07 Days Thimphu Festival

Paro Airport

Thimphu

Bhutan Mask

Punakha

Paro

Taktsang Monastery

Thimphu Tsechu is one of the grandest of the Tsechus of Bhutan attracting the largest number of locals and international visitors. It is held during autumn at Tashichhoedzong. Thimphu Tsechu was established by the 4th Temporal Ruler, Tenzing Rabgay in 1670.

Highlights

  • Attend the grandest festival of Bhutan at Tashichhoedzong
  • Discover some of the most sacred Buddhist monasteries and temples in the Himalayas.
  • Visit many cultural attractions including medieval fortresses (Dzongs), markets and museums.
  • Marvel at the elaborate and ancient wall paintings and carvings in Dzongs and temples.
  • Traverse beautiful landscapes from lush valleys to dense forests
  • Hike up to the famous Taktsang Monastery, perched on a cliff 900m above the valley floor.

Itinerary & Cost

Day 01: ARRIVE PARO – THIMPHU
Day 02: THIMPHU Festival
Day 03: THIMPHU
Day 04: THIMPHU – PUNAKHA
Day 05: PUNAKHA – THIMPHU – PARO
Day 06: PARO: hike to Taktsang Monastery
Day 07: DEPART PARO

THIMPHU FESTIVAL 2016

Date: 11-17 Oct 2016

11th Oct DAY 01: ARRIVE PARO – THIMPHU

The flight to Paro is one of the most spectacular mountain flights in the world, with a constantly changing panorama of some of the highest mountains on earth. Our Bhutan representative will meet you at Paro airport exit doors following customs formalities.

After lunch enjoy afternoon sightseeing around Paro, including a visit to the Ta Dzong Museum housing many religious relics, works of art and handicrafts offering a great orientation into Bhutan’s historical, cultural, and religious past. Next, visit the Rimpong Dzong to see the painting of the great saint Milarepa, considered as the master of meditation by the Bhutanese and believed to have attained enlightenment in a lifetime. Dzong’s are large monasteries and district administrative centres, which were once strategic forts. Afterwards, drive to the capital, Thimphu (1.5 hours) following the Pachu River. Before dinner at the hotel there will be an orientation on Bhutanese etiquette by your guide.

Overnight at your hotel in Thimphu.

12th Oct DAY 02: THIMPHU

After breakfast, drive to Tashichhodzong to attend the Thimphu festival. You will see locals dressed in their finest clothes who have walked from miles around to attend the festivities. They come to watch masked dances, to pray, and to feast. While the underlying purpose of the festival is spiritual, dances are more often like plays, telling stories where good triumphs over evil, or depicting significant historical events, especially surrounding the life of Bhutan’s patron saint, Padmasambhava (also known as Guru Rinpoche). There is inevitably a great deal of socialising as well.
Tashichhodzong, ‘the fortress of the glorious religion’. Initially erected in 1641 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, it was rebuilt in the 1960s during the reign of Bhutan’s third king in the traditional style, without plans or nails. Tashichhodzong houses some ministries, His Majesty’s secretariat, and the central monk body.

Overnight at your hotel in Thimphu.

13th Oct DAY 03: THIMPHU

Enjoy a morning of sightseeing, including a visit to 12th century Changangkha Temple, and the National Memorial Chorten depicting the Buddhist faith in the form of paintings and statues. This temple was first initiated by the Third King as a protection from the negative elements of modernisation, and as a monument to world peace. The Royal Queen Mother completed it as a memorial stupa for the Third King who passed away in 1972.

In the afternoon return to Tashichhodzong to further experience the colourful events of the Thimphu festival.

Overnight at your hotel in Thimphu.

14th Oct DAY 04: THIMPHU – PUNAKHA

Drive over the Dochu-La pass (3,100 meters), which on a clear day offers an incredible view of Himalayan peaks before descending into balmy Punakha valley (about 3 hrs total driving time). The drive through the countryside affords a glimpse of everyday life in this most remote of Himalayan kingdoms. In the Dochu-La area there are vast Rhododendron forests that grow to tree size and bloom in late April/early May covering the mountains in a riot of glorious spring colour.

