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Bhutan festival tour - experience the culture of Bhutan and include 3 day trek.
Restrictions on the numbers of tourists allowed to visit Bhutan have helped preserve the country's natural assets and a way of life that has remained unchanged for millennia. Here are some details of the Paro & Ura festivals. Visitors will see monasteries perched at the tops of mountain peaks, ancient Buddhist art and sculpture, dense forests and spectacular valleys. Much of Bhutan remains unexplored. Bhutan is a land filled with snow-capped peaks, glaciers, sparkling lakes, raging rivers, green terraced fields and flower-strewn valleys. The North is dominated by the high peaks of the Himalayas. The inner central region is filled with temperate valleys and the South is where the steamy tropical jungles are found.Our past trip participants have expressed an overwhelming pleasure from their journey to what is perhaps the world's most exclusive tourist destination - BHUTAN. The Royal Government's policy of environmental preservation has left a country unspoiled and pristine. Its severe restrictions on inbound visitors coupled with the honour of never being colonized has kept ancient lifestyle and traditions intact. The Bhutanese emit an inward and exterior peace that make visitors feel warm and welcome.
Early bookings essential due to high demand at festival time
PARO SPRING FESTIVAL - $ 3,250 USD per personMarch 15, 2012March 2014 tba
URA FESTIVAL & BUMTHANG TREK - $ 3,500 USD per personApril 17 - 3, 2013May tba, 2014
Add $ 360 USD per person for groups under 4 Single Supplement $ 25 per night
$ 20 Visa fee additionalAirfare $ 825 USD from Bangkok or DelhiAsk about International airfare from your home city! See Fall Festivals for other dates.
CUSTOMIZED TRIPS AVAILABLE ON A DAILY BASIS - ASK FOR DETAILS
Day 1 BANGKOK/PARO/THIMPU (L,D)Fly in with Druk Air from to Paro, Bhutan. Please arrive at the Druk Airline check in counter, 2 hours prior to departure time. Transfer to Thimphu for Overnight at Hotel Wangchuk.
Day 2 THIMPHU (B/L/D)Full day sightseeing in and around Thimphu Valley, the largest city in Bhutan. Some of the attractions include:
Day 3 THIMPU/WANGDUE (B/L/D)Transfer to Wangdi for Overnight at Dragon Nest Resort. Day 4 WANGDUE/TRONGSA (B/L/D)The Journey towards central Bhutan is very exciting driving across the Bhutanese Himalayas. Overnight Trongsa at Hotel Yangkhil. Day 5 VALLEY OF THE KINGS (B,L,D)Drive down through the valley of the kings to explore some of the early ruins and to enter the tropical zone where it is possible to see a wide variety of birds and golden Langurs. Return to Trongsa for overnightDay 6 TRONGSA - JAKAR, BUMTHANG (B/L/D)Morning sightseeing in and around Trongsa Valley including visit to the magnificent Trongsa Dzong. Trongsa is the ancestral home of Bhutan's Royal Family. Both the First and Second King ruled the Kingdom from this ancient seat. All the Kings of Bhutan has to become Tongsa Penlop (Honorary post of Governor) prior to being crowned as the Druk Gyalpo (King of Bhutan). Tongsa Dzong (fort), one of the largest in the country was first built is 1648 and later enlarged many times. Because of being situated on a highly commanding position on the only connecting route between the eastern and western sectors (where trail actually runs through the Dzong), the Tongsa Penlop was able to control the whole of eastern region very effectively for many centuries. Visit the ancient watch tower (Ta Dzong), which is situated just above the town. After lunch, drive towards Bumthang, Central Bhutan. 3 nights at Bumthang at Gongkhar Lodge.Day 7 JAKAR, BUMTHANG/URA VALLEY (B/L/D)Different from all the other valleys in Bhutan, Bumthang is very spacious and open ranging in altitude from 2,600m to 4,000m. Bumthang is a heaven for hikers and trekkers, not to mention the numerous beautiful and important Buddhist monasteries and pilgrimage sites, making it the Cultural and Historic center of Bhutan. One could spend months exploring this fascinating valley. Almost every little valley or hill has a background of interesting myths and legends about Kings, Buddhist masters and Serpents. Bumthang is combined of four main valleys, Chumey, Tang, Ura and Choskhor (Jakar). Commonly known as Jakar valley where you can see a little bit of modern touch with Swiss Influences. Morning