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Thimphu Festival Tour

Thimphu Festival (Small Group Adventures)

  • Destination :- Thimphu - Punakha - Paro
  • Tour Duration :- 08 Nights / 09 Days

Overview

The Tshechu (festival) is a religious event celebrated on the tenth of a month (lunar calendar), corresponding to the birthday of Guru Rimpoche. However the exact month of the Tshechu varies from place to place and temple to temple. Tshechus are grand events where entire 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. It is believed that everyone must attend a Tshechu and witness the mask dances at least once in order to receive blessings and wash away their sins. Every mask dance performed during a Tshechu has a special meaning or a story behind it and many are based on stories and incidents from as long ago as the 8th century, during the life of Guru Rimpoche. In monasteries the mask dances are performed. The most popular festivals are Thimphu Festival, Paro Festival, Punakha Festival, and Bumthang Jamba Lhakhang Drup Festival.

Itinerary Details

Day 01 :

Flying into the country’s only airport, in the beautiful Paro valley, the clear mountain air, forested ridges, imposing monasteries and welcoming Bhutanese people in their striking national dress, provides a breath-taking first impression. On arrival, our airport representative and an experienced guide will receive you at the exit gate of the airport. We will take a drive to Thimphu along the windy road taking about an hour. Thimphu, perhaps the most unusual capital city in the world, is the seat of government. This bustling town is home to Bhutan’s royal family, the civil service, and foreign missions with representation in Bhutan. In the evening will have dinner in one of the restaurant in the town to taste the local food.

Overnight and dinner in the Hotel.

Day 02 :

After breakfast drives to Tashichho Dzong, which was built in 1641. The Dzong houses the main secretariat building, throne room of His Majesty the King of Bhutan.Go to the festival site and witness the ongoing festival. This festival is celebrated annually in fall in honor of Guru Padmasambhava. The dances is known as Cham, bring blessings upon onlookers. Deities are invoked during the dances; through their power and benediction, misfortunes may be annihilated, luck increased and wishes realized. The festival is also a social gathering where the people rejoice together, dressed in their finest clothing and jewelry. In the late afternoon drive to the Buddha Dordenma sited amidst the ruins of Kuensel Phodrang. It is one of the largest Buddha rupas in the world (51.5 meters). You can also enjoy the view of the Thimphu city clearly from here. On the way back to hotel stop at the National Memorial Chorten.

Overnight and dinner in the Hotel.

Day 03 :

Today’s sightseeing includes: visit to Bhutan Post Office, School of Traditional Arts and Crafts and the Weekend Market. After that will proceed to Changgangkha temple in the hilly Motithang area; drive to the top the ridge overlooking the Thimphu Valley. Visit the zoo of Takin (National Animal of Bhutan), Drubthrob nunnery, were every evening the nuns chat prayers to end the day. Visit a handmade paper workshop where artisans create beautiful and unusual handmade papers, and weaving center at Changzamtog where the looms are filled with traditional and updated versions of the world-renowned Bhutanese textile arts.
Visit the government-run Handicrafts Emporium and privately owned crafts shops, which offer a wide range of handcrafted products, including the splendid thangkha paintings and exquisitely woven textiles for which Bhutan is famous.

Overnight and dinner in the Hotel.

Day 04 : Thimpu Sightseeing, Punakha Valley via Dochu La, Chimmi Lhakhang

The morning provides more opportunities to look around Thimpu before heading off after lunch. This drive is truly awe-inspiring as it zigzags up to the 3,140m-high mountain pass of Dochu La with its forests of fluttering prayer flags, maze of memorial chortens and, on a clear day, sweeping views of the main Himalayan range. There is time to stretch the legs with a short walk across rice paddies to Chimmi Lhakhang, a fertility temple dedicated to Drukpa Kuenley, a Tibetan Buddhist saint known popularly as the Divine Madman. The temple sits atop a picturesque hill surrounded by rice fields. Drukpa Kuenley built a chorten on the site in the 14th century, and it has long been a pilgrimage site for childless couples.

Duration of drive : 3 - 4 hours (76km)

Overnight and dinner in the Hotel.

Day 05 :

Punakha Dzong, Khamsan Yuley Namgay Chorten Walk, Wangdue Phodrang Dzong and Bazaar .We have a full day for further exploration of the scenic Punakha Valley, which is low enough (1,200m) to allow bananas and oranges to grow. The destination for this morning’s walk up through whitewashed homesteads and farmland is Khamsum Yuley Namgay Chorten, a shrine recently built by the royal family. It is a startlingly ornate and elaborate structure with a rainbow of Guru Rinpoche images and superb views. Heading down along the riverside the massive architectural edifice of the 17th-century Punakha Dzong soon looms into view. The fortress-monastery was built in 1637 by Shabdung Nawang Namgyal in a commanding position at the confluence of the Po Chhu and Mo Chhu (Father and Mother rivers). It once served as the seat of the Kingdom's government and is now the winter home of Je Khempo, the head abbot of Bhutan, along with a retinue of 1,000 monks. The day finishes with an afternoon stroll through the quaint bazaar at Wangdue Phodrang to visit its dzong.

