Blacked Necked Cranes Festival-7 Days

Description:

To the villagers, the annual arrival of black-neck cranes is an event that holds great significance. As well as heralding the beginning of winter, some believe these endangered birds to be the reincarnation of two deities who are said to be protectors of this beautiful valley.

When both arriving and leaving, these graceful birds will circle the Gangtey Goempa three times. To the locals, this represents the honor of the three sacred jewels of Buddhism and the request and gratitude for their protection and care during their stay. 

The Black-necked Crane Festival is held every year in Phobjikha on November 11th, coinciding with the birth anniversary celebrations of His Majesty the King Organized by Royal Society for Protection of Nature (RSPN) and the Phobjikha Environment Management Committee (PEMC), the festival started in 1998 and aims at spreading awareness on the cranes and the traditions as well as culture of local people.

ITINERARY OVERVIEW
  • Day 01: Arrive Paro, – Thimphu (Kingdom of Bhutan)
  • Day 02: Thimphu Sightseeing
  • Day 03: Thimphu – Punakha & Wangduephodrang
  • Day 04: Punakha – Gangtey (Festival November 11th)
  • Day 05: Gangtey to Paro
  • Day 06: A Day Hike to Paro Taktsang Goempa
  • (Tiger’s Nest Monastery)
  • Day 07: Full Day Sightseeing in Kathmandu
DETAILED PROGRAM
Day 01: Arrive Bhutan
  • Altitude: 2248 meters.

Fly into Paro by Druk Air, Bhutan’s National Airline. The great snow-capped peaks of the inner Himalayas rise up to the heavens can be seen during clear weather. As the plane approaches Bhutan, if you look down farm houses as dots on the hillsides can be seen.

As the aircraft enters the Paro valley, you will see Paro Dzong on the hillside overlooking the Paro Chu (river), with Ta Dzong, formerly a watchtower and now the National Museum, above it. You will be received by the representative of Bhutan, who will be your Bhutan travel guide throughout your tour.

Visit the following:

  • Ta Dzong built in the 17th century as a watchtower for the Paro Dzong. This dzong was converted into the National museum in 1967 and is filled with antique thankha paintings, textiles, weapons and amour.
  • Rinpung Dzong built in 1645 to defend the valley against Tibetan invaders. The Dzong is now being used as administration center and school for monks.
  • Drive to Thimphu. Distance: 54 km
  • Estimated driving time: 1 hr
  • Drive to Kuensel Phodrang and take a short leisure hike to the Kuensel Phodrang Nature Park and enjoy the full view of Thimphu Valley below.
  • Visit Buddha Point and offer your prayers to the largest Buddha statue in the country and walk around to enjoy the great view of Thimphu valley below.
  • National Memorial Chorten, chorten literally means ‘ seat of faith’ and Buddhists often call such monuments the ‘Mind of Buddha’. Meet the elderly generation in circumambulation at the National Memorial Chorten.

Overnight at a hotel in Thimphu.

Day 02: Thimphu Sightseeing

After breakfast Thimphu sightseeing’s includes the following:

The Institute for Zorig chusum (commonly known as the Painting School) where students undergo a 6-year training course in Bhutan’s 13 traditional arts and crafts.

  • Visit Changankha Lhakhang. (Changankha Lhakhang is one of the spiritual and most important temple in Thimphu.
  • Takin Preserve center which houses the national animal- takin which is found only in Bhutan. Takin is an extremely rare member of goat family.
  • Craft Bazaar where artisans and craftsmen from across the country come to sell their products.
  • Centenary Farmers’ Market (open from Thursday to Sunday) where farmers sell their farm produces.

After 5 PM we will visit the Tashichho Dzong, “the fortress of the glorious religion”. This is the centre of government and religion, site of the monarch’s throne room and seat of the Je Khenpo or Chief Abbot.

Built in 1641 by the political and religious unifier of Bhutan, Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, it was reconstructed in the 1960s in traditional Bhutanese manner, without nails or architectural plan night halt in Thimphu

Day 3.Thimphu To Punakha
  • Altitude: 1,300 meters
  • Distance: 71 km
  • Estimated driving time: 2 1/2 hrs

Dochula Pass-the 108 chortens was built by the present Queen Mother of Bhutan Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck to commemorate Bhutan’s victory over indian militants and to liberate the souls of the lives lost.

