Bhutan - Festivals Tour

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Run by: Undiscovered Destinations

Reference number: BLM

From: £2885.00

Itinerary

Please note that the exact itinerary will depend on the festival we visit, depending on the time of year.


Day 1 – Paro- Thimphu

Arrive at Paro International Airport which is situated in a beautiful valley at 2280 metres and is a fitting introduction to this charming kingdom.  Meet the guide and drive along the Paro and Thimphu river valleys to Thimphu, Bhutan’s capital.  Stop en route to take in the magnificent Tamchhog Lhakhang, the hereditary place of worship for Thangtong Gyalpo, who organised the building of Bhutan’s iron bridges.  (D)

Day 2 – Thimphu

Today you will visit the weekend market, the revered Memorial Chorten and the Changangkha temple.  This afternoon, take in more of the sights and culture of the capital with the option of a trip to Simtokha Dzong which is one of the oldest fortresses in Bhutan dating from 1629. In the centre of town there are many handicraft stalls all displaying products that are entirely made in Bhutan.  (BLD)

Day 3 – Thimphu – Punakha via Dochu La

Enjoy a scenic drive  to the old capital, Punakha, via the Dochu La pass at 3050 metres, where on a clear day you can enjoy spectacular panoramic views of the Eastern Himalaya ranges including peaks well over 7000m. This afternoon, visit the impressive Punakha Dzong, “Palace of Great Happiness”; built in 1637, and strategically placed at the confluence of two rivers, the Po Chu and the Mo Chu. Close to the Dzong there is a spectacular suspension footbridge that crosses the Po Chu and it is well worth taking the short detour to cross it for the thrill and the excellent views of the river.  (BLD)

Day 4 – Punakha Valley 

After breakfast visit Chorten Ningpo, dating from the 17th century. This magical spot was once a dense forest inhabited by evil spirits.  Then you can take a hike to Khamsum Yuelley Namgyel Chorten via the village of Yebisa.  Hike at a gentle pace for around 10 minutes from the bridge through the paddy rice fields of Yebisa village. Then continue the hike for around 40 to 50 minutes up to the temple.  The walk is still fairly gentle but there are some steeper parts.  From the top you will see a beautiful view of the valley and surrounding villages. The rest of the afternoon will be at leisure.  (BLD)

Day 5-  Punakha – Trongsa – Bumthang

An early start today around 7:30am with a full morning drive of around 5 hours to Trongsa, the gateway to central Bhutan (2180 metres). Set amidst spectacular scenery, visit Trongsa Dzong, the ancestral home of Bhutan’s royal family, commands the eye from miles away. Continue this afternoon for around 3 hours through some of Bhutan’s most beautiful scenery to Bumthang.  The spiritual heartland of Bhutan with its many legendary monasteries, temples and palaces.  (BLD)

Day 6 – Tang Valley- Bumthang

Drive to Tang valley, the most remote of Bumthang's valleys, where the people raise sheep and yaks. You will see picturesque villages and temples and can walk up to visit Ugyenchholing Palace, which is now a museum and gives an interesting insight into the life of an aristocratic family in the last century.  (BLD)

Day 7 –  Ura Valley

Today we will drive to the Ura Valley, stopping on the way at Membar Tsho (“Burning Lake”), which is one of Bhutan’s most important pilgrimage sites. Continue to Ura village, situated at 3100m and dominated by its temple. Ura is in the highest of Bumthang's valleys and is believed to be the home of the earliest inhabitants of Bhutan. The village has about 40 houses closely set along cobbled streets, giving it a medieval atmosphere. (BLD)

Day 8 –  Bumthang – Gangtey

Drive to reach Gangtey situated at 2900 metres. Stop on the way to the village of Zungney where you can watch the women weaving traditional “yathras” by hand- woollen strips used in the making of blankets, bedcovers and winter jackets. Continue to Ta Dzong, the museum in the watchtower dedicated to the Wangchuk dynasty, which tells the stories of the Dzong and the valley it has watched over for centuries and feature personal belongings of the Kings and Queens of Bhutan. On arrival in Gangtey, visit Gangtey Gompa, one of Bhutan’s oldest monasteries which has recently been restored, and explore the valley where the villagers live a traditional Bhutanese rural lifestyle.  (BLD)

Day 9 – Phobjikha Valley and the Black Necked Crane Festival

Today you will visit the annual Black Necked Crane Festival in Gangtey. The festival takes place in the courtyard of the monastery and provides the opportunity to share a local cultural experience; it is held to promote conservation among the local people.  There will be some official rituals, such as flag raising and welcome ceremonies, followed by folk culture displays, including dances performed by schoolchildren. (BLD)

Day 10 – Gangtey to Paro

This morning we depart the Phobjikha Valley and travel to Wangdi originally considered Bhutan’s secondary capital. Sadly Wangdi Dzong was gutted by fire in June 2012, destroying in a few hours not only a magnificent building that had stood proudly for hundreds of years, but also the painstaking work that had been in progress for many months to repair recent earthquake damage using traditional construction methods.  (BLD)

Day 11 - Paro

This morning you visit the impressive Paro Rinpung Dzong, one of the finest examples of Bhutanese architecture. You also visit the National Museum which was previously housed in the Ta Dzong (watch tower), built on top of the hill above Rinpung Dzong to defend it and the Paro valley during times of war, in an unusual circular construction resembling a conch shell.  Nearby you can also visit the 7th century Kyichu Lhakhang, a temple of historical significance and one of the most sacred shrines in Bhutan.  (BLD)

Day 12 – The Tiger’s Nest Monastery

This morning embark on the amazing hike to the ‘Tiger's Nest’, the sacred Taktshang monastery which clings impossibly to the rock face 900 metres above the valley floor. It is the birthplace of Buddhism in Bhutan and Guru Rinpoche is said to have flown to the site riding on a tigress and He subsequently meditated here for three months.  It is one of Bhutan’s most holy sites and draws pilgrims not only from Bhutan but also from neighbouring Buddhist countries. You can have lunch at the Taktshang cafeteria from where there is a spectacular view of the monastery. On the way back you may be interested to visit Dumtse Lhakhang, a temple built by Thangtong Gyalpo, who was responsible for building many of the iron bridges in Bhutan. (BLD)

Day 13 – Depart Bhutan

Early in the morning your guide will accompany you to the airport and wish you Tashi Delek (Goodbye and Good Luck). (B)


Departures

Departure Date Return Date Availability Price
03/11/2019 15/11/2019 Available £2885.00
02/03/2020 14/03/2020 Available £2995.00
01/05/2020 13/05/2020 Available £2995.00
24/09/2020 06/10/2020 Available £2995.00
03/11/2020 15/11/2020 Available £2995.00

** If you see this next to a price, a specific price in your currency has not been provided, this is an estimated-only price based on a currency conversion, the price you pay may be different to that shown

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