Travel from Paro to Gangtey Gonpa to witness the Crane Festival, Black Mountains that separate eastern and western Bhutan, Phobjikha glacial valley, Nalakhar Tshechu in the cultural and spiritual heartland in Bumthang valley, the impressive Trongsa Dzong (a masterpiece of the Bhutanese architecture), glimpse of the Punakha-Wangdue Phodrang valleys, the Paro Taktshang (also known as Tiger’s Nest) and Thimphu - the young capital city of Bhutan still without traffic light in this 21st century.
Day 1: Arrive Paro
On arrival, you will be met by our representative and transferred to your hotel in Paro for an overnight stay. In the afternoon, we have included a half day hike to Paro Taktshang Monastery (Tiger’s Nest), a highlight of any visit to Bhutan. The monastery is perched on the edge of a steep cliff, about 900 m above the Paro valley and takes about a 2-hour climb on a well-maintained trail through beautiful pine forest, trees festooned with Spanish Moss and fluttering prayer flags. Legend has it that Guru Rinpoche flew to Paro Taktshang cliff in the form of Guru Dorji Drolo, mounted on a flaming tigress in the 8th century.
Day 2: Paro – Gangtey Gonpa, Phobjikha
Our journey today for a distance of 200-km for about 6-7 hours takes us to Gangtey via Wangdue Phodrang. En route visit the Wangdue Phodrang Dzong or the Radak Naktshang (village temple). Then continue the journey along the highway passing by the scenic Dangchhu river before climbing through forests of bamboo and oak and cross the Pelela pass into a hidden Phobjikha valley at an altitude of 3,000m. Visit the picturesque Gangtey Gompa (monastery) and perhaps stroll through the breathtaking Gangtey village. You’ll stay overnight in Gangtey.
Day 3: Crane Festival in Gangtey, Phobjikha
This morning you’ll witness the 13th Annual Black-necked Cranes Festival, held by the Royal Society for Protection of Nature (RSPN) in the courtyard of Gangtey Gompa in Phojikha valley. The main objective of this festival is to generate awareness and understanding among the local communities and visitors on the importance of conserving the endangered Black‐necked cranes. The programmes generally include cultural programs such as folk songs and masked dances performed by the local people, crane dance and environmental drama and songs by the school students. The set up of this festival gives you a great atmosphere with smaller crowds, more variety of programs and more opportunities for photography. Overnight in Gangtey.
Day 4: Gangtey Sightseeing
Today visit the Gangtey Monastery, the Black-necked Crane Information Center, the Khewang Lhakhang (Temple) and take in the Gangtey Nature Trail hiking or Village Walk in Lawog Valley. There are also the ecotourism activities to enjoy such as mountain biking with a local guide and lectures on the local ecosystem at an extra cost. Overnight in Gangtey.
Day 5: Gangtey – Trongsa
This morning we’ll travel a distance of 120-km for about 5 hours to Trongsa via Pelela Pass at an altitude of 3,300 m. This pass is an important dividing range that separates western from central and eastern Bhutan. The evening is at leisure to relax, enjoy and explore the Trongsa town at an altitude of 2,200 m. Spend the night in Trongsa.
Day 6: Trongsa – Bumthang
Today morning you’ll visit the Trongsa Dzong, the ancestral home of the present Royal Family where the first two Kings ruled from this dzong and also visit the Ta Dzong (ancient watch tower). After lunch, you’ll continue the journey for a distance of 68-km for about 2 hours to Bumthang, the most beautiful valley and cultural heartland in the Kingdom. En route we will stop for a quick visit to the Yathra Weaving Centre at Chumey, where they use yak and sheep wools for yathra products with patterns unique to Bumthang. The evening is at leisure to relax, enjoy & explore the delightful surroundings of Bumthang valley at an altitude of 2,600 m. Overnight in Bumthang.
