Rhododendron Festival Tour 10 days/ 9 nights, 13 - 22 APRIL 2020

Rhododendrons flowering in on a tree in Western Bhutan

Introduction:

After the awesome flight into Paro experience the 4 valleys of Paro, Thimphu, Phobjikha & Punakha. This small group tour caters to a maximum of 8 persons. Furthermore it features a visit to the Rhododendron festival, the most important sights in Thimphu city; the remote beauty of the Phobjikha valley and the splendour of the magnificent Punakha Dzong. 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.

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AUS toll free, James – 0412 416 111, Nicola – 0413 598 669

Reasons To Book This Small Group Tour.

  • This tour is a guaranteed departure.
  • We only take a maximum of 8 persons on our tours.
  • Witness the Rhododendron Festival.
  • We tailor our tours for less driving and more sightseeing!
  • 16 years experience, service & knowledge.
  • Competitive pricing & well constructed itineraries.
  • ZERO FLIGHT RISK – free cover for supplier default
  • Access to our exclusive travel app COMPANION
  • Our comprehensive Bhutan Visitor Information planning guide
  • ATAS Accredited via our parent company MTA Travel.

Bhutan 10 Day/9 Night Land Tour Costs & Inclusions

Tour Dates – 13-22 April, 2020

All inclusive Bhutan land tour cost    @US$2722.00 per person twin/dbl share.
Single room supplement @US$405.00 

Please note tour costs are quoted in USD.
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.
  • Government tourism royalties & local taxes.
  • Witness the Rhododendron festival. 
  • Bank transfer & communication fees.
  • Professionally operated by Bhutan Tourism Corp – BTCL.
  • ZERO FLIGHT RISK – free cover for supplier default.
  • 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 between meals and designer coffees 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 60 days prior departure – Loss of deposit.
From 60 days prior arrival in Bhutan – No refund permitted.

Detailed Itinerary:

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Monday 13 April, 2020

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 at a local restaurant. Enjoy the remainder of the day to explore Thimphu. Start with the celebrated Royal Textile Academy, before a visit to the National Memorial Stupa followed by the Takin Preserve – home to Bhutan’s most unusual national mammal.

Overnight Thimphu – Bhutan Style 3* Hotel.

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Tuesday 14 April:

Sightseeing in the Thimphu Valley today.

This morning visit the awesome Golden Buddha which also offers an excellent 3 km hike option with sensational valley views. Next head north up the valley to the majestic Trashichhoe Dzong and 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 other places of interest to visit are Zorig Chusum – the Institute of the 13 Arts & Crafts of Bhutan (where you can interact with the students); Don’t forget to take a wander along Thimphu’s main street, Norzin Lam, which offers good shopping and the Craft Bazaar. 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. The city bars are also worth a visit and your guide will advise you the best options. 

Overnight Thimphu – Bhutan Style 3* Hotel.

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Wednesday 15 April:

Thimphu to Phobjikha Valley (4+ hrs)

This morning you will be transferred by road eastwards to the Phobjikha Valley. En-route pass the Semtokha Dzong. This was built in 1629 & 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. These were 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 separatist rebels camped in the jungle on the Bhutan – Indian border. On a clear day you will witness a breathtaking view of the eastern Himalaya.

When the Wangdue Phodrang Dzong comes into view, notice the large cacti that cover the hillside below. These were planted long ago to discourage invaders from climbing the steep slope to the Dzong. From the road view Rinchengang, one of Bhutan’s oldest villages, which did not have access to water, electricity or schooling until the early 1990’s.The craftsmen of Rinchengang are sought after for their skills in construction of Dzongs and Lhakhangs (temples).

Phobjikha is a glacial valley on the western slopes of the Black Mountains. It is one of the most beautiful open valleys in Bhutan. Potatoes are this region’s primary cash crop and mainly exported to India. Phobjikha is also one of the most important wildlife preserves in the country and the winter home (late October to early February) of the rare black necked crane, which annually flies in from Tibet. There are also muntjaks (barking deer), wild boar, sambar, Himalayan black bear, leopard and red foxes.