Dochu La Nature Hike – Hike through the deep forest of Rhododendrons, Magnolia and Juniper for more than 2 hours to the Botanical Garden at the bottom. Beautiful hike to see the flora that Dochu la has to offer. Punakha Dzong – Built in 1637, the Dzong continues to be the winter home for the clergy, headed by the Chief Abbott, the Je Khenpo.

It is a stunning example of Bhutanese architecture, sitting at the fork of two rivers, portraying the image of a medieval city from a distance. The dzong was destroyed by fire and glacial floods over the years but has been carefully restored and is, today, a fine example of Bhutanese craftsmanship.

Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten – Built by the third Queen Mother Ashi Tshering Yangdon Wangchuck this Chorten is a splendid example of Bhutanese architecture and art and is the only one of its kind in the world. It has been built over eight and a half years in its details have been drawn from religious scriptures.

Day 4.Punakha To Gangtey (Crane Festival)
  • Altitude:2900meters
  • Distance: 78 km
  • Estimate driving distance:2 hrs

The Valley of Phobjikha is well known as the winter home of the Black necked crane (Grus Nigricollis). Bhutan is home to around six hundred black necked cranes with Phobjikha being one of the popular places that the birds migrate to in the winter months from the Tibetan plateau. The elegant and shy birds can be observed from early November to end of March.

Overlooking the Phobjikha valley is the Gangtey Goempa.

This is an old monastery that dates back to 17th century.In the morning, we join the local in their Crane Festival. The valley of Phobjikha is well known as the winter home of the Black necked crane (Grus Nigricollis). Bhutan is home to around six hundred black necked cranes with Phobjikha being one of the popular places that the birds migrate to in the winter months from the Tibetan plateau. The elegant and shy birds can be observed from early November to end of March.

Overlooking the Phobjikha valley is the Gangtey Goempa. This is an old monastery that dates back to 17th century. Nature Hike along the valley of
Phobjikha Nature Hike along the valley of Phobjikha Black-Necked Crane Information Centre, which has informative displays about the cranes and the valley environment.

You can use the centre’s powerful spotting scopes and check what you see against its pamphlet ’Field Guide to Crane behaviour’.

If the weather’s iffy you can browse the library and handicraft shop, and watch videos at 10am and 3pm (Nu 200). This is also the centre of the valley’s fledgling ecotourism initiative and they can arrange mountain-bike hire (Nu 700 per day), a local guide (Nu 300), an overnight stay in a local farm house (Nu 500) or lectures on the local ecosystem.

Overnight at Gangtey valley.

Day 5: Gangtey To Paro
  • Altitude: 2,280 meters
  • Distance: 190 km
  • Estimated driving time: 4 hrs 45mins

We can go for a hiking through the beautiful Phobijkha valley and interact with the locals, visit some farm houses and stop for photography while driving back to Paro valley.

Our lunch stop will be at nobding restaurant and after relaxing we will drive to Punakha valley where we can stop for tea and toilet breaks. Another stop will be at Druk wangyel cafeteria and view point where we will stop for 30 minutes.

Overnight in Paro

Day 6.Hike To Tiger Nest Monastery.
  • Altitude: 3120meters
  • Distance:5 km
  • Estimate driving time: 10 mins

Today after breakfast, we will drive to base of Taktsang and hike up to Taktsang Monastery, also known as ‘Tiger’s Nest’. The climb up to the view point will take around 1 ½ hours and from there you will enjoy a amazing view of the monastery clinging to the side of the cliff. Stop for refreshment at the View Point Cafeteria then walk further up to the monastery which will take about 1 hour.

It is said that in the 8th century Guru Rinpoche flew on the back of a tigress from eastern Bhutan to this place and meditated in a cave here for 3 months. The principal Lhakhang (monastery) of the present monastic complex dates from 1692. Taktsang was damaged severely by fire in 1998 but has now been fully restored to its former glory.

After visiting the monastery, walk back down to the road on the way stop for lunch at the view point cafeteria and then walk further down to the road point. Then drive back to hotel.

On the way, in the evening relax and overnight at a hotel in Paro.

Overnight in Paro

Day 7.Departure From Bhutan.

