The Punakha Tshechu is one of the most popular Tshechu in the country. It is held right after the popular Punakha Drupchen. The Unfurling of the Thongdrel of Guru Rinpoche on the last day is the main attraction of the festival. It is believed that the mere sight of Thongdrel liberates the onlookers and cleanses of his sins.
This tour also covers the major places of attraction in Bhutan: Thimphu,Paro,Punakha & Gangtey. Starting from Paro, known for the various religious sites including the famous Tiger Nest,the tour proceeds to ‘U’ shaped- Gangtey valley via Thimphu, where you can soak yourself in its scenic grandeur.
Duration : 07 Nights / 08 Days .
Destination Covered : Thimphu- Phobjikha- Punakha- Paro .
The flight into Bhutan takes you close to the great Himalayas, offering dazzling scenic views of some of the world’s highest glacial peaks. As you enter Paro valley, you will sweep past forested hills with the silvery Pa Chu (Paro river) meandering down the valley below. Paro Dzong (fortress) and Ta Dzong (watchtower) on the hills above the town will be a fine sight. Our representative will receive you and will drive to Thimphu with sightseeing along the way.
Drive towards the capital city, Thimphu.
Overnight at Hotel in Thimphu
Overnight at hotel in Thimphu.
Drive via Dochu-lapass(3,088m/10,130ft) stopping briefly here to take in the view and admire the 108chortens, maniwall, and prayer flags which decorate the highest point on theroad.
If skies are clear, the high Himalayan peaks towards the north east will be revealed in all their glory. On a clear day, the following peaks can be seen from this pass (left to right): Masagang (7,158m), Tsendegang (6,960m), Terigang (7,060m), Jejegangphugang (7,158m), Kangphugang (7,170m), Zongaphugang (7,060m) a table mountain that dominates the isolated region of Lunana, and finally, Gangkar Puensum, the highest peak in Bhutan at 7,497m.
Gangtey (Phobjikha Valley): The valley is popular for its scenic splendor and cultural uniqueness. Phobjikha is well known as the winter home of the Black-Necked Cranes (Grus Nigricollis), that migrate from the Tibetan plateau. The birds can be observed from early November to end of March. Overlooking the valley is the Gangtey Goenpa.
Overnight at hotel in Phobjikha
Take a serene Drive to Punakha
Visit Punakha Dzong, a massive structure built at the junction of two rivers. Punakha was Bhutan’s capital until 1955 and Punakha Dzong still serves as the winter residence of the central monk body. Bhutan’s first king, Ugyen Wangchuck, was crowned here in 1907. The fortress has withstood damage from fire, earthquake and flood over the centuries. The latest flood, in October, 1994, caused great damage to the fortress but miraculously spared its most holy statue.
Witness Punakha Drubchen
Punakha Drubchen is the unique festival with a “Ser Da” procession that re-enacts the war that was fought against Tibetan in the 17th century
Hike to Chimi Lhakhang through a nice walk along the rice field and through farm houses. The temple was built by Lama Ngawang Chogyel in 1499 and is today a popular temple where barren women come to pray for a child. The temple is popularly known as the Fertility Temple.
Overnight at hotel in Punakha.
Festival & it's Significane
Festival (Tshechu) meaning the tenth day of a month in a Bhutanese lunar calendar is a special occasion for the Bhutanese. It is usually held for 3 days – 5 days on a tenth day of a month coinciding with the birth anniversary of Guru Rinpoche (The Second Lord Buddha) who is credited in Bhutan for introducing Tantric Vajrayana Buddhism in Bhutan. It is performed to honor Guru Rinpoche. The families gather together and takes a picnic lunch from home and set out to witness the festival. The Bhutanese try to look their best in their traditional attire which is called as Gho for men and Kira for women. Costumes worn by the people and the mask dancers are both very colorful. People from all age group comes to witness the festival. Different segments of mask dances will be performed followed by Traditional folk dance during each break.
After a good lunch and some break drive back to the courtyard. It will still amaze you with many more different mask dances to be displayed.
Take a scenic drive back to Paro. On the way back you can drop by Royal Botanical Park, Lamperi. It is a breath taking 125 acres’ botanical garden with 46 species of rhododendron flower. You can choose to boating here. The best time to visit this place will be between April and June. The park also has trekking routes, walk around the Baritsho lake, tree house and camping space for visitors. The annual rhododendron festival is held here.
