Punakha festival tour

Punakha Festival Tour

Trip Duration 8 Days

Spanning the heartland of the Dragon Kingdom, Punakha is filled with the glorious and well preserved remnants of that ancient, mysterious world.

  • Reviews 5 Reviews
    5/5
  • Vacation Style Festival Tour
    Activities
  • Activity Level Easy Leisure
    2 Pax
  • Group Size Minimum
    6/10
All about the Punakha Festival Tour

Spanning the heartland of the Dragon Kingdom, Punakha is filled with the glorious and well preserved remnants of that ancient, mysterious world. This is a place wealthy of natural, startling and beautiful scenery and cheerful people. We soak up Paro, a beautiful valley nestled among verdant fields and dreamy hills. We wander Thimphu’s colourful market and visit the many attractions in the capital. But the highlight of the trip is the exploration of the impressive colors of Punakha’s Tsechu or Festival.

Generations come and go but the sanctity of amazing Buddhist culture remains strongly rooted in Bhutan and one can witness this during this festival. The Bhutanese people adhere to their indigenous beliefs through these ceremonies, and we will get an opportunity observe this. Encircled by the gracefully sweeping silhouettes of monks and dancers in traditional costumes, we will attend this two day festival and explore the impressive remains of a culture that is hanging on boldly even during these modern times.

The tour package inclusions and exclusions at a glance
Whats included in this tour Items that are covered in the cost of tour price.
  • Bhutan visa
  • All transfers including airport collections in Paro
  • Twin share or double rooms at all places on the itinerary
  • All meals and mineral water included while in Bhutan
  • All tour arrangements including Bhutanese guide (English speaking trained and licensed by the Department of Tourism).
  • Private vehicle and driver
  • All entry fees to museums and sites where applicable
  • Financial protection insurance with International Passenger Protection
  • Pre departure support and advice from Bhutan Dragon Adventure by email, phone or face to face meetings in Paro. After booking with us we will send our comprehensive “Bhutan Pre Trip Information” notes
Whats not included in this tour Items that are covered in the cost of tour price.
  • International flight to/from Paro.
  • Travel insurance
  • Use of bar and beverages in hotel, laundry, telephone calls or internet and personal shopping
  • Tips to your guide and driver
  • Other items not listed in “What is included”.
  1. Day 1 Arrival at Paro (Elevation2280m).

    Your Bhutanese guide from Bhutan Dragon Adventures will be there to receive you at Paro National airport and accompany you to your hotel. After, visit, Ta Dzong, built during 17th century as a watch tower. It is located on a ridge, overlooking the Rimpong Dzong. Since 1967 the Ta Dzong was re-established as the national museum and holds a fascinating collection of art, relic, religious Thangkha paintings and Bhutan’s exquisite postage stamps. Than, visit Paro Rimpong Dzong (fortress) known as the “fortress of the heap of jewels”. It was built during the time of Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal in 1646.

    The approach to the Dzong is through a traditional covered cantilever bridge. A walk through the bridge to Dzong, over stone inlaid path offers a good view of the Architectural wonder of the Dzong as well as life around it. After lunch drive to the end of Paro valley. Enjoy the beautiful mountain and forest scenery as we drive along the quiet valley roads towards the ruined fortress, Drukgyel Dzong, built to commemorate victory over the Tibetan invaders. On a clear day you should get a view of mount Jomolhari (7300m) from here. Drive back towards Paro town; stop to visit Kitchu monastery (7century), and oldest temple in Bhutan. Dinner and Overnight in hotel in Paro.

  2. Day 2 Drive from Paro - Thimphu (Elevation2320m).65km/2hrs

    After breakfast, drive towards the capital of Bhutan, Thimphu. Passing through hills and some astounding countryside. Thimphu is situated in a large valley traversed by the Wangchuk River and overshadowed by high peaks.En-route you will view Tachogang monastery built by Tibetan saint Thangthong Gyalpo in 14th century (iron chain builder in Bhutan).and visit the iron bridge, most visible ancient craft work in Middle Ages. Drive towards Thimphu, stop at Chuzom (confluence).

