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Cultural & Festive Bhutan Tour

11 nights / 12 days

bhutan tourFeaturing 3 Exotic Festivals... Haa, Thimphu & Thangbi Mani

Take a cultural journey through Bhutan and enjoy the many festivals in Bhutan. Visit Rinpung Dzong fortress or go sightseeing in Thimphu. This Bhutan tour is a great way to experience the cultural and festives of Bhutan.

Bhutan Land Tour Itinerary | Quotation | Booking Information

Bhutan Land Tour Itinerary


11 nights / 12 days

Day 1            Bangkok To Haa Via Paro
Arrive Paro from Bangkok by Druk Air flight KB 141 scheduled to depart Bangkok at 06:50 hours and fly to Paro via Gauhati  to land at 10:15  hours. Receive by guide and transfer to Haa valley.

The drive to Haa will take 2 hours. The first part of the drive drive for 45 minutes is a gentle uphill climb through forests of blue pine, fir, oak and rhododendrons till the Chelila pass. The pass is at an elevation of 3810m.  Hike up to the peak above Chelila 4000m to take in the panoramic view (on a clear day)  of the northern and western Himalayan mountain ranges, including the famous Mt. Jumolhari 7329m., From the pass it is 24 Km to Haa.

Check into Guest House. After lunch, proceed to the Lhakhang Karpo (White Temple) to attend the Haa festival. Haa Tsechu is held at the courtyard of the Lhakhang Karpo one of the oldest Temple in Bhutan. Lhakhang Karpo is located ten minutes drive from Haa town, the monastery houses the main Haa districts Monks headed by the Lam neyten (head abbot of district.) festival is observed on 8th Month of  8th – 10th  of Bhutanese calendar annually.

Overnight: Guest House.

Day 2          Haa To Thimphu
If you are enthusiastic about the festival, you can attend the 'Thongdorel ceremony which takes place at 5am in the morning. The ceremony involves the unfolding of a gigantic tapestry (Thongdroel) with picture of Guru Padmasambhava. Those to view the 'Thongdorel' are blessed with remission of sins and a long life.

After breakfast, attend the concluding session of the Haa festival. Proceed to Thimphu.  The drive to Thimphu the Capital is 75 Km, time 3-4 hours. In Thimphu check into hotel and have a leisurely lunch.

Afternoon: Sightseeing in Thimphu  to see some or all of the following sites if time permits:

  • Visit Memorial Chorten
  • Visit Kuenselphu to see the 150 statue of Lord Buddha
  • Visit Sangaygang for an aerial view of Thimphu where you will be able to see the Takin (National animal) Zoo
  • Visit Textile Museum
  • Visit the handicraft Emporium
Overnight: Hotel

Day 3          Thimphu
bhutan tourAfter breakfast, attend Thimphu Tshechu Festival at the Tshechu Tendroel Thang outside the Trashichhodzong, the Central Secretariat of the Royal Government.

The Tshechu festivals are held in honour of Guru Padmadsambhava, the Buddhist saint who came to Bhutan in the 7th Century and spread Buddhism in the country.

bhutan tourThe Thimphu Tshechu  festival was  started by Desi Tenzin Rabgye in the year 1670. The dances during the festival depict various episodes in the life of Guru Padmadsambhava.  Some dances are performed only by monks while others are performed by monks and laity. Thimphu Tsechu is observed on 10th – 12th day of the 8th month of the Bhutanese Calendar.

Evening, visit the courtyard of Tashichho dzong.

Overnight:  Hotel

Day 4             Thimphu To Wangdue
bhutan tourDrive to Punakha/Wangdue (77 Km/ 3 hours). En route stop  at 3150m.  Enjoy a  view of the eastern Himalayan mountains if the day is clear. Here you can also see the  Druk Wangyal Chortens. Built in 2006 to “celebrate the stability and progress that His Majesty has brought to the nation,” this hill of 108 religious buildings in the middle of the pass reflect Bhutan’s spiritual and artistic traditions.

As you descend from the pass, you will observe dramatic changes in vegetation.  At the lower elevations in Punakha and Wangdue, cacti, banana plants, Poinsettias and other semi-tropical plants dominate the exotic landscape. 

bhutan tourEn route to Punakha in Lobesa Valley, take a short hike to Chhi-Med Lhakhang the temple of one of Bhutan’s foremost saints, the Buddha Drukpa Kunley, affectionately known  as the Divine Madman. The phallic paintings on the exterior walls of Bhutanese houses are attributed to the Divine Madman for his skill in warding off evil deities using ribald sexuality and outrageous behavior.  Opportunities for photographing these paintings are abundant throughout Bhutan, and signs of the Divine Madman's  popularity are everywhere, especially around new construction sites where phallic carvings keep away.

Check into hotel. After lunch -

bhutan tourVisit the Punakha Dzong.  Built in 1637 between the confluence of the Po Chu (male river) and Mo Chu (female river,) this fortress monastery is the winter residence of Bhutan’s spiritual leader, the Je Khenpo or Head Abbot, and the central Monk Body comprising of over 500 monks.