Overnight Phobjikha Valley – Bhutan Style 3* Hotel.

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Thursday 16 April:

While you are in Phobjikha you will visit the Black Crane nature information centre. Furthermore visit the sacred Gangtey Monastery plus enjoy time to wander through Gangtey village and hike the Gangtey Nature Trail. There are many additional hikes available in this beautiful valley and your guide will advise you the best options.

Time permitting take an excursion to the remote Phobji region of the valley for a flat hike through temples, farm houses and tiny villages.

Overnight Phobjikha Valley – Bhutan Style 3* Hotel.

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Friday 17 April:

Phobjikha Valley to Punakha Valley. (2+ hrs)

Depart early this morning to the Punakha Valley which holds the title as the winter capital because of its more temperate climate.

Arriving into Punakha stop at the markets in Mesina. After that 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.

Take lunch at a local restaurant. This afternoon enjoy an orientation tour of the valley. This includes the nunnery 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.

Overnight Punakha Valley – Bhutan Style 3* Hotel.

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Saturday 18 April:

Sightseeing & hiking in Punakha.

This morning visit the Punakha Saturday morning market, followed by a visit to the dramatic Punakha Dzong, which formerly served as the seat of the government. It is still the winter residence of the Dratsheng (Central Monk Body). This Dzong is an excellent example of how a medieval fortress, and a centre of both monastic and administrative functions, has evolved for modern day use. 

This afternoon we recommend a fascinating hike to Khamsum Yulley Namgyel Chorten through fields of vegetables, rice paddies and tiny hamlets. This Chorten holds very special significance. It was consecrated in 1999 and dedicated to the protection of the former Crown Prince – today’s current King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck.

Overnight Punakha Valley – Bhutan Style 3* Hotel.

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Sunday 19 April:

Punakha Valley to Thimphu (3+ hrs)

Depart Punakha this morning for your transfer westwards to the Paro Valley, once again traversing Dochu La. Enroute make a stop at the Lamperi Botanical Gardens at Dochu La to witness the spectacle of the Rhododendron festival.

After a picnic lunch at the festival continue on your journey to Thimphu. Remainder of the day at leisure in Thimphu. 

Overnight Thimphu – Bhutan Style 3* Hotel.

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Monday 20 April:

Thimphu to Paro Valley (1 hr 20 mins)

This morning you have the option to travel north up the Thimphu valley and hike through the forest to Tango Goemba (2hr round trip). Before transferring back westwards to the Paro Valley.
 
You will enjoy a traditional farmhouse lunch today with the option of enjoy a Bhutanese hot stone bath. (costs for the bath additional approx US$15.00). Alternatively visit Paro Dzong with it’s cantilever & time permitting Paro museum. 
 

Overnight Paro Valley – Bhutan Style 3* Hotel.

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Tuesday 21 April:

Sightseeing & Hiking in the Paro Valley.

This morning take a pilgrimage hike to the very revered Taktsang Monastery, also known as Tigers Nest. All Bhutanese Buddhists strive to make this pilgrimage at least once in their lives. Each step they take on the trail awards merit for their future. Choose between a 1.5 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. This was  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 a Bhutanese vegetarian lunch at the Taktsang Viewpoint cafe before finishing your hike. Finally visit the nearby Kyichu Lhakhang – one of Bhutan’s oldest and most beautiful temples boasting an orange tree that perpetually bears fruit.

Overnight Paro Valley – Bhutan Style 3*Hotel.

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Wednesday 22 April:

Morning departure from your hotel to Paro Airport for your onward flight.

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Name of Tour: Rhododendron Festival  Small Group Tour

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I require a single occupancy room (a supplement applies).I am interested in trekking option, if available.I need help arranging Travel Insurance.



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