Discovery of the sacred Kingdom - Punakha festival 10 Days & 9 Nights

 

D1 Bangkok - Timphu:                                                 (L/D)

On arrival at the airport, transfer with your guide to Timphu and check-in at hotel.

Note: Rooms are available from 2pm.

Travel through traditional settlements, passing by the roadside stalls, crossing the Paro Chhu River and rice terraces with ancient farm houses scatterded around. On arrival, discover Thimphu, wander the small alleyways, teashops and handicraft in this bustling city. Late afternoon visit to the National Memorial Chorten, a religious site for daily worship.  Explore a multi-story stupa for an introduction to Tantric Buddhism. Back to the hotel and dinner. Overnight in Thimphu.

 

D2 Timphu:                                                                (B/L/D)
After breakfast, depart to the valley of Thimphu for a visit of the "Buddha Dordenma". High above the Thimphu Valley sits the fortress like Changangkha Lhakhang, a 15th century temple and monastic school with its large prayer wheels and stunning view of the valley. Close by is the Drubthob Gompa Nunnery (also referred to as Zilukha Nunnery) with approximately 40 resident Buddhist nuns. A short walk to Zorig Chusum often referred to as 'The Painting School ‘. Then, visit the National Textile Museum. In the evening, enjoy a traditional Bhutanese dinner, savoring authentic cuisine and the locally distilled spirit “Arra”. Overnight in Thimphu.

 

D3 Timphu – Phobjikha :                                            (B/L/D)
After breakfast, a road trip to the Gangtey region and Phobjikha Valley via the Dochu La pass, a scenic journey travelling through rhododendron, oak and pine forests. Enjoy the view of the majestic eastern Himalayan ranges, the colorful display of the Buddhist prayer flags and the 108 Chorten. This stunning panorama on a clear day, offers the view of Bhutan's highest peak - Gangkar Punsum which stands at a towering 7,541 meter above sea level. Then explore the temples and surrounding landscapes such as the Druk Wangyel Lhakhang. Travel down the mountain pass, winding the steep road through the Botanical National Park with superb view of the valley, rice terraces and farm houses scattered aroud, as well as through the virgin forests of magnolia and rhododendron. Arrived at Phobjikha Valley, the largest Bhutan wetland, it is not only the favorite winter habitat of the black necked crane, but also, globally threatened white bellied Heron. Overnight in Phobjikha.

D4 Phobjikha :                                                            (B/L)
In the morning, visit the glacial valley, admiring the sweeping view of the valle from the 450-year old Gantey Goempade Monastery. Located on top of a small hill, Gantey is the biggest Nyimgmapa monastery in the kingdom, with beautiful and ornate interior paintings of Mandala. Inside reveals massive hand-carved pillars built in the Tibetan style, making it as one of the largest prayer halls in Bhutan. The construction of the power lines in the valley is prohibited to preserve the nesting environ of the black necked crane.

Note: Black necked crane viewing is from mid October - mid March.
An early morning walk through the surrounding hamlets, breathing the cool morning air as the valley awakens, the mist gradually rise up from the valley uncovering the day. Farmers begin at daybreak, the folkwomen make morning offerings to the deities and the monks recite their morning prayers. Overnight in Phobjikha.

D5 Phobjikha – Punakha :                                           (B/L/D)
After a leisurely morning, begin the journey to Punakha Valley. A stop for a short hike through rice fields to Chime Lhakhang and its temple of fertility.
Punakha, the ancient capital, is located 1,200 meters above sea level, one of the lowest valleys in the kingdom.
In the afternoon, visit the Punakha Dzong, "palace of great happiness", built in 1637. It was the winter residence of the leaders of the clergy in Bhutan with its entourage of monks. Visit the second oldest Dzong in Bhutan, with white walls, steep stairs and ornate interiors, as well as murals. In the afternoon visit the Punakha Dzong to witness Punakha festival held in the courtyard. Dinner and overnight in Punakha.

D6 Punakha :                                                             (B/L/D)
Today is the second day of the festival, held in honor of the two main protecting deities of the Drukpa Kagyu- Yeshi Gompo and Palden Lhamo. The Punakha festival is considerably different to most of other festivals held throughout the Kingdom, as it entails not only the ancient and traditional mask dances, but also a special re-enactment of the events during conflict with the Tibetans in the 17th century. This elaborated ceremony is colorful with participants dressed in brightly adorned costumes, horns and horses. It is also an opportunity to interact with the  young and old Bhutanese alike who travel in their finest attire to witness the festive occasion.
Dinner and overnight in Punakha.

