Visit Bhutan 2017

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The word “tshechu” in the Bhutanese language means literally “an annual religious Bhutanese festival” held in each district on the 10th day of a month of the Bhutanese calendar. The dates and duration of the tshechu vary from one district to another but always take place on or around the 10th day of a month. Such festivals are mostly held in the dzong (fortress) or local monastery in honour of Guru Rimpoche, one who was born from a lotus flower and brought the tantric Buddhism in Bhutan in the 8th century. By attending such festivals, it is believed that one gains merits by seeking forgiveness for their sins in life. During the tshechu, mask and historical folk dances in colourful costumes are performed by monks and laymen including the Atsaras (Clowns), who amuse the audience with their antics. It is believed that it is very important to know the name of the dances and its significance. Tshechu is also considered as an occasion for social gatherings; to get together with families and kith & kin dressed in their finest traditional clothes and jewellery. Gomphu Kora Tshechu, held in early spring, is very popular festival in the eastern region of Bhutan. The biggest attraction of Gomphu Kora is the circumambulation, where people from all over eastern Bhutan descend upon the narrow valley, dressed in their finery and jewellery to partake in the festivity. For some, traditionally, the festival is also an occasion to have a date for the people of eastern Bhutan that leads to many marriages. Do not miss to join this amazing festival to experience like no other! This tour gives you a real appreciation of both the Buddhist faith and the preservation of an age-old tradition in this far corner of the eastern Bhutan but also included in the package are other places of interest.

Day 1: Arrive Paro

On arrival, you will be met by our representative and transferred to your hotel in Paro for a night. Afterwards, visit the Ta Dzong (ancient watch tower) which now houses the National Museum of Bhutan and continue to the Paro Dzong (also known as the Rinpung Dzong), built in 1644 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal. The evening is at leisure to relax – so why not stroll in the Paro town?

Day 2: Hike to Paro Taktshang

Today you will take a short hike to Paro Taktshang Monastery (Tiger’s Nest). No visit to Bhutan would be complete without a trip to Taktshang. The monastery is perched on the edge of a steep cliff, about 900m 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 Rimpoche flew to Paro Taktshang cliff in the form of Guru Dorji Drolo, mounted on a flaming tigress in the 8th century. Afterwards, there may also be time to visit the ruined Drugyal Dzong (fortress), built in 1649 to commemorate the victory over the Tibetan invaders or the Kichu Lhakhang, which is one of the oldest temples in Bhutan (7th century). In the evening, we drive a distance of 65-km for about one hour journey to Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan. Overnight in Thimphu.

Day 3: Sightseeing in Thimphu

Today we explore a fascinating full day tour to see the best of Thimphu city at an altitude of 2,300m. 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 overlooking the Thimphu town and the Folk Heritage Museum, a showcase of the Bhutanese artifacts used in rural households. Later drive up to the Sangaygang Hill (Radio Tower) or the Kuensel Phodrang (Buddha Point) offering a panoramic view of the Thimphu valley, visit the Mini Zoo of Takin (national animal of Bhutan) or the Textile Museum of Bhutan. 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 4: Thimphu – Gangtey via Wangdue Phodrang

After breakfast, today we travel to Gangtey via Wangdue Phodrang for a distance of 135-km for about 5-6 hours journey. En route stop off at Dochu La Pass at an altitude of 3,050m. If weather is clear, you will enjoy a breathtaking view of the snow capped eastern Himalaya ranges and also a magnificent distant view of the Gasa Dzong from this spot. After lunch, visit the ruined site of Wangdue Phodrang Dzong by fire in late June 2012, which is perched on a ridge overlooking the Punatshangchhu and Dangchhu Rivers. Continue on the journey to Gangtey in Phobjikha valley. Along the highway, you’ll photo stops as there are loads of breathtaking views during the journey. The evening is at leisure to relax and enjoy, we have allowed some time for this and also to explore the delightful glacial valley of Phobjikha. Overnight in Gangtey.

Day 5: Sightseeing in Gangtey, Phobjikha

The altitude of Gangtey in Phobjikha valley is 3,000m. This morning you will visit the picturesque Gangtey Gonpa (monastery). Enjoy the views of the remote Phobjikha glacial valley and the black mountain ranges. Phobjikha valley is one of the winter roosting grounds of the rare Black-necked Cranes, where they come in hundreds after spending their summer in Tibet and then migrates to the Himalayas of Bhutan to spend their winter – they arrive in the months of September and October and fly back to Tibet between February and March. Your overnight in Gangtey.

Day 6: Gangtey – Bumthang

After breakfast, we travel a distance of 120-km for about 5 hours to Trongsa via Pele La Pass at an altitude of 3,300m. This pass is an important dividing range that separates the western from central and eastern Bhutan. Stop for lunch at Trongsa and then visit the Ta Dzong (ancient watch tower) or the impressive Trongsa Dzong. Continue the journey for a further distance of 68-km for about 2 hours to Bumthang at an altitude of 2,600m, the most beautiful valley and cultural heartland of Bhutan. 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. Overnight in Bumthang.