    At the confluence of Paro-Thimphu river, you will see three forms of stupa in different styles: Nepalese, Tibetan, and Bhutanese. You will drive following the Thimphu River upwards passing through several villages. Upon reaching Thimphu, check –in hotel and lunch will be serve. After lunch, sightseeing in Thimphu are: mini zoo to see national animal of Bhutan, Changangkha monastery, kuenselphodrang to get the bird eye view of Thimphu valley, Bhutanese paper factory, Traditional medicine school, Traditional painting school, memorial chorten built in honor of third king of Bhutan and visit fortress of thimphu, Tashichodzong built during 17th century. In the evening leisure time in town. Overnight in Thimphu.

  3. Day 3 Thimphu - Punakha.Elevation:1300m (77km/3hrs)

    Drive to Punakha. On the way stop at Dochula pass (3150m) to enjoy the view of the Himalayas ranges, if weather permits and the 108 chorten that are situated right at the top of the pass. Then descend to 1300m and visit Chimi lhakhang, the temple of 15th century lam Drukpa kuenley, and the “Divine madman”. Your guide will tell you more about his in conventional teaching. Take a lovely stroll through rice fields and villages in this semi-tropical region. your lunch will be served at local restaurant.

    Continue towards Punakha Dzong(fortress),which was the old capital of Bhutan untill1951 and the place where, in 2008,our present king received a special empowerment blessing before going on to be crowned in Thimphu. The Dzong sits at the point where two rivers meet. These rivers are named the “Po chu”and “mo chu”(male and female rivers).The impressive cantilever bridge that gives access to the Dzong is a very recent reconstruction of the original. The Dzong is the setting for the Punakha Dromche festival in February, in which locals and monks re-enact the battles between the Bhutanese and Tibetan invaders who came in pursuit of the Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal and the precious relic that he had in his possession. Overnight in Punakha.

  4. Day 4 Punakha – Punakha

    After breakfast, attend full day at Festival. This festival will be the highlight of your trip to Bhutan. The programs of the festival will be sent to you later.

  5. Day 5 Punakha – Punakha

    After breakfast, attend full day at festival.

  6. Day 6 Punakha – Paro via Thimphu

    After breakfast drive to Paro via Thimphu, on the way you can stop on pass know as Dochu La Pass. View the Himalayan rages from the passes. Have a lunch in Thimphu city, if the time permit you can explore Thimphu city and do some shopping (wish) before we drive to back to Paro for overnight staying there.

  7. Day 7 Paro- Paro (Paro valley sightseeing and Tiger’s Nest Excursion.

    After breakfast, we take short drive, 20minuts to the north of Paro valley to Ramthangkha,from where we start our hike to Taktsang monastery(Tiger’s nest).it takes around 3-4 hours at an average walking speed.Taktshang monastery is 3,000feet(900meters)above the valley. The trails climbs through beautiful pine forest, many of trees festooned with Spanish moss and an occasional grove of fluttering prayer flags. Built amazingly on a cliff, it brings pride to the Bhutanese about the work of their ancestors.

    It is said that Guru Rinpoche (, precious master) arrived here on the back of a Tigress and meditated at this monastery and hence it is called ‘tiger’s Nest. This site has been recognized as most sacred and visited by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal in 1646 and now visited by all the Bhutanese at least once in their lifetime. This monastery built in 1692 caught fire on 19 April 1998 that damaged the main structure of the building and some religious contents. On the way to Taktsang there is a cafeteria where you can have lunch.Overnight in Paro.

  8. Day 8 Departure from Paro.

    This morning we will have our last Bhutanese breakfast and then we’ll be transported to the Paro National Airport for our departure flights home. Bhutan is a place that we will never, ever forget. Magical memories will be ours to recall forever. Just close your eyes …

    Thank you and Tashi Delek!

