Districts of Bhutan

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Update 1 to the U.S. standard "Geopolitical Entities and Codes" is dated 2010-08-20. It assigns FIPS codes to the two districts created in 1992. It also changes the names of most districts to variant forms shown under "Other names of subdivisions".

International standard ISO 3166-2 was published on December 15, 1998. It superseded ISO/DIS 3166-2 (draft international standard). For Bhutan, there were several changes from the draft standard. In the final standard, the districts were no longer grouped into regions. Also, two new districts were added: Gasa and Tashi Yangtse. From other sources, it appears that these two districts were created in 1992. The news of their creation was slow to filter through to the West. The capitals of the two new districts have the same names as the districts. The ISO codes for the new districts are two letters, unlike the older ones, which have two digits.

Country overview: 

Short nameBHUTAN
ISO codeBT
LanguageTibetan (bo)
Time zone+6


Bhutan has been an independent kingdom throughout the 20th century.

Other names of country: 

  1. Danish: Bhutan
  2. Dutch: Bhutan, Koninkrijk Bhutan (formal)
  3. English: Kingdom of Bhutan (formal)
  4. Finnish: Bhutan
  5. French: Bhoutan m
  6. German: Bhutan n
  7. Icelandic: Bútan
  8. Italian: Bhutan m
  9. Norwegian: Bhutan, Kongeriket Bhutan (formal)
  10. Portuguese: Butão m, Reino m do Butão m (formal)
  11. Russian: Королевство Бутан (formal)
  12. Spanish: Bhután, Bután, Reino m de Bhután m (formal)
  13. Swedish: Bhutan
  14. Tibetan: Druk-yul (formal)
  15. Turkish: Butan Krallığı (formal)

Origin of name: 

From Sanskrit bhotas: Tibet, antas: edge (i.e. land on the edge of Tibet). Druk-yul is Tibetan for Land of the Dragon.

Primary subdivisions: 

Bhutan is divided into twenty dzongkhag (districts).

Samdrup JongkharBT.SJ45BT1739,9612,312893Samdrup Jongkhar
Tashi YangtseBT.TYTYBT2417,7401,643634Tashi Yangtse
Wangdi PhodrangBT.WP24BT2231,1354,0461,562Wangdi Phodrang
20 districts672,42540,99415,828
  • HASC: Hierarchical administrative subdivision codes.
  • ISO: District codes from ISO 3166-2. For full identification in a global
    context, prefix "BT-" to the code (ex: BT-23 represents Punakha).
  • FIPS: Codes from FIPS PUB 10-4, a U.S. government standard.
  • Population: 2005-05-31 census (source [4]). Total includes "floating population".
  • Area: Source [3].


Source [6] shows dzonkhag areas, and differs from source [3], sometimes by a small amount, but sometimes by 50% or more. The areas of the individual dzonkhags add up to more than the Bhutan total given there.

Further subdivisions:

See the Gewogs of Bhutan page.

There are four zones, Western, Central, Southern, and Eastern. Their ISO codes are 1, 2, 3, and 4, in that order. To determine which zone each district is in, take the first digit of its ISO code. Exceptions: Gasa is in the Central zone, and Tashi Yangtse is in the Eastern zone. The districts are subdivided into rural gewogs and urban towns. On the tertiary level, the gewogs are divided into chiwogs, and the towns into blocks. At the time of the 2005 census, there were 205 gewogs and 1906 chiwogs.

Territorial extent: 

The UN LOCODE page  for Bhutan lists locations in the country, some of them with their latitudes and longitudes, some with their ISO 3166-2 codes for their subdivisions. This information can be put together to approximate the territorial extent of subdivisions.

Change history: 

  1. 1949-08-08: India restored an area of 83 sq. km. around Dewangiri, which it had annexed in 1865, to Bhutan. It is now part of Samdrup Jongkhar.
  2. ~1964: National capital moved from Punakha to Thimphu, through a transition period when Punakha was the winter capital and Thimphu the summer capital.
  3. 1965: Bhutan had nine penlop (provinces): Byakar, Dukye, Ha, Paro, Punakha, Tagana, Thimbu, Tongsa, and Wangü-Phodrang.
  4. 1987: Gasa district split up among Punakha and Thimphu; Chhukha district formed from parts of Samchi, Paro, and Thimphu.
  5. 1988: Four dzongde (zones) were created as an intermediate level between the districts and the country.
  6. 1992: Gasa district split from Punakha; Tashi Yangtse district split from Tashigang. Other district boundaries changed.

Other names of subdivisions: 

  1. Chhukha: Chukha (variant)
  2. Chirang: Tsirang (variant)
  3. Daga: Dagana, Tagana (variant)
  4. Geylegphug: Gaylegphug, Gelephu, Sarbhang, Sarpang (variant)
  5. Ha: Haa (variant)
  6. Lhuntshi: Lhuentse, Lhuntsi (variant)
  7. Mongar: Monggar, Mongor (variant)
  8. Paro: Rinpung (variant)
  9. Pemagatsel: Pemagatshel, Pema Gatshel (variant)
  10. Punakha: Punaka (variant)
  11. Samchi: Samtse (variant)
  12. Samdrup Jongkhar: Samdrup, Samdrup Jongkha (variant)
  13. Shemgang: Zhemgang (variant)
  14. Tashigang: Trashigang (variant)
  15. Tashi Yangtse: Trashi Yangtse, Trashiyangtsi (variant)
  16. Thimphu: Tashi Chho Dzong, Thimbu (variant); Timbu (Spanish)
  17. Tongsa: Trongsa (variant)
  18. Wangdi Phodrang: Andguphodang, Wangdue, Wangdue Phodrang, Wangdupotrang, Wangü-Phodrang (variant)


  1. [1] Dutt, Ashok K., and M. Margaret Geib. Fully Annotated Atlas of South Asia. Westview Press, Boulder and London, 1987.
  2. [2] Schmidt, Karl J., and M. E. Sharpe. An Atlas and Survey of South Asian History. Armonk, New York, 1995.
  3. [3] Renewable Natural Resources Development Indicators for 10th Five-year Plan Preparations. Bhutan Ministry of Agriculture and Forests. http://www.moa.gov.bt/moa/downloads/downloads/Indicators%20for10th%20FYP-070806.pdf (dead link, retrieved 2007-08-27).
  4. [4] 2005 Census of Bhutan. http://www.bhutancensus.gov.bt/Fact_sheet.pdf (access now restricted, retrieved 2007-08-27).
  5. [5] Library of Congress country study  (retrieved 1999).
  6. [6] Administrative Map of Bhutan . National Statistics Bureau (retrieved 2014-11-12).
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