Founded in 1638 by the Shabdrung, Wangdue Phodrang Dzong is located on a high promontory overlooking the Punakha Chhu river.

Overnight and dinner in the Hotel.

Day 06 :

Today after early breakfast drive to the Phobjikha valley, this is one of the few glacial valleys in Bhutan. Visit the 17th century Gangtey Gonpa, the only Nyingmapa monastery in western Bhutan and it houses about 200 monks. After lunch we can have a walk down the alpine meadow passing by the habitat of the black necked cranes which come here in winter across the mountains from Tibet. In the evening return to hotel.

Overnight and dinner in the Hotel.

Day 07 : Phobjikha Valley to Paro, Chuzom, Tamchog Lhakhang to Paro

We have time to retrace our steps back over the Dochu La for a second chance of that wonderful view of the Himalayan range. Returning to the Chuzum or confluence we catch a glimpse of the three shrines in Nepali, Tibetan and Bhutanese style which were built to ward off evil spirits near the checkpoint. Time permitting the journey can be broken with a visit to Tamchog Lhakhang built by Thangtong Gyalpo (the so-called Iron Bridge Builder). This former saint from the 14th century introduced the art of building suspension bridges with iron chains; the only way to reach his temple is by one of these bridges. On the final leg the road snakes alongside the Pa Chhu river, through apple orchards and rice paddies, past quaint homesteads to our home in the mountains, Paro. After check-in and a show round, we invite you to spend the rest of the day relaxing around the property, enjoying the facilities or perhaps trying some other activity like the Bhutanese national sport of archery or a traditional.

Overnight and dinner in the Hotel.

Day 08 : Highlights of the Paro Valley — Taktsang Walk

One of the most amazing and important pieces of architecture in Bhutan, Taktsang Goemba defies logic, gravity, and reason. Legend has it that this Cliffside was where Guru Rinpoche (Padmasambhava) landed on the back of a flying tigress, bringing Buddhism to Bhutan from Tibet. To avoid the hot sun an early start is advisable for the two-hour climb to the Tiger’s Nest viewpoint. Descend steeply, then climb up to the monastery, passing a waterfall and entering through the main gates which are filled with murals. Retrace our steps or alternatively (if time and energy levels allow) head further up to several remote temples and monasteries. Return to the hotel in the afternoon for some time to rest and relax and enjoy the facilities such as the steam rooms, swimming pool or a Bhutanese Hot Stone Bath followed by a soothing massage (Depend on the type of hotel you have booked for all above mentioned facilities). In the evening you are invited for a farewell dinner.

Duration : 7 - 8 hours
Difficulty : Moderate to Hard (riding ponies are available at an additional charge) Guided with picnic or lunch at local restaurant

Overnight and dinner in the Hotel.

Day 09 : Depart Bhutan

Druk Air or Bhutan Air departs in the early morning to avoid adverse weather conditions so after breakfast, your transfer to the airport will be arranged for between 5am and 12 Noon depending on the flight schedule.

Package Inclusions: -

  • Accommodation on a full-board basis (excluding beverages) for 8 nights.
  • Eight and half days of privately guided day excursions with picnic lunches taking in the highlights of the Punakha and Paro Valleys, Thimphu valley
  • The services of an experienced English-speaking Bhutanese guide
  • Private airport transfers and transport in Bhutan
  • All Bhutanese Government Visa Fees and Royalties
  • One Hour (Bhutanese Traditional National game) Archery lesson while at Paro.
  • Long life blessing for the group along with meditation class in one of the Temples while at Paro.
  • All museum and visitor center entry fees and road permits

Travel Insurance :-

It is strongly recommended that you be insured against medical and personal accident risks (including repatriation costs, air ambulance and helicopter rescue services) and that you also take out cancellation insurance. You should be aware that some policies restrict coverage or do not cover travel to Bhutan and may not cover activities such as trekking (and mountain bike). Please ensure that your policy provides a sufficient level of protection and covers you for the activities involved. You must carry proof of insurance (e.g. your insurance certificate) with you to Bhutan.

Please Note :-

This itinerary is intended as a guide only. Local conditions and weather may necessitate variations to the programmed which can affect the availability of views and panoramas described. Please be aware that all times stated are approximate, and may vary with individual and group fitness and interest levels.

Beyond The Sky Adventures provides complimentary drinking water for all guided itineraries. If you have any special dietary requests, please let us know in advance. Where stated, trips include lunchtime picnics. Please place your picnic order the day before departure via your Guide. Throughout your stay you have the option to participate in a range of extra outdoor activities at an additional charge.

Travel to Bhutan :-

Beyond The Sky Adventures handles the whole booking process on your behalf, including Druk Air or Bhutan Air flights. However, the price of Air fare is not included in the package and it is therefore advisable to book well in advance to secure seats. We also handle visa application processing (included in the package). It normally takes 2 to 3 weeks to process the visa but under some circumstances, we can accelerate the process.

Please read this document in conjunction with your confirmation letter and pre-departure information.

For more information including the full range of itineraries and services we offer - from tailor made adventures, overnight treks and biking itineraries to provisions for groups and the hosting of special events - please mail us at info@beyondtheskyadventures.com