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Traveller Rating

 

Activities
  • 13 day cultural discovery
Accommodation
  • 12 nights hotel
Meals
  • 11 Dinners
  • 11 Lunches
  • 11 Breakfasts

13 Days$3899USD

Hit the trails with confidence

Flexible Cancellations
Stress free booking, learn more about our flexible terms

COVID-19 safety measures
Read our Covid-19 travel policy and what we're doing to keep you safe

Remote adventures
means social distancing comes naturally

Small groups only
Guided group sizes are strictly limited to maximum 16 people, average of 8-10


 
 
Trip Code: PTC

Bhutan Explorer & Paro Tshechu Festival Trip highlights


  • Experience the colourful Paro Tshechu Festival
  • Explore Gangtey Valley, the largest wetland in Bhutan and home to the Black-Necked Crane
  • Immerse yourself in the cultural heart of Bhutan at Bumthang
  • Climb high above the Paro Valley to the famous Tiger’s Nest Monastery
  • Revel in views of Jomolhari (7314m), Bhutan’s most sacred mountain
  • Learn about Bhutanese culture at Paro’s National Museum

Why Book With Us

  • World Expeditions have been leading unique itineraries across all corners of the globe for 45 years.
  • All meals, private transportation, entrance and sightseeing fees, visa fees all included.
  • Stay at hand picked quality hotels and spend additional time embracing the vibrant Paro festival.

The remote Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan is well known for it's untouched wilderness, rich Buddhist culture and a history steeped in mystique and legend. Our journey encompasses all that Bhutan has to offer taking in the 'must see' highlights of both western and central Bhutan. Our tour begins in the picturesque Paro Valley, home to the Tigers Nest (Taktsang) monastery. Here we attend the famous Paro Tshechu festival before driving across the dramatic Dochu La into central Bhutan, to Bumthang. It is widely regarded that Bhutanese Buddhism first took hold here and the legacies are the many ancient and magnificent monasteries which we will explore.


On your arrival at Paro airport you be met by your World Expeditions' leader who will transfer you to the hotel for a pre-trip briefing. The remainder of your afternoon will be at your leisure, offering an opportunity to explore one of the major cities of Bhutan and acclimatise to the higher elevations (Paro is 2280m above sea level). Overnight: Tenzinling Resort or similar

Meals:  L,D

After breakfast we make our way to the impressive Paro Rimpung Dzong and have a full day to immerse ourselves in the festivities. Tscechus are Buddhist religious festivals held around the Dzong (fortress monastery) and generally last several days. It is a bright, colourful affair with hundreds of people from the city and surrounding countryside filling the courtyards and temple grounds to watch and participate in the event. Masked dances are performed by trained Buddhist monks depicting life events of an historic Buddhist teacher, Padmasambhava. Other dances include that of the Nobleman and Ladies, where flirting princess are punished for their indiscretions. The stag dance tells the story of a hunter who gives up his profession and converts to Buddhism whereas the Barco dance reminds the Bhutanese that their past and present deeds are responsible for their future destiny. The costumes of the dancers are as bright and colourful as the clothes of the local people who have come dressed for this important occasion. Over the two days we spend time sightseeing in and around Paro and immersing ourselves in the Tshechu Festival. Further along the beautiful Paro Valley we come to the watch tower known locally as Ta-Dzong, which now houses the National Museum of Bhutan. The seven-storey museum highlights various aspects of Bhutanese culture and history dating back to the 7th century; there are excellent displays of all facets of the country’s rich cultural history including traditional costumes and battle dress, priceless jewellery and specimens of the kingdom’s unique flora and fauna. We take a short walk downhill to the Rinpung Dzong which serves as the administrative centre and school for monks, before walking a little further and crossing the traditional bridge into Paro Town. Overnight: Tenzinling Resort or similar

Meals:  B,L,D

After breakfast we drive to the base of Taktsang, famously known as the Tiger’s Nest Monastery, perched on a vertical granite cliff 2000 feet above the valley floor of pine, oak and rhododendrons forests. The legend of Taktsang dates from 747 CE, when Guru Rinpoche, in the wrathful form of Guru Dorji Droloe, arrived here on the back of a tiger and subdued the evil spirits of the region. The walk is a sustained climb but the views are absolutely stunning and rewarding and is a "must-do" when visiting the land of the Thunder Dragon. Later in the evening if time permits, we visit one of the oldest Kyichu temple built in 7th century. This is one temple that truly feels ancient in the Himalayas. Overnight: Tenzinling Resort or similar

