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Chasing the Dragons (20 Oct-2 Nov 18) - 14 Days

monks wearing mask
Chasing the Dragons (20 Oct-2 Nov 18)
3485

Jambay Lhakhang Festival in Bhutan

The tour encompasses the most visited western regions of Thimphu, Paro, Punakha and Wangduephodrang and central Bhutan of Trongsa and Bumthang, the cultural heart land of Bhutan.

You will have comprehensive coverage of all things that are genuinely Bhutanese. Ranging from an idyllic village walk through clusters of farmhouses experiencing mouth-watering traditional dish such as Ema datse or Chilli cheese, witnessing a fearful game of archery, ascending to dizzying heights of Tiger’s Nest or gossiping with cheerful monks at the Dzongs and monasteries.

While in Bumthang, we witness Jambay Lhakhang Tsechu, the festival performed at the 8th century old monastery. At night, we mingle amongst the locals to witness naked dance performed at the outskirt of the monastery that is done to purify sins and augur a good harvest. We also see the fire ceremony, whereby crowds walk through the gate of huge fireworks – all these are meant to drive away evil spirits.

Day 1
20 OCTOBER, SATURDAY: ARRIVE PARO

On arrival in Paro, you will be received by Bhutan Travelers’ representative and transfer to hotel. In the afternoon, you can stroll freely in Paro town. Overnight hotel in Paro.

Day 2
21 OCTOBER, SUNDAY: PARO - THIMPHU

After breakfast, you will drive to Thimphu, the capital city of Bhutan. En route, stop at Chuzom (confluence) where Paro River joins Thimphu River. Check into your hotel on arrival. After lunch, you will visit the famous Centenary Farmers Market. Stroll through the market to see the variety of food of the country. In addition, many stalls contain Bhutanese handicrafts and household items. This is perhaps good opportunity for photography and to mingle with locals who comes from the nearby villages to sell their vegetables. Few minutes walk towards the south of Market is the Changlingmethang archery field. If you are lucky, you may catch a game of archery in progress. Overnight hotel in Thimphu.

Day 3
22 OCTOBER, MONDAY: THIMPHU

Full day of sightseeing in Thimphu valley. Visit the King’s Memorial Chorten, built in memory of the third King of Bhutan, the National Library, which holds collection of ancient Buddhist texts and manuscripts, the Arts School, known for its thangkha paintings and the Traditional Medicine Institute where indigenous healing arts are practiced. After a relaxing lunch, you will visit a traditional paper factory, giant Buddha Statue at Kuenselphodrang and the majestic Tashichhodzong, seat of the national government. In the evening, you can stroll through Thimphu town and absorb the lifestyle of the people. Overnight hotel in Thimphu.

Day 4
23 OCTOBER, TUESDAY: THIMPHU - PUNAKHA

After breakfast this morning, enjoy the scenic drive to Punakha with a stop for lunch at Dochu La Pass (3,100 meters), where on a clear day you can get spectacular views of the Himalayas. From the pass, drive downhill through the forests of rhododendron, fir and hemlock. You will arrive at Punakha after traversing through rice field and along the bank of Punakha River. On the way, you will stop at Metshina Village and take a 20-minute walk through the rice fields to Chimi Lhakhang, which is a fertility temple dedicated to Devine Madman or Lama Drukpa Kuenley. Receive a special fertility blessing from Lama’s wooden phallus if you wish. Overnight hotel in Punakha.

Day 5
24 OCTOBER, WEDNESDAY: HIKE TO KHAMSUM YULLEY NAMGYEL CHORTEN

In the morning, visit Punakha Dzong, the former capital of Bhutan, which is stunningly situated in between the male and female rivers like an anchored ship. Then you will drive 12 km north of Punakha Valley and from the road point, you will hike for 30 minutes Khamsum Yulley Namgyel Chorten, which is located on a beautiful hillock overlooking the villages. It contains elaborate paintings dedicated to old sect of Buddhism. Hike back and drive to Punakha. You can relax in the evening. Overnight hotel in Punakha.