Overnight: Hotel

Day 5            Wangdue To Jakar (Bumthang)
Early morning, drive 8 hours to Jakar in Bumthang valley situated on the border of the Wangchuk Centennial Park.

Your journey will start with the road heading up to  Pele La (3420m), which is marked by a chorten and an array of  prayer flags.  If the weather is clear you should see Mt. Jumolhari (7177 m) and other peaks from the pass, which marks the boundary between western and central Bhutan as well as the western border of Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park.

Beyond Pele La is Longte Valley where people raise sheep and yaks. The houses here are clustered amid extensive fields of mustard, potatoes, barley, and wheat.

Drive down through rhododendron trees and ferns to Chendebji village. This was a night halt for mule caravans travelling from Trongsa during the reign of the 2nd King of Bhutan. Just below Chendebji village is the Chendebji chorten, a large white structure beside a stream. This chorten is modeled after Swayambhunath in Kathmandu and was built in the 19th century. The last village before Trongsa is Tangsibji, which affords  a full view of Trongsa Dzong and its distinctive red roof. 

 Lunch in Trongsa. After lunch -

Visit the Trongsa Dzong.  Built in 1645, is a vast, white fortress that appears to grow directly up from the narrow green ridge on which it is constructed.  It is one of the most powerful Dzongs and even today the crown prince of Bhutan must first become its Trongsa Penlop (governor) before he can become Bhutan’s King, a ceremony that took place in November 2004.

Visit the Watch Tower  which was converted in to  Royal Museum on  10th of December 2008  The museum has on display about 224 items used over  the years by Wangchuck dynasty.  You will see the Raven Crown worn by the first King in 1907 and many other objects of interest.

Continue to Jakar in the central district of  Bumthang, a 3- hour drive to the east. On the way, you will This drive between Trongsa and Bumthang is the most scenic and exciting leg of your journey into the clouds, as you cross rivers and streams and pass a chorten with water-driven prayer wheels and colourful rock carvings.

An hour outside of Bumthang, just after crossing the Yotongla pass, you make your first sighting of the golden-roofed Jakar Dzong, known as the Castle of the White Bird, with the Chamkar river cascading in one continuous waterfall down through the valley beneath. 

Enroute in Chumey you can stop at the Yathra Factory in Chumey valley to take a quick look into the place and continue to Jakar. The Yathra is a woollen textile famous throughout Bhutan.

Overnight: Hotel

Day 6            Jakar
Attend the Thangbi Mani Festival. This is a local festival observed on the 15th day of the 8th Month of the Bhutanese Calendar annually in the Thangbi village in Bumthang. Mainly the people of Chokor valley in Bumthang participate in this festival. The village itself is 17  Km. north of Jaka township. The Thangbi monastery is the site of the festival. The Thangbi monastery was built in the 14th Century by Shamer Rinpoche.

Overnight: Hotel

Morning attend the Thangbi Mani festival.

bhutan tourAfter lunch: Visit the following sites
- Kurjey Lhakang
- Jambay Lhakhang, (the oldest temple in Bhutan built around the 7th Century A.D.)
- Jakar Dzong, the administrative centre of Bumthang District

Evening: Stroll through Bumthang town and visit a local farm house for a taste of rural Bhutan hospitality.

Overnight: Hotel

Day 8             Jakar To Tang
Drive 27 km to Tang Valley. The Tang valley is located in the eastern part of Bumthang Dzongkhag and has an area of about 511 square kilometers. It is bordered by Lhuentse Dzongkhag to the north and east, Ura Geog to the south, and Chhoekhor Geog to the west. The altitudes of the Tang ranges from approximately 2800-5000 meters above sea level.

 En – route visit the Nunnery monastery at Bazor

In Tang valley, drive upto the Ugyenchholing Palace at the top of the hill  passing farms and quaint villages.  Ugyenchholing Dzong overlooking Tang valley was built in the 18th Century by Trongsa Penlop (Governor of Trongsa)  Chokey Dorji who was a descendant of  Terton (treasurer discoverer) Dorji Lingpa who lived in the 13th Century ( around 1251 A.D). Chokey Dorji spent his remaining days in Ugyenchholing after his retirement.

After lunch at Ugyenchholing, visit the museum in the Dzong and explore the surroundings of this historical place. Meet with local people and interact with them.

Overnight: Ugyenchholing Guest House

Day 9           Tang To Phobjekha
After an early breakfast, drive 7 hours  to Phobjekha valley. The drive will take you along the National Highway over the Pele La pass  to a small settlement called Nobding about 40Km from Wangdue. From Nobding, you will branch off on a 13Km dirt track crossing over the  Gangtey la, 3140m, to the Phobjikha Valley that falls within the Black Mountain National Park.

Information about Phobjekha Valley
Phobjikha is a glacial valley on the periphery of the north western tip of the Black Mountain National Park. The valley is a conservation area and lies on the Northern boundary of the Jowo Durshing range.  People sometimes refer to the entire region as Gangtey after the name of the Gangtey Goenpa that is situated on a ridge overlooking the Phobjikha valley. According to legend that the Gangtey Goenpa was founded by the grandson (the mind incarnation) of Pema Lingpa, Gyalse Pema Thinley in 1613 and which was later expanded by Tenzin Legpai Dhendup. The Phobjikha valley is also one of the roosting grounds of the Black-necked cranes (grus nigri collis) that migrate each year in winter from its northern habitats in Tibet and Siberia to this valley.