D7 Punakha :                                                             (B/L/D)

The 3rd day of the Punakha Tsechu is a major social event with people travelling far and wide to attend this event. The people receive blessing and gains merit for the next life. Masked dancers perform ancient dances, laypersons entertain with folk dances and songs, attendees dressed in their finest hand-woven silk Kira and Gho ( female and male traditional dress). This is a big social and religious gathering. After lunch, proceed to the upper Punakha Valley, superb views awaits at the 30-meter high Chorten located high above the Yambesa village. A moderate 30-45 minutes walk through white washed homesteads and picturesque countryside to the Yuley Namgay Chorten, with a view over the villages and Mo Chhu river below, off to the far north is the snow capped Himalayan ranges. Dinner and overnight in Punakha.
Option: opportunity to experience river rafting on either of the father or mother rivers

D8 Punakha - Paro :                                                 (B/L/D)

After breakfast, embark for a road journey to Paro valley (about 4-5 hours). Then gradually ascend to Dochu la Pass. After a final stop at the top for magnificent view of the Eastern Himalyan Ranges, begin to descend, winding through the valleys and into Simtokha. On arrival at Paro, lunch and check in at the hotel. Free leisure time to explore the hotel grounds, enjoy the view of the valley over an afternoon beverage or perhaps a short afternoon hike to stretch-out your legs to the nearby villages. Alternatively, drive to Paro Town to stroll through traditional street. Dinner and overnight in Paro.

D9 Paro :                                                                   (B/L/D)

A morning hike to the amazing 17th century Taktsang Monastery "Tigers Nest" perched cliff side at 3,140 meters and overlooking the Paro Valley. Trekking ponies are available for the ascent to the last view point, the descent is on foot and the return hiking will take approx. 1.5 hours. Stopping along the way to appreciate the stunning view, this site offers spectacular landscape and architecture against a backdrop of granite cliff facade. After reaching the last view point amongst the many colorful prayer flags, a descend via stone staircase, passing a waterfall and a final walk up the stairs to this spectacular sight, 800 meters above the valley. An offering can be made inside the temple and a blessing will be received. After the descent from Taktsang, A 7th century temple, highly revered for not only its antiquity but also its religious importance. It is believed that Paro Valley was one of the first valleys to be influenced by the Buddhist religion. The complex houses stunning statues, an impressive 5-meters statue of Guru Rinpoche and an equally impressive statue with 11 heads and 1,000 hands of Chenresig, the God of Compassion. Dinner and overnight in Paro.

D10 Paro :                                                                (B)

After breakfast, time at leisure. Transfer to the airport for the departure the flight.

End of our services.

 

Our prices include :

  • FlightS BKK / PBH / BKK
  • Detailed pre departure kit for Bhutan
  • 9 nights hotel accommodation
  • Baggage porterage throughout journey
  • Daily government royalty charge
  • FIT Government surcharges
  • All applicable costs for excursions, sightseeing, road permits and monastery / Dzong entrance permits *where applicable
  • Privately guided for duration of journey inclusive of all hikes, day walks and excursions
  • Complimentary bottled mineral drinking water for all excursions and road trips
  • All applicable sales taxes, service charges and associated fees
  • Tourist visa fee and visa processing
  • Neck cushions, fleece blankets, umbrellas, fresh fruit basket, refreshment towels and guide books provided in private transportation
  • Full board meals for duration of journey - Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
  • Optional : family style traditional lunch in Bhutanese farmhouse
  • Traditional Bhutanese dinner
  • Daily morning & afternoon refreshments inclusive of handmade sweet treats, bottled mineral water, selection of teas & freshly brewed plunger coffee
  • English speaking private guides, licensed by the Dept. of Tourism and professional drivers
  • Private transportation inclusive of airport transfers for duration of journey
  • Private transportation in Late model Toyota Prado Land cruiser, Hyundai H1 Van or Hiace Bus - dependant on number in travelling party
  • First aid Kit provided in all vehicles

Our prices do not include :

  • Air flights - international and domestic
  • Excess baggage charges
  • Medical and personal insurance inclusive of personal loss, injury, flight delays, lost baggage and repatriation
  • Personal expenditure - telephone calls, laundry, alcoholic beverages, sightseeing and meals not included in journey itinerary etc.
  • Spa treatment and therapy
  • Medical requirements
  • Tipping / Gratuities
  • For full terms and conditions, please click on the following link: terms of sale

Note:

  • All Hotel/Lodge accommodation is subject to availability and confirmation of tour booking
  • Optional activities are available at an additional charge
  • Asia Holidays journey itineraries are intended as a guide and for inspiration. Weather conditions and unforeseen circumstances may require some changes.
  • Variations, timings may change and unexpected delays could occur. Asia Holidays and its staff will endeavor to minimize any impact to our guests.