ACCOMMODATION IN BHUTAN
Tourist accommodation in Bhutan is comfortable but can be fairly basic especially as you travel further east. Most hotels in the main tourist destinations have rooms with private bathrooms, hot water (at least at some stage during the day), telephone and electricity. Plumbing is not always up to the standard you may be used to and there are no hotels with central heating although heaters of some sort will generally be provided.

Tourist hotels tend to provide meals buffet-style which gives you the opportunity to try a variety of Bhutanese dishes. In the larger hotels a la carte service is also available, although they do not always have everything on the menu. Thimphu has a pizza restaurant (the Seasons) and there is a good café in the centre of Thimphu (near the Swiss bakery) called the Art Café which serves sandwiches, cake and filter coffee.

Please note that there is currently a shortage of hotel accommodation in Bhutan especially during festivals or the peak trekking season of October. We reserve rooms at all hotels in advance but the bookings are never certain until the group check in on the day. Bearing this in mind we will reserve rooms in the following hotels:

Paro: Olathang
Thimphu: Peaceful Resort, Hotel Pedling or Hotel Wangchuk.
Punakha: Meriphuensum Resort or Damchen Resort
Bumthang: Swiss Guesthouse, Hotel Mipham, Garden Hotel or River Lodge
Phobjikha: Dewachen Hotel.

The tour package inclusions and exclusions at a glance
Shared Rooms included in teh Price Items that are covered in the cost of tour price.
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Individual Rooms not included in the Price Items that are covered in the cost of tour price.
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Footwear:
Comfortable shoes i.e trail shoes or trainers.
Flip flops or sandals.

Travel clothes. You will need clothing as follows:
Lightweight waterproof jacket.
Casual long sleeved shirt with collar (for visits to Dzongs).
T shirts.
Lightweight trousers.
Micro fleece.
Socks and underwear etc.
Swimwear.
Please carefully read Ethics and Etiquette paragraph for dress code when visiting Dzongs.

Headwear:
Sun hat.
Bandana or face mask
Sunglasses.

Personal Equipment:
Toiletry bag include toilet paper, soap, towel, toothbrush, etc.
Headtorch. Useful during power cuts.
Backpack for day trips. Recommended size is 15 to 20 litres.

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DRESS CODE AND CULTURAL CONSIDERATIONS FOR ENTERING DZONGS & MONASTERIES

Depending on whom you talk to the exact dress code for dzongs, monasteries and lhakhangs can differ. Use the details below to assist with your planning and we recommend you discuss each days visits with your guide to reconfirm appropriate attire.
Go for smart casual look such as long sleeved shirt with collar i.e no T shirts or short sleeved shirts.
Full length trousers or long skirts (ankles must be covered) i.e no shorts, ¾ length trousers or short skirts.
Shoes with socks covering ankles i.e no sandals or slippers.
No hats and umbrellas allowed.
Photographs are only allowed to be taken in the courtyard of most monasteries.
Walking around Buddhist temples or stupas is traditionally done clockwise.
Turn off your mobile/ cell phone and talk in a quiet tone.
It is customary to give a small donation when visiting a monastery.

The Royal Government of Bhutan has a strict policy to preserve its cultural and traditional values.

All lakes in Bhutan are believed to be inhabited by spirits therefore no fishing, swimming or throwing stones is permitted.
Do not disturb or feed wildlife or do anything to destroy their natural habitat.
Do not use detergent in or near rivers, for personal washing use biodegradable soap at least 50m from any watercourse.
Do not give sweets, pens or gifts to children or distribute medicine to villagers (there is a network of Basic Health Units operated by Bhutan Government throughout the country).
Do not purchase local household items or religious artefacts from villagers, please note that antiques may not be taken out of the country.
Please respect the culture and traditions of local people (trek crew, villagers or pack animal owners).

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Writing A Review Overall Rating 4.7/5
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J Heathcote - UK
Reviewed on 14/1/2016
4.7/5

I had high expectations of a journey to Bhutan with a focus upon the spiritual aspects of the culture. All aspects of arranging my holiday were dealt with promptly/efficiently by Karma Gyeltshen of Bhutan Dragon Adventures.

