Punakha, Bhutan Festival Tour 2016
In almost every district and dzong (fortress that houses both the monastic body and the government administrative wings) there is an annual traditional festival (tsechus). The festival normally spans 3-4 days. Colourful and well choreographed mask dances are performed during the tsechus. During these tsechus, people come dressed in the finest attires to witness the mask dances. It is also an occasion during which families come out together and eat together. Punakha festival is one of the popular and unique festivals in Bhutan. So we can arrange this fixed departure travel for the Punakha Festival or it's popularly call as Punakha Dromchey! Please book this trip at least 4 months ahead.
12 - 19 February 2016, fixed departure!
Day 1 Arrive Paro - Thimphu
Day 2 Thimphu sightseeing
Day 3 Thimphu - Punakha
Day 4 Punakha Festival (Tsechu)
Day 5 Punakha - Phobjikha Day Excursion
Day 6 Punakha - Paro Sightseeing
Day 7 Paro - Taktshang hike
Day 8 Paro - Flight Departure
12 - 19 February 2016, fixed departure!
Day 1. Arrive Paro - Thimphu
Your flight to Paro will provide you a wonderful experience with a view of various high snow capped mountains of Bhutan and Mt. Everest on a clear day. Upon arrival at Paro, our representative from Bhutan Travel Adventures will receive you at the Airport. Drive to Thimphu for about an hour. After checking in at the hotel you could have rest for a while, and later walk around the city to see the life of urban Bhutan or the capital city. Overnight stay at the hotel in Thimphu.
Day 02. Thimphu hiking & sightseeing
After breakfast drive for half an hour (12 km) towards north of Thimphu valley and then you will have to hike for almost 2 hours to and fro.
Tango Goemba (monastery): Lama Gyalwa Lhanampa founded the monastery in the 12th century. The present building was built in the 15th century by the Divine Mad Man “Drukpa Kuenly”. In 1616 Shabdrung Nawang Namgyel visited Tango Goemba and meditated in a cave nearby. Today Tango is the residence of an important young Trulku (reincarnate lama) who is recognized as the 17th reincarnation of highly respected forth Desi, Gyalse Tenzin Rabgye, whose previous reincarnation passed away in 1830. Also at present the monastery serves as the prestigious Buddhist University for the monks of our state religion. Hike back all downhill and drive back to the city for lunch.
And then visit the folk Heritage museum, to see the house of living traditions in some of the rural areas or the living house in olden days. Drive to Buddha point to see one of the world’s largest statues of the Buddha. And visit the mini zoo to see the Takins which is our national animals. Visit the Memorial stupa which was built in the memory of our beloved 3rd King in1974. Overnight halt at the hotel in Thimphu.
Day 03. Thimphu - Punakha
After breakfast drive to Punakha for 2 ½ hours with short stop at Dochula pass (3100 meters). If the weather is clear, you could have a superb view of the Bhutan’s Himalayas from the pass. Upon arrival in Punakha, check into the hotel first.
After lunch visit a farm house to see how people live with their subsistence farm in the rural village. You can taste their traditional Butter tea with local homemade snacks, and taste Ara which is a distilled local wine. Nighthalt stay at the hotel in Punakha.
Day 04. Attend Punakha Festival (Drupchen)
After your breakfast drive to beautiful Punakha Dzong built in 1637 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal and see the festival with the local folks in the dzong. Based on the prophecy of Guru Padmasambava the dzong is situated between two famous rivers, Pho Chu (Male River) and Mo Chu (Female River).
Today there will be many local people dressed up with different finest silk cloths with intricate designs; particularly you will see many Bhutanese women wearing most expensive cloths with jewelries and ornaments during the festival. And you will see different religious mask dances and some folk songs during the day at the Punakha festival. Overnight stay at the hotel in Punakha.
Day 05. Punakha - Phobjikha , day excursion
Drive to beautiful Phobjikha valley for 2 hours. Phobjikha valley is a roosting place for the Blacked Necked Cranes in winter. Upon arrival at Phobjikha, visit the Crane Information Centre to see the cranes and take a short leisure walk around the valley which will give you a warm feeling of rural Bhutan as the valley is beautiful. And then drive back to Punakha in the evening. Overnight in Punakha.
Day 06. Punakha - Paro
Drive back to Paro for 4 hours and check –in at your hotel first. Have your lunch in one good restaurant in the town.
After lunch, you will visit the Paro Ringpung dzong built in 1646 and now serves as head of the administration for Paro district. And then, visit Kyichu monastery dating back to the 7th Century. This is one of the oldest monasteries in Bhutan built by Tibetan king Songtshen Gempo to pin down the ogress. Afterwards visit the historical Drugyel Dzong which is a ruin fortress now, built by Shabdrung in 1649 to commemorate the winning victory over the Tibetans in 1644. Thus Drugyel Dzong means the Bhutanese victorious fortress. Overnight stay in Paro.
Day 07. Paro - Taktshang hike
After your breakfast drive till the road end and begin your hike up hill. Walking time will be around 4 hours for a round trip.
Taktsang monastery is perched on the face of a cliff 800 Mts, above the Paro valley. It is a memorable spiritual journey. It was here that the great Tantric master, Guru Padmasambhava flew in from Tibet on the back of a flying tigress to propagate his teachings in Bhutan. If you cannot continue your hike inside the monastery, you can stop at the Cafeteria from where you can have a spectacular view of the Tiger's Nest. Lunch at the cafeteria, and hike back all downhill till you reach your car parked point. You can stroll around the town in the evening for your last minute souvenirs shopping. Overnight stay in Paro.
Day 08. Paro - Flight Departure
Our guide and driver will drop you at the airport for your departure
Tashi Delek, and have a pleasant flight back home!