BHUTAN BLACK NECKED CRANE FESTIVAL TOUR
9 DAYS 8 NIGHTS
Travel Consultant – Deanne Scanlan, 0411682577, Enchanting Bhutan
DAY 1: Thimphu -Wednesday November 6 Arrival, check-in, local sightseeing (2 nights)
Your guide will welcome you at Paro airport. Before being transferred to your hotel in Thimphu.
The afternoon provides an opportunity for orientation and acclimatization and to get to know your guide, who will offer some additional sightseeing options if time and energy levels permit.
The National Memorial Chorten: Bhutan’s third king, H.M. Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, died before his plan to erect a monument to world peace and prosperity came to fruition. However, the Royal Family and Cabinet resolved to fulfil his wishes and erected the memorial to perpetuate his memory.
National Institute of Traditional Medicine: This Bhutanese institution dispenses traditional medicines made from plants, minerals, animal parts, precious metals and gems. A working facility for research and the treatment of local people we believe is interesting.
Overnight: Thimphu LD
DAY 2- Thimphu Thursday November 7
Today you will experience all that Thimphu has to offer from the local markets to handicrafts, the dancing policeman to textile manufacturing. The Royal Textile Academy Museum: An insight into the national art of weaving, this museum shows ne examples of all the major weaving techniques and the changing styles of ‘gho’ and ‘kira’ over the years, with weavers demonstrating their skills on traditional back looms.
Meet the Takin, the National symbol of Bhutan who is described as a half goat half cow before visiting the post office where you can buy musical stamps.
Folk Heritage Museum: This replica of a traditional Bhutanese house is exactly as it would have looked 100 years ago – and as many Bhutanese families still live to this day.
The above denotes activities and places of interest available in Thimphu. There may not be time to visit all, however the day will be organised according to guests’ particular interest.
Elevation 1242 m
DAY 3 – Punakha Friday November 8 (2 nights)
After breakfast begin your journey towards Punakha. Drive between Thimphu and Punakha takes 2.5 to 3 Hrs. En-route you will stop at the Dochula pass (3100 meters) for tea and a photo opportunity. On a clear day you can get spectacular views of the eastern Himalayan range.
From the pass drive downhill through the forests of rhododendron, fir and hemlock. You will arrive at Punakha after traversing through rice field and along the bank of Punakha River. On the way, you will stop at Metshina Village and take a 20-minute walk through the rice fields to the fertility temple Chimi Lhakhang dedicated to the Divine Madman or Lama Drukpa Kuenley.
If you so desire you may receive a blessing from the Lama’s wooden phallus! The temple is known for assisting couples who have had no success in beginning their family. There is a photo album which sits proudly near the altar as testament to the success stories from overseas visitors.
After lunch, visit the Punakha Dzong, which is stunningly situated in between the male river Pho Chu and the female river Mo Chu like an anchored ship.
Overnight in Punakha. BLD
DAY 4 –Punakha – Saturday November 9 -rafting and sight seeing
Today you drive up the river about 20 KMs for rafting. Rafting takes anywhere between 2-2.5 hours depending on your exit point. You raft through a small ravine, pass sand flats and beautiful hamlet nestled on either side of the river. Towards the end you will pass by the Majestic Punakha Dzong to view it from a different angle. BLD
DAY 5 – Phobjikha- Sunday November 10
After breakfast journey to Phobjikha in the Wangdue Valley. Phobjikha is a pristine valley of farmland that seems to have been preserved in time. Cows wander and graze on the roadways while children wander home from school late afternoon.
Overnight at a Phobjikha Farm house to experience how locals live. Sit on the floor while chatting about the day’s journey and here stories from your guide. Here is an ideal place to sample the locally brewed wine – Ara
In the afternoon we will visit the Crane Museum and Karma the lone black necked crane who was injured and now lives out her days in protection.
If you would prefer you can stay at the 4 star Gangtey Lodge for an additional charge. BLD
Other hotel options are available.
DAY 6- FESTIVAL DAY- Monday November 11
We suggest you rise early as the mists lift slowly over the rolling green hills. You can create a picture book from this valley alone.
The morning begins with a visit to the Gangtey Dzong or Goenpa. Perched high on the mountain it affords views across the Eastern Himalayas that resemble a water colour painting. Red robed monks and novices wander the halls and courtyard at a leisurely pace and are only too happy to pose for a photo. After the festival we will have lunch before a relaxing afternoon.
Day 7 – Paro- Tuesday November 12
The journey then begins back to Paro via Dochula pass where you will have yet another opportunity to witness the amazing view. At Dochula pass you will visit the new Druk Wangyal Monastery, the only one of its kind in the country with elaborate paintings depicting the lineage of the present monarchy and their visionary works.
There is much to see in Paro visit Tamchoe Lhakhang and Kitchu lhakhang, Paro Dzong and the National Museum. Or if shopping is on your agenda, Paro is a good place to start.
DAY 8- Paro- Wednesday November 13
One of the most amazing and important pieces of architecture in Bhutan, Taktsang Goemba, or Tiger’s Nest, defies logic, gravity and reason.
To avoid the hot sun, we make an early start for the two-hour (7 kilometre round trip) climb to the monastery viewpoint. Descending steeply, we then climb up to the monastery, passing a waterfall and entering through the main gates, which are decorated with murals. You may make an offering of a butter lamp and have your guide offer a blessing for a small donation. After spending some time in the monastery we break for lunch and then back to Paro.
There is nothing like soaking your tired muscles in a herbal hot stone bath with a sip of locally brewed wine- Ara.
Overnight in Paro BLD
DAY 9 – Paro Thursday November 14
Sadly we say farewell today – Tashi Delek. Depending on the time of your departing flight, you may have time for a coffee at the beautiful bakery in the town centre.
For Further Enquires, please contact: Deanne Scanlan, 0411682577, Enchanting Bhutan