Day 7: Sightseeing in Bumthang

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 Rimpoche 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 – Mongar

This morning takes you through a scenic journey for a distance of 198-km for about 7-8 hours journey to Mongar at an altitude of 1,600m. Along the journey you will cross the two villages called Ura and Sengor passing through the highest point on Bhutan’s lateral road via Thrumsing La Pass at an altitude of 3,800m. En route stop off at Ura Shelthang La, where you will enjoy a magnificent view of the Bhutan’s highest peak, Mt Gangkar Puensum at 7,500m. Next, stop at Sengor village and Namling where you can view the breathtaking landscapes of the cascading waterfalls and admire the diverse flora and fauna in these places. Descending down the road will take you to Lingmithang at an altitude of 700m and cross the Kurichhu River, where the largest hydroelectric power in the eastern region is commissioned over the river. Spend the night in Mongar.

Day 9: Mongar – Trashiyangtse

After breakfast, we depart Mongar after a quick visit to the Mongar Dzong and head to Trashiyangtse for a distance of 146-km for about 5 hours journey passing via Kori La Pass at an altitude of 2,450m. Afterwards, the road descends and passes through the famous zigzag turns of Yadi, and en route you will see the temple, perched on top of a steep hill above the village which is the most important monastery in eastern Bhutan. This is the place of origin of the famous Drametse Nga Chham, a masked dance with drums. Lunch will be at Trashigang. Continue into Trashiyangtse at altitude of 1,850m, a fairly new district that was separated from Trashigang. You will spend two nights here.

Day 10: Trashiyangtse – Bumdeling

This morning you will be taken to visit Bumdeling, a wonderful plain alongside the Kholongchhu River. Bumdeling is also one of the winter roosting grounds of the rare Black-necked Cranes, where they come in hundreds after spending their summer in Tibet and then migrate to the Himalayas of Bhutan to spend their winter – they arrive in the months of September and October and fly back to Tibet between February and March. Back to Trashiyangtse and lunch at your hotel. Later, visit the new Trashiyangtse Dzong. We will also visit the dazzling white Chorten Kora (stupa) on the Kholongchhu riverbank below the town and the Institute for Zorig Chusum, where students are trained in the 13 traditional arts and crafts of Bhutan. Overnight in Trashiyangtse.

Day 11: Trashiyangtse – Trashigang

Today’s return journey is a distance of 55-km for about 2 hours to Trashigang at an altitude of 1,150m, the largest and most populated district in Bhutan. En route visit the old Trashiyangtse dzong. Later, visit the Trashigang Dzong, which serves as the civil administrative centre and the local monastic body, situated on a steep hillside above the Gamri River. The rest of the day is at leisure to relax and enjoy, we have allowed some time for this and also to explore the surroundings of Trashigang town. You will spend three nights here.

Day 12: Gomphu Kora Tshechu (Festival)

Attend the festival of Gomphu Kora Tshechu, which is held in early spring in a sacred religious site of Guru Rimpoche (also known as Padmasambhava) at Gomkora Lhakhang. This festival is very popular in the eastern region of Bhutan and draws people from all walks of life including the Dakpa tribe with entire families from Tawang, a neighboring state Arunachal Pradesh in India. The biggest attraction of Gomkora is the circumambulation of the people dressed in their finery and jewellery partaking in this festivity. For some, traditionally, Gomphu Kora festival is also an occasion to have a date for the people of eastern Bhutan that leads to many marriages. Overnight in Trashigang.

Day 13: Trashigang – Rangjung

Today’s 16-km journey takes you to Rangjung to visit the renowned Rangjung Woesel Choeling & Thekchok Choden Monastery (Dudjom Tersar Education Centre) for the study of Buddha dharma founded by His Holiness Dungse Garab Dorji Rimpoche. Lunch at Rangjung and explore the exciting countryside tour towards Phongmey village. In the evening, drive back to Trashigang for dinner and spend your last night in Trashigang.

Day 14: Trashigang – Samdrup Jongkhar

After breakfast, your day begins with 180-km journey for about 7 hours to Samdrup Jongkhar at elevation of 215m. En route you’ll see the Bhutan’s first and premier Sherubtse College in Kanglung, founded in 1978. Visit the Khaling Handloom supported by the National Woman Association of Bhutan, where you will witness the traditional style of weaving and past by the only National Institute for Visually Impaired, located below the road. Stop off at Wamrong for lunch, a 27-km drive from Khaling. After lunch, continue into Samdrup Jongkhar and then encounter a stretch of road called Melong Bra, where the road is cut through sheer cliffs before reaching Narphung. Descending the road gradually will take you to Deothang, which is the historical site of a famous 19th century battle fought during the Duar Wars. Overnight in Samdrup Jongkhar, the Eastern Bhutan Gateway to India.

Day 15: End of Tour

After breakfast, you will be transferred to Guwahati International Airport, Assam in the northeastern state of India to connect with your onward flight. The travelling distance is 110-km for about 3 hours. Goodbye and Good luck!

Services Included

  • 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
  • Discretionary gratuities to guides and driver (we provide suggested guidelines)
  • Single room supplement
  • Other personal expenses such as drinks, laundry, telephone calls, etc.

Prices and Dates


Pricing Policy

Prices are quoted and payable only in (US$ dollars). All prices published on our websites, brochures and marketing materials are set as low as possible. The guide prices may vary at any time subject to government actions, changes in exchange rates, increase in transportation costs or fuel prices before we have accepted your booking, however, we guarantee our prices who have already signed up for your tour.

Festival Dates

[4th to 6th April 2017: Gomkora Tshechu]

[It’s always advisable to contact us 3 or 4 months in advance. You decide dates depending on your plan of travel, however, time your arrival to coincide the festival dates indicated above]

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