Meals:  B,L,D

In the morning we will follow the course of Pachhu river and reach Thimphu, Bhutan's capital. We make a quick stop at the National Textile Museum, established in 2001 and home to a substantial collection of antique textiles and other works including the royal robes on display. Thimphu is one of the few capitals in the world without any traffic lights and you will observe the dancing policemen controlling traffics. We continue the drive gradually winding up across 10,223-foot Dochu La, which in good weather offers 360-degree vistas across 200 miles of Himalayan peaks including Bhutan’s tallest peak and some of the highest unclimbed mountains in the world! There are 108 stupas adorning the pass and the scenic spot for photographers. We drive through forests of rhododendrons and magnolias, before the road descends into the warmer lowlands around Punakha just in time for lunch. In the afternoon, we visitPunakha Dzong, which once served as the old capital of Bhutan. This remarkable fortress was built in 1637 between two rivers and has survived many glacial floods and fire. Every February there is a procession known as the Punakha Serda to commemorate the victory over the Tibetans. Overnight: Hotel accomodation

Meals:  B,L,D

Today we drive to Gangtey valley, the largest wetland in the country. This valley is a designated conservation area which borders the Black mountain ranges and home to rare Black Necked Cranes that migrate from the high Tibetan plateaus each winter. About 500 cranes flock to this valley and the numbers have been increasing each year due to conservation efforts. As we descend the valley, the presence of Gangtey Gompa is hard to ignore. The gompa has a central monastery, meditation hall, living quarters for monks and a courtyard. The surrounding villages, forests and farms are also home to monks from this gompa. We may get a chance to meet a senior monk and learn from his pursuit of enlightenment and Buddhist teachings. Later in the afternoon, we continue down the valley to the Crane Information Centre and learn of the elusive species and how locals are living harmoniously with them as their population slowly increases. Overnight: Hotel

Meals:  B,L,D

In the morning we drive to Gangtey Shedra (Buddhist College) where about 100 monks undergo 9 years of Buddhist Studies, philosophies and meditation. Shortly after visiting this college we begin our nature hike which beginning by the entrance to Gangtey monastery. The trail leads through rustic villages and their fields of potatoes and turnips. The trail meanders through rhodendron, pine and dwarf bamboo forests and it is hard not to immerse yourself in the crisp clean air and the tranquility of nature. Our hike ends ends at Khewang Lhakhang where a catered lunch welcomes us with expansive views of the valley and skies. We embark on a short drive to Khebethang, a traditional village where their main output is potatoes and cattle and sheep rearing. There are opportunity to visit one of the farmhouses and gain an insight into their lifestyle and to interact with locals. If time permits, the host will teach you how to make suja, local yak buttered tea with salt over puffed rice and snacks. The village is being connected with a farm road and further down, is also a nunnery where there are about scores nuns practicing Buddhism and meditation. Overnight: Hotel in Gangtey

Meals:  B,L,D

Today will be a long drive crossing three passes over 3000 metres high along the way. The route offers magnificent views of the Himalayas and a beautiful landscape of scattered hamlets, and rhododendron and pine forests. Enroute we will stop in Trongsa, which once used to be the powerful district controlling the trade route between east and west. On the hillside above Trongsa Dzong is a watchtower (the Ta Dzong) which today houses the Royal Heritage Museum. Inside is a small chapel dedicated to King Gesar, an epic hero of Tibetan history, as well as an excellent museum. The Ta Dzong, an excellent example of the medieval fortresses that controlled Bhutan well into the mid-20th century, stimulates the senses with its intricate maze of buildings and temples and wondrous views of the valley. Afternoon climb up towards Yutongla Pass and gently descending down towards Bumthang, Bhutan's spiritual heartland, to stand as symbols of such ideals.

Meals:  B,L,D

Comprised of four smaller valleys, the deeply spiritual region of Bumthang in Central Bhutan is shrouded in religious legend. It is believed to be the first part of Bhutan to be inhabited and tales of Guru Padmasambhava (aka Guru Rinpoche), who lived here in the 8th century, and his reincarnation Tertons, still linger. Bumthang is also known for its hand-spun, hand-woven woollen cloth called “yathra”, which can be seen hanging for sale outside houses. Today we will explore the valley on foot visiting some of the ancient temples in the country; the 7th century Jambay Lhakhang, and the Kurjey, Tamshing and Kunchosum monasteries. End your day with Bhutan’s panda beer brewed in Swiss Factory.

