Bhutan Tour with Paro Festival and Hikes-9 days
Clowns - called as Atsara by the Bhutanese entertaining spectators during festival
A bhutanese woman enjoying the festival
Tiger's Nest Monastery
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Bhutan - the last remaining Mahayana Buddhist Kingdom in the world. Bhutan is often referred to as the last Shangri-la and three-fourths of the country is covered in forest. Bhutan's elevation from a few hundred meters above sea level to among the highest mountains makes it one of the most diverse countries in terms of topography. Bhutanese landscape is characterized by rugged terrain and steep mountain valleys from subtropical plains in the south through temperate zone to the Sub-Alpine Himalayas exceeding 7000 meters. Moreover, Bhutan is also recognized by UNESCO as one of 10 centers for bio-diversity, all within a distance of 150 kilometers resulting in sub-tropical climate to Arctic-like climate. It is a country with rare mountain trails, cultures, and uninhabited places which are remote and distinct from the Western civilization.
Our Bhutan Tour with Paro Festival and Hikes combines Bhutan's cultural and natural grandeur including cultural tours and festivals to important Bhutan towns as well as day hikes to the monasteries. The tour begins in the scenic Paro Valley. We also visit Punakha, Gangtey, and Thimphu with unique Bhutanese culture and lifestyle. Furthermore, enjoy the hike to Taktsang (Tiger's Nest) Monastery, Bhutan's most famous monastery situated at 3120 m/ 10200. The Paro Festival is one of the major attraction of the tour. During the journey, you will experience breath-taking view of the Mount Everest, Kanchenjunga and other famous Himalayan peaks including the sacred Jumolhari and Mount Jichu Drake in Bhutan.
Please note that the following itinerary has been especially designed to cover the Paro Festival of 2013 Spring.
Important Note and Optional Activities
Your safety is of paramount concern whilst 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, as this is adventure travel in remote mountain region, we cannot guarantee it! Weather conditions, health condition of a 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.
Day to Day Itinerary
25 March 2013, Monday: Arrive Paro (2250m / 7382ft)
Crossing over the Himalaya Mountains, the flight to Paro offers spectacular views of the awesome peaks, including the sacred Jumolhari and Jichu Drake peaks in Bhutan. On arrival you will be greeted by the guide at the airport and transferred to the hotel. After lunch, visit the Ta Dzong, once a fortified lookout tower that is now the National Museum. Then walk down the trail to visit the Rinpung Dzong meaning "fortress of the heap of jewels". Next visit Kichu Lhakhang, the oldest temple in the country. Our next visit would be the Drugyal Dzong (Bhutan Victory Fort), which was built in 1646 to commemorate Bhutan's victory over Tibetan invaders during the 1600s. On a clear day you can see Mount Jumolhari, Bhutan's second-highest mountain at 7,314meters. Overnight hotel in Paro.
26 March 2013, Tuesday: PARO FESTIVAL
Attend full day Paro Festival. Overnight hotel in Paro.
27 March 2013, Wednesday: Hike to Tiger's Nest Monastery (3120 m/ 10200 ft), Paro-Thimphu ( 54 km, 1 hr)
If you wake up at 3am and head to Paro Dzong you can see unfurling of giant Thangka of Guru Rimpoche (Thongdrel). After breakfast hike to Taktsang (Tiger's Nest) Monastery - Bhutan's most famous monastery situated at 3180 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 on the mountain. It is absolutely breathtaking, situated at 10,400 feet and perched on the edge of a steep cliff about 3,000 feet above the Paro Valley. Guru Rinpoche (great spiritual master) is said to have flown on the back of a tigress to meditate in a cave where Taktsang Monastery now stands. Lunch is served in the Cafeteria Restaurant, located about halfway up the mountain. Explore the monastery and hike down to the valley floor. This evening, you will drive to Thimphu, the capital city of Bhutan. Overnight hotel in Thimphu.