Drive to Gangtey village to visit the Gangtey Goempa. Explore the Phobjekha valley and visit farm houses.

Overnight: Hotel

Day 10             Phobjekha To Paro

Morning: Take a nature walk across the Phobjekha valley. (Optional)

From the Phobjekha village walk to the village school and then walk through meadows lined with bamboo bushes for 45 minutes to Gophu village  which is quite small with only a cluster of 5 -6 houses. This village borders the roosting ground of the Black-necked Crane that come to winter in the Phobjekha Valley from late October till early March every year.

From the Gophu village walk north for 1  hour over rolling hills and meadows to the next village called Khewa village. Before reaching the village  you will come across the Khewa Lhakhang  temple founded by Lama Palden Gyeltshen. The main statue inside is a Buddha.

Khewa village village is  a fairly sizable village consisting of 50 households. You can visit some of the houses here to see how people live. From the village cross the Khewa stream nearby and then walk up hill for about 20 minutes to the Gangtey Goempa where your walk ends.

Pick up by car and drive 5 hours to Paro passing through Wangdue and re-crossing the Dochula Pass.  You can stop for lunch at Dochula Pass or at Thimphu.

In Paro check into hotel.

Afternoon: Free to decide on program or relax at the hotel.

Overnight: Hotel Nak Sel (Upgrade -deluxe, boutique hotel with fantastic views)

Day 11          Paro
bhutan tour tigers nestToday do the excursion to Taktshang Monatery.

Drive to Satsam Chorten  the temple of Venerable Dilgo Khyentse Rimpoche.

Hike to Taktsang Monastery. The name Taktsang means "Tiger's Nest'. The monastery is perched on a rocky ledge with a sheer drop of nearly 800 m. It is said that in the second half of the 8th century, Guru Padma Sambhava alighted here upon the back of a tigress. Meet the monks at the monastery  and see their daily routine.

Picnic Lunch at Taktsang cafeteria. The round trip hike takes about 4 hrs. Visit the Paro Rinpong Dzong.  This is the seat of the district administration as wellas the home for the monastic school.  The central tower (Utse) of the Dzong, with its superb woodwork, is one of the most beautiful in the country. The Dzong was built in 1645 A.D.  Meet the monks and visit their living quarters.

Visit the Musuem (Ta Dzong) above Paro town. This is once the Watch Tower for the Rinpung Dzong.  It was converted into a National Museum in 1968. The Museum stands on a promontory overlooking the Paro Valley.

Visit Dungtse Lhakhang, a temple with interesting architecture built in the form of  a chörten. It contains one of most beautiful the collection of paintings of all the country, characteristic of the school Drukpa Kagyu.

Visit the Kyichu Lhakhang. This Lhakhang was built in 659 A.D. by the King Songtsen Gampo of Tibet as one of the 108 such Monasteries which he built in various places to spread Buddhism. It is located between Paro Town and Drugyal Dzong. It is one of the holiest places in Bhutan as it marks the advent of Buddhism in the country.

Evening: Free

Overnight: l Hotel Nak Sel (Upgrade -deluxe, boutique hotel with fantastic views)

Day 12           Paro / Departure to Bangkok
Transfer to Paro Airport to take Druk Air flight KB 126 to Bangkok departing at 11:10 hours via Dhaka to land at Bangkok at 16:15 hours.

* The above program is intended to give you a general idea of the trip and tour details. However, due to numerous factors, such as weather, tour conditions, physical ability of travelers etc., may dictate itinerary changes either before departure or while on tour. We reserve the right to alter the program and schedule in the interest of the trip participants safety, comfort and general well being.

Quotation Per Itinerary 

11 Nights / 12 Days - Small Group Bhutan Tour
Per Person, Sharing, Per Itinerary - Maximum 8 Persons

 1) Land package cost per itinerary - 11 nights
*includes upgrade to Nak Sel Deluxe hotel
TBA
 2) Druk Air – Bangkok- Paro r/t (economy class)
TBA
     Total Cost -per person, sharing TBA

Note: International airfare is excluded.
 

All Tours, transfers, tour guides, hotel accommodation, best available government hotels, except in Paro in NakSel Boutique hotel, all meals & entrance fees.

International Airfare, Stop over costs (if any) in Bangkok, personal expenses, tipping/gratuities and any items not specifically mentioned.

We require your passport information and payment to process the visa which will be stamped on your passport at check-in at the Druk Air Counter in Bangkok.

We highly recommend this valuable coverage.

All rates are based on current tariffs and are subject to change. Airfare is subject to change unless ticketed.

Completed booking forms must be sent in with your tour deposit of $500 per person to reserve space on this Bhutan tour.

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We offer low cost add-on airfares from your home city. Call 714-964-6896 / 800-423-9566 for more details.

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