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Bhutan History, Culture & Colorful Festival Tour

Highlights of Dragon Kingdom with Festival

12

Days

CULTURE

Bhutan History, Culture & Colorful Festival Tour Trip Map, Route Map
Trip highlights
Festivals, Weekend Market, Monuments, local homes etc.

This trip commemorates the spirit of Bhutan, the magnificence of its old ways, where you go back in time on a comprehensive cultural odyssey, for a glimpse of traditions and customs fast disappearing from the rest of the Himalayan world. Gigantic mountains covered with thick primeval forests, the generous and welcoming attitude of its unassuming people who have not rejected their spiritual heritage for modern ways; all makes for a unique cultural experience.

As you visit the country’s impressive whitewashed Dzongs (fortress-monasteries) that are thriving centers of worship and culture, and meet the people as you travel through the countryside, you’ll see how the past remains an integral part of the very vibrant present. One of the highlight is the Tsechu, a religious festival, an exuberant and earthy affair featuring fancifully costumed dancers performing masked dance-dramas before hundreds of onlookers. Mingling with the locals in this joyous celebration, a highlight of their social calendar – is a unique honor, bestowed to only a limited number of visitors each year.

Outline Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Paro. 
Arrive by flight into Paro. Upon arrival you are met by Bhutanese Guide and driver and transferred to the hotel. Depending on your arrival time, we should be able to cover some sightseeing such as the National Museum, Rinphung Dzong and have time to stroll in the charming small town of Paro.
Overnight hotel in Paro.

Day 2 & 3: Punakha & Wangdue Valley.
Three-four hours journey to Wangdue/Punakha valley via 10,000ft Dochula pass. From the pass you can see panorama view of snow capped peaks of eastern Himalayan range (weather permitting). We descend through changing vegetations and landscape into semi-tropical Punakha valley. During our stay visit the impressive Punakha Dzong fortress located at the confluence of Pho and Mo Chu Rivers. We’ll take an easy walk in the valley, visit some of its monasteries, villages, take short drives and enjoy this idyllic countryside dotted with farm houses and terraced hillsides.
Overnight hotel in Punakha.

Day 4 & 5: Jakar (Bumthang).
We have a long drive (7hrs) traversing Pele la pass into Mangde/Trongsa region and then across Youtongla pass to arrive in Bumthang district. We will make occasional stops along the way to ease the long journey. We have a full day to explore by easy walks and short drives. Among others visit Kurjey Temple complex, the 7th century Jampay Lhakhang and Tamshing Lhakhang monastery. We also have visit Jakar Dzong, local village, and visit Kharchu Dratsang monastery, during their active evening debate or communion prayers. You can also sample some local buckwheat dishes during your stay in Bumthang.
Overnight hotel in Jakar.

Day 6: Jakar – Trongsa.
Retrace short drive back to Trongsa. En-route, stop in Bumthang’s chumey valley, where we check-out Yathra weavers. Then crossing Youtongla pass, descend into Trongsa. Visit Trongsa’s dzong. Set above the dzong is the Ta Dzong, the watchtower, a lovely old building which has been recently renovated to houses an excellent museum with several floors of royal memorabilia and sacred artifacts. The views from the roof are well worth the climb. In the evening stroll around the town.
Overnight hotel in Trongsa.

Day 7: Gangtey, Phobjikha Valley.
Our journey brings us back to Pele la pass, passing through several small towns and alpine settlements, with spectacular views. After short decent, our road makes a diversion off the main high-way to Gangtey. Famous as a main wintering ground for Black Necked Cranes, which arrive here late October and stay until early spring before heading back to their breeding grounds in Tibet and Siberia. Visit ancient Gangtey Gompa, one of the oldest Nyingma monastery, located atop the hill. Then walk along the nature trail, a footpath encircling the winter roosting grounds of the cranes.
Overnight hotel in Gangtey. (Total 4-5hrs drive)

Day 8: Gangtey – Thimphu.
Backtracking our drive back through ever changing vegetations to Punakha and Wangdue valley. From Punakha, climb up to Dochula pass, for one more opportunity to take in a magnificent mountain vista. Enjoy the views over cuppa near the pass in cafeteria. This evening, we should have sometime available to visit great Tashicho Dzong and stroll along the main street of the capital.
Overnight hotel in Thimphu. (Total 6+hrs drive).

