Dochula Festival Tour

Duration: 7 Days, 6 Nights.
Locations: Thimphu, Paro, Punakha, Wangduephodrang valley.
Type of Tour: Cultural tour/Adventure/Hiking/festival/Buddhism.

Highlight:
Visit to the Tashichho Dzong,Memorial stupa,Ta Dzong (National Museum), Punakha Dzong, Worlds tallest bronze Buddha statue, Tigers nest hike,  Dochula mountain pass, Fertility temple, participate in celebrating the famous Dochul Druk Wangyel festival at 3150 metrs mountain pass.

Description:

Druk Wangyel Festival is an annual festival held on December 13th at the Druk Wangyal Lhakhang Festival Ground located at Dochula Pass around 22km from the capital city Thimphu. Dochula Pass is one of the most scenic locations in the entire kingdom, offering a stunning panoramic view of the Himalayan mountain range. Set amidst this breathtaking backdrop, the Dochula Druk Wangyal Tsehchu is an experience unlike any other and truly exemplifies Bhutanese cultural traditions.

Day 01: Arrive Bhutan

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 farmhouses 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 Yelha Bhutan Tours & Travels (Bhutan tour operator) who will be your Bhutan travel guide throughout your tour.

Check into your hotel in Paro and after refreshments, 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 armor.
  • Rinpung Dzong built in 1645 to defend the valley against Tibetan invaders. The Dzong is now being used as an administration center and school for monks.
  • Visit Kichu temple, one of the 108 temples built in the 7th century by the Tibetan King Songsten Gampo.
  • The story goes that a giant demon lay across the whole area of Tibet and the Himalayas and was preventing the spread of Buddhism. To overcome her, King Songtsen Gampo decided to build 108 temples, which would be placed on all the points of her body. Of these 108 temples, 12 were built in accordance with precise plans. Thus, it happened that in about the year AD 638 the temple of Jokhang in Lhasa was built over the very heart of the demon.
  • Overnight at hotel in Paro.

Day 02: Paro & A Day Hike to Taktsang Ghoempa (Tiger’s Nest Monastery)

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 viewpoint will take around 1 ½ hours and from there you will enjoy a spectacular 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 Thimphu.

  • Drive to Thimphu. Distance: 54 km
  • Estimated driving time: 1 hr

Day 03: Thimphu Sightseeing

After breakfast travel the full day Thimphu tour includes visit to the following:

  • 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..
  • 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.
  • The National Library, housing an extensive collection of priceless Buddhist manuscripts.
  • 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 temples in Thimphu.
  • Takin Preserve 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 (vegetables, fruits, cereals, spices, wild vegetable collections, livestock products, etc) and free interaction with local people who come shopping to this market, especially on weekends.
  • After 5PM we will visit the Tashichhodzong, “the fortress of the glorious religion”. This is the center 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

Overnight at a hotel in Thimphu.

Day 04: Thimphu-Punakha/Wangdue

  • Distance: 71 km
  • Estimated driving time: 2 1/2 hrs

After breakfast, drive to Punakha via the Dochula pass. An hour’s drive from Thimphu will take you to this pass (3140 m) where one can have a superb view of the Eastern Himalayas on a clear day with a powerful binocular telescope. Dochula Festival will be held here at the Mountain pass.

Visit the beautiful 108 chortens built on the hill by Her Majesty Ashi Dorji Wangmo for the security and well being of His Majesty the King of Bhutan. Also visit Druk Wangyel Temple which was built to honor His Majesty, the fourth king Jigme Singye Wangchuck. The past and future appear to merge in the details of the temple that tells the story of a supreme warrior figure whose vision pierces the distance future.

We will drive to Mesina to visit the Fertility temple. Walk through the Metshina Village and take a 20-minute walk through the rice fields to the Devine Madman’s Monastery-Chhimi Lhakhang, famously known for its fertility shrine, where couples unable to conceive come here for blessing.

Overnight at hotel in Wangdue/Punakha.

Day 05: Punakha Valley.

