Punakha Festival Tour - 7D/6N, 16 -22 FEB 2024

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

PRICE: US$2293.00 per person Twin/DBL share

AUS toll freeJames – 0412 416 111,  Nicola – 0413 598 669

Punakha Festival Tour Map

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!
  • 20 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.

Tour Inclusions:

  • English speaking guide, driver & private coach.
  • All touring & transfers throughout your journey.
  • Bhutanese style 3* hotel accom with private bathrooms.
  • All meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner) including two bottles of water daily.
  • All monument, entrance fees, hiking & sightseeing as per the itinerary.
  • Bhutan visa fees & visa processing.
  • Sustainable Development Fee (SDF) & local taxes.
  • The spectacle of both the Punakha Drubchen & Punakha Tshechu (festival’s). (subject to scheduled dates being realised.) 
  • 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 is mandatory to enter Bhutan.
  • Any COVID-19 PCR or RAT tests required.

Available On Request:

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

Cancellation Conditions:

  • Deposit date until 45 days prior arrival in Bhutan – Land tour deposit is refundable, less B&B service fees.
  • 45 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: 16-22 FEB 24


Friday 16 February:

Paro Valley to Thimphu Valley (1 hr 30 mins)

After clearing immigration and customs you will be greeted by your BTCL guide and driver and transferred to Bhutan’s capital Thimphu. Travelling through the spectacular countryside, en-route make a stop at the Tachogang Lhakhang (iron bridge). All the houses and buildings in the Kingdom are painted and constructed in traditional Bhutanese style.

On arrival into Thimphu visit the celebrated Royal Textile Academy, followed by lunch.

Enjoy the remainder of the day to visit the 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. 

Overnight Thimphu–Bhutanese Style 3* Hotel.


Saturday 17 February:

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.

Followed by a visit the majestic Trashichhoe Dzong (visits are only possible after business hours on weekdays or at the weekend) and the nearby beautiful Tara Lhaden Zhingkham lhakang (temple).

Visit the ‘Simply Bhutan’ display village, where you can experience traditional Bhutanese village life; ara tasting (local spirit); suja tasting (butter tea); try your hand at archery and more. 

This afternoon visit the National Memorial Chorten; and the Takin Preserve – home to Bhutan’s most unusual national mammal & Kaja Throm or Centenary Market, enjoy some free time to wander along Thimphu’s main street Norzin Lam & visit the Craft Bazaar. 

Overnight Thimphu–Bhutanese Style 3* Hotel.


Sunday 18 February:

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.


Monday 19 February:

Exploring hiking & a festival visit today.

Today enjoy a hike along the Punakha suspension bridge, 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.


Tuesday 20 February:

Punakha Valley to Paro Valley (4+ hrs)

Depart Punakha early morning enroute 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, before continuing 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.


Wednesday 21 February:

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


Thursday 22 February:

Day of Departure.

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