Himalaya Holiday Service
Nepal, Tibet, Bhutan & India Tours and Travel Operator
- Bhutan Highlights with Ura Yakchoe Festival
- A Cultural Exploration of Western Bhutan
- Bhutan West to East Traverse
- Cultural and Walking Tour of Thimphu and Paro
- Glimpse of the Dragon Kingdom
- Grandeur of Western Bhutan
- Paro Festival Tours 2013/2014
- Punakha Festival Tour
- The cultural exploration and walking tours of Western Bhutan
- The Cultural Heart of Bhutan
- Thimphu Festival Tour
- Western and Central Bhutan Highlights
- Druk Air Schedule
- Druk Airline Information
- 31st March 2013 - 14 May 2013
- 15th May 2013 - 26 October 2013
- Winter 27 Oct 13 - 31 Jan 2014
- Winter 01 Feb 14 - 28 Feb 2014
- Winter 01 Mar 14 - 31 Mar 2014
- Singapore - Paro (Bhutan) - Singapore
- Domestic Flight (31 Mar - 27 Oct 2013)
Paro Festival Bhutan 2013/2014 (Date of Festival 23rd - 27th March 2013 & 11th - 15th April 2014)
Paro Festival is one of the busiest festivals in Bhutan, dances are performed by trained monks and laymen wearing amazing costumes, experience the buzzing active lifestyle while visiting many historical sites in Bhutan.
The unfolding of the silk Thangka - which is so large it covers the face of the building and is considered one of the most sacred blessings in the whole of Bhutan. The 'Thangka' is a religious picture scroll known as a Thongdroel which is exhibited for a few hours, at day break of the final day of the festival, enabling the people to obtain its blessing. This holy scroll 'confers liberation by the mere sight of it' (the meaning of the word 'thongdroel' in Bhutanese). This festival is a time for Bhutanese to celebrate with their families and friends.
The 'Tsechus' are Buddhist religious festivals where masked dances depicting events from the life of Padmasambhava, the eighth century Nyingmapa Buddhist teacher (second to Buddha), and stories of other saints are staged. In Bhutan, Padmasambhava is known as 'Guru Rimpoche'. The dances are performed by trained monks and laymen wearing costumes that depict the creatures that you can expect to meet after death. Besides attending the Paro Festival we do sightseeing in Paro valley, Thimphu and Punakha visting many historical sites.
People who wish to observe this festival tour, should Contact us
Bhutan Cultural Tour with Paro festival (Date of Festival 23rd – 27th March 2013 & 11th – 15th April 2014)
Entry point: Kathmandu, Delhi or Bangkok or by overland from Phuntsholing.
Day 01: Arrive Paro (By Druk Air flight): Our representative will receive you at the airport and drive you the short distance to the hotel. After Tea, drive to the ruins of the Drukgyal Dzong 16 km up the valley built in 1647 by the great Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, father and unifier of medieval Bhutan, the dzong was destroyed by accidental fire and left in ruins as an evocative reminder of the great victories it was built to commemorate. Explore the ramparts and on a clear day experience an unforgettable view of Mt. Jhomolhari (7,314 m). On the way back, visit Kyichu Lhakhang, built in 659 A.D by the Tibetan king Srongsen Gampo. Dinner and over night in Hotel.
Day 02: Paro: Excursion to Takshang Monastery: After breakfast, an excursion to view the spectacular Takshang (Tiger's Nest) monastery - After breakfast a short drive takes us to Satsam Chorten, from there a 2 hour walk till the view point of the monastery. The trail climbs through beautiful pine forest, many of the trees festooned with Spanish moss, and an occasional grove of fluttering prayer flags. We stop for a rest and light refreshments at the Takshang Jakhang (cafeteria) and then walk a short distance until we see, clearly and seemingly within reach, Takshang monastery. The primary Lhakhang was built around Guru Rimpoche’s meditation cave in the 1684by the Penlop of Paro Gyaltse Tenzin Rabgay, this incredible monastery clings to the edge of a sheer rock cliff that plunges 900 meters into the valley below. Legend has it that Guru Padmasambhava, the tantric mystic who brought Buddhism to Bhutan, flew here on the back of a flying tiger, Dorji Drolo, said to be his favorite consort.