National Museum of Paro, once a watchtower, built to defend Rinpung Dzong during inter valley wars of the 17th century, Ta Dzong was inaugurated as Bhutan's National Museum in 1968. It holds fascinating collection of Arts, relics, religious thangkas paintings and Bhutan's exquisite postage stamp.
Paro Rinpung Dzong meaning the fortress on the heap of jewels or the fort of Paro.
Visit Namgay Artisanal Brewery where they brew many styles of beers considering the different drinking palates for taste, making sure that all beer-lovers are satisfied. This added to the innovative nature of craft brewers all over the world have taken the market by storm, allowing them always to brew something new.
Evening free or can visit the Paro town with a street of typical Bhutanese traditional buildings.
Overnight at your Hotel in Paro.
Today you will be hiking to one of the famous sites called as the Tiger’s Nest (Taktshang) perched at 900m above the Paro valley.
It is a pilgrimage site which the Bhutanese try to visit at least once in a lifetime. It is believed that Guru Rinpoche flew on the back of a tigress from eastern Bhutan to this site and meditated in a cave here for 3 months, hence its name, ‘Tiger’s Nest’. The site, which has long been regarded as the sacred place, was visited by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyel in the 17th century approximately in 1646. The Lhakhang of the present monastic complex dates from 1692. The main structure was severely damaged by fire in 1998, but with the help of the local people and the government it has been put back to its glory.
The hike can be broken down into various stages
The first stage is the trek to the cafeteria (where lunch will be served later today) which is situated on a rocky outcrop across a ravine from the monastery. This leg of the trek takes approximately 45 minutes to 60 minutes, depending on your level of fitness. At the Cafeteria we can stop for some tea or coffee and biscuits whilst pondering the journey ahead and looking at the monastery I the distance above us.
The 2nd stage of the walk is from the cafeteria to the lookout opposite of the monastery. This leg takes close to one hour. At this point some may be content to snap photos and return to cafeteria.
The next stage is the trek/climb down the 475 steps in the cliff face to the bottom of the ravine which crosses over a stream and a waterfall before the path again ascends another 300 odd steps to the entrance of the monastery. Once here we should be able to enter into the monastery and view the cave where Guru Rinpoche meditated. (Cameras are not allowed inside the monastery).
End of your travel to Bhutan. Our team will drive you to the Airport and bid farewell.
5.0 / 4 Reviews
An Experience Of A Lifetime!!!
Bhutan had been on my bucket list for a while, so I did a lot of research to find the best tour group possible for this once in a lifetime experience. Thinley, the primary travel agent I interacted with before my trip, was very resourceful and accommodative in helping me set up an itinerary and arranging my flights. I arrived in early March and did the 4D/3N tour. I visited various attractions in Paro, Thimphu, and Punakha, including the famous Tiger’s Nest and Bhudda Dordenma. I also had the chance to attend a Masked Dance Festival in Punakha. Rooms were clean and food was delicious throughout my trip!
A special thanks also goes out to my tour guide (Phurba Tahering) and driver (Chencho Dorji) for teaching me about Bhutan’s rich history and culture. Also, Phurba specifically called the hotel rooms ahead of time to reserve the rooms with the best views for me. It’s this attention to detail and personal care that made this trip such a wonderful experience!
If you are looking for an exceptional travel experience in Bhutan, I highly recommend Bhutan Inbound!
My buddy and I used Bhutan Inbound tour group for our trip. Thinley, who runs the group, was awesome, and took care of all the documents, flights, itinerary, hotels, etc., and even bought us sweet wallets! Our guide, Namgay, and driver, Cencho, were awesome! Both very friendly and helpful and patient when I wanted to stop to take millions of pics. They were both very knowledgeable and great to spend time with.
We went to Thimphu, Punakha, and Paro, saw cool temples amd fortresses and interesting villages. Tiger's Nest was mega, and afterwards, Namgay/Cencho took us to a cool eco farm for a hot rock soak w medicinal herbs, some rice wine, lawn darts, and archery!
Unforgettable journey thru Bhutan!!!!
Words cannot express the hospitality we received throughout our tour of Bhutan. Our driver Jigme (I call him Jimmy 😊) and tour guide Dorji were the most wonderful guides I have ever encountered in all my travels! They were so kind, accommodating, generous, helpful, knowledgeable and a lot of FUN to be with!!!
