Trip Snapshot

Name of Trip :

Thimphu and Thangbi Festival

Trip Length : 13 Nights/ 14 Days
Rating : Popular
Destination(s) : Bhutan
Group Size : 4-10 Person
Trip Date : 18th September to 20th September 2012
Trip Start From : Paro, Bhutan
Trip Ends : Paro, Bhutan
Accommodation : Hotels and Resorts
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Route Map

Thimphu and Thangbi Festival


This 14 days festival tour in Bhutan is a double treat bonanza from Bhutan Majestic Travel. It takes you to two different festivals, Thimphu Tshechu(festival) in Thimphu and the Thangbi Mani Festival in Bumthang. Thangbi Mani tshechu (festival) is held annually in the Thangbi Lhakhang or monastery which was built in 1470. The festival is one of the special attractions of Chhoekhar Geog in Bumthang with the highlight of the festival being the fire dance. It is believed that if one can jump three times over the fire then that person can rid of their bad lucks for a year. Then there are the other mask dances which are believed to have powers to bring happiness, insure good harvest and improve the prosperity for the villagers and onlookers. Thimphu holds one of the biggest attended festivals in Bhutan; the Thimphu Tshechu. It spans for a period of three days starting from 10th day of the 8th month of lunar calendar, pulling in huge crowds. The tshechu was first initiated by the 4th Desi, Gyalse Tenzin Rabgay in 1867. Back then, it had only a few chamms(masked dances) like the Zhana chham and the Zhana Nga chham (dances of the 21 black hats), Durdag (dance of the lords of the cremation ground), and the Tungam chham (dance of the terrifying deities) being performed. In 1950s, several other mask dances were introduced by the third King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, without compromising on the spiritual significance of it.
  • Day 01: Fly into Paro International Airport
  • Day 02: Thimphu Tshechu
  • Day 03: Thimphu Tshechu
  • Day 04: Thimphu – Punakha
  • Day 05: Punakha - Bumthang (7Hours)
  • Day 06: Bumthang: Thangbi Mani Festival
  • Day 07: Bumthang: Thangbi Mani Festival
  • Day 08: Bumthang - Gangtey (6Hours)
  • Day 09: Gangtey – Wangdue (3Hours)
  • Day 10: Wangdue - Thimphu (3Hours)
  • Day 11: Thimphu – Thimphu
  • Day 12: Thimphu - Paro (2Hours)
  • Day 13: Paro – Paro
  • Day 14: Drive to Airport Depart Bhutan

Destinations :

Paro, Thimphu, Punakha, Wangdue, Trongsa and Bumthang

Activities :

Thimphu and Thangbi Mani Festival, 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...

Thimphu and Thangbi Festival


Day 01

:

Fly into Paro International Airport

During the journey, 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 arrival at Paro International Airport, you will be received by representative from Bhutan Majestic Travel who will escort you to Down Town of Paro for Special Warm Welcome Lunch by your host Namgay Dorji. Enjoy lunch in quaint Paro village and we then proceed to visit the National Museum (Ta-Dzong) once the watchtower for Rinpung Dzong. It was converted into the National Museum in 1968. The museum stands on a promontory overlooking the Paro valley in all its glory. On the way back visit the Paro Rinpung Dzong. A flagstone path rises gradually from a beautiful wooden bridge with shingle roofing and abutted by two guardhouses, to the dzong. Today the Dzong is the seat of the district administration as well as home for the monastic school. The central tower (Utse) of the Dzong, displays superb woodwork. A 2-hour drive brings us to Thimphu, Capital of Bhutan. Check into Hotel and go over itinerary with your guide. Tomorrow attend Thimphu Festival; Load your camera!

Day 02

:

Thimphu Tshechu

Today we attend our first day of Thimphu Festival. Enchanting in its spiritual ritual, Tshechu blessings are received. Bhutanese from many different areas will gather to pay respect and to be blessed at this social gathering. Locals dressed in their finest cloth and jewelry attend this celebration of purification. Here we can truly appreciate the essence of Bhutanese people and a preserved steadfast culture. Enjoy a refreshing lunch nearby and a stop to exchange money at the bank. Visit the post office to purchase collector item Bhutanese stamps, a must for any collector. Return to Thimphu Festival for afternoon Tshechu. Departing the Festival we will now visit the Royal Textile Museum of Bhutan; Visit the exceptional Textile Museum, featuring masterpieces from the Royal Family of Bhutan and splendid fabric and exquisite Thangkas. Overnight hotel.

Day 03

:

Thimphu Tshechu

Returning to the Thimphu Festival we again are captivated by clanging cymbal, drum, horns and the unforgettable chanting of Buddhist monks who perform religious dance of purification. Arrays of colorful brocades whirl through the air as the dancers spin and dance the "thunderbolt step". This afternoon after lunch at our hotel we will enjoy sight-seeing Thimphu city, a visit to the Takin Zoo, the National Animal of Bhutan, and Memorial Chorten of the Third King. Along the way perhaps an archery match! Bhutan holds gold in the Olympic Games for Archery, an ancient art in Bhutan still preserved and enjoyed. The National Library will interest you with ancient and medieval documents and scripts. The hand made paper factory and house of incense are Bhutanese handicraft specialties worth visiting. Relax and enjoy dinner with your fellow travelers your hotel.