After Lunch, visit Ta Dzong (built in1656 and renovated in 1968), an ancient watchtower, which now houses the National Museum. Below the museum is the Paro Rimpung Dzong (literally meaning “Heap of Jewels”, built in 1646 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, the centre of civil and religious authority in this valley. A short walk takes you to the base of the dzong and across a traditional cantilevered, covered bridge. In the evening, drive to Thimphu. Dinner and over night in Hotel.
Day 03:Thimphu Sightseeing: The day begins with a visit to the National Memorial Chorten (1974) built in honor of our late King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk and the Dupthop Lhakhang one of the few surviving nunneries in Bhutan. We then visit the National Library, stocked with ancient Buddhist manuscripts, and the Painting School where traditional art is still kept alive through instructions in the art of painting Thangkas (sacred Buddhist religious scrolls). After lunch, visit to the vegetable market and witness Archery match. Other highlights include a visit to the Tashichho Dzong, seat of the national government and the Central Monastic Body, including the summer residence of the Je Khenpo (Chief Abbot of Bhutan) and finally visit the Handicrafts Emporium followed by shopping for souvenirs in the shops of Thimphu. Overnight in Hotel.
Day 04: Thimphu - Punakha: (72 Kms, 3 hours drive). After breakfast, drive to Punakha via Dochula pass. If the weather is clear, we stop for a while at Dochula pass to view Higher Himalayas. On the way, visit Chimi Lhakhang, which was built by Lama Drukpa Kuenley. He subdued the demons with his “Magical Thunder bolt”. The Temple is also known as “the Temple of Fertility”. Lunch at Punakha.
After lunch, visit Punakha Dzong built in 1637 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal and is situated between Pho Chu (Male River) and Mo Chu (Female River). For many years until the time of the second king, it served as the seat of the Government. The construction of the Dzong was foretold by Guru Rimpoche, who predicted, “…a person named Namgyal will arrive at a hill that looks like an elephant”. There was a smaller building here called Dzong Chu (Small Dzong) that housed a statue of Buddha. It is said that Shabdrung ordered the architect, Zowe Palep, to sleep in front of the statue, while Palep was sleeping; the Shabdrung took him in his dreams to Zangtopelri and showed him the palace of Guru Rimpoche. From his vision, the architect conceived the design for the new Dzong, which in keeping with the tradition, was never committed to paper. The Dzong was named Druk Pungthang Dechen Phodrang (Palace of Great Happiness). The war materials captured during the battle with Tibetans are preserved here. Punakha is still the winter residence of Je-Khenpo and King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk convened the new national Assembly here in 1952. Overnight in Hotel.
Day 05: Punakha – Gangtey: We start early today. After breakfast, drive to Gangtey. Enroute sightseeing in the valley of Wangdiphodrang, it includes: visit to Wangdiphodrang Dzong (from outside) built in 1638. Legend relates that as the people were searching for the site of the Dzong; four ravens were seen flying away in four directions. This was considered auspicious sign, representing the spread of Buddhist religion to the four points of the compass. The Dzong is situated at the confluence of Mo Chu and Tang Chu rivers. Drive further to Gangtey. While in Gangtey, visit Gangtey Gompa. Gyaltse Pema Thinley, the grandson and mind reincarnation of Pema Lingpa founded the Temple in 1613, and Tenzin Legpai Dhendup, the second re-incarnation, built the temple. The present Abbot, Kunzang Pema Namgyal is the ninth re-incarnation. It is a Nyingmapa monastery and is affiliated to other Nyingmapa monasteries including Tamshing in Bumthang. After lunch, explore Phobjikha valley, famous for the Black Necked Cranes during winter. Over night in the guest House.
Day 06: Gangtey – Trongsa: After breakfast, drive to Trongsa. After lunch, visit Trongsa Dzong, the most impressive dzong in Bhutan, built in its present form in 1644 by Chogyal Minjur Tempa, the official who was sent by Shabdrung to unify eastern Bhutan and enlarged at the end of the 17th century by Desi Tenzin Rabgay. Trongsa Dzong is the ancestral home of the present Royal Family and first two hereditary kings ruled Bhutan from this Dzong. Then Visit Ta Dzong, an ancient watch tower. The chapel inside the Ta Dzong is said to be dedicated to the Trongsa Penlop Jigme Namgyal. Overnight in Hotel.
