Punakha Festival (9 Days)

Day 1: Arrive Paro International Airport - Thimphu

Upon arrival at Paro International airport, you will be welcomed by our company representative and the tour guide will receive and escort you to designated Hotels in Paro.

Day 2: Paro

Hike to Tiger's Nest, one of the most sacred Taktshang monasteries in Bhutan. It is perched on the cliff where Guru Rinpoche is said to have flown to the site riding on a tigress. He subsequently meditated here for three months. You can have lunch at the Taktshang cafeteria from where you get a spectacular view of the monastery.

In the afternoon drive to the ruins of the 17th Century Drukgyel Dzong, an historic monument built by the Zhabdrung to commemorate his victory against invading Tibetans in 1644. In fine weather the towering peak of the sacred Mount Jomolhari (7314m) appears as a stunning backdrop. On the return drive to Paro, visit 7th Century Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the 108 temples constructed by the Tibetan king Songtsen Gampo. Overnight at Paro.

Day 3: Paro - Punakha

After an early breakfast drive over the Dochu-La pass, which on a clear day offers an incredible view of Himalayan peaks before descending into Punakha Valley. The drive through the countryside affords a glimpse of everyday life in this most remote of Himalayan Kingdom's.

Punakha was the formal capital of Bhutan. On arrival, drive to Punakha Dzong, the “Palace of Great Happiness” to attend the festival. You will see locals dressed in their finest clothes who have walked from miles around to attend the festivities. They come to watch masked dances, to pray, and to feast. While the underlying purpose of the festival is spiritual, dances are more often like plays, telling stories where good triumphs over evil, or depicting significant historical events, especially surrounding the life of Bhutan’s patron saint, Padmasambhava (also known as Guru Rinpoche). In the evening free for leisure walk to explore Punakha town and walk around the town is easy and would be enjoyable to experience the Bhutanese way of life.

Day 4: Punakha

After a leisurely breakfast, we will attend Punakha Tshechu upto Lunch time or return back to the Festival Ground after lunch.

Afternoon: Two Optional Programs are: (1) Attend the Tshechu, (2) enjoy a walk to Chimi Lhakhang, the temple of fertility, blessed by the Divine Mad in the 1500s. The walk to the temple will take about 45 minutes one way through rice paddy fields. Overnight at Punakha/WangduePhodrang.

Day 5: Punakha - Phobjikha Valley

Today we will drive to Phobjikha Valley through the bustling market town of Wangduephodrang. Drive up a winding mountain road through oak and rhododendron forests, and over a high pass down into the picturesque Phobjikha Valley.

Phobjikha is one of Bhutan’s few glacial valleys, and chosen winter home of black necked cranes migrating from the Tibetan plateau. After lunch visit Gangtey Gompa (Monastery), dating back to the 16th century. Overnight at Phobjikha.

Day 6: Phobjikha Valley - Thimphu

After an early breakfast drive back to Thimphu. In the afternoon, time free at leisure for own activities and relax in the hotel to acclimatization with Bhutan weather conditions.

Day 7: Thimphu - Sightseeing

We will start our sightseeing tour visiting Memorial Chorten built in memory of the 3rd King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck who reigned the Kingdom from 1952-1972. Visit the National Library where ancient manuscripts are preserved. Further, we will visit the Zorig Chusum - 13 Arts & Crafts Institute where traditional arts and crafts are still kept alive. The visitors can see students of different trades at work like: Sculpting, Thanka Painting, Wood Carving and other skills.

Afternoon visit to the Textile Museum, Handicrafts Emporium, Crafts Bazaar where Bhutanese textiles and other arts and crafts are displayed and can be purchased. In the evening free for leisure walk to explore Thimphu city - the world’s smallest capital and the only capital city where Traffic Lights are absent. The walk around the city is easy and would be enjoyable to experience the Bhutanese way of life.

Day 8: Thimphu - Paro

Today we will go on a day long Excursion to Phajodng which is at an altitude of 3700m. The 3 hours hike is considered one of the most enjoyable short hikes through coniferous forests. The panoramic view of Thimphu valley and surrounding mountains will be most rewarding. There are several monasteries, state monastic Buddhist school and it is also a popular meditation place for many devout Buddhists. Late afternoon transfer to Paro. Overnight at Paro

Day 9: Paro - International Airport

The guests will be Seen Off by a Representative of our company and the Tour Guide at the Exit Gate. Wish Bon Voyage!!!

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