Paro Festival (Tshechu)

Duration: 11 Days, 10 Nights.
Locations: Thimphu, Paro, Punakha, Wangduephodrang valley,Trongsa, Phobjikha, Bumthang.
Type of Tour: Cultural tour/Adventure/festival/rural farm house/hiking tour.

Highlight:
Visit to the Fertility temple,Kurje Lhakhang at Bumthang,national museum at Trongsa,Thangbi temple,Jakar valley,Trongsa dzong , Tashichho Dzong,Memorial stupa,Ta Dzong (National Museum), Punakha Dzong, Worlds tallest bronze Buddha statue, Tigers nest hike, 7th Century Jampa Lhakhang, Dochula mountain pass,paro festival etc.

Description:
The Paro Festival is one of the most popular festivals in Bhutan which begins on the 10th day of the 2nd month of the Bhutanese calendar and ends on 15th day of the 2nd month of the Bhutanese calendar. Paro Valley is a historic town with many sacred sites and historical buildings scattered through the area. It is said that the chipdrel ceremony of escorting the chief abbot of the monk body, Penlop and the mask dances are introduced by Penlop Dawa Penjor. Penlop Tshering Penjor is also said to have introduced many Peling chams such as Ngaging, Driging and Juging etc. He himself is a descendant of Pema Lingpa’s lineage. The traditions set up by these earlier leaders are still intact and people in the valley still revere the Tshechu.

People come in with their best garment and food both for religious and socialization purposes. Nowadays, the tourists add to both the number and variety of people attending the Tshechu. Thongdrel “deliverance from hell by the sight of it or attainment of nirvana by the sight of it” on the 5th day of the

Tshechu, is a masterpiece of silver embroidery of Guru Rinpoche, his eight manifestations and two consorts.It is brought to Dayangkha at 3 am and displayed covering the entire three storied building and taken away by 7 am before the sun breaks, in case the sunlight decolonize the great religious piece. Maximum number of people is seen on this day.

Besides the Paro valley and the festival, this tour will also visit Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan and the Punakha, Wangdue, the glacier valley of Phobjikha, holy valleys Bumthang which is also known as Switzerland of the east.

Day 01: Arrive Paro

  • Altitude: 2.280 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 farmhouses as dots on the hillsides can be seen.

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. 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.
• Then walk down to Rimpung Bridge (Traditional Bridge), oldest bridge in Bhutan.
Overnight at a hotel in Paro.

Day 02: Paro Festival – Thimphu

  • Altitude: 2,350m / 7,710ft
  • Distance: 54 km
  • Estimated driving time: 1 hrs

After Breakfast visit the Paro Dzong where the masked dance-dramas, Bhutanese all dressed in their traditional finery witness the age-old, wonderfully colorful and of this typical Buddhist festival are going on. Be amongst throngs of Bhutanese from the Paro valley and from outlying villages of esoteric Religious masked dance-dramas performed by specially trained groups of Buddhist monks.

DAY 03: Thimphu sightseeing.

• Visit the weekly Thimphu market.
• Change money at the Bhutan National Bank
• Visit the Thimphu Post office.
• Visit the Arts and crafts school and the Traditional Medicine Institute.
• Visit Memorial Chorten.
• Observe traditional paper making from Daphnia and Edgeworthia
• Visit the Takin rehabilitation center.
• Drive up to viewpoint and take a hike beyond to see the clear picture of Thimphu Valley.
• Downtown Thimphu on foot visiting Handicrafts Emporium and other Arts & Crafts stores. Buy stunning kiras which can be used and bed covers or wall decoration, jewelry’s and many more.

Day 04: Thimphu to Punakha

  • Altitude: 1200 meters
  • Distance: 70 km
  • Estimated driving time: 3 hrs

After breakfast we will drive to Punakha Valley.Visit Dochula Druk wangyel temple situated at 3150 meters above sea level.
We will continue drive down into the Punakha valley. Hike to Chhime Lhakhang , an ancient monastery near Punakha, dedicated to fertility and founded by Lam Drukpa Kuenley. Overnight in Punakha.

Day 05: Drive to Trongsa Valley

  • Altitude: 2,300m/7,545ft.)
  • Distance: 129 km
  • Estimated driving time:5 hrs

After breakfast we will visit the famous Punakha Dzong
Later we will continue our drive to Trongsa valley. Trongsa is the ancestral home of Bhutan’s Royal Family. Trongsa Dzong (fort), one of the largest in the country was first built is 1648 and later enlarged many times. Because of being situated on a highly commanding position on the only connecting route between the eastern and western sectors.(Optional Visit the Trongsa Dzong and Ta Dzong “National Museum “on the same day or visit the sites in the morning ) Check in for Overnight at Hotel.

Day 06: Trongsa to Bumthang

  • Altitude: 2,055 m to 3,422 m
  • Distance: 68 km
  • Estimated driving time:3 hrs

The drive to Bumthang takes 2-3 hrs. Tales of the great Guru Padmasambhava dominates this holy valley. Overnight at Bumthang.

Day 07: Bumthang Sightseeing.
Bumthang is very spacious and open ranging in altitude from 2,600m to 4,000m. Bumthang is a heaven for hikers and trekkers, not to mention the numerous beautiful and important Buddhist monasteries and pilgrimage sites, making it the Cultural and Historic center of Bhutan.

Bumthang is combined of four main valleys, Chumey, Tang, Ura and Choekor (Jakar). Commonly known as Jakar valley where you can see a little bit of modern touch with Swiss Influences. Visits to the important cultural and historic sites in the special valley. Overnight Bumthang.

Day 08: Bumthang to Phobjikha

  • Altitude: 2,900m /9840 ft
  • Distance: 202km
  • Estimated driving time: 7 1/2hrs

After breakfast we will drive to the beautiful Gangtey and Phobjikha valley. Visit the Gangtey Gompa monastery and hike through the valley after reaching Phobjikha.Overnight Phobjikha at Hotel.

Day 09: Phobjikha- Paro.

  • Altitude: 2,900m /9840 ft
  • Distance: 218 km
  • Estimated driving time: 7 hrs

After breakfast, travel to Gangtey Gompa. Visit Gangtey Gompa, which now houses one of the only Nyingmapa monasteries in Bhutan. Later drive back to Paro Valley.Lunch at Punakha. Overnight at Paro.

Day 10: Paro Taktsang hike.
After breakfast, drive up to the base camp of Taktsang and then hike up to the most famous Monastery in the entire kingdom of Bhutan perched on the edge of a steep cliff, about 900 meters above Paro Valley.

The hike to the viewpoint will take about an hour and it will take 2 hours to the monastery. Lunch at the viewpoint. Afterwards visit the famous 7th century Kyichu Lhakhang..
Farewell dinner with in the evening. Overnight at a hotel in Paro.

Day 11: Fly from Paro.
After breakfast at the hotel, we will transfer you to the Paro International airport.
Tashi Delek!

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

High Season: March, April, May, September, October & November
Single traveler: US$ 2672 per person
2 person: US$ 2372 Per person
3 plus person: US$ 2272 per person

Low Season: January, February, June, July, August & December
Single traveler: US$ 2172 per person
2 person: US$ 1972 Per person
3 plus person: US$ 1872 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