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Paro Tsechu Festival Tour lets you participate and admire the splendor of one of the biggest festivals in the entire country. The 10-day tour begins in Paro with a sightseeing tour of dzongs (fortresses) and temples. Next, immerse yourself in the celebrations and enjoy masked dances and many cultural events unique to Bhutan. Drive to Thimphu and tour many prominent landmarks of the capital city. Continue your drive to Punakha via Dochu La Pass and tour significant cultural landmarks. Also visit the townships of Bumthang and Wangdue for a wonderful sightseeing tour. End the Paro Tsechu Festival Tour with a hike up to the spectacular Taktsang (Tiger’s nest) Monastery.
|Day 01 (29 March, Thursday): Arrival and sightseeing in Paro||2,250m/7,382ft|
|Day 02 (30 March, Friday): Paro Tsechu Festival||2,250m/7,382ft|
|Day 03 (31 March, Saturday): Paro to Thimphu||2,320m/7,612ft|
|Day 04 (01 April, Sunday): Thimphu to Punakha||3,100m/10,171ft|
|Day 05 (02 April, Monday): Punakha to Jakar/Bumthang||2,745m/9,006ft|
|Day 06 (03 April, Tuesday): Sightseeing in Jakar/Bumthang||2,745m/9,006ft|
|Day 07 (04 April, Wednesday): Bumthang to Wangdue||1,240m/4,068ft|
|Day 08 (05 April, Thursday): Wangdue to Paro||2,250m/7,382ft|
|Day 09 (06 April, Friday): Hike to Taktsang Monastery||3,180m/10,434ft||4-5 hrs|
|Day 10 (07 April, Saturday): Final departure||-|
As our flight nears Bhutan, we can enjoy amazing views of the Himalayas including the sacred Chomolhari and Jichu Drake peaks. At the airport, we will be greeted by a representative from Himalayan Glacier who will take us to our hotel. After lunch, we visit Rinpung Dzong, meaning ‘fortress of the heap of jewels’. Next, visit Kichu Lhakhang, the oldest temple in the country. From here we will be taken to 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 we can see Mount Chomolhari, Bhutan’s second-highest mountain, at 7,314 meters. Overnight in Paro.
Paro Tsechu (festival) is one of the most popular festivals in Bhutan. During the festival, we get to enjoy religious mask dances, other national dances, receive blessings and socialize. The Tshechu is a festival in honour of Guru Rimpoche, the saint who brought Buddhism to Bhutan and the Himalayan region. Bhutanese people believe that everyone must attend a Tshechu and witness the mask dances at least once in their life in order to receive blessings and wash away their sins. Overnight in Paro.
We wake up very early today and drive to Paro Dzong to further take part in the festivities. We witness the Thongdroel ceremony which also marks the final day of the annual festival. During the event, a large religious painting of Guru Rinpoche made of cloth is unfolded on the side of the Dzong. The silk Thangka is so large that it covers the face of an entire building and is considered one of the most sacred blessings in the whole of Bhutan. Next, drive to Thimphu for an overnight stay. In Thimphu, we tour the Memorial Chorten (built in memory of the third King of Bhutan who reigned from 1952-1972), the nunnery temple, the 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 Thimphu including the National Institute of Traditional Medicine, Bhutanese traditional painting school, folk-heritage museum, the majestic Tashichho Dzong and the traditional paper factory. Overnight in Thimphu.
After breakfast, we drive to Punakha via Dochu La Pass (3,100m), where on a clear day we get spectacular views of the Himalayas. Next, we drive downhill through rhododendron, fir and hemlock forests. On the way, we visit Chimi Lhakhang, a fertility temple dedicated to the Divine Madman or Lama Drukpa Kuenley. After reaching Punakha, we also visit Punakha Dzong which was built between 1637-1638 and is the second oldest and the second largest dzong in Bhutan. Overnight in Punakha.
After an early breakfast, we drive to Bumthang, the cultural heartland of Bhutan. The route is along a spectacular winding road, crossing a 3,300-meter-high Pele La pass. There is even a chance of spotting yaks on the trail at certain times of a year. Next we stop in Trongsa for lunch after which we visit Trongsa Dzong, a masterpiece in Bhutanese architecture. Then, we proceed to Bumthang through lush valleys and hilly forests. Along the way we stop at a yathra (textile weaving) factory, where the yathras are designed with patterns unique to Bumthang, and we can even watch some of the weavers at their looms. Overnight in Bumthang.
Today we visit impressive landmarks in Jakar. Jakar Dzong is the administrative center of the valley. Jambay Lhakhang is one of the oldest monasteries in Bhutan, dating back to when Buddhism was first introduced here. Kurjey Lhakhang is one of the most sacred monasteries in Bhutan. It is said that Guru Rinpoche, a great 8th century spiritual master, left his body imprint on the cave when he was meditating. We also visit Tamshing Lhakhang, a treasure house of interesting religious Buddhist paintings. Overnight in Bumthang.
We begin the day by touring Bumthang market and then drive to Wangdue. It is a typical Bhutanese town with its dramatic Dzong perched on a ridge at the bend of a river. Other villages nearby the Wangdue village are also known for their slate and stone carvings. Overnight in Wangdue.
This morning we return to Paro via Dochula Pass. On the way, we visit Chimi Lhakhang, which is a fertility temple dedicated to Divine Madman or Lama Drukpa Kuenley. We stop for lunch at Dochula pass. Here, we visit the new Druk Wangyal Monastery, which is one of its kind in the country with elaborate paintings depicting the lineage of the present monarchy and their visionary works. We continue our drive to Paro. The evening will be free for us to explore the town. Overnight in Paro.
After breakfast, we hike for 4 to 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 the 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. Overnight in Paro.
Druk Air generally departs in the early morning to avoid adverse weather conditions. Therefore, after having breakfast, we will be transferred to the airport depending on the flight schedule.
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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. The best advice is to ask the hotel and restaurant to recommend what is fresh and in season.
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, A and B grade hotels will be provided in this trip. We will be accommodated in A grade hotels in Paro and Thimphu and B grade hotel in Punakha, Bumthang/Jakar and Wangdue. We use Tashi Namgay Resort in Paro, Hotel Migmar in Thimphu, Meri Puensum Resort in Punakha, Hotel Peling in Bumthang/Jakar and Dragon's Nest Resort in Wangdue. Single supplement will be served on request and will cost USD 520.
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