Date: 10-18 Dec 2017
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 – HAA
Day 02: HAA – PARO
Day 03: PARO – THIMPHU
Day 04: THIMPHU – PUNAKHA (Druk Wangyel Festival)
Day 05: PUNAKHA
Day 06: PUNAKHA – THIMPHU – PARO
Day 07: PARO (hike to Taktsang Monastery)
Day 08: PARO – THIMPHU – PARO (National Day celebration)
Day 09: DEPART PARO
DRUK WANGYAL FESTIVAL 2017
Date: 10-18 Dec 2017
10 Dec 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 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, 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. Before dinner at the hotel there will be an orientation on Bhutanese etiquette by your guide.
Overnight at Lechuna Heritage Lodge (if rooms are available) or at hotel in Haa
11 Dec DAY 02: HAA VALLEY TREK – PARO
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.
Overnight at your hotel in Paro.
12 Dec DAY 03: PARO – THIMPHU
After breakfast, drive to the capital, Thimphu (1.5 hours) 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 12th century Changangkha Temple, 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 chilies, 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 hotel in Thimphu.
13 Dec DAY 04: THIMPHU – PUNAKHA (Druk Wangyal 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.
14 Dec DAY 05: 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 hotel in Punakha.
15 Dec DAY 06: 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 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 hotel in Paro.
16 Dec DAY 07: 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, visit 7th Century Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the 108 temples constructed by the Tibetan king Songtsen Gampo.
Difficulty: Moderate to Hard.
Overnight at hotel in Paro.
17 Dec DAY 08: PARO – THIMPHU – PARO (National Day Celebration)
Today will drive to Thimphu after an early breakfast to witness National Day celebration in Thimphu at Changlimithang ground with local people. Bhutan celebrates 17th of December as its National Day every year. The day came to be celebrated as the National Day after Gongsar Ugyen Wangchuck was enthroned as the First Hereditary Monarch of Bhutan on 17 December 1907. After many interesting cultural and sports activities, the day will end with a Tashi Lebay praying for many more such days in the future. In fact, we all prayed for even happier and more glorious days for Bhutan and the Bhutanese. Drive back to Paro.
Overnight at hotel in Paro
18 Dec DAY 09: DEPART PARO
Breakfast in the hotel, then drive to the airport for flight to your onward destination.
9 Days Bhutan DRUK WANGYAL FESTIVAL
Date: 10-18 Dec 2017
LAND Price per person in SGD
Price is subjected to changes without prior notice
- 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
- 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
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.
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
|Thimphu||Bhutan Suites / Hotel Jumolhari||Hotel Druk Namgay Heritage|
|Punakha||Meri Puensum Hotel or option for homestay||Uma|
|Paro||Tenzinling Resort / Tashi Namgay Resort||Uma / Hotel Zhiwaling|
|Upgrades to 4 & 5 Star hotels can be booked for an additional nightly charge.|
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
• 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.