Day 6
25 OCTOBER, THURSDAY: PUNAKHA - BUMTHANG

After breakfast you will drive to Bumthang, the cultural heartland of the country. The route is along a spectacular winding road, crossing 3,300-meter-high Pele La pass, and at certain times of year it’s possible to see yaks. You will stop in Trongsa for lunch. After lunch you’ll visit Trongsa Dzong, the masterpiece of Bhutanese architecture. Then you’ll proceed to Bumthang with lush valleys and hilly forests. Along the way you will stop at a yathra (textile weaving) factory, where the yathras are designed with patterns unique to Bumthang, and you can even watch some of the weavers at their looms. Check into hotel on arrival. Overnight hotel in Bumthang.

Day 7
26 OCTOBER, FRIDAY: JAMBAY LHAKHANG FESTIVAL

Enjoy full day of festival dances and celebrations with the people of Bumthang and nearby villages. Today you will stay awake till midnight to catch an unusual naked dance, which is considered pious and performed to sanctify the region and augur good harvest. Overnight hotel in Bumthang.

Day 8
27 OCTOBER, SATURDAY: BUMTHANG

Today’s sightseeing in Bumthang includes Jakar Dzong, the administrative center of the valley; Kurjey Lhakhang, one of the most sacred places, because Guru Rinpoche, a great 8th century spiritual master left his body imprint on the cave when he was meditating. From here you will hike through unpaved road to Thangbi valley crossing suspension bridge to visit the Thangbi Lhakhang built in 14th century. After lunch, you will also have a chance to tour Tamshing Lhakhang, a treasure house of interesting religious Buddhist paintings. In the evening you can visit local shops. Overnight hotel in Bumthang.

Day 9
28 OCTOBER, SUNDAY: EXCURSION TO TANG VALLEY

Today, you will make an enjoyable excursion to the Tang valley, which is the most remote valley in Bumthang. While in the Tang, you will visit 16th century Ugyen Chholing Palace or the country manor, which is now turned into a museum. The well-captioned exhibits offer insights into lifestyle of a Bhutanese noble family. You will also explore nearby villages. On the way back to town, you will see Mebar Tsho (Burning Lake), where some of Guru Rinpoche’s treasures were found in the 15th century by the famous treasure discoverer Pema Lingpa. Overnight hotel in Bumthang.

Day 10
29 OCTOBER, MONDAY: BUMTHANG - WANGDUE

You’ll begin the day at the Bumthang market, and then drive to Wangdue. Lunch will be served at Chendebji. Chendebji Chorten was built in 18th century by Lama Shida in Nepalese style with eyes painted at four cardinal points. Check into your hotel on arrival. Overnight hotel in Wangdue.

Day 11
30 OCTOBER, TUESDAY: WANGDUE - THIMPHU

Today you will return to Thimphu with a stop in Dochu La for tea. On arriving at Dochu La, visit the new Druk Wangyal Monastery, which is the only of its kind in the country with elaborate paintings depicting the lineage of the present monarchy and their visionary works. Continue drive to Thimphu and check into your hotel on arrival. Evening explore the interesting handicraft shops. Overnight hotel in Thimphu.

Day 12
31 OCTOBER, WEDNESDAY: THIMPHU - PARO

Today you will drive back to Paro. Check into hotel on arrival. After lunch, you can visit the Rinpung Dzong meaning “fortress of the heap of jewels”. Next, visit Kichu Lhakhang, the oldest temple in the country. From there you will be taken to the Drugyal Dzong (Bhutan Victory Fort), which was built in 1646 to commemorate Bhutan’s victory over Tibetan invaders during the 1600s. On a clear day you can see Mount Jumolhari, Bhutan’s second-highest mountain at 7,314meters. Overnight hotel in Paro.

Day 13
1 NOVEMBER, THURSDAY: HIKE TO TIGER'S NEST MONASTARY

Today you will hike to Taktsang or the “Tiger’s Nest” Monastery perched precariously on the cliff 900m above Paro valley. It is the most famous monastery in Bhutan. Guru Rimpoche, the 8th century spiritual master is said to have flown on the back of tigress to meditate in a cave where Taktsang Monastery now stands. Lunch will be served in the Cafeteria Restaurant, located about halfway up on the mountain. Explore the monastery, and if you wish, you can sit for a short meditation before you hike down to the valley floor. Overnight hotel in Paro.

Day 14
2 NOVEMBER, FRIDAY: DEPART PARO

Drive to Paro airport for departure.