28 March 2013, Thursday: Thimphu Sightseeing
After breakfast you will visit the Memorial Chorten (built in memory of the third King of Bhutan who reigned from 1952-1972), Changgangkha Monastery, and the zoo, which contains the national animal of Bhutan: the takin. From there you will visit the nunnery temple, the National Institute of Traditional Medicine and School of Arts and Crafts (also known as the painting school). After a relaxing lunch, you will visit Folk Heritage Museum, traditional paper factory, majestic Tashichhodzong and giant Buddha statue on a hill overlooking Thimphu which is reputed to be the largest Buddha Shakymuni in the world. In the evening, you can stroll through Thimphu town and absorb the life style of the people. Overnight in Thimphu.
29 March 2013, Friday: Thimphu-Punakha (1300m / 4265 ft): 76km/3hrs
After breakfast this morning, enjoy the scenic drive to Punakha with a stop for tea at Dochu La (3,100 meters), where on a clear day you can get spectacular views of the Himalayas. From the pass, drive downhill through the forests of rhododendron, fir and hemlock. We arrive at Punakha after traversing through rice field and along the bank of Punakha River. After lunch, visit the Punakha Dzong, which is stunningly situated in between the male and female rivers like an anchored ship. Overnight hotel in Punakha.
30 March 2013, Saturday: Drive Punakha-Gangtey (2900m/9512 ft): 85km/3 hrs
After breakfast, drive to Gangtey. En route visit the typical Bhutanese town of Wangdue with its dramatic Dzong perched on a ridge at the bend of a river. The nearby villages are known for their slate and stone carvings. Continuing on to Gangtey, you will pass through dense forests of fir, hemlock, oak trees and rhododendrons. On taking the diversion from the high-way, and crossing a small pass blanketed with dwarf bamboos, you will arrive at Gangtey. From Gangtey, you can see the picturesque Black Mountain range as well as Phobjikha Valley, the winter habitat of the black-necked cranes. Overnight at farmhouse in Gangtey.
31 March 2013, Sunday: Drive Gangtey-Punakha: 85 Km/3 hrs
In the morning, you will visit Gangtey Goenpa, the only Nyingmapa Monastery in western Bhutan; RSPN Education Center, crane roosting places and explore Phobjikha valley. After lunch, you will drive back to Punakha. Overnight hotel in Punakha.
01 April 2013, Monday: Hike to Khamsum Yulley Namgyel, drive to Paro: 4 hr/140 km
After breakfast, you will drive 12 km north of Punakha Valley and from the road point, you will hike to Khamsum Yulley Namgyel Chorten, which is located on a beautiful hillock overlooking the villages. It contains elaborate paintings dedicated to Old sect of Buddhism. After lunch, drive back to Paro. Check into your hotel on arrival. Overnight hotel in Paro.
02 April 2013, Tuesday: Depart Paro
Drive to airport for departure. Today we bid farewell to the tiny Himalayan Kingdom and her friendly people. Druk Air generally departs in the early morning to avoid adverse weather conditions. Therefore, after taking breakfast, you will be transferred to the airport in the morning depending on the flight schedule and your destination. Our representative will bid you farewell.
- All meals, tea & snacks
- Government approved A and B category hotels on twin sharing basis
- All airport pick up and drop
- Ground transport in comfortable private vehicle
- Experienced English speaking guides and local staff
- All city tour with permits, entrance fees for museums and monuments
- Government taxes
- Bhutan Visa Fee
What's Not Include
- Airfare to/from Paro, Bhutan
- Items of personal nature (personal gear, telephone calls, beverages, internet , laundry etc.)
- Trip cancellation and Medical/Evacuation Insurance
- Tips for Staff (guide and driver )
1-2 people = USD 2960 per person
3-12 people = USD 2560 per person
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 your booking, we provide grade A hotels and B category hotels in the tour. We use A category hotel in Paro and Thimpu. We use Hotel Tashi Namgay Resort or similar in Paro and Hotel Migmar or similar in Thimpu. We use Meri Puensum Resort or similar (B category) in Punakha. In Gangtey you will be staying at a farmhouse. Since the Bhutan Tour is designed on twin sharing basis, you share room with your fellow traveler but in case you prefer single rooms we charge USD 400 as single supplement.
All your meals 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.
Equipments & Packing List
While packing for Bhutan Tour with Paro Festival and Hikes certain equipments are essential.
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Trip Start Dates
We will organize this trip on the dates requested by you. Please contact us for your customized departure date.
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.