Day 7: Bumthang Sightseeing
After breakfast, we set out for a full day sightseeing to experience more of this spiritual heartland of Bhutan. You will visit the following legendary monasteries, temples and dzong: the Jakar Dzong, the Jambay Lhakhang, built in the 7th century by the King Songsen Gampo of Tibet, the Kurjey Lhakhang, built in 1652 and named after the body imprint of Guru Rinpoche who introduced the Buddhism in Bhutan, the Tamshing Lhakhang, built in 1501 which is the most important Nyingma temple in Bhutan. If time permits, visit the famous Swiss Cheese Factory and Diary Farm in Bumthang. Overnight in Bumthang.
Day 8: Bumthang – Ura
This morning you’ll visit the Mebar Tsho (flaming lake) located along the way to Tang village, where the renowned treasure reveller, Terton Pema Lingpa, discovered treasures from the lake in the late 15th century. In the afternoon, enjoy some sightseeing and visit a temple in the Ura valley and drive back to Bumthang for an overnight stay.
Day 9: Nalakhar Tshechu (Festival)
A lovely early morning drive through farm road till the road end at Nalakhar and then a 15-minutes walk will take you to the festival ground in the remote Nalakhar village. Tshechu viewers dressed in their finest traditional clothes and jewellery from all over the Nalakhar villages come to witness the tshechu, mask and historical folk dances in colourful costumes. The festival is celebrated to bring happiness, better harvest and prosperity of the villages and country as a whole. In the evening return to Bumthang for an overnight stay.
Day 10: Bumthang – Thimphu
This morning depart Bumthang and drive a distance of 267-km for about 10 hours to Thimphu via Trongsa and Wangdue Phodrang. The journey passes through the awe-inspiring mountains and lush vegetation along the highway and will photo stops during the journey. Overnight in Thimphu.
Day 11: Thimphu Sightseeing
Today we explore a fascinating full day tour to see the best of Thimphu city at an altitude of 2,300 m. First stop is at the National Memorial Chorten, built in memory of the third King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk. Next, visit the 13th century Changgangkha Temple and the Folk Heritage Museum, a showcase of the Bhutanese artefacts used in rural households. Later, drive up to the Kuensel Phodrang (Buddha Point) offering a panoramic view of the Thimphu valley. After lunch, visit the Mini Zoo for Takin, the national animal of Bhutan and continue to the Centenary Farmer’s Market on the banks of the Wangchhu River selling farm produces, local arts and crafts, etc. Overnight in Thimphu.
Day 12: End of Tour
Your tour ends in Bhutan with a departure transfer to the Paro Airport for your onward journey. Your guide from Bhutan Green Travel will see you off. Goodbye and Good Luck!
Please note that one or more extra days during the festival can be arranged upon request. An extra payment of $15 will incur for the extension of visa.
[11th November 2012: Black-necked Crane Festival and 28th – 30th November 2012: Nalakhar Festival]
[11th November 2012: Black-necked Crane Festival and 17th – 19th November 2013: Nalakhar Festival]
[It’s always advisable to contact us 2 or 3 months in advance. You decide dates depending on your plan of travel, however, time your arrival to coincide the festival dates indicated above]
Disclaimer: Pins in map may not be accurate if Google Maps cannot find the exact address. In this case an approximation is made.
• Transfers to and from the airport
• Twin-sharing accommodation in 3-star hotels
• Upgrades to 5-star luxury accommodation available on request
• Camping equipment and haulage for trekking tours
• All meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner)
• Baggage handling at all hotels and camps
• Licensed Bhutanese English-speaking guided tours
• All entrance fees to museums and other attractions
• Comfortable transport within Bhutan
• All applicable internal taxes and service fees (including royalty)
• Mineral water
• Visa fees
Services Not Included
• International airfare (round-trip from hometown departure gateway to destination)
• Travel insurance
• Gratuities to guides and driver (we provide suggested guidelines)
• Single room supplement
• Beverages with included meals
• Other personal expenses
Peak Season [March, April, May, September, October & November]
• Solo Traveller: US$ 3148
• Group of two: US$ 3038 per person
• Group of three or more: US$ 2708 per person
Single Room Supplement [Not Included]
Peak Season [March, April, May, September, October & November]
• From US$ 40 – 50 per person per night