Day 9: In Thimphu.
Thimphu is an attractive valley location and is relatively small for a capital city that has grown greatly in recent years. We have a full day to tour and visit the capital of Bhutan as per interests. Drive up to giant Buddha statue, visit Memorial Chorten, Takin Preserve, Zilukha nunnery, Traditional Art School, Hospital for traditional medicine, National Library, Textile Academy and Museum, Changlimithang ground where you may see Archery, Centennial farmers’ market, which is more vibrant over the weekend (Fri-Sun) or you can spend half day hiking to Cheri or Tango Monastery north of Thimphu. You can decide these activities with you guide when you are here. Overnight hotel in Thimphu

Day 10: Thimphu – Paro.
Today is another easy day. We will cover any remainder sightseeing of Thimphu in the first half of the morning and then drive to Paro, which takes only about an hour. Along the way, we will stop to visit a nunnery in Sitsina village and depending on your interest, we can also stop to walk across the river and visit Tamchoe Lhakhang temple. Upon arrival in Paro, visit Dzongdrakha, a group of temples and farmhouses located along the cave. Then in afternoon visit beautiful Kichu Lhakhang, and Dungtse temple, followed by visit to local village, including a visit to local farm house.
Overnight hotel in Paro

Day 11: Paro (Hike to Takstang).
After breakfast, head north of the town (1/2 hr) to the trail head for hike uphill to the iconic Taktsang (tiger’s nest) monastery, perched some 600m/2,000ft up on a cliff overlooking the valley. It is said to be where the legendary Guru Padma Sambhava, flew from Tibet on the back of a tigeress to subdue the demons, who were opposing the spread of Buddhism in Bhutan. Descend the same way back, meet the vehicle and transfer to the hotel. After freshen up, you may wish to take one more visit in the town, before your farewell dinner.
Note: For those looking to take up more challenging hike, one can climb up further uphill to visit Zangdopelri temple and Ugyentsemo monastery.

Day 12: Departure.
Transfer to the airport in time for your departure flight.

  • Group Size Private trip with your own group

  • MealsAll Meals including evening Tea.

  • Trip AccommodationOur set of hotels are tourist standard, designed to meet the western guest needs. In some places, where there are opportunity to upgrade, we avail, such as Tashi Namgay Resort and Hotel Druk (4*) in Paro and Thimphu respectively.

  • RouteParo, Thimphu, Punakha, Wangdue, Gangtey, Trongsa, Jakar

  • Trip Type Cultural Tour

  • Trip SeasonsSpring (March -May) and Fall (Sept -Nov) are ideal not just in term of weather but also some prominent festival fall during this period. Although tour can run throughout the year however during july & August, It can get wet due yto monsoon. You may see snow in high passes during Dec & Jan but valleys are usually devoid of it.

  • Best MonthsJanuary, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December

Prices & Dates

Cost on Request

Included

  • Bhutan Royalties, tourists fees, Visa fees.
  • Accommodations in listed or similar hotels (Best A class hotels available).
  • All meals.
  • All transfers and sightseeing with entrance fees.
  • Local English Speaking Tour leader/Guide.

Not included

  • Flights into and out of Bhutan
  • Travel/Medical Insurance
  • Personal expenses such as bar/beverages, optional tips, gifts etc

Accommodations


Hotels in Thimphu

Hotels in Paro

Hotels in Punakha

Hotels in Phobjikha

Hotels in Trongsa

Hotels in Jakar

Trip Guide/Leader


  • Namgay

    Namgay

  • Kinley Tenzin

    Kinley Tenzin

  • Sonam Loday

    Sonam Loday

  • Sonam Pelden

    Sonam Pelden

Reviews / Testimonials

  • Oliver D L
    France
    Jan 1970
    randonnée au Tiger Nest: magique! ( randonnée au Tiger Nest: magique!)
    5 " " TID 681 Bhutan Tour (12.11.13 - 23.11.13) Rating of the Trip Below: 1 means "far under our expectations" 2 means "under our expectations" 3 means "responding to our expectations" 4 : "above our expectation" 5 : "far above our expectations" General rating of the trip : 4 1) Bhoutan Guide Yeshi : 4. Commentaires intéressants. Très prévenant et

    randonnée au Tiger Nest: magique! TID 681 Bhutan Tour (12.11.13 - 23.11.13) Rating of the Trip Below: 1 means "far under our expectations" 2 means "under our