visits to the important cultural and historic sites in the special valley. Full day sightseeing in and around Bumthang Valley including visits to some of the oldest temples in the Kingdom dating back to 8th. century. Taste the famous Swiss cheese and apple brandy locally produced in the valley. See local weaving. Swiss influence can be seen here. Day 8 URA VALLEY (B,L,D)Another full day to experience the magic of Central Bhutan. Visits to local homes may be included for an added cultural experience. Day 9 BUMTHANG - PUNAKHA (B/L/D)Leave Bumthang early morning and start driving back towards western Bhutan with many sightseeing stops en-route. Arrive Punakha, the old capital town for overnight at Hotel Zangdho Pelri. Punakha was the winter capital for over 300 years until the time of second King. Punakha Dzong, which dominates the whole area, was built in 1637 by Shabdrung Nawang Namgyel, and established the central monastic body with 600 monks. Today, Punakha is still the winter home for Je Khempo (Chief Abbot) and the central monastic body. Day 10 PUNAKHA - PARO (B/L/D)Morning, sightseeing in and around Punakha Valley including visit to the most magnificent Punakha Dzong. After lunch, transfer to Paro for Overnight at Hotel Holiday Home.Day 11 PARO FESTIVAL (B/L/D)Watch Paro Festival with time at leisure to visit the Paro Dzong and market beside the festival and scattered with visits to the sites in and around Paro. The people of Paro are known for their hard work which is displayed in their large traditional country houses. If you marry a girl from Paro, be prepared to put metal roofing over the traditional shingle roof in your wife's house and purchase farming machineries, to show that you are a capable and well-to-do husband. (So we joke among ourselves.) Paro's sightseeing is full of gems such as the 200 year old Watch Tower which was renovated and converted into National Museum in 1968. It houses a fine collection of national costumes and fabrics, gallery of thangkas, an impressive stamp gallery with three dimensional and CD stamps issued as early as 1960 that are remarkable, and other galleries showcasing armour and silverware with the handsome Royal tea pots. On the top floor there is a four sided temple complex depicting the history of Buddhism and its propagation. Visit Drugyel Dzong, although mostly now in ruins. Built in 1647 by Shabdrung Nawang Namgyel to commemorate the victory over Tibetan Invaders, which indicates by the name of the Dzong meaning Victorious Bhutanese Fort. The drive from Paro to Thimphu is spectacularly scenic. Magnificent monasteries and stupas in the valleys and mountain tops. Experience the "Last Buddhist Himalayan Kingdom" on Earth and take precious memories back home. Overnight Paro.Day 12 EXCURSION TO TAKTSANG MONASTERY (B,L,D)Day hike to Taktsang Monastery view point. Taktsang, meaning "Tiger's nest," is built around a cave in which Guru Rimpoche (Padmasambhawa) mediated, clings seemingly impossible to a cliff of rock at 3,000 feet above the valley floor. For the local people it is a place of pilgrimage, but for a tourist, a hike up to the view point opposite the monastery is exhausting, thrilling and mystical. The legend has it that Guru Rimpoche is said to have flown to the site of the monastery on the back of a tigress from Tibet and meditated in the cave there for three months. The main temple has been fully renovated. Overnight Paro.Day 13 PARO/BANGKOK (B)After early morning breakfast, transfer to Paro Airport for departure flight.
APRIL 17 BANGKOK/PARO/THIMPU (B,L,D) Please arrive at the Druk air counter 2 hours prior to departure. Depart Bangkok - ParoKB (Druk Air) 127 5:50am /9:00 am Bangkok/Paro. On this flight, you can see breathtaking views of the Great Himalayas including the sacred Mount Chomolhari and Jitchu Drake in Bhutan. Upon arrival at Paro International Airport, you will be welcomed to the Kingdom by your guide. Elevation 7,500 feet.On arrival you will be met and drive to Thimpu (1 scenic 2 hour drive). Lunch and check-in at the hotel for 2 nights.Afternoon transfer to Thimphu. If time permits we will have a visit to the Thimphu weekend market. Here you will find friendly Bhutanese locals displaying in their stalls fresh produce, rice, chilies, jewelry and local art. APRIL 18 THIMPU (B,L,D)Enjoy the sights of Thimpu including the weekend market.