Today after Breakfast we will drive onto Punakha, the old capital of Bhutan and presently the winter residence of the central monk body. We will drive to upper Punakha via Punakha Dzong for a short Hike to Khamsum Yuelley Temple located at the upper Punakha Valley.

Later we will visit the magnificent Punakha Dzong. The Temple of Happiness. Visit the Dho Jha Gha Lam Temple, located on the island of the Pho-Chu (male) river and the Mochu (female) river.

After Lunch drive to Wangdi valley and walk through the town.

Evening in Punakha.

Day 06: Wangdue –Paro (Stop on route for the famous Dochula Festival)

  • Distance: 110 km
  • Estimated driving time: 3:30 Min.

After breakfast, we will drive to Paro but on way we will stop at Dochula Mountain Pass for the Famous Dochula/ Druk Wangyel Festival. It is one of the most popular attraction/festival in Bhutan and held once on December 13th.

The festival is very unique and beautiful and it’s a good rare opportunity to see the Kings, Queens and the Royal Family close.

After the festival we will drive to Paro valley. Overnight rest in Paro.

Day 07: Departure from Paro

In the morning tour guide from Yelha Bhutan Tours will escort you to the Paro airport for your flight to your onward destinations.

Tour Cost including Bhutan Visa Fees (Not including Bhutan air fare)

High Season: March, April, May, September, October & November
Single traveler: US$ 1660 per person
2 person: US$ 1480 Per person
3 plus person: US$ 1420 per person

Low Season: January, February, June, July, August & December
Single traveler: US$ 1360 per person
2 person: US$ 1240 Per person
3 plus person: US$ 1180 per person

Tour Discounts:

  • No charge for children under 5 years. 50% discount for children in age group 6-12 years and accompanied by their guardians:
  • 25% discount on daily rates to full time students below the age of 25 years with valid identity cards
    50% discount on daily rates to one person in a group of 11 to 15 people.
  • 100% discount to one member in a group exceeding 26 persons.

Please Note: The rate may go higher depending upon the nature of services desired beyond specified details above

Air Fare

  • Bangkok-Paro-Bangkok = US$ 660
  • Singapore-Paro-Singapore = USD$ 860
  • Delhi –Paro-Delhi = USD$700
  • Kolkata-Paro-Kolkata= USD$410
  • Kathmandu-Paro-Kathmandu = USD$410

(Note airfares are subjected to change as per the notice by Druk Air and Bhutan Airlines)

Airfare Discount

  • Infant under the 2 years pay 10% of airfare plus relevant taxes.
  • A child’s between 2-11 years inclusive of 67% of the quoted fare.
  • Full time Students under the age of 25 years with identity cards may receive discount up to 25%.

Included

  • Deluxe rooms on twin sharing basis.
  • Meals (Breakfast; Lunch; Dinner, Tea/Coffee with snacks as and when required)
  • Accommodation in the best 3-4 star Resorts/hotels in Bhutan.
  • Brand new Bus, SUVs’ (not exceeding 4-5 years)
  • 1 complimentary Bhutan air ticket if group exceeds 17 Pax
  • Tea, coffee and snacks during the long drive and tour.
  • Complimentary 1 Hour cultural program and farewell dinner for 8 plus pax.
  • All Trekking Equipments (2 men sleeping tents, Kitchen Tents, Dining tents, Toilet Tents, Cooking Utensils etc.
  • Trekking Guide and trekking cook along with supporting staffs
  • Medical Facilities on free of cost (consulting doctors & medicine)
  • Mineral water on long trips both on trek and cultural tours
  • Museum fees and other special entry fees.
  • A sustainable tourism Royalty of $65. This Royalty goes towards free education, free healthcare, poverty alleviation, along with the building of infrastructure.

Excluded

  • Airfare
  • Laundry/Drinks / Telephone calls and any personal expenses.
  • Travel Insurance (Recommended but not available in Bhutan)
  • Excess baggage charges.
  • Single room supplement USD$40 per night.
  • Tips and Gratuities