Package Cost

  • 1 pax: US $ 3485 Per Person
  • 2 pax: US $ 3355 Per Person
  • 3 pax & above: US $ 2965 Per Person

Cost Includes

  • Government levy
  • All meals
  • Tea and snacks
  • Accommodations
  • Transport
  • Visa fee
  • Permits
  • Entrance fees
  • Guide services
  • Sightseeing

Cost Excludes

  • Air fares
  • Tips
  • Insurance
  • Drinks and beverages
  • Laundry
  • Phone / internet
  • Other personal bills.

Group size

To facilitate group dynamic we limit our group size to 12 people maximum. However we will run the trip even for FIT or one and two individuals.

Flights

Paro international airport in Bhutan is being connected to cities like Bangkok, Kathmandu, Singapore, Dhaka and Indian cities like Kolkotta, Guwahati and Bagdora. Local airlines Drukair and Bhutan Airlines services to and from these cities. For journey originating from Europe Delhi should be the best connection and Bangkok from America.

Hotels and meals

Bhutan has hotels ranging from international luxury chains like Aman Resorts, Hotel Uma, Taj Hotel, Le Meridian, Zhiwaling, Termalinca Resorts, Sixth Senses and other four and three star category hotels. Our package include star hotels only and supplement would require for upscale and luxury hotels. Good hotels are concentrated in touristic sites of western Bhutan and facilities and services become simpler travelling towards least developed eastern Bhutan.

Our hotels and restaurant serve choices of meals from continental, Chinese, Indian along with traditional Bhutanese menus. Vegetarian dishes are also served and on prior notice, you dietary needs can also be met if you have any dietary restrictions.

Car

We use comfortable cars as most of your road journeys are through windy lengthy roads. We use 4WD suv cars for FITs, Toyota Hi-ace and H-1 mini van for group of 4-6 people. For large group we use Toyota coaster buses.

Tour Guide

Our guides are knowledgeable, friendly and dynamic. They are equipped with knowledge on local history, Buddhism and current affairs. They are trained and certified by the government to lead groups.

When to book?

Bhutan has bottlenecks in trip planning. We have limited hotels and flights. You are advised to book at least 6 months in advance to secure flights and hotel rooms.

Visa and Passport

Tourist’s visas need to be arranged in advance through local tour operators. No foreign missions abroad grant tourists visa. You will have to make an advance payment to approve your visa. Once your visa is been approved, visa clearance letter (VCL) will be sent to you. You must carry this letter to be shown at the check-in counter from where you board your flights to Bhutan. Actual Bhutanese visa will be stamped on your passport on arrival at Paro international airport.

Your passport should have minimum six months validity from the date on entry into Bhutan and at least one full blank page for visa. You will not need to carry passport size photos for visa.

What is a Festival?

Festivals are religious mask dance performed by monks and laymen in Dzongs or fortresses, temples and monastery at certain time of a year. It’s an enactment of teachings of Buddhism and reminds people of death and impermanence. During some festival, a giant scroll paint called Thangka is being hung from the tall wall of a temple. The laities gather early in the morning or through out day to witness festival with their finest traditional dresses.

Weather and Clothing

Bhutan has all four seasons of a year. October, November, December, January and February are cold months. Day temperature will be 18-degree celcius and mornings and nights 6-8 and night temperature might drop to below zero degree celcius. Mornings and evenings are cold but days are warmer. You will have to come with warm clothes. However thick woolen overcoats are not necessary.

March, April, May, June, July, August and September are warmer months. Temperature during the day will be 20-24 degree celcius and at night temperature will be 12-14 degree celcius.

Shopping

If you are looking for a genuinely Bhutanese souvenir, you may buy Bhutanese textiles, paintings, statues, wooden bowls and bamboo products.

Tips and Gratitude

Although tipping is not compulsory, your service provider might expect from you. You can consult with the company office with regards to tipping slab.

Price From USD$3,485/person
3,485
Total $ 3,485 USD

Trip Facts

  • 14 Days | 13 Nights
  • 20 Oct - 2 Nov, 2018
  • Paro, Thimphu, Punakha, Bumthang & Wangdue
  • Jambay Lhakhang Festival, Fire dance , Spectacular hikes and excursion, village tours and famous Tiger’s Nest.