APRIL 19 THIPMU - WANDUEPHODRANG (B,L,D)Drive to Wangduephodrang across Dochula Pass (10,500ft). Prayer flags send prayers on the wind. Enjoy spectacular views of the Eastern Himalayan Mountains. Stop at Lobesa for lunch. We will visit the Fertility Temple Chimed Lhakhang and in the evening tour the Wangdu Dzong courtyard. OvernightAPRIL 20 WANGDUPHODRANG/URA (B,L,D)After an early breakfast we depart for Ura in the region of Bumthang in Central Bhutan. A long drive on a scenic and breathtaking highway. At times we will walk for an hour at a time along the road to better enjoy the scenery, alpine blossoms and birds. Lunch. Continue to Ura. 2 nights. Enjoy Bhutanese hospitality.APRIL 21 URA VALLEY TSECHU (B,L,D)Today we enjoy the Ura Yakchoe Festival. Ura is considered one of the holiest valleys in Bhutan. Today Bhutanese from many different areas will gather to pay respect and to be blessed at this social gathering. Bhutanese dressed in their finest clothes and jewellery attend this celebration of purification and religious blessings. Here we can truly appreciate the essence of Bhutanese people and a preserved steadfast culture. Arrays of colorful brocades whirl through the air as the dancers spin and dance the "thunderbolt step". Masks of glorious demonic demons and animals arouse your senses as you watch the purification take place. The intensity goes on. APRIL 22 URA VALLEY TSECHU/JAKAR (B,L,D)Return to Ura Festival Meet with Ura Head Lama. Watch for the Atsara (clown) This dancer, unique in his own style, mimics dancers and entertains onlookers. Festival deities are invoked through benediction and luck is increased and misfortunate gone. Late afternoon transfer to Jakar. Sleeping bag is required for trek. If you do prefer to rent this the cost is $ 20 USD per night per person or $ 40 per person for the 2 night trek. This comes with sleeping pad. We do need to know this rental in advance. APRIL 23 BHUMTANG TREK TO NGANGLHAKHANG (B,L,D)Today you start your trek. This is one of the countries easiest treks. The trek route takes you around the Chamkhar river , rich with trout. Lunch stop at Tangbi Lhakhang then you enter to the swan land of Ngang Yul with its centre swan temple Ngang Lhakhang.This part of valley was at first inhabited by the swans who were given the name Ngang. The lama Namkha Samdrup having dreamt a vision of how to built a gompa shot an arrow and the spot where the arrow landed Ngang Lhakhang was erected. Cultural dance can be arranged in the evening. Overnight camp. Distance : 20 km. Alt. 9500 ft (2,800 meters). APRIL 24 BHUMTANG TREK (B,L,D)Today a gradual climb to Phephela Pass brings us to the highest point of our trek. 12,000 ft (3,353M). The trail to the pass leads through one of the most beautiful forested areas of this region, with mini bamboo pasture, and forests of rhododendrons and Mixed Conifer. Our seven-hour trek today will allow for many stops to enjoy nature's rare beauty. Overnight camp near Ta Houng village in Tang valley. Enjoy a wholesome and delicious Bhutanese meal prepared in camp.APRIL 25 BHUMTANG TREK/JAKAR (B,L,D)Today we pass Ugyenchholing along the Tang River Valley. The river is alos rich in trout. Beauty again overwhelms our senses. You will visit the Ugyenchholing Palace, now housing the Family Museum, a place that will transport you to another world and time. You will view permanent exhibits recreated to capture the ambience of the lifestyle of the Trongsa Penelop (Governor) Tshokey Dorji and his household. Bhutan's history unfolds. Continuing from Ugyenchholing, we reach the Rimochen Lhakhang, a temple dedicated to Guru Rimpoche, the Patron Saint of Bhutan. This is the last point in the trek route from where we drive on through Pangshing village to Jakar, Bumthang, stopping to visit a farmhouse on the way. 1 night. Unwind from the trek over a sumptuous dinner and local Ara (local drink). Distance : 10 km. Alt. 9000 ft. APRIL 26 JAKAR/TRONGSA (B,L,D)Today we sightsee and tour in Bumthang. Visit Jakar Dzong, Jambay Khakhang, Kurjey Lhakhang, and Flaming Lake, (Membar Tsho). Shopping is a delight in Bumthang. Textile weaving prevails in this area and we visit