Visit Bhutan 2017

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BLACK-NECKED CRANE FESTIVAL (12 days/11 nights)

BLACK-NECKED CRANE FESTIVAL

Travel from Paro to Gangtey Gompa to witness the Crane Festival, Black Mountains that separate the eastern and western Bhutan, the Phobjikha glacial valley, the cultural and spiritual heartland of Bhutan in Bumthang, the impressive Trongsa Dzong (a masterpiece of the Bhutanese architecture), a glimpse of the Punakha-Wangdue Phodrang valleys, the Paro Taktshang (also known as Tiger’s Nest) and Thimphu - the young capital city of Bhutan still without traffic light in this 21st century.

Day 1: Arrive Paro

On arrival, you will be met by our representative and transferred to your hotel in Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan. We will drive a distance of 65-km for about 1 hour journey to Thimphu and en route stop off at the 14th century Tachog Lhakhang on the base of a mountain across the Pa Chhu River on the Paro-Thimphu highway, the hereditary place of worship for Bhutan’s great architect Drupthop Thangtong Gyalpo (builder of iron chain bridges). The evening is at leisure to relax – so why not stroll in the great atmospheric Thimphu town?

Day 2: Thimphu – Gangtey via Wangdue Phodrang

After breakfast, today we travel to Gangtey via Wangdue Phodrang for a distance of 135-km for about 5-6 hours journey and en route stop at Dochula pass at an altitude of 3,050m. If weather is clear, you will enjoy a breathtaking view of the snow capped eastern Himalaya ranges and also a magnificent distant view of the Gasa Dzong from this spot. Continue on the journey to Gangtey in Phobjikha, which is one of the winter roosting grounds of the rare Black-necked Cranes, where they come in hundreds after spending their summer in Tibet and then migrate to the Himalayas of Bhutan to spend their winter – they arrive in the months of September and October and fly back to Tibet between February and March. Along the highway, you’ll photo stops as there are loads of breathtaking views during the journey. Overnight in Gangtey.

Day 3: Crane Festival in Gangtey, Phobjikha

This morning you’ll witness the 15th Annual Black-necked Cranes Festival, held by the Royal Society for Protection of Nature (RSPN) in the courtyard of Gangtey Gonpa in Phobjikha valley. The main objective of this festival is to generate awareness and understanding among the local communities and visitors on the importance of conserving the endangered Black‐necked cranes. The programmes generally include cultural programs such as folk songs and masked dances performed by the local people, crane dance and environmental drama and songs by the school students. The set up of this festival gives you a great atmosphere with smaller crowds, more variety of programs and more opportunities for photography. Overnight in Gangtey.

Day 4: Sightseeing in Gangtey

Today visit the Black-necked Crane Information Center, the Khewang Lhakhang (temple) and take in the Gangtey Nature Trail hiking or Village Walk in Lawog Valley. There are also the ecotourism activities to enjoy such as mountain biking with a local guide and lectures on the local ecosystem at an extra cost. Overnight in Gangtey.

Day 5: Gangtey – Bumthang

After breakfast, we travel a distance of 120-km for about 5 hours to Trongsa via Pele La Pass at an altitude of 3,300m. This pass is an important dividing range that separates the western from central and eastern Bhutan. Stop for lunch at Trongsa, then visit the Ta Dzong (ancient watch tower) or the impressive Trongsa Dzong. Continue the journey for a further distance of 68-km for about 2 hours to Bumthang at an altitude of 2,600m, the most beautiful valley and cultural heartland of Bhutan. En route we will stop for a quick visit to the Yathra Weaving Centre at Chumey, where they use yak and sheep wools for yathra products with patterns unique to Bumthang. Overnight in Bumthang.

Day 6: Sightseeing in Bumthang

After breakfast, we set out for a full day sightseeing to experience more of this spiritual heartland of Bhutan. You will visit the following legendary monasteries, temples and dzong: the Jakar Dzong, the Jambay Lhakhang, built in the 7th century by the King Songsen Gampo of Tibet, the Kurjey Lhakhang, built in 1652 and named after the body imprint of Guru Rinpoche who introduced the Buddhism in Bhutan, the Tamshing Lhakhang, built in 1501 which is the most important Nyingma temple in Bhutan. If time permits, visit the famous Swiss Cheese Factory and Diary Farm in Bumthang. Overnight in Bumthang.

Day 7: Bumthang – Ura

This morning you’ll visit the Mebar Tsho (flaming lake) located on the way to Tang village, where the renowned treasure reveller, Terton Pema Lingpa, discovered treasures from the lake in the late 15th century. In the afternoon, enjoy some sightseeing and visit a temple in the Ura valley and drive back to Bumthang. Overnight in Bumthang.

