Punakha Festival Tour - 8 days/7 nights, 09-16MAR22

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Punakha Tshechu

Tour Introduction:

After the awesome flight into Paro experience the 3 valleys of Paro, Thimphu & Punakha. This small group tour caters to a maximum of 8 persons. Furthermore it features visits to both the Punakha Drubchen & Punakha Tshechu (festival’s) the most important sights in Thimphu city; the splendour of the magnificent Punakha Dzong & valley. Finally a special pilgrimage hike to Taktsang Monastery (Tigers Nest) in Paro. This tour combines the very best the Kingdom of Bhutan has to offer in western Bhutan.

Tour Itinerary Overview.

2 nights Thimphu with sightseeing, hiking and shopping options. 
3 nights Punakha valley with monastery, festival & Dzong visits.
2 nights Paro valley with Taktsang Monastery hike, shopping & sightseeing.

OR CALL THE BHUTAN TRAVEL EXPERTS ON
AUS toll free, James – 0412 416 111, Nicola – 0413 598 669

Reasons to Book this Small Group Tour

  • We only take a maximum of 8 persons on our tours.
  • Witness the Punakha Drupchen & Punakha Tshechu. (festival’s)
  • We tailor our tours for less driving and more sightseeing!
  • 18 years experience, service & knowledge.
  • Competitive pricing & well constructed itineraries.
  • Access to our exclusive travel app COMPANION
  • Our comprehensive Bhutan Visitor Information planning guide
  • ATAS Accredited via our parent company MTA Travel.

Bhutan 8 Day/7 Night Land Tour Costs & Inclusions

All-inclusive Bhutan land tour cost     @ US$2244.00 per person twin/double share.
Single room supplement                      @ US$350.00 per person

  • Please note tour costs are quoted in US dollars.
  • Airfares to from Bhutan are additional. 

Tour Inclusions:

  • English speaking guide, driver & private coach.
  • All touring & transfers throughout your journey.
  • Bhutanese style 3* hotel accom with private bathrooms.
  • All meals including bottled water daily.
  • Entrance fees, hiking & sightseeing.
  • Bhutan visa fees & visa processing.
  • Sustainable development fee (SDF) & local taxes.
  • The spectacle of both the Punakha Drubchen & Punakha Tshechu (festival’s).
  • Bank transfer & communication fees.
  • Professionally operated by Bhutan Tourism Corp – BTCL.
  • Access to our exclusive travel app COMPANION.
  • Our comprehensive Bhutan Visitor Information guide.
  • ATAS Accredited via our parent company MTA Travel.

Tour Exclusions:

  • Flights to/from Paro are additional.
  • Personal items: phone  calls, laundry, drinks, snacks & designer coffee’s etc.
  • Tipping – we will advise your tipping regime.
  • Travel Insurance – mandatory to enter Bhutan.

Available On Request:

  • Upgrade to Business Class on your flights.
  • Ex-Australia airfares.
  • Stopovers & additional Asian arrangements.

Cancellation Conditions:

  • Deposit date until 35 days prior arrival in Bhutan – Land tour deposit is refundable, less B&B service fees.
  • 35 days or less prior to arrival in Bhutan – No land tour refund permitted.

Please note: – These conditions cover land travel arrangements only, not airfares, which are subject to their own cancellation conditions.

Detailed Tour Itinerary: 09-16 March 2022

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Wednesday 09 March:

Paro Valley to Thimphu Valley (1 hr 30 mins)

After clearing immigration and customs you will be greeted by your BTCL guide and driver. Transfer to Bhutan’s capital Thimphu, travelling through the spectacular countryside en-route. All the houses and buildings in the Kingdom are painted and constructed in traditional Bhutanese style. 

On arrival into Thimphu take lunch. Enjoy the remainder of the day to visit  the celebrated Royal Textile Academy, the National Memorial Chorten; and the Takin Preserve – home to Bhutan’s most unusual national mammal.

Overnight Thimphu – Bhutanese Style 3* Hotel.

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Thursday 10 March:

Thimphu Sightseeing.

This morning visit the awesome Buddha Dordenma statue located at Kuenselphodrang. The statue is made of bronze and gilded in gold. It is considered the largest Buddha Shakyamuni statue in the world. There is also an excellent 3 km hike option through Kuenselphodrang Nature Park which offers sensational valley views.

Continue on to view the majestic Trashichhoe Dzong and visit the beautiful Tara Lhaden Zhingkham lhakang (temple). Next visit the ‘Simply Bhutan’ traditional display village followed by a Bhutanese lunch. At ‘Simply Bhutan’ you can try ara tasting (local spirit); suja tasting (butter tea); try your hand at archery and enjoy a cultural performance of song & dance during the lunch.