Day 04

:

Thimphu – Punakha

Departing Thimphu today we begin our journey towards central Bhutan. We pass over 10,000ft Dochula Pass. We enjoy a photo stop here and view the high Eastern Himalayan mountains. We are encircled by many prayer flags, fluttering their prayer of peace and serenity . Here we will enjoy tea and a snack. We continue onwards Wangduephodrang, our destination tonight. After lunch we will visit Punakha Dzong, the former winter capital and present administrative seat of the district. Also the winter residence of the central monastic body and its Chief Abbot. The Dzong lies between two rivers, the Pochu and Mochu, male and female rivers. It was built in 1637 AD. Many feel Punakha is the most beautiful of all dzongs in Bhutan. We visit as well Chimi Lakhang , the Fertility Monastery. Overnight at Punakha

Day 05

:

Punakha - Bumthang (7Hours)

Departing Punakha we journey deeper into Bhutan with our destination tonight in Bumthang, central Bhutan. A long drive (7 hours) on a scenic and breathtaking highway rewarded by a stop at the Trongsa Dzong, the ancestral home of the royal family. Winding down the steep mountain road you begin to glimpse Trongsa Dzong from afar, and you wonder at this architectural wonder. Built by Chogyel Minjur Tempa, the Third Desi, in 1648 it is presently the administrative seat of the district and home of the monastic school. Built at split-levels on a narrow spur, the Dzong is an architectural wonder. Views from here are extensive creating strategic location of this Dzong. Over the Dzong is the medieval Watchtower. This ancient structure gives unobstructed views of the valley, and it's winding river and roads. The Watch Tower is located strategically above the Trongsa Dzong. Climb the ancient ladders to the top, as you view warrior armor and aging altars, immersing yourself in the presence unchanged within its walls. We will lunch in Trongsa town and continue to Bumthang. Overnight Guest house in Bumthang.

Day 06

:

Bumthang: Thangbi Mani Festival

Today we attend a very unique village festival: Tangbi Mani Festival. Masks of glorious demonic demons and animals arouse your senses as you watch the purification take place. The intensity goes on. Your spirit will fly, Your camera will snap away, and you will again be transported. We will join the local people for picnic lunch. Watch for the Atsara (clown) This dancer, unique in his own style, mimics dancers and entertains onlookers. Festival deities are invoked through benediction and luck is increased and misfortune gone. Overnight Guest House.

Day 07

:

Bumthang: Thangbi Mani Festival

Returning to Tangbi Mani Festival in the morning and enjoy our last hours of Festival. After lunch we visit Jakar Dzong, Tamshing Monasteries and Jambay Lakhang. A stop for refreshment at the Cheese and Beer Factory and village handicraft shops. Here in Bumthang are some of the best weavers of the Bhutanese famous style of textile. Weavers weave their magic on ancient back strap and toe looms. Textile fabric can be purchased here at a good price. Unique and wonderful gifts. Overnight in Guest House

Day 08

:

Bumthang - Gangtey (6Hours)

Drive to Phobjikha Valley. October is the time of year best to view Black Neck Cranes. These large beautiful and graceful birds migrate each year from Tibet and Siberia to Phobjikha glacial valley on the western slopes of the Black Mountains. No electricity or telephones are here to keep the valley pristine. Punishment imposed on anyone injuring a Black Neck Crane is life imprisonment. We visit the Khebethang Nature Study Center to observe and learn more about the cranes. Overnight: Farm House

Day 09

:

Gangtey – Wangdue (3Hours)

Drive to Wangdue with scenic stops for photo opportunity along the way. Look for Yaks along our route. Retracing our route. Visit the Wangdue Dzong after lunch and Wangdue town stalling. Over Night Hotel in Wangdue.

Day 10

:

Wangdue - Thimphu (3Hours)

After breakfast we continue onto Thimphu and arrive at our hotel in Thimphu. Check in hotel, relax and refresh. After a hearty lunch we depart for an exhilarating afternoon hike to Tango Monastery. We drive to our path and embark on a vigorous hike up the mountain to Tango Goemba Monastery. Tango is one of Bhutanese' most important Buddhist colleges. Its name, meaning 'horse's head', is derived from the horse-head shaped rock at the top. It is a beautiful dzong built in the 18h century by the 8th Desi, Druk Rabgye. Today Tango is home to the eight-year-old reincarnate Lama, Gyaltse Tenzin Rabgye. Overnight Hotel in Thimphu

Day 11

:

Thimphu – Thimphu

Day Hike to Phajoding Monastery. The round trip takes about 5 Hours. Phajoding is a very secret place for the monks as they go for long term meditations. Picnic Lunch at Phajoding. After the Hike your host Namgay Dorji will arrange a Steam or Sauna Bath in the town. If time permits visit a local bookshop and handicraft shops. There is much in Thimphu to explore. Overnight Hotel in Thimphu

Day 12

:

Thimphu - Paro (2Hours)

After breakfast we visit the famous weekend market, a must in Bhutan. The marketplace is alive with fresh and organic fruits, rice, chilies, wonderful textiles, handicrafts, art and jewelry and so much fun. Lunch and check out of hotel. Departing Thimphu toward Paro, we visit the famous Tigers Nest Monastery along our way. Hike or ride a pony to the famous Taktsang Monastery (Tiger's Nest). The monastery is perched on a rocky ledge with a sheer drop of nearly 4,000 feet. It is said that in the second half of the 8th century, Guru Padma Sambhava, the saint who converted Bhutan to Buddhism, alighted here upon the back of a tigress. Here we enjoy snacks and tea at the cafeteria viewpoint. Overnight Hotel in Paro.

Day 13

:

Paro – Paro

Day excursion to Haa Valley situated in the north-west of Bhutan bordering Tibet. It was closed to tourism until 2002. On arrival in the picturesque Haa Valley, stroll through attractive town. Return to Paro and stop at Chelela Pass at 3990mts. That’s the Highest pass in the motor road where one can see the Mount Jhomolhari 7314mts. The round trip takes about 5hours. Overnight Hotel in Paro.

Day 14

:

Drive to Paro international Airport where your Guide and Driver would bid farewell and safe journey back home.

Thimphu and Thangbi Festival


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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