Trip Snapshot

Name of Trip :

Punakha Tshechu

Trip Length : 14 Nights/ 15 Days
Rating : Popular
Destination(s) : Bhutan
Group Size : 4-10 Person
Trip Date : 03rd March to 05th March 2012
Trip Start From : Paro, Bhutan
Trip Ends : Paro, Bhutan
Accommodation : Hotels and Resorts
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Route Map

Punakha Tshechu


This festival tour from Bhutan Majestic Travels offers a double treat. This trip presents the guests with an opportunity to be part of two festivals in Bhutan; the Punakha Drubchen and the Punakha Tshechu. The Drubchen witnesses a dramatic recreation of the scene from the 17th century battle with Tibetan army. Significant to the event are the the ‘pazaps’ or local militia men. The pazaps dressed in battle gear showcase a battle scene, foretelling their involvement in the war that enabled them to expel the Tibetan forces out of the country. The war was very significant as it ushered in a new era of peace and stability for Bhutan. The Punakha Tshechu pays homage to the life of Guru Rinpoche, who introduced Tantric Buddhism throughout the Himalayas. Besides the numerous mask dances, the highlight of this festival is the unfolding of the huge and sacred Thangka (Tapestry) of Guru Rinpoche on the dawn of the last day of the festival.
  • Day 01: Arrive to Paro International Air port
  • Day 02: Paro – Paro
  • Day 03: Paro – Thimphu
  • Day 04: Thimphu - Thimphu
  • Day 05: Thimphu – Punakha
  • Day 06: Punakha - Punakha
  • Day 07: Punakha Festival
  • Day 08: Punakha Festival
  • Day 09: Punakha – Bumthang
  • Day 10: Bumthang – Ura - Bumthang
  • Day 11: Bumthang - Bumthang
  • Day 12: Bumthang – Gangtey (Valley of Black Necked Cranes)
  • Day 13: Gangtey – Thimphu
  • Day 14: Thimphu - Paro
  • Day 15: Drive to Airport Depart Bhutan

Destinations :

Paro, Thimphu, Punakha, Wangdue, Trongsa, Bumthang, Ura and Gangtey

Activities :

Attending Punakha Tshechu, Hiking, Visit Farm House , Monastery, Museums, Weekend market (Friday, Saturday and Sunday only) Stroll around the City etc.

Tour Highlights :

  • Visit the impressive Dzong (fortresses), former palaces and Buddhist monasteries!
  • Hike through the ridge top Goembas (monasteries) and meet the monks.
  • Hike through the terraced farmlands and villages, visit the farmhouses and meet the villagers.
  • Attend the local festivals and events.
  • Visit the vibrant markets and towns.
  • Visit the traditional arts and crafts workshops, meet the artisans, weavers and painters!
  • And much more...

Punakha Tshechu


Day 01

:

Arrival Paro International Airport

During the journey to Paro, one will experience from the left hand side of the plane, breath taking view of Mount Everest, Kanchenjunga and other famous Himalayan peaks, including the sacred Jhomolhari and Mount Jichu Drake in Bhutan. On the arrival at Paro International Airport, The representative of Bhutan Majestic Travel, your tour guide will receive you and escort you to the hotel. After a brief rest at the hotel and tea/coffee. Drive to the National Museum (Ta-Dzong). This was actually the Watch Tower of Paro Rinpung Dzong. It was converted to the National Museum in 1968. Visit the Paro Rinpung Dzong. This massive fortress is located on a hill top above the Pachu (Paro River) of Paro Valley. You have to walk about 15 minutes by crossing an ancient wooden bridge built in typical Bhutanese architect. The Dzong houses the District Administration Office and the District Monk Body. It was built in 1645 A.D. Lunch at Hotel. After Lunch Visit Kyichu Lhakhang (Lhakhang means Monastery). Kyichu Lhakhang was built in 659 A.D. by King Songtsen Gampo of Tibet. It is considered one of the holiest places in Bhutan as it marks the advent of Buddhism in the country. It is one of the 108 such temples built by him for spreading Buddhism in this region. Drive to the Paro village town and explore the town. Altitude of Paro is 2260m. Overnight: Hotel in Paro.