weavers utilizing the back and toe strap looms. We will visit the Swiss Farm along with a beer and cheese factory for local flavor. Continue to Trongsa, the ancestral home of the royal family. We will visit Tongsa Dzong (fort), one of the largest in the country. It was first built is 1648 by Chogyel Minjur Tempa, the Third Desi, and later enlarged many times. Because of being situated on a highly commanding position on the only connecting route between the eastern and western sectors (the trail actually runs through the Dzong), the Tongsa Penlop was able to control the whole of eastern region very effectively for many centuries. It is presently the administrative seat of the district and home of the monastic school. Built at split-levels on a narrow spur, the Dzong spans a huge area. Views from here are extensive creating a truly strategic location of this Dzong. Note: Depending on time the Dzong visit may be postponed until the next morning. Overnight Serubling Lodge or similar 1 night. APRIL 27 TRONGSA/PHUNAKHA (B,L,D) Morning transfer from Trongsa to Phunakha. Lunch. Early afternoon visit to the Phunakha Dzong, "Palace of Great Happiness". The impressive Phunakha Dzong is the former winter Capital and at present day hosts the administrative seat of the district. Also the winter residence of the central monastic body and its Chief Abbot. The Dzong lies between two rivers, the Pochu and Mochu, male and female river. The location is strategic. It was built in 1637 AD It was here on 17th December 1907, Bhutan's first king was crowned.APRIL 28 PUNAKHA/PARO (B,L,D)Morning sightseeing in and around Punakha Valley. Late afternoon, transfer to Paro. The people of Paro are known for their hard work, which is displayed in their large traditional country houses. If you marry a girl from Paro, be prepared to put metal roofing over the traditional shingle roof in your wife's house and purchase farming machineries, to show that you are a capable and well-to-do husband. (So we joke among ourselves.) Paro's sightseeing is full of gems such as the 200 year old Watch Tower which was renovated and converted into National Museum in 1968. It houses a fine collection of national costumes and fabrics, gallery of thangkas, an impressive stamp gallery with three dimensional and CD stamps issued as early as 1960 that are remarkable, and other galleries showcasing armour and silverware with the handsome Royal tea pots. On the top floor there is a four sided temple complex depicting the history of Buddhism and its propagation. Visit Drugyel Dzong, although mostly now in ruins. Built in 1647 by Shabdrung Nawang Namgyel to commemorate the victory over Tibetan Invaders, which indicates by the name of the Dzong meaning Victorious Bhutanese Fort. Visit Drugyel High School and Kychu Lhakhang, the oldest monastery in the valley built in 7th. century. Take a look at the shops in Paro town. 2 nights. APRIL 29 PARO (B,L,D)Morning hike up to the view point of famous Taktsang, Tiger's Nest Monastery. The monastery is perched on a rocky ledge with a sheer drop of nearly 800 meters. It is said that in the second half of the 8th century, Guru Padma Sambhava, the saint who converted Bhutan to Buddhism, enlightened here upon the back of a tigress. Lunch. Afternoon sightseeing in and around Paro Valley including visit to National Museum and Paro Dzong.APRIL 30 PARO/BANGKOK (B)Breakfast and departure for Paro airport. Tashi Delek!
Extension in Bhutan and other areas of Asia are possible. Please ask us for details. A deposit of $ 800 is required to secure this trip. The balance is due 60 days prior to departure.
"You were right. It does all seem like a dream, a good one! We can't thank you enough for the great job you did making the tour so enjoyable. It was everything we anticipated and more. The breathtaking beauty of the country and the welcome shown to us by the people, particularly the children, was what impressed us the most. ... A time away, just the four of us, will probably never happen again and I think we all four will remember is as a very special time." The Kirwan family, Ontario Canada
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