  • Mrs Kjersti E
    Vakaasveien 88b,Hvalstad,Norway
    Jan 1970
    We had a wonderful time in Bhutan, and experienced Wind Horse as a very reliable and no fuss company ( We had a wonderful time in Bhutan, and experienced Wind Horse as a very reliable and no fuss company)
    5 " " TID 639 Engehaugen & Party from March 27-April 07,2013 Dear Ugen, We are very satisfied with our Bhutan-tour, and we hope we will get a opportunity to go back. My family and I (ages 29-55) traveled in Bhutan for 11-12 days in spring (March - April) 2013. We chose Wind Horse as

    We had a wonderful time in Bhutan, and experienced Wind Horse as a very reliable and no fuss company TID 639 Engehaugen & Party from March 27-April 07,2013 Dear Ugen, We are very satisfied with our Bhutan-tour, and we hope we

  • Mario & Families
    Portugal
    Apr 2018
    2 weeks seemed enough, but at the end we would gladly spend another 2, there’s so much to see and experience ( 2 weeks seemed enough, but at the end we would gladly spend another 2, there’s so much to see and experience)
    5 " " TID 647 Mario & Families 17.04. 2013 to 30.04. 2013 Hi there Wind Horse. Portugal’s calling. Me and family, we've spent last 2 weeks of March travelling around Bhutan. 2 weeks seemed enough, but at the end we would gladly spend another 2, there’s so much see and experience. Many thanks to: Ugen

    2 weeks seemed enough, but at the end we would gladly spend another 2, there’s so much to see and experience TID 647 Mario & Families 17.04. 2013 to 30.04. 2013 Hi there Wind Horse. Portugal’s calling. Me and family, we've spent last

  • Salmeron Family
    Madrid, Spain
    Jan 1970
    Bhutan is a wonderful country and the people is really kind ( Bhutan is a wonderful country and the people is really kind)
    5 " " Bhutan Tour Sep 21 -Oct 02, 2009 Hi Ugen, We are back in Spain from our trip, and we just wanted to say thanks a million for everything!! Bhutan is a wonderful country and the people is really kind. The guide and the driver were very friendly and very professional, and

    Bhutan is a wonderful country and the people is really kind Bhutan Tour Sep 21 -Oct 02, 2009 Hi Ugen, We are back in Spain from our trip, and we just wanted

  • Donald J S & Amy B
    New York City, USA
    Oct 2008
    we both found the trip to be “very satisfying”. This was our first trip to Bhutan, and one day it would be lovely to return to explore the country more. ( we both found the trip to be “very satisfying”. This was our first trip to Bhutan, and one day it would be lovely to return to explore the country more.)
    5 " " Dear Kinga & Chimi, We hope that you are both well and it was a pleasure to meet you. Thanks again for the very kind gift of the kira, it was a lovely thought. We're now safely back in New York, going through our photographs of our trip and recalling

    we both found the trip to be “very satisfying”. This was our first trip to Bhutan, and one day it would be lovely to return to explore the country more. Dear Kinga & Chimi, We hope that you are both well and it was a pleasure to meet you. Thanks

  • Brenden MC
    Queanbeyan, NSW, Australia
    Nov 2007
    The trip was great and met all our expectations, the guide & driver were also very good ( The trip was great and met all our expectations, the guide & driver were also very good)
    5 " " Hi Ugen, The trip was great and met all our expectations, the guide & driver were also very good and went out of their way to ensure that we saw all that we wanted to. We had dinner in Thimphu with Anand and he checked throughout the trip that all was

