09 Days Changangkha Festival

Paro Airport

Haa Valley

Haa Valley

Haa Valley Trek

Haa Valley Trek

Haa Valley Trek

Thimphu

Bhutan Mask

Punakha

Paro

Taktsang Monastery

Date: 31 Oct – 8 Nov 2017

This unique festival takes place in Changangkha temple, the oldest temple in Thimphu. Built in 12th century, it is located on a ridge above central Thimphu, with a picturesque view west all the way along the vast Thimphu valley. It is a popular temple attracting a regular procession of pilgrims, and new parents seeking auspicious names for their newborns or blessings for their young children.

More intimate than the popular Thimphu Tsechu, this festival is an annual ritual, which begins with an appraisal to the local deity “Domsap” followed by masked dances and traditional forms of Bhutanese dance and entertainment. It is believed that everyone must attend a Tshechu and witness the mask dances at least once to in order to receive blessings and wash away their sins. Every mask dance performed during a Tshechu has a special meaning or a story behind it and are performed by Changangkha lamas.

Highlights

  • Witness unique dances and rituals performed by lay monks.
  • Join in with locals in a special occasion of celebration, blessings and socializing.
  • Attend prayer ceremony & light butter lamps at Chimi lhakhang temple
  • Discover some of the most sacred Buddhist monasteries and temples in the Himalaya.
  • Visit many cultural attractions including medieval fortresses (Dzongs), markets and museums.
  • Hike up to the famous Taktsang Monastery, perched on a cliff 900m above the valley floor.
  • Marvel at the elaborate and ancient wall paintings and carvings in Dzongs and temples.
  • Traverse beautiful landscapes from lush valleys to dense forests.
  • Haa Valley Trek

“Haa Valley” was only recently opened to tourism and has remained beautifully quaint and untainted by the influences of modern development. Experience Bhutanese hospitality at the beautifully restored Lechuna Heritage Lodge, engage in a variety of hikes that range from easy to moderate, or bike around the valley or riverside in this quiet location. Our experienced guides lead guests through the Haa and Paro Valleys on day walks, incorporating Taktsang “Tiger’s Nest‟ Monastery, and a wild hike to Kila Nunnery, between the two valleys.

Day 01: ARRIVE PARO – HAA
Day 02: HAA VALLEY TREK
Day 03: HAA – THIMPHU
Day 04: THIMPHU (Changangkha Lhakhang Festival)
Day 05: THIMPHU – PUNAKHA
Day 06: PUNAKHA
Day 07: PUNAKHA – PARO
Day 08: PARO (hike to Taktsang Monastery)
Day 09: DEPART PARO
CHANGANGKHA FESTIVAL 2017

 

Date: 31 Oct – 08 Nov 2017

31 Oct DAY 01: ARRIVE PARO – HAA

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 visit 7th Century Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the 108 temples constructed by the Tibetan king Songtsen Gampo where you will participate in a purification ceremony to bring you good luck on your journey.

Afterwards, we will depart for Haa, the westernmost valley in Bhutan. This is a beautiful drive that is relatively free of traffic. The road takes us back to Chuzom (river confluence) where we catch a glimpse of the three shrines in Nepali, Tibetan and Bhutanese style which were built to ward off evil spirits, and then traverses left past Dobje Dzong, an ancient prison which now houses a monastery. Picturesque and quaint villages dot the hillsides for the rest of our drive to Haa. Overnight at Lechuna Heritage Lodge (if rooms are available) or at hotel in Haa.

Overnight at your hotel in Haa.

01 Nov DAY 02: HAA VALLEY TREK

This unspoilt valley harks back to a simpler, more traditional time, and its wooded hills give us an ideal setting for hiking and mountain biking. There are several pleasant walking trails in Haa and biking on the virtually traffic free valley to visit local areas of interest and village homes is an enjoyable way to spend the day.

Start early for the drive to Chele La Pass (3,988m) from which on a clear day the view sweeps away to Bhutan‟s second highest peak, Mt Jhomolhari(7314m). Striding out along the Edelweiss covered ridge, we pass a sky burial site. We then descend for the two-hour hike through dense rhododendron forest, possibly sighting shaggy yaks, to Kila Goemba, an ancient nunnery nestled in a craggy patch on the mountainside below. Kila Goemba is a serene retreat for 32 Anims (Buddhist nuns) who lead an undisturbed life of religious studies, prayer and meditation. An hour‟s descent from the monastery and we are back at the road where we meet our vehicle for drive to Haa or Paro.