Day 07: Trongsa - Bumthang After breakfast, drive to Bumthang. Lunch at Bumthang. After lunch, visit Jakar Dzong, which literally means “The Castle of White Bird”. The current structure was built in 1667 and is said to be the largest Dzong in Bhutan and then visit Lamey Goemba, a large palace and monastery built in 18th century by Dasho Phuntsho Wangdi. Visit Jambay Lhakhang said to have been built by King Srongsen Gyampo of Tibet in the year 659 on the same day as Kichu Lhakhang in Paro. The temple was visited by Guru Rimpoche during his visit to Bumthang and was renovated by Sindhu Raja after Guru Rimpoche restored his life force. Under the temple is said to be a lake in which Guru Rimpoche hid several Terma (Relics). In October one of the most spectacular festival, “Jambay Lhakhang Drup” is staged here. Overnight in Hotel.
Day 08: Bumthang Sightseeing: After breakfast, visit Kurjey Lhakhang that is named after body print of Guru Rimpoche, built in 1652 by Minjur Tempa. Visit Tamshing Lhakhang (Temple of the good message), established in 1501 by Pema Lingpa and is the most important Nyingmapa temple in the kingdom. After lunch, visit Membartsho (Literally means “Burning Lake”), a short distance up the road leading to Tang valley. The Terton Pema Lingpa discovered several of Guru Rimpoche’s hidden Terma / relics here. In the evening, visit Mathra factory & Cheese Factory. Overnight in Hotel.
Day 09: Bumthang – Wangdiphodrang: Early breakfast, drive to Wangdiphodrang. Packed lunch will be served on the way. Overnight in Hotel.
Day 10: Wangdiphodrang – Thimphu: After breakfast, drive to Thimphu. After lunch, Excursion to Tango Monastery. Dinner and over night in Hotel.
Day 11: Thimphu – Paro: After breakfast, witness the festival. After lunch, witness the festival. Dinner and over night in Hotel.
Day 12: After breakfast, witness the festival. After lunch, witness the festival. Dinner and over night in Hotel.
Day 13: Early morning, drive to the Dzong to witness Thongdroel ceremony. The festival will be over by noon. After lunch, visit to a Bhutanese Farm house. In the evening, free to stroll in the town for photography. Dinner and over night in Hotel.
Day 14: Departure - Early Morning, drive to the airport and departure
You have the option to fly to Bangkok, Kolkata, Kathmandu and Delhi.
• Paro Festival
• Paro Rinphung Dzong.
• Takstang Monastery.
• Drugyal Dzong.
• Punakha and Wangdue Phodrang Dzongs.
• Chimi Lakhang-the The Temple of Divine Madman.
• Bumthang Valleys.
• Trongsa Dzong.
• Week-end market and archery competition of Thimphu.
• Textile Museum, the Heritage Museum, mini Zoo etc in Thimphu.
Start and End dates - Flexible (Date of Festival 23rd – 27th March 2013 & 11th – 15th April 2014)
Tour cost: for best and reasonable cost, Contact Us
Trip Cost Includes
• Accommodation on twin sharing.
• All transfers and sightseeing as on itinerary.
• Three meals a day,
• English speaking local Tour Guide.
• Sightseeing admission fee.
• Bhutan visa fee.
Trip Cost Does Not Include
• Airfare to and out of Bhutan (Separately quoted).
• Expenses of personal nature such as drinks, tip, laundry, phone etc.
• Extra expenses or loss due to nature and unforeseen events.
• Travel Insurance
The following basic equipments check lists should help you with your packing. Please remember that you should always try to keep the weight of your equipment to a minimum. At the start of the trek your packed trek bag should not weigh more than 33 pounds or 15 kg.