In the morning, your tour guide from Yelha Bhutan Tours & Travels (local Bhutan travel agent) will escort you to the airport for your onward destinations.

we hope to provide the ultimate best value for all our guests. We choose some of the finest hotels, offer free upgrades to make our visitors feel the most welcomed and well-taken care of while traveling in Bhutan. We take pride in providing first class accommodations for our travelers.

A wide variety of accommodations are available ranging from luxurious 5-star hotels to cozy little hotels, homestays in traditional Bhutanese homes to camping under the stars. Visitors can be assured of comfort, ambiance and hospitality.

The types of accommodations can be divided into:

  • Government Categorized 3 Star Hotels and Resorts
  • Luxurious 4 Star Hotels & 5 Star International Hotel Chains
  • Village Homestay
  • Camping
  • Government Categorized 3 Star Hotels & Resorts

Hotels in Bhutan are rated according to a National 5 Star rating System. All Tour Operators are required to provide their guests with Government Categorized Hotels and Resorts, a minimum of 3 Star accommodations so you can be assured of your comfort. Most hotels provide their guests with Basic Necessities, Room Service, Free Wi-fi, Television and some of them also have Fitness Centers and Spas

Luxurious 4 Star Hotels & 5 Star International Hotel Chains

The luxury packages are based on 4 star luxury hotels and 5 star International Hotels Chain (Aman Kora, COMO Uma, Zhiwaling, Le Meridien and Taj Tashi) with extra charges in addition to the Mandatory Daily Tariff of USD $250/person/night.

Village Homestay

Visitors also have the option of spending a night in a traditional Bhutanese Farm House with a Bhutanese family. Agriculture is still one of the major sources of livelihood among the Bhutanese people and a farm-stay will give you an excellent glimpse into the day-to-day life of a typical Bhutanese family. You’ll be able to observe age old Bhutanese farming traditions as the family goes about its daily tasks. You’ll enjoy delicious home-cooked meals and the unparalleled hospitality of a Bhutanese host.

Camping

There’s nothing like camping in some of the most breath taking landscapes of Bhutan. Visitors embarking on long treks will be provided with tents and whatever other camping equipment is deemed necessary. Regardless of where you stay, visitors can be assured of their comfort and traditional Bhutanese hospitality.

What is included in this tour?

  • Wedding ceremony in Bhutanese style
  • Tours specified in the itinerary
  • Accommodation in 4 star hotel/ Complimentary Deluxe rooms.
  • Meals (Breakfast; lunch; dinner, mineral water) as per your choice
  • Transportation within Bhutan (Toyota Hiace Bus/High roof)
  • Services of experienced and licensed culture tour guide
  • Museum fees and other special entry fees
  • US $ 10 per pax for Tourism Development Fund
  • Visa fee of US$ 40 per person
  • Tax and government royalty

 

Whats not included in this tour.

  • Air fare
  • Travel and health Insurance( All medical facilities in Bhutan is free )
  • Laundry, telephone, mobile, fax and Internet bills (Hotels in Bhutan provide free wifi facilities)
  • Tips for guide and driver
  • Alcohol, beverages in resorts.
  • Shopping and Entertainment

How can we confirm our Bhutan visa and tour?

Your Bhutan Visa and Bhutan tour will be 100% confirmed once the company receives your full payment. You will receive you Bhutan Visa and confirmed tickets 24-48 hours after you transfer us the full tour payment.

 

When is the best time to travel Bhutan?

You can visit western Bhutan (Thimphu, Paro, Punakha and Wangduephodrang) anytime of the year. Avoid central and eastern Bhutan during the monsoon months of July and August when the weather is sometimes a little wet for sightseeing

 

Would we need travel insurance?

All visitors in Bhutan are advised to get their insurance coverage from their own country.

 

Is a tipping standard practice in Bhutan?

Yes, tipping is a standard practice in Bhutan and it is part of a Bhutanese culture. All your service staff such as guide, driver, hotels staff will expect tips from you at the end of the service.

 

What kind of travel guides can we expect?

Licensed Bhutanese travel guides will introduce you to the many facets of this interesting country. The English-speaking guides undergo regular training and, where required, specialized guides will lead you on bird watching, botany or other special tours.