Difficulty: Moderate.
Picnic lunch
Overnight at your hotel in Haa/ Paro.

02 Nov DAY 03: HAA/ PARO – THIMPHU

After breakfast, drive to capital, Thimphu following the Pachu River. Once a rustic village sitting in a broad, fertile river valley, Thimphu is today the nation’s bustling capital. Enjoy a full day of sightseeing, including a visit to stunning Buddha Dordenma Statue, made of bronze and gilded in gold, 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 modernization, 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. Continue on to The National Library housing the collection of Bhutanese scriptures dating back to the 8th century and Tashichhodzong houses some ministries, His Majesty’s secretariat, and the central monk body.

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. (This market is open only from Friday until mid Sunday).

Overnight at your hotel in Thimphu.

03 Nov DAY 04: THIMPHU (CHANGANGKHA FESTIVAL)

Begin your day with attending the Changangkha Lhakhang Festival. The festival begins with an appraisal to the local deity “Domsap”, followed by a display of religious and cultural dances performed by monks from Changangkha wearing masks and elaborate costumes. Enjoy gathering with locals in this unique celebration of their faith and culture.

In the afternoon, we can visit the mini zoo (to see the national animal of Bhutan), Drupthob monastery (Zilikha nunnery), Folk Heritage Museum (a replica of a traditional living in Bhutan).

Overnight at your hotel in Thimphu.

04 Nov DAY 05: THIMPHU – PUNAKHA

Depart for Punakha, the ancient capital of Bhutan. The road takes you over Dochu-La pass (3,100m) where you will stop to walk around the 108 stupas and, if the weather is clear, enjoy an incredible view of Himalayan peaks. Before reaching Punakha, visit Royal Botanical Garden in Lamperi. The park features a variety of forest types, spectacular scenery, natural rhododendron groves, endangered wildlife and a lake. Declared over an area of 47 square kilometers, the park serves as a biological corridor connecting Jigme Dorji National Park and Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park.

Overnight at your hotel in Punakha.

05 Nov DAY 06: PUNAKHA

Punakha was the ancient capital of Bhutan. Visit Punakha Dzong, the “Palace of Great Happiness”. Built in 1637 by the Shabdrung, the ‘Unifier of Bhutan’, Punakha Dzong is situated at the confluence of the Mo Chu and Pho Chu (Mother and Father Rivers). It 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

06 Nov DAY 07: PUNAKHA – 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.

After lunch drive back to Thimphu where you will have an opportunity to visit handicraft and souvenir stores. Afterwards proceed to Paro, visiting Semtokha Dzong en route. The Dzong, built in 1627, is the oldest in Bhutan. It now houses the Institute for Language and Culture studies. On arrival in Paro, check into the hotel.

Overnight at your hotel in Paro.

07 Nov DAY 08:  PARO (TAKTSANG MONASTERY HIKE)

After breakfast we hike to Taktsang Monastery. The trail is broad and the walk of approximately 2 hours uphill takes us to Taktsang Monastery. Built on a sheer cliff face 900 metres above the valley floor, the monastery is a spectacular sight. It is also an important pilgrim site for the Buddhists. Legend has it that the great Guru Rimpoche flew 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, we drive to the ruins of the 17th Century Drukgyel Dzong, an historic monument built by the Shabdrung to commemorate his victory against marauding Tibetans in 1644. On the return drive to Paro, we can visit other remote monasteries in the valley.

Difficulty: Moderate to Hard.
Overnight at hotel in Paro.

08 Nov DAY 09: DEPART PARO

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

 

9 Days Bhutan Changangkha Festival

Date: 31 OCT – 08 Nov 2017

LAND Price per person in SGD

Tour Code:BHU-CF09123-78-15Single
Economy4648451838283698358
Business5418527845984458358

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

 

 

Notes

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.
Hotel
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)

Terms & Conditions

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.