Day 02

:

Paro – Paro

Drive for 15kms and reach the base of Famous Tiger's Nest "TAKTSANG" Monastery and hike up which would take Two Hours up and approximately One Hour down. Stop at Taktsang Tea House "Cafeteria" for refreshment of Tea & Coffee. Taktsang is at 2900mts. Hike for another half an hour and you reach the Great and Magnificent Taktsang where you will be greets by the monks who live there and Special Bhutanese Butter Tea will be served with Snacks. Visit the most important monastery were the Guru Rimpoche was flying on a Flamming Tigress from Singye Dzong in Eastern Bhutan to here and meditated for Three Months and flourishment of Buddhism in Paro started from 8th Century. Walk down hill and drive to Drugyal Dzong and on the way enjoys the view of the Taktsang Monastery, also known as "Tiger's Nest temple". Near the Drugyal Dzong, if the sky is clear we can see the Mt. Chomolhari on the background. Overnight: Hotel in Paro. Thimphu is the Capital City of Bhutan but for the Buddhist Monk body moves to Punakha in Winter and their Summer Capital District is Thimphu but Winter s Punakha because it is cold in Thimphu during winter and Punakha is just perfect at 1300mts

Day 03

:

Paro – Thimphu

The drive to Thimphu will take roughly Two Hours. Thimphu is the capital city of Bhutan since from 1974. Punakha used to the capital city of Bhutan before that. For the first one hour you will follow the Pa-Chu (Paro River) and reach Chuzom where the Thimphu River meets the Paro River and forms Wang-Chu (Chu means Water, River or Stream). Chuzom is a four direction motor road junction where one road leads to Thimphu, one to Phuentsholing the border town to India, one to Haa valley and one where you drove from Paro. It will take another One hour from here to Capital city, Thimphu. Check in the Hotel and after short rest visit National Memorial Stupa, built in 1874 by Royal Queen Mother and dedicated to the father of Modern Bhutan, the Late His Majesty the Third King of Bhutan. The Memorial Stupa, built in 1974 by Royal Queen Mother and dedicated to the Father of Modern Bhutan, The Third King of Bhutan. This Tibetan & Bhutanese Architecture mixed Stupa has got three different sects of Buddhism such as Gongdu on the Top floor, Drukpa Kagyud on Middle with Second Buddha figure facing the Sun Rise and on the Ground Floor it is the Phurba.

Day 04

:

Thimphu - Thimphu

Visit the Post Office with Money exchange as the bank is next door. Lunch in Town, after lunch drive to BBS Tower to get the magnificent picture and view of Thimphu and you can also see our Queens Palaces. Visit to Thimphu Mini Zoo where you can see our National Animal "TAKIN" which has a head of a goat and body of a cow, believed to be made by great Devine Madman in the 16th Century. Visit national Library, School of Thirteen Arts and Crafts, National institute of Traditional Medicines. Visit to Thimphu Tashi Cho Dzong, the office of the King and the Throne Room and also the Summer Capital of Monastic Body lead by His Holiness the Je Khenpo (Chief Abbot) who spend six months here during summer and move to Punakha for winter for another six months. Overnight: Hotel in Thimphu.

Day 05

:

Thimphu -Punakha

After breakfast drive to Winter Capital for the Monastic Body, Punakha at 1300m. One hour drive reach you to Dochula Pass at 3150mts where you can see and enjoy the Eastern Himalayas in a Panoramic View and best picture time for group of Bhutanese Style of Stupas, as there are 108 Stupas built by Her Majesty for the well being of the Nation and Love Live His Majesty. It descends to Punakha and Wangdue at 1300mts which will take another two hours. Visit Historic and one of the most beautiful Punakha Dzong built in 1637 by Great Zhabdrung Rimpoche who unified Bhutan in 17th Century. Overnight: Hotel in Punakha

Day 06

:

