Located close to the Indo-Bhutan border is a southern town of Bhutan called Gelephu. Gelephu is a warm and fertile region which is acts as the gateway towards the Royal Manas National Park, the oldest nature preserve of the kingdom of Bhutan. The Royal Manas National Park is the most biologically diverse preserved area in Bhutan and worldwide renowned for its rare collections of flora and fauna. Gelephu itself doesn’t harbor many pictorial destinations but it is interlinked with the road towards the major places of Bhutan like Thimphu, Dhamphu and Wangdue. Gelephu with its unique location has become the base for traveler who wants to explore the unearthly beauty of Bhutan.
Unlike other destinations of Bhutan which are mostly in the hilly region, Gelephu due to proximity with Indian border is has a more plain geography. Located at the periphery of Royal Manas National Park, apart from being famous for as the base for travelers it is also known for its hot spring or ‘tshachu’ which is said to have medicinal properties. During winter people from different part of Bhutan and some from outside Bhutan travel toward Gelephu to relish the goodness of the hot spring. There are many other traditional methods which are used in Gelephu to cure diseases which is quite astonishing yet works like magic. 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. During their visit to Gelephu, tourist can also visit Kuenga Rabten Palace which is now converted into a monastery. The plain geographical feature of Gelephu has made it a perfect place to set up another air terminal which was completed in 2012 but due to the lack of proper control tower and terminals, it is yet to be certified under the Department of Civil Aviation of Bhutan.
From healing water to dense virgin forest, Gelephu the gateway of The Royal Manas National Park with its connectivity towards India and other hilly region of Bhutan has become a must visit destination for the travelers who want to venture upon the rugged terrain of Himalayan region while getting an insight within the ancient tradition and religious aspect of Bhutanese culture.
Winter season November to February when the weather remains pleasant and soothing is considered the best time to visit Gelephu and relish the medicinal properties of hot spring. Except for monsoon season July to September, even spring and autumn season is considered favorable to enjoy the beauty of pristine nature surrounding Gelephu.