Day 8: Bumthang – Punakha via Wangdue Phodrang

Today is a day-long journey heading back to Punakha via Trongsa and Wangdue Phodrang. The journey passes through the awe-inspiring mountains and lush vegetation along the highway and will photo stops during the journey. Enjoy some leisure time in Punakha in the evening, the old capital of Bhutan at an altitude of 2,300m. Spend the night in Thimphu. Spend the night in Punakha.

Day 9: Punakha – Thimphu

Punakha, at an altitude of 1,300m, was once the old capital of Bhutan and the seat of government until 1955. Today you will visit the Punakha Dzong, (also known as the Pungthang Dechen Phodrang Dzong), which is strategically located at the confluence of the Phochhu (male) and Mochhu (female) rivers. Now the dzong serves as the administrative centre of Punakha district and the central monastic body. Later we drive a distance of 77-km for about 3 hours journey to Thimphu. En route visit the Chimmi Lhakhang, located near Lobesa on a round hillock. The temple is popularly known as the “fertility symbol,” built by Lama Drukpa Kinley (the Divine Madman). You will also stop off at Dochu La Pass at an altitude of 3,050m, which is 16-km before reaching Thimphu. On a clear day, you will enjoy a breathtaking view of the snow capped eastern Himalaya ranges and also a magnificent distant view of the Gasa Dzong from this spot. The next 30-minutes drive will take you to Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan for two nights.

Day 10: Sightseeing in Thimphu

Today we explore a fascinating full day tour to see the best of Thimphu city. First stop is at the National Memorial Chorten, built in memory of the third King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk. Next, visit the 13th century Changgangkha Temple and the Folk Heritage Museum, a showcase of the Bhutanese artefacts used in rural households. Later, drive up to the Kuensel Phodrang (Buddha Point) offering a panoramic view of the Thimphu valley. After lunch, visit the Mini Zoo for Takin (national animal of Bhutan) and continue to the Centenary Farmer’s Market on the banks of the Wangchhu River selling farm produces, local arts and crafts, etc. Overnight in Thimphu.

Day 11: Hike to Paro Taktshang

This morning we head back to Paro and take a short hike to Paro Taktshang Monastery (Tiger’s Nest), a highlight of any visit to Bhutan. The monastery is perched on the edge of a steep cliff, about 900m above the Paro valley and takes about a 2-hour climb on a well-maintained trail through beautiful pine forest, trees festooned with Spanish Moss and fluttering prayer flags. Legend has it that Guru Rimpoche flew to Paro Taktshang cliff in the form of Guru Dorji Drolo, mounted on a flaming tigress in the 8th century. Afterwards, there may also be time to visit the ruined Drugyal Dzong (fortress), built in 1647 to commemorate the victory over the Tibetan invaders or visit the Kichu Lhakhang, which is one of the oldest temples in Bhutan (7th century). Your last overnight in Paro.

Day 12: End of Tour

Your tour ends in Bhutan with a departure transfer to the Paro Airport for your onward journey. Your guide from Bhutan Green Travel will see you off. Goodbye and Good Luck!

Services Included

  • Transfers to and from the airport
  • Twin-sharing accommodation in 3-star hotels
  • Upgrades to 5-star luxury accommodation available on request
  • Camping equipment and haulage for trekking tours
  • All meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner)
  • Baggage handling at all hotels and camps
  • Licensed Bhutanese English-speaking guided tours
  • All entrance fees to museums and other attractions
  • Comfortable transport within Bhutan
  • All applicable internal taxes and service fees (including royalty)
  • Mineral water
  • Visa fees

Services Not Included

  • International airfare (round-trip from hometown departure gateway to destination)
  • Travel insurance
  • Discretionary gratuities to guides and driver (we provide suggested guidelines)
  • Single room supplement
  • Other personal expenses such as drinks, laundry, telephone calls, etc.

Prices and Dates

ON REQUEST

Pricing Policy

Prices are quoted and payable only in (US$ dollars). All prices published on our websites, brochures and marketing materials are set as low as possible. The guide prices may vary at any time subject to government actions, changes in exchange rates, increase in transportation costs or fuel prices before we have accepted your booking, however, we guarantee our prices who have already signed up for your tour.

Festival Dates

[11th November 2017: Black-necked Crane Festival]

[It’s always advisable to contact us 3 or 4 months in advance. You decide dates depending on your plan of travel, however, time your arrival to coincide the festival dates indicated above]

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