Punakha - Punakha

After breakfast walk to the famous Devine Madman's Monastery the Chhimi Lhakhang "No Dog Monastery" built in 1499. Today it is very popular because couples who are married for so many years and don't have children's but always desired go there and get blessed from the wooden Phallus and in another Nine months the wife gets pregnant. We will visit the monastery and meditate and picnic lunch will be served outside the monastery in a lush green ground. After Lunch drive to Punakha and visit the beautiful and legendary Khamsum Yuley Namgyal Monastery built by Her Majesty the Queen mother of our Crown Prince. Overnight: Hotel in Punakha

Day 07

:

Punakha Festival

Full Day Punakha Festival Overnight: Hotel in Punakha

Day 08

:

Punakha Festival

Full Day Punakha Festival Overnight: Hotel in Punakha

Day 09

:

Punakha – Bumthang (210 Kms, 8 hours, 2500mts)

After breakfast drive to Bumthang via Wangdi village town. Have the pack lunch around the Pelela pass (3390 Mts) or you have the option to continue to Chendebji Stupa. Chendebji Stupa is a massive stupa built in Sherpa style. We have only two such stupas in Bhutan and the other one is in Tarshi Yangtse, eastern Bhutan. After lunch, drive onto Bumthang via Trongsa. At Trongsa, stop to visit the Trongsa Dzong which is one of the most magnificent Dzongs in Bhutan with many old and holy temples inside the Dzong, also visit the ancient WatchTower which has a temple dedicated to Ling Geyser (Alexandra the Great) and have your evening tea and continue to the Bumthang for the night. Overnight: Hotel in Bumthang

Day 10

:

Bumthang – Ura - Bumthang

Day excursion to beautiful Ura Valley and visit to Burning Lake Overnight: Hotel in Bumthang

Day 11

:

Bumthang - Bumthang

Visit the historical Jakar Dzong built by Minjur Tenpa, the third Druk Desi (Temporal ruler) in 1646 A.D. It was later repaired and expanded by Gyalse Tenzin Rabgay, the fourth Desi of Bhutan in 1683 A.D. It is probably one of the biggest Dzongs in Bhutan with the surrounding walls about 1 km in circumference. Visit several ancient and important monasteries such as, Jambay Lhakhang, Kurjey Lhakhang, Kencho Sum Lhakhang, Tamshing and Pema Samba Lhakhangs. Also visit the Bumthang Swiss farm and the Member Tso" The flaming Lake" which is considered one of the most important pilgrimage spots. Overnight: Hotel in Bumthang

Day 12

:

Bumthang – Gangtey (Valley of Black Necked Cranes)

After an early breakfast, drive to Gangtey. 174kms from Bumthang. Overnight in Gangtey. Gangtey is a beautiful place situated at an altitude of 3000m. From Gangtey, one can closely view the picturesque black mountain ranges as well as the beautiful Phobjikha valley which is one of the biggest and the most beautiful valleys in the country. During winters, we can also see the famous Black Necked Cranes there. Overnight: Hotel in Gangtey

Day 13

:

Gangtey – Thimphu

After breakfast drive to Thimphu (1250kms.) Lunch at Dochula Pass 3150m. Overnight: Hotel in Thimphu

Day 14

:

Thimphu - Paro

After breakfast drive to Paro. Check in Hotel and excursions to Chelela pass 3980 meters. Overnight: Hotel in Paro

Day 15

:

Drive to Airport Depart Bhutan

Early morning drive to border gate and exit Bhutan for onward destination. Wishing you safe journey and thanks for visiting Bhutan with us

Punakha Tshechu


Cost Includes:

  • Receive and Transfer to Airport
  • Double/Twin in 3 Star Hotel
  • 3 Meals every day with Evening Tea
  • Toyota SUV for FIT & Toyota Bus for Group with Driver
  • English Speaking Guide
  • All Sightseeing
  • Museum Fees
  • Bhutan Visa
  • All Permits
  • Bottled Mineral Water
  • Walks and Hikes

Cost Does Not Include:

  • Donations to Monasteries
  • Insurance
  • Alcohol & Beverages
  • Tips for Guide, Driver & Hotel Staff
  • Gifts & Souvenirs
  • International Telephone Calls
  • Round Trip Air fare
  • Inbound Airfare

