Punakha Festival - 7 Days
Good to Know
- Duration 7 Days
- Trip Grade Easy
- Starts/Ends Bhutan to Bhutan
- Best Season March, April, May and September, October, November
This popular Punakha festival tour provides an in-depth view into the ancient way of life and rich festival that still thrives in Bhutan today through the western valleys of Paro, Thimphu, Punakha and Wangduephodrang. It is a well paced tour, designed to provide the opportunity to really savour the unique highlights of Bhutan’s western districts which offer diverse mountainous landscapes, a rich Buddhist heritage including monasteries, temples and chortens, historical fortresses and an extremely hospitable people. You will discover the vibrant history of Bhutan visiting the Ta Dzong Museum, Rimpong Dzong with its wooden cantilevered bridge and the infamous Taktsang Monastery (Tiger’s Nest) in the beautiful Paro Valley. In Bhutan’s capital, Thimphu, you will visit the The National Memorial Chorten, 12th century Changangkha Temple and the National Library exhibiting ancient scriptures before crossing the 3050m Dochula Pass with its 108 chortens, numerous prayer flags and spectacular Himalayan views into the sub-tropical Punakha Valley featuring the incredible Punakha Dzong and Chimi Lhakang, temple of the ‘Divine Madman’.
The flight into the Himalayas reveals scenic and breathtaking views of Himalayan Mountains of the world. If weather permits you will be able to see Mt Everest (8848m, 29,198ft) and other Himalayan mountain ranges. After checking into the hotel later visit,
Zorig Chusum Institute: The 13 arts and Crafts institute. The two main objectives of the institute are a) to preserve and promote the traditional arts and crafts and b) to create job opportunities for the underprivileged group of the society.
Textile museum: It was established with the aim of preserving and promoting Bhutanese textile arts.
Paper factory: The handmade paper making in Bhutan stemmed from the age old tradition originated in 8th century of Bhutanese history. The handmade paper constitutes as valuable National heritage of Bhutanese cultural identity and is preserved through all the ages. The Traditional paper is recognized and held high esteem both in home and outside world.
Memorial Chorten: This particular chorten was constructed in 1974 as a memorial for the third King of the country, King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, who is widely regarded as the father of modern Bhutan.
Mini zoo: Here you can see just one animal – Bhutan’s national animal- the Takin. This is an extremely rare member of the goat family. Found in herds in the very high altitudes (13,125ft and over). They live on a diet of grass and bamboo.
Sangaygang View Point: The view point is also the perfect place to take in some truly breathtaking views of the entire city of Thimpu and also later visit Kuenselcholing hilltop where the largest Buddha in the world is being built.
Tashichho Dzong : The names means – Means Fortress of Glorious Religion. It was built in 1641 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel. It houses the secretariat building, the throne room and the office of the king, and the central monk body. Overnight in Thimphu
Morning visit the weekend market: Held every Friday, Saturday and Sunday, the people crowd the stalls every day, dressed in full colour and gathered to meet and to barter, much like the street markets in London!
Later take a hike to Cheri Monastery (Includes Dodina and Jigme Dorji Wild life Sanctuary): Hike about 1hrs(to and fro) leds to Cheri Goemba (Cheri Dorji Dhen). Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal built this monastery in 1620 and established the first monk body here. A chance to spot birds such as Mrs Gould’s Sunbird, Yellow-browed Tit, Yellow-rumped Honeyguide, Long-billed Thrush, Ultramarine Flycatcher.
Folk Heritage museum: It was inaugurated by Her Majesty the Queen Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck, who is the founder and patron of the Museum, on 28th July 2001.It is dedicated to connecting people to the Bhutanese rural past through exhibition of its items and artifacts used in rural households.
Thangtong Dewachen(Nunnery): It was founded in 1976 by Rikey Jadrel, who is considered as emanation of Thangthong Gyalpo(1363 – 1485), the builder of numerous iron chain bridges across the Himalayas. Later just stroll around the city and see how local live and do some shopping. Overnight in Thimphu.
