In Bhutan, hot springs are known as Tshachus and are found all over the Kingdom. The medicinal properties of these hot springs have been used by the Bhutanese people for centuries to cure various ailments ranging from arthritis to body aches and even sinuses. It is a popular tradition among Bhutanese to visit hot springs during the winter months.
The five most well known hot springs are:
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. Dur Tshachu is located in the Wangchuck Centennial Park & seven hot springs are in this region. The average temperature of the hot springs varies from 38 to 52 degrees Celsius.
The Dur Hot Springs Trek – trails lead you through forests of cyprus, juniper, spruce, hemlock and maple, the route also offers opportunity to view interesting fauna such as Snow leopard, Bhutan Takin, Musk deer, Blue sheep, Tibetian wolf and Himalayan black bear.
The hot springs at Gasa in Western Bhutan are situated close to the banks of the Mo Chu River. This is one of the most popular springs in the country and is frequented not only with tourists but with local people as well.
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 forests of pine and oak. The route also takes you through small villages, bamboo forests and across sparkling mountain streams. Along the way, trekkers will cross a mountain pass from which there is an absolutely stunning view of Gasa Dzong (fortress) seated below majestic snow covered mountains.
There are three bath houses at the Gasa Tshachu. One of the bath houses contains a large bathing pool and the remaining two each have two smaller pools. The water temperature varies in each of the pool so visitors can choose the one that they like best. Bathing facilities have also been provided to ensure that the Hot Springs remain clean and hygienic.
Duenmang Tshachu is situated by the banks of Mangde Chu River. The road ends at Praling (kingdom of monkeys) and winds downhill to the bank of fuming Mangduechu. There are so many monkeys in this area indeed. This Hot Spring is especially popular amongst the Khengpa (indigenous ethnic group of Bhutan) population who frequent it regularly. This Tshachu is known to heal joint pain, ulcer and gastritis, piles, UTI and many more.
Forest here is mixed conifer. Topography is rugged and difficult. At the end of an hour’s journey down from the road point, there are four ponds at the hot spring that are no less than 30 degree Celsius. You may experience a pungent smell coming from the ground.
This hot spring is very unique as the local guardian deity of this pond is the monkeys. Monkeys are the keepers of the hot spring and demand some decorum in the ponds. They are the kings and demands silence in the pound and one should not engage in any kind of amorous acts or monkeys will chase you away with boulders. Uses of any harmful substances are also strictly prohibited. Monkeys come in troops and people at the Tshachu dare not chase them away or scare them at any point. If you do so, you will be blessed with the massive stones on your head from above. This sounds funny but this is the reality.
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.
In Southern Bhutan, we have the Gelephu Tshachu situated yet again next to a stream.
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. Gelephu Tshachu is few miles away from the Gelephu town the only Tshachu located in the southern belt of Bhutan. Good lodge can be rented in Tshachu or in the nearby town Gelephu.
The good months for experiencing this Tshachu are from September to March as it is relatively hot in other months.
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 into the bath and then used it to bathe and soak. This is a popular curative method that is used throughout the country.
Please note that the itineraries will be provided by SNG Tours & Treks upon your desire and confirmation for any of the aforesaid Tshachu Tours.