Accommodations and facilities:

There are limited choices of accommodations in Bhutan. With a few exceptions of highly over priced international chain properties, hotels in Bhutan are small with 15 to 20 rooms. The hotels have been categorized by local authorities as Star 1, 2 and 3, with 3 Star being on the top level 1Star at the bottom and naturally we have pick the 3 Star category hotels and resorts which are local architecture with Bhutanese décor, well maintained and staffed with the friendly locals. There is disparity in the rooms in most of the hotels and travelers of the same group may end up in two different types of rooms although you have paid the same amount. You will have private bathroom with 24 hour running cold and hot water. They provide some fundamental toiletry supplies but hair dryers, iron and ironing board etc may not be available. Hotels in Paro and Thimphu do have internet access in office or reception areas. There are some new deluxe properties and international chain resorts which are above the traditional classification criteria and in the higher side in terms of price and can be booked with supplemental cost. Hotel listed on the itinerary are suggestions only and during peak season and tours timed with festival, we may not get the same hotels and in that case, we will book you in the similar property or upgrade you to the higher level.

Guide and Escorts

Our Tour Guides are local individuals with college degree, government certification, experienced and with knowledge on the destination, history, culture and religion and most importantly they are easy going, detailed oriented, patient and high level of customer service skills. They will uncover the wonders of the destinations for you which you would never find on your own. They ensure that everything goes well with your tour without a hitch.

Vehicle:

We use good condition Toyota SUV and Toyota Coaches for all transfers and tours. Driver and guide is not the same person. Driver may speak little or no English but they know the road and are skillful to fix the problem in case of mechanical breakdowns. Depending on group size, we will use Japanese made Sedan cars, SUVs or minivan for entire transfers and tours.

International and Internal Flights:

All internal flights are part of travel plan and are locally booked by us. You will be emailed e-ticket receipts once the reservation is booked and tickets issued. But you have liberty to book your international airfare on your own. We can certainly help you book international flight if that originates from the city that you live in. Once you receive itinerary, it's your responsibility to verify the itinerary and reconfirm the schedules.

Visa and Permits:

Passport should be valid for 6 months or more at the time of travel. We will take care of Bhutan Visa and permits. Bhutan Visa Fees of USD 20 which will be collected with the Tour Payment in advance. You will need to provide a copy of your passport which should be sent to us by email for Bhutan Visa Processing. Bhutan visa is preprocessed by us and we will provide you a copy the Visa Approval Letter before your trip which you will need to present at Druk Air counter at the time you check in for flight to Bhutan. You will get actual visa seal on your passport upon arrival at Paro airport.

Trip Activity Level:

This trip is basically motor vehicle based sightseeing with some short hikes and village visits and suitable for all travelers with regular health conditions. When we are driving from one city to another, we will be driving from 3-6 hours with occasional stops for photography and for refreshments. Roads are narrow and some portions may be rough and damaged. The itinerary allows enough acclimatization for you and it's advisable that you should keep physically fit and start mild exercises like jogging, swimming, cycling or practice some aerobics about 2-3 months ahead of the trip. It's your responsibility to determine that you are fit for this trip and if you have any health conditions, please consult with your physician before you sign up for this trip.

Note on Itinerary:

We do our best to adhere to the itinerary but it should be taken as a generic guideline in terms of what you expect to do or see during the tour and may differ in the practical ground from exact sequence or order of the sights to the overnight places depending on the local conditions.

Booking:

When you are sure you are traveling, please don't delay in booking so that we can confirm you in preferred hotels and flights. A 100% of both the Tour and Airfare is requested along with a completed trip application form plus copy of the photo page of your passport.

Cancellation:

  • 100% Refund if tour canceled within 60 Days from the start of the tour.
  • 50% Refund if tour canceled within 45 Days from the start of the tour.
  • 25% Refund if tour canceled within 30 Days from the start of the tour.
  • No Refund if tour canceled less than 30 Days from the start of the tour.

Final Trip Dossier:

A final trip dossier with local contacts, hotel lists, check lists, travel notes and relevant information will be sent about a month ahead of the trip.

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