11 Days Druk wangyal Festival

Paro Airport

Haa Valley

Haa Valley

Haa Valley Trek

Haa Valley Trek

Haa Valley Trek

Thimphu

Bhutan Mask

Punakha

Paro

Taktsang Monastery

Date: 09-19 Dec 2018

Witness the celebration of traditional Bhutanese culture and faith and Druk Wangyel Festival held in the ground of Druk Wangyel Lhakhang located at Dochula Pass against a stunning vista of Himalayan peaks. This Bhutan tour also explores all of the highlights of Bhutan’s western valleys, including the famous Taktsang Monastery at Paro, Punakha Dzong, and the many sites of Bhutan’s capital, Thimphu.

“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
Day 02: PARO: HAA VALLEY TREK
Day 03: PARO: Taktsang Monastery TREK
Day 04: PARO – THIMPHU
Day 05: THIMPHU – PUNAKHA – Festival
Day 06: PUNAKHA
Day 07: PUNAKHA – BUMTHANG
Day 08: BUMTHANG
Day 09: BUMTAHNG – GANGTEY
Day 10: GANGTEY – PARO
Day 11: DEPART PARO

DAY 01: ARRIVE PARO 
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. Then proceed for 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.  Overnight at your hotel in Haa.

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

DAY 03:  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.

DAY 04: 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.

DAY 05: THIMPHU – PUNAKHA (Festival)
Leave Thimphu early after Breakfast up to Dochu-La pass (3,100 meters) to attend the spectacular Druk Wangyel Festival (45 Minutes drive, 22 km). Set amidst this breathtaking backdrop of Himalayan Mountains, the Druk Wangyel Tsechu is an experience unlike any other and truly exemplifies Bhutanese cultural traditions. The Druk Wangyel Lhakhang was built over a period of four years (2004-2008) under the vision and patronage of Her Majesty the Queen Mother Ashi Dorji Wangmo. The Lhakhang honors the courageous service of the Fourth King, who personally led the troops against the insurgents, as well as the regular Armed Forces of the country. The Druk Wangyel Tshechu is a unique festival performed by the Royal Bhutan Army rather than monks or lay people. It is a tribute to the wise leadership ofHis Majesty Jigme Singye Wangchuck, the Fourth King of Bhutan. It also celebrates the continuous efforts of the Royal Bhutan Army in protecting the sovereignty and the stability of the country.

Afterwards drive towards the Royal Botanical Park at Lamperi, which is situated at an altitude range of 2,100m to 3,800m. The park (47 square kilometers), serves as the biological corridor connecting to the Jigme Dorji National Park and Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park.Continue on to Punakha where you will have the remainder of the day at leisure. Stroll around Punakha town in the evening.

Overnight at your hotel in Punakha.

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

DAY 07: PUNAKHA – BUMTHANG
After breakfast, check out and start our drive to Central Bhutan – passing Wangdue, one of the major towns and district capital of Western Bhutan. Located south of Punakha, Wangdue is the last town before central Bhutan. The district is famous for its fine bamboo work and its slate and stone carving. We will pause to view the Wangdue Phodrang Dzong. Built in 1638, Wangdue Dzong is dramatically perched on the spur of a hill and overlooks the confluence of the Tsang Chu and Dang Chu rivers.

Overnight hotel in Bumthang

DAY 08: BUMTHANG
Bumthang is one of the most spectacular valleys in Bhutan and also the heartland of Buddhism in Bhutan. It is an area with a wide variety of fauna and flora. The Guru Rinpoche and his lineage of Tertons (treasure finders) making Bumthang his home have led to more than 40 temples being built in this peaceful valley.

Places of visit or do are:
– Tamshing Goemba hike, built in 1501 by the Buddhist saint Pema Lingpa.
– Thangbi Lhakhang hike, built in the 14th century via an unpaved road
– Me-Bar Tsho (Burning Lake), one of the most sacred sites in Bhutan
– Ugyen Choling Palace, about 2 hrs drive & 1hr hike, where we can spend nights in the owner’s guesthouse or in the Dzong

Overnight in hotel or Ugyen Choling’s Guesthouse/ Dzong in Bumthang

DAY 09: BUMTHANG – GANGTEY
On return journey to Paro, we stop-by Trongsa, the ancestral home of the ruling dynasty. We can visit the impressive fortress of Trongsa Dzong, the museum of Taa Dzong before resting the day at Gangtey.

Overnight at hotel in Gangtey

DAY 10: GANGTEY – PARO
Early morning, travel to Phobjikha Valley. 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.
Spent some time in the valley before we continue our drive to Paro. On arrival in Paro, check into the hotel.
Overnight at your hotel in Paro.

DAY 11: DEPART PARO
Breakfast in the hotel, then drive to the airport for flight to your onward destination.

11 Days Bhutan DRUK WANGYAL FESTIVAL 2018
Date: 09-19 Dec 2018
Price per person in SGD

Tour Code:BHU-DW11123-78-15Single
Economy5658537848784538498
Business6418613856485308498

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.