They basically spoiled us and made us feel very SPECIAL. They made sure we were always comfortable and enjoying ourselves. While driving thru Bhutan, we would sing along with the music in the van as well as stop the van to dance on the side of the road. We had so much fun with them!!!
Thinley and Jaya who operate this tour are very warm, friendly and welcoming!!! They did a fantastic job with our itinerary.
They gave us traditional Bhutanese dresses to wear to the huge cultural festival in Punakha. What a unique experience to walk around in these native dresses and witness this beautiful colorful festival. I can’t thank you enough for the most unforgettable adventure in Bhutan.
We love the people, the breathtaking landscapes, the hike to Tiger’s Nest, hot stone bath, charming hotels and so much more!!!
Dorji and Jimmy, a very special thank you to both of you!!! You’re one in a million! You gave us your FIVE-STAR SERVICE by going ABOVE AND BEYOND THE CALL OF DUTY!! I miss you Both already ... may our paths cross in the future. My sincere gratitude!!!
Never had a greater experience as much as we did with this tour company. Proprietor Thinley was always quick to respond to any changes in our plans or inquiries. ALWAYS accommodating with our needs.
There were 3 of us women travelling and we took a 7 night package. My 2 important things that had to be on our itin were to witness a festival and to climb the Tiger's Nest.....and we got MORE than what we bargained for; add the culture, the teachings of Buddhism, sharing of our personal views on family, politics, religion, culture, traditions and more from our guide Dorji and chauffeur Jigme was an eye opener. They provided us with such insights on Bhutan and its GNH, Gross National Happiness.
We started in Thimpu, then to Gangtey, then witnessed 2 days' worth of the Punakha festival, and finally Paro for THE climb!
But before I go into details, let me first tell you about Dorji and Jigme. They were very courteous, professional, accommodating and assisted in every way. We played our favorite tunes (they were well versed in western music!) and we sang along on every ride! I had to ask Jigme to stop the van once Bruce Sprinsteen's song "Dancing in the Dark" came along so we could all dance...and danced we did right on the shoulder side of the road between Punakha to Paro! What a riot!
As for Thinley and Jaya, they're most gracious in making the time to meet with us over tea/coffee. They gave us souvenirs of Bhutan and lent us costumes to boot, which we wore the first day of the festival.
As for the country and its people, need I say more, except that it's beautiful and so its people! The trip to Gangtey on zigzag road that just kept going higher and higher to see mountain after mountain, visiting temples which each had a character of its own, a Bhutanese meal at a family's farmhouse, a sip of their local wine, a bite of their dried yak cheese, seeing Nomads tending to their yaks, loud barking dogs into the night, the obvious equality between men and women (women as bellhops, lugging our heavy suitcases from the car to our rooms), crossing suspension bridges, hanging a set of prayer flags midway to Tiger's Nest, seeing men, women and children in their festival's best attires, being at the bottom of the biggest sitting Buddha and feeling small, having a candlelight dinner because our lodging had a blackout and it was at the coldest place but warmed in thick blankets, seeing black-neck cranes fly over us, eating mostly vegetable dishes due to their no-meat month, but some lodgings offered chicken dishes, seeing the King and Queen and their son's photos all over the country, spinning prayer wheels small and gigantic, dipping ourselves in a hot stone bath (not massage, but BATH), and being seniors, Dorji and Jigme helped us on our climb to the Tiger's Nest with bottles of water and a helping hand here and there up and down the path.....I can go on and on, but this was Bhutan we learned to love, live with and live in.
7 nights enough? Yes, to get a feel of the country and its people. Can you see more? Yes, indeed. Our trip was concentrated in the western part of Bhutan and from reading the DrukAir magazine articles, there's plenty more to see/do/experience in the country!
The country has zero carbon and seems to be progressive in sustaining its environment to continue to be healthy. Although its people (at least in the bigger towns/cities), one can see the westernization. I hope with that, their GNH will not be compromised.
Kudos to Bhutan Best Inbound for a memory of a lifetime, my sincere thanks and love (yes, you will love them by the end of the tour) to Thinley, Jaya, Dorji and Jigme!! We miss you and hope our paths will cross sometime, somewhere! God bless you!