BHUTAN DRAGON FESTIVAL TOUR

Trip Facts

Starts FromParo
Ends inParo
Country Visited Bhutan
Best Time Mar-May, Sep-Nov
Price (per person) $3,155
Single supplement $325
Internal airfare (per person) N/a

Tour Overview

The Kingdom of Bhutan is one of the world’s little known treasures. And we will trek to unlock this treasures in our Bhutan Dragon Festival tour. Here in the “Land of the Thunder Dragon,” quality of life is measured in terms of Gross National Happiness, rather than purely material measures though Bhutanese live comfortable, serene lives.

Until quite recently this tiny country remained in splendid isolation, dedicated to preserving its deep Buddhist traditions and pristine landscapes. Small number of guests each year visit to discover Bhutan’s natural and cultural wonders.

On this Bhutan Dragon Festival Tour, you will attend at least one colorful festival. We guarantee that you will love and remember this trip for the rest of your lifetime.

Private Journey  |   Based on double occupancy

Day 1: Arrive in Paro. Drive to Thimphu (7,710')

Arrive by flight into Paro, Bhutan. Upon arrival, you are met by our local representative. Transfer to capital Thimphu, where spend two nights. Depending on available time, you will tour Thimphu for rest of the afternoon.

Overnight in Thimphu (L, D).

Day 2: Thimphu

Thimphu is a seat of government and commerce with a harmonious mix of modern development and ancient traditions, and the only national capital without traffic lights. We spend the whole day touring its’ many attractions, monuments, museums, viewpoints, and local markets.

Overnight in Thimphu (B, L, D).

Day 3: Gangtey, Phobjikha Valley (8,510')

This morning drive across Dochu La, a 10,000-foot pass marked by 108 chortens, fluttering prayer flags and a panoramic view of the eastern Himalayan peaks. From the pass, the road descends dramatically to the village of Wangdue phodrang, and again begins climb up the black mountains, through ever-changing vegetation to arrive in wide and beautiful Phobjikha valley. Winter home of endangered black-necked cranes that migrate from the Tibetan plateau and stay here from late October till mid-March. This afternoon visit the ancient Gangteng Gompa monastery and the walk down the hill, along nature trail (easy walk) for about 1 ½ hr. Visit local village and Nature Information center.

Overnight in Phobjikha (B, L, D)

Day 4: Gangtey -Trongsa -Jakar (9,185')

In the morning, you have an opportunity to take a self-guided walks in the valley. After breakfast, traverse 11,300-foot Pele La, and descend to Trongsa, where we visit the sprawling Dzong. This huge many-level fortress with its intricate wood carvings has a maze of courtyards and covered passages that follow the contour of the ridge. After lunch in Trongsa, continue to drive for another 2 ½ hrs toward Jakar in Bumthang district, across Yotong La pass. Just before arriving in Jakar, we stop to visit the weavers in Chumey valley.

Overnight in Jakar (B, L, D).

Day 5: In Jakar, Bumthang Valley (9,185')

Bumthang is considered the cultural heartland of Bhutan. It was here that Buddhism was introduced by Padmasambhava in A.D 746, and the area continues to thrive as a spiritual center. The wide valleys with fields of buckwheat, apple orchards, and chalet-like houses, surrounded by pine forested hills, make Bumthang extremely beautiful. Our full day tour by short drives and some easy walks will access ancient temples and monasteries. As per available time, we can visit local village near the town.

Overnight in Jakar (B, L, D).

Day 6: In Jakar

Drive along the dirt road for about two hours to Tang valley. Along the way, we will visit Membertso (Burning Lake), a nunnery and Tang Rimochen temple. Once in Tang, walk up to the hilltop village to visit Ogyencholing Palace, a 16th century country manor, which is also turned into a museum. Lunch in the guest house and return to Jakar.

Overnight in hotel (Jakar).

Day 7: Jakar – Punakha / Wangdue (4,300')

Head back to western Bhutan, re-crossing Yotong La Pass (11,269′) into Tongsa, where we stop to visit the tower of Trongsa, which has been recently converted into a fine museum. Traverse Pele La pass (11,220′)and descend into semi-tropical valley of Wangdue-Punakha. Along the way we will make several short stop to take pictures, pause to stretch legs, enjoying the views of landscapes along this spectacular journey through ever-changing vegetation. In Wangdue phodrang, visit its interesting township that is made up of clusters of small shops tightly packed, surrounding a truck stop and arrive in the evening.

Overnight  in Punakha valley (B, L, D).

Day 8: Punakha & Wangdue Valley

Punakha and Wangdue Phodrang are two different districts, but they are located in one valley and their town centers are near each other. Compared to Thimphu, Paro or valleys of central Bhutan, Punakha-Wangdue valley is at much lower elevation of about 1250m/4500ft above sea level. Therefore it enjoys subtropical climate with warm summers and pleasant winters. Drive to the idyllic countryside north of Punakha, and start forty-minute walk up to Khamsum Yuley Namgay Chorten on Nyinzergang hill, a shrine built in early 1990’s for the present King. One can get good views from the top. (Those who are not into hiking can skip this portion). Upon return, drive back to visit the architectural wonders of the 17th century Punakha Dzong, straddling at the confluence of Pho and Mo rivers (male & female). In the evening, take a short- easy walk into village to visit Chimi Lhakhang temple, dedicated to Lama Drukpa Kunley  popularly known as ‘the divine madman.

Overnight in Punakha valley (B, L, D).

Day 9: Punakha – Thimphu – Paro (7,382')

After breakfast, head back to Thimphu, re-crossing the magnificent Dochu La Pass, with one more opportunity to see the panoramic views of the Eastern Himalayan peaks. At the pass, we stop to savour tea at the cafeteria with views of the snow-capped peaks. Lunch may be in Thimphu or Paro depending on arrival time. We will tour in Paro valley for the rest of the afternoon.
Spring trip will continue to Paro and attend Paro Tsechu festival for rest of the afternoon, followed by visit of Paro Rinphung Dzong and stroll around the town.

Overnight in Paro (B, L, D).

 

Day 10: Paro Valley

Paro valley is one of the loveliest in Bhutan. The willow trees and apple orchards line many of the roads. We’ll tour by short drives and walks to see its many attractions such the Ta Dzong watchtower, which houses National Museum. Visit Rinphung Dzong, which houses the local district office and regional monastic body. We’ll visit the beautiful 7th century Kichu Lhakhang and also cover Dumtse Lhakhang temple, known to hold some of the finest murals in the kingdom. We will walk into a village; arrange a tea with local farmers and see how they live. At the north-end of the valley, visit the ruins of Drugyal Dzong fortress, which once protected the valley against invaders from north.

Overnight in Paro valley (B, L, D).

Day 11: Paro - Hike to Takstang (10,240')

Our journey in Kingdom culminates with a hike to the most famous & holy pilgrimage site in Bhutan: Taktsang Lhakhang, or the Tiger’s Nest Temple (at about 3100m/10,240ft). Visible from afar, this magical monastery clings to a vertical granite cliff 1,000 feet above the valley floor, defying logic, gravity, and reason in the quest for spiritual enlightenment. If for some reason, some of the members wish to skip hike to Taktsang, our Guide and driver can arrange other interesting alternatives for them. You can request to arrange pony ride for the uphill part, till the first view point & cafeteria but you must be able to walk back or to go uphill to the monastery itself. The steep hike to the first view point or cafeteria (at 2940m/9,650ft) takes between 1-2hrs (ascending about 300m/1,000ft) from the starting point. From this vantage point, Takstang seems close enough to touch but it is on the far side of deep chasm and takes a knee breaking descent and ascending of another 40 minutes or so to the monastery. Return to Paro, where we may have more time for stroll or other interesting tour. This evening, enjoy a farewell dinner.
Overnight in Paro valley (B, L, D).

Day 12: Departure

After breakfast at the hotel, transfer to Paro airport according to your flight times. (B).

DayCityHotels
1-2Thimphu- Hotel Druk, or
- Khang Residency,
3Phobjikha- Hotel Dewachen
4-6Jakar- Mountain Resort, or
- Hotel Vgyenling
7-8Punakha- Meri Phuenshum Resort, or
- Punatsangchhu Cottage Hotel
9-11Paro- Hotel Gangtey Palace, or
- Tenzingling Resort, or
- Tashi Namgay Resort
  • – Bhutan Royalties, tourists fees, Visa fees

    – Accommodations in listed or similar hotels  (best available 3 star category)

    – All meals and evening tea

    – All transfers and sightseeing with entrance fees

    – Local English Speaking Tour leader/Guide

  • – Flights into and out of Paro (Bhutan)

    – Travel & Medical Insurance ( recommended)

    – All personal expenses including gifts, tips (optional), laundry, bars and beverages etc