Punakha was the ancient capital of Bhutan. On arrival, visit Punakha Dzong, the “Palace of Great Happiness” built in 1637 by the Shabdrung, the ‘Unifier of Bhutan’. It is situated at the confluence of the Mo Chu and Pho Chu (Mother and Father Rivers) and is the winter headquarters of the Je Khenpo and hundreds of monks who move en masse from Thimphu to this warmer location. The three story main temple of the Punakha Dzong is a breathtaking example of traditional architecture with four intricately embossed entrance pillars crafted from cypress and decorated in gold and silver. It was here in 1907 that Bhutan’s first king was crowned.

After lunch, enjoy a walk to Chimi Lhakhang, temple of the Drukpa Kuenly who is also known as the Divine Madman. He inherited the Divine Madman title since he revolted against the orthodox Buddhism in his time. He taught the people that religion is an inner feeling and it’s not necessary that one should be an ordained monk. He is also considered a symbol of fertility and most childless couples go to his temple for blessing.

Overnight at your hotel in Punakha/ Wangduephodrang.

15th Oct DAY 05: PUNAKHA – THIMPHU – PARO

In the morning drive to Yabesa village and hike to through ricefields and up to Khamsum Yueley Namgyal Chorten, built by her majesty the queen Ashi Tshering Yangdon Wangchuk. Perched high on a hill on the bank of the river, the Chorten houses paintings belonging to Nyingmapa Traditions.

Drive back to Thimphu where you will visit The National Library housing the collection of Bhutanese scriptures dating back to the 8th century and a fascinating replica of a medieval farmhouse at the Folk Heritage Museum. You will also have an opportunity to visit handicraft and souvenir stores. If your visit to Thimphu coincides with the weekend, you can walk through the Thimphu Market to see the variety of food of Bhutan, including basket upon basket of fiery chillies, fresh cheese and a variety of fresh greens. In addition, many stalls contain Bhutanese handicrafts and household items.

Afterwards proceed to Paro, On arrival in Paro, check into the hotel.

Overnight at your hotel in Paro.

16th Oct DAY 06: PARO

After breakfast hike to Taktsang Monastery. The trail is broad and the walk of approximately 2 hours uphill takes you almost a kilometre above the Paro valley floor (for those who cannot hike we will arrange a horse for transfer up to the viewing point). The view of Taktsang Monastery built on a sheer cliff face 900 metres above the valley floor is a spectacular sight. The Monastery is also an important pilgrim site for the Buddhists. The great Guru Rimpoche is said to have flown here on the back of a tigress when he brought the teachings of the Buddhist Dharma to Bhutan in the 8th Century. He then mediated in a cave there for three months where the monastery was later built. Nearby there is a teahouse where you can stop for refreshments.

In the afternoon drive to the ruins of the 17th Century Drukgyel Dzong, an historic monument built by the Shabdrung to commemorate his victory against invading Tibetans in 1644. In fine weather the towering peak of the sacred Mount Jomolhari (7314m) appears as a stunning backdrop. On the return drive to Paro, visit 7th Century Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the 108 temples constructed by the Tibetan king Songtsen Gampo.

17th Oct DAY 07: DEPART PARO

Breakfast in the hotel, then drive to the airport for flight to your onward destination.

