Visit Bhutan 2017

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LAMPERI RHODODENDRONS FESTIVAL TOUR (14 days/13 nights)

LAMPELRI BOTANICAL GARDEN RHODODENDRONS FESTIVAL

Bhutan is a flora and fauna lover’s paradise with her rich biological diversity and around 72% of the country’s total land area under forest cover. The country is home to more than 60 percent of the common plant species found in the Eastern Himalayas and also boasts of about 52 species of rhododendrons and over 300 types of medicinal plants. Junipers, magnolias, orchids, blue poppy (the national flower), edelweiss, gentian, medicinal plants, Daphne, giant rhubarb, pine and oak are common sights that fill up the vegetation. This combined itinerary of trekking, botanical and cultural tour connecting Lampelri Botanical Park and Thrumshingla National Park provides unique and exhilarating sights through beautiful forests to high mountains and across clean rivers. Also, this trip covers the splendours and famous sights of the Kingdom of Bhutan: Tango Monastic College of Bhutan, Thimphu (the young capital city of Bhutan) still without traffic light in this 21st century, Paro Taktshang (a highlight of any tour in Bhutan), Chimi Lhakhang (the Fertility Temple) and Mebar Tsho (the Flaming Lake)…

Day 1: Paro

On arrival in Paro you will be met by our representative and transferred to your hotel in Thimphu, the Capital of Bhutan for two nights. We will drive a distance of 65-km for about one hour journey to Thimphu. Spend rest of the day at leisure to allow for acclimatisation. Overnight in Thimphu.

Day 2: Hike to Phajoding Monastery

Follow pilgrims up the steep path to the 13th century Phajodhing Monastery via Sangaygang (Bhutan Broadcasting Service Tower) for about 4 hours hike, a monastery situated at a commanding height overlooking Thimphu valley at an altitude of 4,000m. Not many years ago, the UNESCO’s World Monument Fund has highlighted these monastery buildings to its watch list of the most endangered cultural monuments globally. The trek from Thimphu to Phajoding is a tough ascent for most of the visitors and en route it passes through a diverse plants, flowers and rhododendrons. Overnight in Thimphu.

Day 3: Lampelri Botanical Park Rhododendrons Festival

We leave Thimphu after breakfast to attend the spectacular Opening Ceremony of the Rhododendrons Festival at Lampelri Botanical Park, which is about 45-minute drive (22-km) from the capital city of Thimphu. The festival features the rhododendron garden walk and exhibition, local culture and cuisines, arts and crafts, traditional games, cultural program, guided walks and other activities. Afterwards, take the tour in and around the park at an altitude range of 2,100m to 3,800m between the Thimphu and Punakha districts, which covers an area of 47 sq. km haviing a rich biodiversity of high conservation value. It is a great learning destination for the students, researchers and nature lovers. The park features a variety of forest types: alpine, cool temperate broadleaf forest, old growth of broadleaf and conifer forests, etc. About 300 species of plants are found in the park including those species of plants and animals with conservation significance such as Himalayan yew (Taxus battaca), Panax pseudoginsend, Tetracentron sinensis, native Rhododendron, Royal Bengal Tiger, Red Panda, Musk Deer, Himalayan Monal and Blood Pheasants. The park is also host to Tetracentron, an ancient relic angiosperm with no vessel in its trunk. The park has 14.5 km of eco-trek trails that takes you through thick oak forest and mountain streams amidst the chirping of birds and the sound of leaves fluttering and falling in the gentle mountain breeze. Marvel at the 29 species of rhododendrons along this trail that have been preserved as part of ecotourism attractions by the Nature Recreation and Eco-tourism Division, Ministry of Agriculture and Forests. Overnight in Dochula Resort.

Day 4: Hike in and around Dochula

This morning take the downhill hike for about 10-20 minutes to the PWD Labour Camp, where the trial winds through the beautiful rhododendrons in bloom from the both sides of the way. Then continue to the second day of the Rhododendrons Festival. Today why not take a chance to taste the Bhutanese local wine and local dishes including fun such as the yak and horse riding activities. In the afternoon, we hike 1 hour to Lungchog Tsekha Monastery. From the hilltop, enjoy magnificent views of the mountain range. Overnight in Dochula Resort.

Day 5: Dochula – Phobjikha

Witness the last day of the Rhododendrons Festival and join the downhill hike to Lumitsawa with the Bhutanese old people. The trial winds through the oak, blue pine to a moist mountain forest of rhododendrons and cypress. There is also a large growth of Daphne, a bush that is harvested for making traditional paper. After lunch, we head to Gangtey in the beautiful valley of Phobjikha in central Bhutan, which is one of the Bhutan’s few glacial valleys and designated conservation area and borders of the Black Mountain. Phobjikha valley is circled by beautiful pine covered by mountains and 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 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. Along the highway, you’ll photo stops as there are loads of breathtaking views during the journey. Tonight you will stay in Gangtey.

Day 6: Phobjikha – Trongsa

This morning take the scenic Phobjikha Nature Walk starting from Gangtey Gonpa for about 20 minutes downhill to Semchubara village. The trial winds through the pine forest with the amazing view of the Phobjikha valley and come across the stream that meanders through the valley. After 35 minutes you will reach Khewa villages located in the middle of potato fields leading the trial through to the 15th century Khewa Lhakhang (temple). After lunch, we travel a distance of 120-km for about 5 hours to Trongsa through Pelela Pass at an altitude of 3,300m. This pass is an important dividing range that separates the western from central and eastern Bhutan. En route stop off at Chendebji Chorten (Stupa) located just below the road. Overnight in Trongsa at an altitude of 2,200m.