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Dr. Paul L. Jokiel - USA
Reviewed on 14/1/2016
4.7/5

“Karma Gyeltshen is a remarkable person with a strong background in all aspects of the culture, religion, history, art and natural resources of the Kingdom of Bhutan. Moreover, he is extremely knowledgeable about the travel regulations and potential pitfalls of touring this country.

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Regards Hugh - USA
Reviewed on 14/1/2016
4.7/5

Dear Karma, We did indeed enjoy our holiday in Bhutan. We were so pleased that you where able to put the trip together for us at such short notice, it is difficult to believe that it was all arranged in just 3 weeks and at no time did we feel that there was going to be any problem.

FESTIVAL PLACE DATES  
RHODODENDRON FESTIVAL
Lamperi Botanical Garden, Dochula, THIMPHU
18th – 20th April
DOMKHAR TSHECHU
Domkhar, Chummi, BUMTHANG
16th -18th April
URA YAKCHOE
Ura Lhakhang, BUMTHANG
18th -20th April
NIMALUNG TSHECHU
Nimalung Dratshang, Chummi, BUMTHANG
13th -15th June*
KURJEY TSHECHU
Kurjey Lhakhang, Choekhor, BUMTHANG
15th June
MASUTAKI MUSHROOM FESTIVAL
Ura, BUMTHANG
22nd –23rd August
TOUR OF THE DRAGON (BICYCLE RACE)
Bumthang to Thimphu
3rd September
THIMPHU DRUBCHEN
Tashi Chhodzong, THIMPHU
6th -10th October
WANGDUE TSHECHU
Tencholing Army Ground, WANGDUEPHODRANG
9th -11th October
GANGTEY TSHECHU
Gangtey Gonpa, Phobjikha, WANGDUEPHODRANG
16th -18th April
TAMSHING PHALA CHHOEPA
Tamshing Lhakhang, Choekhor, BUMTHANG
11th -13th October
THIMPHU TSHECHU
Tashi Chhodzong, THIMPHU
11th -13th October
THANGBI MANI
Tangbi Lhakhang, Choekor, BUMTHANG
15th -17th October
CHHUKHA TSHECHU
Chhukha Dzong, CHHUKHA
7th -9th November
JAKAR TSHECHU
Jakar Dzong, Choekhor, BUMTHANG
7th -9th November
PEMAGATSHEL TSHECHU
Pemagatshel Dzong, PEMAGATSHEL
12th -14th November
JAMBAY LHAKHANG DRUP
Jambay Lhakhang, Choekhor, BUMTHANG
14th – 17th November
PRAKHAR DUCHHOED
Prakar Lhakhang, Chummi, BUMTHANG
15th –17th November
BLACK NECKED CRANE FESTIVAL
Gangtey Gonpa, Phobjikha, WANGDUEPHODRANG
11th November
MONGAR TSHECHU
Mongar Dzong, MONGAR
5th -9th December
TRASHIGANG TSHECHU
Trashigang Dzong, TRASHIGANG
8th -10th December
JAMBAY LAKHANG SINGYE CHAM
Jambay Lhakhang, Choekhor, BUMTHANG
13th December
NALAKHAR TSHECHU
Ngaa Lhakhang, Choekhor, BUMTHANG
13th -15th December
DRUK WANGYEL TSHECHU
Dochula, THIMPHU
13th December
TRONGSA TSHECHU
Trongsa Dzong, TRONGSA
7th -9th January 2017
LHUENTSE TSHECHU
Lhuentse Dzong, LHUENTSE
7th -9th January 2017
NABJI LHAKHANG DRUP
Nabji Lhakhang, Nabji, TRONGSA
12th -14th January 2017
TENTATIVE FESTIVAL DATES FOR 2016
Note: All tour price are fixed by the Govt, of Bhutan