Some of the most remote villages in Bhutan are found on the far eastern side of the country. It is the land of the Brokpa people. According to their oral history, the Brokpa originate from Tibet and came to Bhutan after they beheaded a tyrannical king in their ancestral village. Led through the mountains by the deity Aum Jomo and the guru Lam Jarepa, they brought with them scores of religious texts, their form of Mahayana Buddhism, and their distinct culture.
The Brokpa people are semi-nomadic yak herders who have lived largely in isolation since arriving to Bhutan. Several of their villages, like Sakteng, Tengma, and Borang Tse, still have no road access today. Others, like Merak, can only be reached by car safely during the dry season. As a result of their remote position in the country, the Brokpa’s language and customs are very unique to other Bhutanese ethnic groups.
Intrepid tourists can visit the villages of Merak and Sakteng if they are willing to travel across the country from Thimphu (a two or three day journey), and if they feel fit enough to trek at high altitudes. They will be rewarded with a once-in-a-lifetime experience, interacting with a culture that has preserved most of its ancestral traditions.
Inspired to visit Bhutan? Have a look at trips Royal Mountain Travel can offer in this tiny Himalayan kingdom: