Bhutan Tour with Paro Festival and Hikes-9 days
A bhutanese woman enjoying the festival
Tiger's Nest Monastery
Festivals have a special place in the hearts of the Bhutanese people to such an extent that the Bhutanese culture itself is closely characterized by its religious celebrations. On your 9-day trip you will not only be participating in the grand Paro (Tshechu) festival, but will also be visiting popular landmarks like dzongs (fortress), monasteries scattered throughout the country. The trip also takes you hiking to some of the beautiful hiking destinations of the country including the famous Taktsang (Tiger’s Nest) Monastery, believed to be the epitome of the rich Bhutanese culture.
Please note that the following itinerary has been especially designed to cover the Paro Festival in the spring of 2015.
Important Note :
Your safety is of paramount concern while traveling with Himalayan Glacier. Please note that your leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the itinerary if it is deemed necessary due to safety concerns. Every effort will be made to keep to the above itinerary; however, since this adventure entails travelling in remote mountainous regions, we cannot guarantee that we will not deviate from it. Weather conditions, health condition of a group member, unexpected natural disasters, etc., can all contribute to changes in the itinerary. The leader will try to ensure that the trip runs according to plan, but please be prepared to be flexible if required.
1-2 people= $2960
3-12 people= $2560
What Is Included
- Bhutanese visa fee
- All airport pickups and drops
- All meals, tea and snacks
- Government approved A and B category hotels on twin- shared basis
- Transportation in comfortable private vehicle(s)
- English speaking, trained and experienced guide and local staff
- All entrance and permit fees for visits to monuments and museums as per the itinerary
- All required government taxes
What Is Not Included
- Airfare for international flights to and from Bhutan
- Items of a personal nature (personal gear, telephone calls, beverages, internet, laundry, etc.)
- Trip cancellation and medical/evacuation insurance
- Tips for staff (guide and driver)
- Travel insurance
Hotels in Bhutan are approved and classified by the government as grade A, B and C. These government approved hotels are equivalent to 3-4 star hotels elsewhere. Based on availability at the time of booking, we will be accommodated in A grade hotels in Paro and Thimpu and B grade hotel in Punakha. We use Tashi Namgay Resort in Paro, Hotel Migmar in Thimpu and Meri Puensum Resort in Punakha. In Gangtey, you will be staying in a farmhouse. All accommodations are on a twin-shared basis. Single supplement will be served on request and will cost USD 560.
All meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) are included during your stay in Bhutan. A variety of meals are available in most hotels – the most popular being Indian, Chinese, and the more common continental food. Non-vegetarian dishes are generally available in most parts of Bhutan - pork, beef, chicken, and fish. The best advice is to ask the hotel and restaurant to recommend what is fresh and in season.
Day to Day Itinerary
31 March 2015, Tuesday: Arrival and Sightseeing in Paro (2,250m/7,382ft)
As our flight nears Bhutan, we can enjoy amazing views of the Himalayas including the sacred Jumolhari and Jichu Drake peaks. At the airport, we will be greeted by a representative from Himalayan Glacier who will take us to our hotel. Today, we will visit Rinpung Dzong which was built in 1646 and now houses the district Monastic Body and government administrative offices of Paro Dzongkhag. We will also visit Kichu Lhakhang, the oldest temple in the country and Drugyal Dzong, built in 1646 to commemorate Bhutan's victory over Tibetan invaders during the 1600s. Overnight in Paro.
01 April 2015, Wednesday: Paro (Tshechu) Festival
We celebrate the Tshechu or Paro festival throughout the day today. It is a religious festival meaning "tenth day" celebrated on the tenth day of a month of the lunar calendar corresponding to the birthday of Guru Rinpochhe (Guru Padmasambhava). However the exact month of the Tshechu varies from place to place and temple to temple. The festival is a grand event where the entire Bhutanese communities come together to witness religious mask dances, receive blessings and socialize. In addition to the mask dances, tshechus also include colorful Bhutanese dances and other forms of entertainment. Overnight in paro.
02 April 2015, Thursday: Paro to Thimphu (2,320m/7,610ft) 54 km, 1 hour: Hike to Tiger’s Nest Monastery
After breakfast, we hike for 4 -5 hours to Taktsang (Tiger's Nest) Monastery, which is Bhutan's most famous monastery situated at 3,180 meters. Guru Rinpoche (spiritual master) is said to have flown on the back of a tigress to meditate in a cave where Taktsang Monastery now stands. Lunch will be served in the Cafeteria Restaurant, located about halfway up the mountain. After having explored the monastery, we hike down to the valley floor. This afternoon, we will drive to Thimphu and spend the night.
03 April 2015, Friday: Sightseeing in Thimphu
In the morning, we visit King's Memorial Chorten (built in memory of the third King of Bhutan who reigned from 1952-1972), nunnery temple, mini zoo to see Takin, the national animal of Bhutan and the radio tower (for a great view of the Thimphu Valley and the Thimphu Dzong). After lunch, we visit other landmarks of Thimpu including the National Institute of Traditional Medicine, Bhutanese traditional painting school, folk heritage museum, the majestic Tashichho Dzong and the traditional paper factory. However, some of the landmarks are closed in the weekends (Saturdays and Sundays). Therefore, if we are in Thimpu during the weekends, we explore the Weekend Market instead. Overnight in Thimpu.
04 April 2015, Saturday: Thimphu to Punakha (1,250m/4,100ft): 76 km, 2 - 3 hours
After breakfast, we enjoy the scenic drive to Punakha with a stop for tea at Dochu La Pass (3,100 meters), where on a clear day we get spectacular views of the Himalayas. From the pass, we drive downhill through rhododendron, fir and hemlock forests. We then pass through rice fields along river banks and reach Punakha. After lunch, we visit Punakha Dzong. Built between 1637-1638, it is the second oldest and the second largest dzong in Bhutan. Overnight in Punakha.
05 April 2015, Sunday: Drive from Punaka to Gangtey (2900m/9280ft): 85 Km, 3 hours
In the morning, we explore the beautiful town of Wangduephodrang. This village and its nearby villages are knows for their slate and stone carvings. Then we drive through dense oak and rhododendron forests to Gangtey, a beautiful village surrounded by amazing snowcapped mountains. From here, we enjoy views of the picturesque Black Mountain ranges as well as the beautiful Phobjikha valley, the winter habitat of the black-necked cranes. Gangtey Monastery is perched atop a small hill that rises from the valley floor. Overnight in Gangtey.
06 April 2015, Monday: Drive from Gangtey to Punakha
In the morning, we visit Gangtey Gompa, the only Nyingmapa Monastery in western Bhutan; and RSPN Education Center. Next, we explore the beautiful Phobjikha valley. The broad valley with its best-known marshland in Bhutan, is popular for its scenic splendour and cultural uniqueness. The valley is rich in faunal biodiversity and has, apart from the globally threatened Black-necked Cranes Grus nigricollis, 13 other globally threatened species. After lunch, we will drive back to Punakha. Overnight in Punakha.
07 April 2015, Tuesday: Hike to Khamsum Yulley Namgyel, drive to Paro: 140 km, 3 - 4 hours
After breakfast, we drive 12 km north of Punakha valley and from the road point hike to Khamsum Yulley Namgyel Chorten. The chorten is located on a beautiful hillock overlooking the villages and houses elaborate paintings dedicated to an Old sect of Buddhism. After exploring the beautiful chorten we will drive back to Paro to spend the night.
08 April 2015, Wednesday: Final departure
Today we bid farewell to the tiny Himalayan Kingdom and her friendly people. After early breakfast, we leave Thimpu for Paro airport which will take us around 1 hour. Druk Air generally departs in the early morning to avoid adverse weather conditions. Therefore, after breakfast, we will be taken to the airport in the morning for final departure.
Equipment and Packing List
While packing for Bhutan Tour with Paro Festival and Hikes certain equipments are essential.
Please Click here
for this trip's comprehensive checklist.
Spring (March to June) and autumn (September to November) are the best time to visit Bhutan. The months of April and May offer the natural grandeur of rhododendron blooms whereas Bhutan observes its biggest festivals during spring.
Trip Start Dates and Price
Our website contains as much information as possible about this trip. However, if you wish to discuss any aspect of this trip or your suitability for it please contact us.