    The trip was great and met all our expectations, the guide & driver were also very good Hi Ugen, The trip was great and met all our expectations, the guide & driver were also very good and went

  • Michele Taylor
    Portland Oregon
    Jan 1970
    All the Wind horse staff were knowledgeable, professional, and helpful. ( All the Wind horse staff were knowledgeable, professional, and helpful.)
    5 " " Steve and I had a fantastic time in Bhutan. It was the highlight of our 5 week Asia Trip. All the Wind horse staff were knowledgeable, professional, and helpful. I will be sure to recommend Wind horse to my friends. Thank you again for organizing our trip on such short

    All the Wind horse staff were knowledgeable, professional, and helpful. Steve and I had a fantastic time in Bhutan. It was the highlight of our 5 week Asia Trip. All

  • Mellisa Carp
    New York,
    Jan 1970
    Thank you for all you did to arrange our trip! I had the most wonderful time in Bhutan. ( Thank you for all you did to arrange our trip! I had the most wonderful time in Bhutan.)
    5 " " Bhutan Oct 2006 Thank you for all you did to arrange our trip! I had the most wonderful time in Bhutan. It was such an honor to be in a country with such a rich culture, sensible policies, warm people, and beautiful environments. During my stay I felt very joyful and

    Thank you for all you did to arrange our trip! I had the most wonderful time in Bhutan. Bhutan Oct 2006 Thank you for all you did to arrange our trip! I had the most wonderful time in Bhutan.

  • Laura Lee Wilkins
    828 NW 21st Ave
    Jan 1970
    The guide and all accommodations were excellent ( The guide and all accommodations were excellent)
    5 " " The guide and all accommodations were excellent; the sights were among the best I've ever experienced--in over 40 years of travel around the world.

    The guide and all accommodations were excellent The guide and all accommodations were excellent; the sights were among the best I've ever experienced--in over 40 years of

  • Carol C
    U.S Dipolmat, Cambodia
    Jan 1970
    The visit renewed my faith in humanity that a place as special as Bhutan can exist in this world. ( The visit renewed my faith in humanity that a place as special as Bhutan can exist in this world.)
    5 " " Private Tour of Bhutan in May 2005 Both Joyce and I LOVED Bhutan, and our guide and driver. There were a few minor suggestions that we wrote down to give to the office in Bhutan, but all in all, we both enjoyed ourselves immensely. The visit renewed my faith in humanity

    The visit renewed my faith in humanity that a place as special as Bhutan can exist in this world. Private Tour of Bhutan in May 2005 Both Joyce and I LOVED Bhutan, and our guide and driver. There were a

  • Lolita M. Tavano
    New York, USA
    Jan 1970
    We enjoyed the whole experience very much. ( We enjoyed the whole experience very much.)
    5 " " Just wanted to let you know that our trip was fabulous. We enjoyed the whole experience very much. The guides were all wonderful. Since we spent most of our time in Bhutan, I wanted to let you know that our guide Chokie and our driver Lol took very good care

    We enjoyed the whole experience very much. Just wanted to let you know that our trip was fabulous. We enjoyed the whole experience very much. The guides

  • Dr. Bernard & Michaela Segall
    Pennsylvania, USA
    Jan 1970
    we formed an appreciation for the Bhutanese way of life ( we formed an appreciation for the Bhutanese way of life)
    5 " " TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN This is to inform you that our trip to Bhutan met all our expectations, particularly due to our guide and our driver, who escorted us with care and difference. The accommodations were the best Bhutan could offer wherever we went and the food preparation showed a

    we formed an appreciation for the Bhutanese way of life TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN This is to inform you that our trip to Bhutan met all our expectations, particularly due

  • Simone Desjardins
    Alberta, Canada
    Jan 1970
    I have found all the employees at Wind Horse to be very professional and helpful ( I have found all the employees at Wind Horse to be very professional and helpful)
    5 " " I have found all the employees at Wind Horse to be very professional and helpful. Very quick service. Highly recommended!

    I have found all the employees at Wind Horse to be very professional and helpful I have found all the employees at Wind Horse to be very professional and helpful. Very quick service. Highly recommended!