Morning driving towards Punakha, we come across a pass known as Dochula (3140m, 10362ft from where a beautiful panoramic view of the Himalayan mountain range can be seen, especially in clear winter days. The beauty of this place is further enhanced by the Druk Wangyal Chortens- a 108 stupas built by the eldest Queen, Her Majesty Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck.
Once we reach Dochula , If interested we will take rest and sip a cup of in the cafeteria and then we will hike to the 18th century Lungchotse Lhakhang. For those who do not fancy walking for hours seeking solitude and peace of mind yet would like to have that, this is the place to go. It is a perfect place to enjoy the bounties of nature. On a clear sunny day one can see the entire Bhutan Himalaya with its snow covered peaks. The sunset from Lungchotse with different colors playing against the sky is a splendid spectacle. The view from the ridge as the sun sets over the rolling hills remains etched in mind for a long time. Overnight in Punakha.
Attend the Festival: The day begins with the famous mask dances. Festivals in the Land Of Thunder Dragon are rich and happy expressions of its ancient Buddhist culture. These festivals are held in all districts in honor of Guru Rinpoche, the saint who introduced Buddhism to Bhutan in the 8th century. There is simply no better way of experiencing the colour, passion and sheer vibrancy of Bhutan than by attending one of the numerous religious festivals that take place around the year.Tsechus are held on auspicious days and months in the Bhutanese calendar, and last up to four days in which a series of highly stylized masked dance rituals are performed. Attendees adorned in astounding colour gather from far and wide, sporting exotic masks and taking part in the myriad events that are on offer, from games of chance at the local fairs to elaborate mystic rituals. An experience that is not to be missed! Later stroll around the town. Overnight in Punakha
Morning visit the Chimi Lhakhang(Temple of fertility): This Temple was built by lam Drukpa Kuenley (The Divine Madman) in 1499. It is about thirty minutes hike across fields from the road –Wooden phalluses are often found hanging in the four corners of the houses and also phalluses are painted on the walls of houses. It is the common belief that this helps in driving away evil spirits. Later drive to Paro valley
Later visit, Ta Dzong: This means – watch tower, which it served as during the 17th century to guard the region from the Tibetan invasion. It was converted to the National Museum in 1968.
Rimpung Dzong: Means fortress of the heap of jewels. It was built during the time of Zhabdrung (deeply revered to this day as dynamic political and spiritual leader) in 1644It is also the venue for the Paro festival (Tsechu.
Kichu Lhakhang(Monastery): It is one of the two most sacred and the oldest temples in Bhutan. It was built in 7th century by Tibetan King Songtsen Gampo. Overnight in Paro.
Hike to Taktshang Monastery (Tiger’s nest): This is Bhutan’s most recognizable cultural icon perched 800m/2640ft up a seemingly sheer cliff. Although it was tragically and mysteriously consumed by fire in April 1998 it has now been restored to its former glory. It is believed that in the 8th century, the great tantric master Guru Rimopche/ Padmasambhava (2nd Buddha) flew on the back of a tigress to the site where the monastery now stands. Three hours hike(to and fro)
Visit Farmhouse: Eating, taking bath and staying for a night at a local farmhouse gives a different variation, and a chance to see the inside of such a home, rather than just the brightly decorated exteriors. Later stroll around the town and see how locals live. Overnight in Paro
Early breakfast at the hotel and then drive to the airport. Your escort will assist you with exit formalities and bid you farewell.
This itinerary is not suited for you? Plan your own trip.
- 6 Nights at 3* hotel accommodation with WiFi (Luxury hotels will be charged separately)
- Personal specialized English speaking guide & driver with SUV
- Visa Fee
- Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner (excluding alcoholic drinks)
- Tea and Snacks
- All entrance fees & sightseeing including Monasteries & Dzongs etc
- All the transportation by private vehicle
- 200$ Bhutan Government daily royalties which goes for free education and free health services for the Bhutanese people, and other taxes
- Mineral water all time during the tour
- Airline Tickets
- Travel Insurance
- Meals, other than Mentioned
- Various expenses such as room service, beverages, personal calls, souvenirs, etc.
- Tips for Guide and Driver