Meals:  B,L,D

In the morning, drive up to Tang valley, the most remote of Bumthang's valleys. Terton Pema Lingpa the famous saint responsible for discovering many treasures as prophesized by Guru Rimpoche was born in this valley. Tang Valley villagers her sheep and yaks, at higher elevation. Tang combines immense natural beauty with the mystique of playing host to the greatest collection of eminent spiritual practitioners. One such person, Longchen Rabjam and his descendants have built the Ogyenchholing, Ogyencholing Museum in Tang valley was restored in the 19th century. Today it houses the Family Museum, a place that will transport visitors to another world and time. The museum houses exhibits recreated to capture the ambience of the lifestyle of the Trongsa Penlop (Governor) Tshokye Dorji and his household. It also serves as retreat for those engaged in religious history. Bhutan's history truly unfolds here. We visit a local school and understand the modern educations system of Bhutan. All schools follow English medium. The students are always curious to test out their spoken English and also will nursery rhymes and songs for you. You are expected to return the favor with a nursery rhyme. Drive back for an hour and reach Pema Choling Nunnery where nuns undergoes several years of religious studies and living life of celibacies. We may be lucky enough to meet and interact with some of the nuns or even sit in the shrine and hear them chant mantras with bells and drums. Towards the late afternoon we drive to Trongsa for the night

Meals:  B,L,D

Our return drive to Western Bhutan will be about 6 hrs. We begin early to enable us to spend some time at the capital. There will be stops on the way for photography opportunities. We stroll and explore the city on foot. Thimphu is one of the few capitals in the world without any traffic lights and you will observe the dancing policemen controlling traffics. We can spend the evening walking the Norzin Lam and shopping for Souvenirs and gifts for friends and family back home before enjoying a farwell dinner with your guide and driver. Overnight Thimphu.

Meals:  B,L,D

Our trip officially ends after breakfast with a transfer to the airport.

Meals:  B


Map

Elevation

The map and elevation chart are for illustrative purposes only and meant to provide general guidelines.


Inclusions

  • 11 breakfasts, 11 lunches, 11 dinners
  • English-speaking local guide
  • Quality accommodation on a twin share basis
  • Sightseeing and entry fees as listed
  • Private internal transport
  • All airport transfers
  • Pre-departure Information Guide
  • Bhutan Government visa and sustainability fees

  • International flights
  • Bottled water, aerated and alcoholic drinks
  • Items of a personal nature such as phone calls, laundry, etc
  • Tips
  • Airport and departure taxes
  • Travel insurance

Departure dates


Dates or itinerary don't fit?

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Total Priceper person from

$3899USD

Options & Supplements*
  • Single SupplementUSD$140
*Prices listed are per person

Essential Information

Ready to book? Make sure you download and read the detailed Bhutan Explorer & Paro Tshechu Festival trip notes which contains all the essential information you need to know before booking. Once you’ve booked, we will supply you with a Pre-Departure document which contains a detailed gear list and other important information to help you prepare for your adventure ahead.


Bhutan Explorer & Paro Tshechu Festival Trip reviews


Why travel with us

Award Winning Adventures

Enhancing your journey with authentic experiences, genuine cultural exchange and real exploration are the focal points on all of our adventures. In 2019, we were crowned by our peers as the best in adventure travel at The Travel Awards in Sydney.

Thoughtful Travel

Responsible travel is at the heart of every program we offer as a fundamental and long held philosophy. When you book one of our 100% carbon offset adventures you’re supporting true sustainability in the protection of local communities, natural environments and wildlife.

Ultimate Value

 When you book one of our adventures, you will receive quality services at the best prices with plenty of inclusions. There are no hidden costs, single travellers don’t pay more and you’ll enjoy many ‘extra touches’ that ensure your holiday is excellent value for money.

Positive Impact Travel

By joining this trip you are directly supporting positive impact projects in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

We’ve offset the carbon emitted by this trip by purchasing credits that support important projects that address the UN’s seventeen SDGs, like reducing poverty, affordable and clean energy, reducing hunger, clean water and climate action.

Proceeds from this adventure purchase carbon credits through the world’s largest and most awarded carbon project developer, South Pole, which are invested into projects accelerating the transition to renewable energy sources in developing countries.

Supported projects are based on internationally recognised standards and are third-party audited. They entail a series of positive impacts on the ground, which benefit local communities and ecosystems, that are aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

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