07 Days Bhutan Thimphu Festival

Date: 11 – 17 Oct 2016

LAND Price per person in SGD

Tour Code:BHU-TF07123-67-15Single
Economy3858375832383138288
Business4778467841584058288

Price is subjected to changes without prior notice

Price includes

  • Return Airfare + taxes by Druk Air (Singapore – Paro – Singapore) in Economy or Business Class as per choice
  • Bhutan Tourist Tariff Royalty & Visa fees
  • All private excursions and transfers in superior air-conditioned vehicle.
  • Local English speaking guide/tour leader.
  • Experienced driver.
  • Accommodation in carefully selected, highest standard goverment approved hotels & guesthouses.
  • All meals in Bhutan
  • All entrance fees and permits.
  • Briefing prior departure
  • 15% discount for gears at X-Boundaries

Price excludes

  • All other airfare & taxes not mentioned
  • Personal gears
  • All personal expenses such as bars, beverages, laundry, telephone and tips.
  • Travel Insurance
  • Any costs arising out of unforeseen circumstances such as bad weather, landslides, road conditions and any other circumstances beyond our control.
  • Hotel Upgrade such as COMO Uma Hotel
  • Meals and drinks in the upgraded hotel such as COMO Uma Hotel

 

Please Note
The itinerary is intended as a guide only. Local conditions and weather may necessitate variations to the program and can affect the availability of views and panoramas described. Be aware that all times stated are approximate, and may vary with individual and group fitness.

If you have any special dietary requests, please let us know in advance.

Throughout your stay you have the option to participate in a range of extra Outdoor Activities at an additional charge.

Travel Insurance

It is strongly recommended that you be insured against medical and personal accident risks (including repatriation costs, air ambulance and helicopter rescue services) and that you also take out cancellation insurance and Travel Agency Insolvency.

You should be aware that some policies restrict coverage or do not cover travel to Bhutan and may not cover activities such as trekking (and mountain bike). Please ensure that your policy provides a sufficient level of protection and covers you for the activities involved. You must carry proof of insurance (e.g. your insurance certificate) with you to Bhutan.

Travel to Bhutan

X-Trekkers handles the whole booking process on your behalf, including Druk Air / Bhutan Airlines flights. However, the price of flights may or may not be included in the package and it is therefore advisable to book well in advance to secure seats. We also handle visa application processing (included in the package). It normally takes 2 to 3 weeks to process the visa but under some circumstances, we can accelerate the process.

CITYStandardUpgrade Option
ThimphuBhutan Suites / Hotel JumolhariHotel Druk Namgay Heritage
PunakhaMeri Puensum Hotel or option for homestayUma
ParoTenzinling Resort / Tashi Namgay ResortUma / Hotel Zhiwaling
Upgrades to 4 & 5 Star hotels can be booked for an additional nightly charge.

Flight Schedule

Singapore – Paro        Tuesdays, Thursdays & Sundays
KB501   SINGAPORE (SIN) – PARO (PBH)          0630   1050  (1 stopover)

Paro – Singapore        Mondays, Wednesdays & Saturdays
KB500    PARO (PBH) – SINGAPORE (SIN)        0720   1540  (1 stopover)

From 15 May 2016 to 31 August 2016
Singapore – Paro       Thursdays & Sundays
KB501   SINGAPORE (SIN) – PARO (PBH)          0630   1050  (1 stopover)

Paro – Singapore        Wednesdays & Saturdays
KB500    PARO (PBH) – SINGAPORE (SIN)        0750   1610  (1 stopover)

For Bhutan trip booked and subsequent cancellation, the following applies.

• More than 30 days from date of travel ~ 25% of total price

• 15-29 days from date of travel               ~ 50% of total price

• 1-14 days                                                     ~ 100% of total price

A SGD 200 administration fee will be payable for each traveller’s cancellation. Please note there will be additional cost for airticket amendments.

Reservation

A deposit of S$ 2000 per person is required upon confirmation and the balance must be paid in full 30 days prior to the departure date. Non-payment by required date may result in the cancellation of your booking and subjected to cancellation charges.

Each person is required to signup online at http://www.x-trekkers.com/activity-registration

Kindly note that we and the local guide reserve the rights to make decision, in your best interests or in the best interests of the group participating in the trek. In the event of cancellation of activity beyond our control such as adverse weather conditions and other similar conditions that compromises the safety of your group and the guide, no form of compensation will be given.

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