Samdrup Jongkhar town holds the distinct honour of being the oldest town in Bhutan. This border town is a bustling little settlement packed to the brim with shopkeepers and hawkers from across the border.
The gateway to eastern Bhutan, Samdrup Jongkhar is situated in the southeastern region of the country and shares borders with the Indian state of Assam. It is by far the largest urban centre in eastern Bhutan. It lies at elevations ranging from 200 m to 3,500 m. In the past, British Political Officers stationed in Sikkim took the route from Samdrup Jongkhar to enter into Bhutan. Historically, the region was administered by the Gyadrung stationed at Dewangiri. Today, the road from Trashigang to Samdrup Jongkhar, completed in the 1960s, connects the eastern and southern regions of the country. This allows them to benefit from trade, especially through trade across the Indian border. Samdrup Jongkhar used to be the main trading centre for the Bhutanese and it is still a convenient exit town for tourists who have arranged to visit the neighbouring Indian state of Assam.
There are several tourist spots including the Mithun Breeding Farm and Samdrup Jongkhar Dzong. Mithuns are widely considered to be the best breed of cattle in Bhutan and this farm supplies farmers from the six eastern districts with this magnificent animal. The Samdrup Jongkhar Dzong is one of the newest Dzongs to have been built in the country. Unlike other Dzongs that are built on strategic locations atop mountains or between rivers, the Samdrup Jongkhar Dzong is built on a flat and fairly wide-open area.
The Samdrup Jongkhar Dratshang, the Zangdo Pelri, the local town and Dewathang are some of the other important places that the tourists can visit. The town in Samdrup Jongkhar is one of the oldest in Eastern Bhutan and has seen gradual development over the years. It is a bustling little town with shopkeepers and hawkers coming from the nearby border of Assam to sell their wares. It also houses the oldest cinema in the country that is popular among the Assamese from across the border for the Bollywood films it screens.