5. Jule Tsho
One of the most popular tourist attractions of Wangchuck Centennial National Park, Jule Tsho is a place worth visiting. This approximately 800 meters long and 200 meters wide glacier-fed lake with its crystal clear water liying enroute to the area of Dhur hot spring and prior to Julela.
By walking for approximately 45 minutes, you can reach up to Mt. Gangkar Punsum, which is the highest unclimbed peak in the world with height of 7570 meters. Bhutanese do believe that this mountain is an abode of the local deities.
6. Bepzur Chukpo’s Mansion
If you are willing to know the historical and architectural value of Wangchuck Centennial National Park, then don’t forget to consider visiting Bepzur Chukpo’s Mansion. This three-storeyed building has 23 doors, living rooms, stores, and corridors inside the house.
Belonged to a rich man of the Bebzur village in Tang, it is untouched with design and architecture remaining intact. Tourists can also see the footprint of Thugsey Dawa, who was the son of Terton Pema Lingpa.
7. Dhur Hot Springs
Trekking enthusiasts can consider Dhur Hot Springs for trekking purpose. It has nine hot springs with various medicinal properties, including curing the chronic diseases like rheumatism, arthritis, skin lesions, ulcers, body aches, headaches, and TB amongst others.
Being a five-day trek from a village in Menchugang, you should plan for the trip according to the time you can spend in the springs. In order to keep the tourists hooked for the 5 days’ time frame, there are facilities of guest houses well equipped with the modern amenities.
8. Febila Trek
Also known as the Bumthang Cultural Trek, Febila Trek is roughly 10 kilometers away from the eco trail. This popular trail takes around six hours to complete and passes through the habitat of the rare flora and fauna, migratory birds, and animals like the endangered Red Panda (Ailurus fulgens).
Before you reach Tandingan, you can pass through the mixed coniferous forests, meadows, and roosting places of the flora and fauna. It will assure you a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Being one of the most visited and popular tourist attractions of Bhutan, Wangchuck Centennial National Park is a place where tourists who are inclined towards nature must visit at least once in their lifetime. During your trip to Bhutan, you must ascertain visiting this park to enjoy the hidden beauty that lies here.
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