This afternoon visit  Zorig Chusom – the Institute of the 13 Arts & Crafts of Bhutan is adjacent. Here you can interact with the students. For those who have an interest in quality weavings and local art check out the Gagyel Lhundrup weaving centre, where you can interact with the weavers, and the adjacent S. Bishwa art gallery. Finally some free time to check out Thimphu’s main street, Norzin Lam, featuring the Craft Bazaar.

Overnight Thimphu – Bhutanese Style 3* Hotel.

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Friday 11 March:

Thimphu to Punakha Valley (3 hrs).

This morning you will be transferred by road eastwards to the Punakha Valley. En-route pass the Semtokha Dzong. This was built in 1629 & is the oldest fortress of its kind that guarded the Thimphu valley. Today it is a monastery.

Continue ascending to Dochu La (pass) to view the 108 Stupas, commissioned by a former Queen as a memorial to those who lost their lives during the low intensity conflict in late 2002. This was when Bhutan evicted Indian rebels camped in the jungle on the Bhutan – Indian border. On a clear day you will witness a breathtaking view of the eastern Himalaya. Depending on the time of the year the vista can vary from alpine snow (November – February) to a profusion of blossoms (March – May). The Punakha valley holds the title as the winter capital because of its more temperate climate. Arriving into the valley firstly visit the markets at Mesina, before lunch at a local restaurant.

This afternoon visit to the dramatic Punakha Dzong, which formally served as the seat of the government. It is still the winter residence of the Dratsheng (Central Monk Body). This is an excellent example of how a medieval fortress, and a centre of both monastic & administrative functions, has evolved for modern day use & it is here this afternoon that you will witness the Punakha Drubchen (festival).

Overnight Punakha Valley – Bhutanese Style 3* Hotel.

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Saturday 12 March:

Exploring hiking & a festival visit today.

This morning enjoy a short hike, before you return to the Dzong to witness the spectacle of the Punakha Tshechu.

After lunch at a local restaurant we hike to Khamsum Yulley Namgyel Chorten. This is a delightful hike through tiny hamlets, fields of vegetable and rice paddy. The Chorten holds very special significance being consecrated in 1999. It is dedicated to the protection of the former Crown Prince – today’s current King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck.

Overnight Punakha Valley – Bhutanese Style 3* Hotel.

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Sunday 13 March:

Exploring & Hiking in the Punakha Valley.

This morning visit Chimi Lhakhang, a monastery built by Lama Drukpa Kuenley (also known as the Divine Madman or Mad Monk), which is a pleasant, easy 20 minute walk across paddy fields. It is believed that childless women who visit the temple will conceive after receiving a “wang” (blessing) from the resident monk. Followed by a nunnery visit and an excursion along a delightful country lane to the small village of Talo. Here you can wander through the serene grounds of the monastery with its beautiful gardens.

After lunch today enjoy a little free time or return and spend the afternoon at the Tshechu. If you prefer to enjoy a short hike your guide will be happy to suggest a suitable one.

Overnight Punakha Valley – Bhutanese Style 3* Hotel.

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Monday 14 March:

Punakha Valley to Paro Valley (4+ hrs)

Depart Punakha early morning for your transfer westwards to the Paro Valley, once again traversing Dochu La, and arriving in Paro town in time for a late lunch at one of the local restaurants.

This afternoon enjoy an orientation tour of the major features in Paro town including Paro Dzong with its cantilever bridge and the National Museum in Paro to view the fine collection of ancient Thangkha paintings, textiles, weapons and other artefacts. Finally we recommend a wander along the main streets which offers good shopping for jewellery and handicrafts.

Overnight Paro – Bhutanese Style 3* Hotel.

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Tuesday 15 March:

Sightseeing and Hiking in the Paro Valley.

This morning hike to the Taktsang Monastery, also known as Tigers Nest. This is Bhutan’s most revered monastery and all Bhutanese strive to make the pilgrimage here at least once in their lives. This visit is much more than ‘just a hike’ and each step gains merit points for the next part of life’s journey. Choose between a 2 hour round trip hike to the Monastery viewpoint or a longer 5 hour and more strenuous hike into the Monastery itself. Tigers Nest clings impossibly to a cliff of rock at 800 m above the valley floor and where Guru Rinpoche flew on the back of a tigress to subdue the local demons followed by 3 months meditation in a cave still visible in the monastery. In 1998 the monastery was seriously damaged by fire and has since been painstakingly reconstructed to its original condition and consecrated by the 4th King in 2005.

Take lunch at the Viewpoint Cafe on the hiking trail and this afternoon visit Kyichu Lhakhang – one of Bhutan’s oldest and most beautiful temples, boasting an orange tree that perpetually bears fruit. Take the remainder of the day at leisure.

Overnight Paro -Bhutanese Style 3* Hotel

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Wednesday 16 March:

Day of Departure.

Depart your hotel to Paro airport in time for your onward flight.

Please scroll down the page to locate the interactive map of Bhutan.