Day 7: 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 stop at the Ta Dzong (ancient watch tower). After lunch, you'll continue the journey for a distance of 68-km for about 2 hours from Trongsa to Bumthang, the most beautiful valley and cultural heartland in the Kingdom. En route we will stop for quick visit to the Yathra Weaving Factory at Chumey, where they use yak and sheep wools for yathra products with patterns unique to Bumthang. The rest of the day is at leisure to relax and enjoy, we have allowed some time for this and also to explore the delightful surroundings of Bumthang valley. The altitude of Bumthang is 2,600 m above sea level.

Day 8: Bumthang – Sengor

Journey into the remote Sengor valley for a distance of 106-km for about 4 and a half hours journey passing through the highest point on Bhutan’s motorable road network via Thrumsingla pass at an altitude of 4,000m (13,125ft) to visit the Rhododendron Garden at Thrumshingla top. There are 52 rhododendron species inside the garden. The best season to visit this garden is from March to May. Thrumshingla National Park was established in 1998, with an area of 905 km2 and with huge expanses of some of the last remaining stands of cool temperate broadleaved forests and old fir growth in the entire Himalayas. The vegetation ranges from subtropical broadleaf to alpine grassland. More than 622 plants species occur in Thrumshingla National Park, comprising of 152 medicinal plants and 21 species endemic to Bhutan. Rhododendrons flowers add beauty to pristine fir forests at the higher elevation. Also, the park offers one of the best bird watching destinations in Asia and lots of tourists come here for bird watching tour every year. A record of 360 bird species includes golbally threatened Rufous-necked Hornbill (Aceros nipalensis), Beautiful Nuthatch (Sitta formosa), Pallas’s Fish Eagle (Haliaeetus leucoryphus), Chestnut-breasted Partridge (Arborophila mandellii) and other rare species like Yellow-rumped Honeyguide (Indicator xanthonotus), Ward’s Tragon (Harpectes wardi),Tawny Fish Owl (Ketupa flavipes). Overnight in Sengor Community Lodge.

Day 9: Sengor – Trongsa

Return to Trongsa via Bumthang for a distance of 174-km for about 7 and a half hours journey. En route stop off at the at the quaint village of Ura valley and Ura Shelthang La, where you will enjoy the stunning view of the Bhutan’s highest peak, Mt Gangkar Puensum at 7,500m. Admire the diverse flora and fauna through a scenic journey. Overnight in Trongsa.

Day 10: Trongsa – Thimphu

This morning drive a distance of 199-km for about 7 hours to Thimphu via Wangdue Phodrang and Punakha. En route visit the Chimi Lhakhang, which is dedicated to the legendary Lama Drukpa Kinley (known as the Divine Madman). The monastery is also revered as a sanctum of fertility. Legend has it that the couples wishing to have a baby from across Bhutan and occasionally from overseas are blessed with a child after visiting the temple – Japanese and several American couples visited this temple and were blessed miraculously with children. We then continue to Punakha at an altitude of 1,300m, which was once the old capital of Bhutan and the seat of government until 1955. The Punakha Dzong (also known as the Pungthang Dechen Phodrang Dzong) was built in 1637 and is strategically located at the confluence of the Phochhu (male) and Mochhu (female) rivers. Now the dzong serves as the administrative centre of Punakha district and the Central Monastic Body. In the evening, we head back to Thimphu for overnight.

Day 11 (22nd May 2014, Thursday): Hike to Tango Monastery, Thimphu

Drive to the end of the road before climbing into the beautiful pine forest, where an incredible Tango monastery stands to the farthest north of Thimphu, which is about 14-km away. The present day monastery was built in 1689 (13th century) by Lama Gyalwa Lhanampa and was later renovated in 1977 by Her Majesty the Queen Mother Ashi Kesang Choden Wangchuck. The word ‘Tango’ in Bhutanese language means the ‘horse head’ and is derived from the local main deity Tandin (Hayagriva) that features the head of a horse. Enjoy the breathtaking landscapes of valleys and mountains from this spot. Picnic lunch at Tango, Then you’ll return to Thimphu and visit the Pangri Zampa Monastery en route. Later, you’ll visit the National Institute of Traditional Medicine where traditional medicinal herbs are processed. The rest of day is at leisure to relax – so why not stroll in the Thimphu town? Overnight in Thimphu.

Day 12: Thimphu – Chelela (Paro)

Today we head back to Paro for a distance of 65-km for about one hour journey. First, drive to Chelela pass at an altitude of 4,000m and take an uphill hike over the ridge for about 1.5 to 2 hours, which is a beautiful place to get the spectacular view of the Himalayan Mountains and flowers. Chelela Pass is located between Ha valley and Paro valley from where you can see both these valleys on either sides of the mountain you are standing on. In the evening drive back to Paro for overnight.

Day 13: Hike to Taktshang Monastery

Today morning we will begin a day hike to Paro Taktshang Monastery (known as 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 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. Your last overnight in Paro.

Day 14: End of Tour

You will be transferred to Paro Airport to connect with your onward flight. Tashi Delek (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

ON REQUEST

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

[14th to 16th April 2017: Rhododendron Festival]

[It’s always advisable to contact us 3 or 4 months in advance. You decide dates depending on your plan of travel, however, our festival dates have been indicated where applicable in order to help plan your journey accordingly]

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