Located in Southern Bhutan, Samtse Dzongkhag covers an area of 1,582 sq. km and ranges from 600-3,800 m in altitude. The main crops grown in the region are oranges, cardamom, ginger and areca nuts. These cash crops are exported to the nearby Indian state of West Bengal and even to Bangladesh.
The population of Samtse is divided into two main ethnic groups, the Lhotshampas and the Doyas. Smaller groups of Bumthaps, Tshanglas, Ngalongs, Khengpas and Kurtoeps have also started inhabiting the region in recent years. Samtse is a religiously diverse district and both Hinduism and Buddhism are widely practiced in the dzongkhag. Visitors will find temples belonging to both religions all over the beautifully forested district. The main festivals celebrated in the region include Losar (New Year), Thrue and Lomba by the Buddhists and Diwali and Dussehra by the Hindus.
With its’ hot and humid climate, Samtse has a rich diversity of flora and fauna. One of the more exotic animals found in this district are the local elephants, some of which have been domesticated. Though the main form of employment remains agriculture, there are also agricultural and construction based industries in Samtse. Minerals like Dolomite and Quartzite are mined at Pugli, providing raw materials for two major cement plants. Agricultural industries in the area are Samtse’s Fruit and Food Products Factory and the Cardboard Factory.
One of the most important facets of the Dzongkhag is the Samtse College of Education. It was started in 1968 and has provided the country with countless valuable teachers. This college is widely considered to be one of Bhutan’s premier educational institutions.