- Sun hat or scarf
- Light balaclava or warm fleece hat
- Sunglasses with UV protection
- Under Garments
- Hiking shorts
- Lightweight cotton long pants
- Light and expedition weight thermal bottoms
- Fleece or wool pants
- Waterproof (preferably breathable fabric) shell pants
- Thin, lightweight inner socks
- Thick, warm wool hiking socks
- Hiking boots with spare laces
- Camp shoes (sneakers and/or sandals) Gaiters for hiking in winter to the base camp
- Light and expedition weight thermal tops
- Fleece jacket or pullover
- Fleece Wind-Stopper jacket (optional)
- Waterproof (preferably breathable fabric) shell jacket
- Down vest and/or jacket *
- Lightweight gloves
- Heavyweight gloves or mittens with a waterproof shell outer
- Sleeping bag rated to zero degrees F *
- Headlamp (e.g. Petzl Zoom) with spare bulbs and batteries
- Small pad or combination lock-to-lock
- Trekking Bags *
- Basic First Aid Kit *
- Large plastic bags - for keeping items dry insidetrekbag
- Daypack (approximately 2500 to 3000 cubic inches)
- Thermarest sleeping pad
- Water bottles
- Toiletries (Small wash towel, Toilet papers etc)
- 1 medium sized quick drying towel
- Tooth brush/paste (preferably biodegradable)
- Multipurpose soap (preferably biodegradable)
- Nail clippers
- Face and body moisturizer
- Feminine hygiene products
- Small mirror
- Wet wipes (baby wipes)
- Tissue /toilet roll
- Reading book
- Trail Map/Guide book
- Journal & Pen
- Pencils and small notebooks
- Travel game i.e. chess, backgammon, scrabble
Bhutan, "The Land of Thunder Dragon" as it is known to foreign countries, is perhaps the last Shangri-La in the earth. Sandwiched by India and China (Tibet) the kingdom is spread over 18000 sq. miles with variety of climate in different region. The people here are mostly Buddhist and Hindu.
GETTING IN & OUT
Bhutan is least air connected country in the world. Only Druk Air, the national flag carrier of Bhutan links Bhutan with other country. Those, who wish to enter by air, Paro is linked to Kathmandu, Calcutta, Delhi, Bangkok and Dhaka. There are flights to these destinations at least twice a week. For schedule and other information please write to us.
The other option of traveling to Bhutan is by land and the entry point is Phuntsholing (Indo- Bhutan Border). Phuntsholing is 08 hours drive from Kakarvitta (Indo - Nepal Border) and THIMPU is 6 hours from Phuntsholing. Please note, if you wish to enter by land you will need Indian visa as you will be traveling in India for a day (From Nepal Border to Phuntsholing). Indian Visa fee is not included in the trip cost and can be obtained in Kathmandu or in your home country.
VISA & FORMALITIES
All foreigners are required to have a valid passport for a minimum of 6 months and must send in the following details of passport at least 30 days in advance of the trip : Name - as in Passport, Nationality, Passport No. Date of expire, Profession, 3 Photograph (P.P. Size) and date of birth. Visa fee is US$ 20 per person for first two weeks and extension will be US$ 20 for each two weeks.
Visa is not provided abroad but stamped upon arrival in Paro airport or Phuntsholing. Please note without the visa clearance no from THIMPU, Druk air does not issue your ticket to Paro. Therefore, confirmation of any trip as early as possible will make it easier for you to get the flight tickets. We handle all the visa process once we receive confirmation from your side.
ACCOMMODATION AND TRANSPORT
Accommodation is always in hotel while you are in town like Paro, THIMPU, WANGDI PHODRANG, PUNAKHA etc. All the hotels and guest houses are regularly monitored by the government and are all tourist class. It is not possible to have the budget rates and budget class hotels in Bhutan as in other countries as the rates are all fixed by the government. While in off season you will have the choice of staying in the hotels you wish but during the peak season you will have to settle on whichever is available. But till now there has not been any kind of dissatisfaction as all the hotels are tourist class.
While in trek the organizer of your trip arranges all the required equipment with horse or yaks for trekking to carry the equipment and food. An expert guide will escort you and a helper will arrange all the necessities necessities.
Latest brand or the deluxe vehicles are used for tourist transfers and is usually included in the prices so it is not possible to have the separate rate for separate sectors. Mostly Japanese vehicles are used in Bhutan for transfers.
MEDICAL AND HEALTH
Except for some treks, any one who is physically fit can join our tours and treks. Treks, which include altitude of 4000 m or higher are more difficult because of high altitude and therefore requires a certificate of fitness. There are modern hospitals in Paro and in THIMPU for emergency purpose but your precaution is the only way to be healthy if you are traveling to remote areas of the country. It is therefore advised to have through check up with your doctor before heading to Bhutan.
WEATHER AND CLIMATE
The best time to visit Bhutan is March, April, May, September & October since this period provides clear blue sky, and plenty of greenery. Winter (Dec, January, February) will be too cold since the temperature will be well below zero degree. Summer (June, July, August) is pleasant but wet due to the monsoon. Autumn (September, October, November) is similar to spring but a bit warmer and also the best time to visit. However please see the tours and treks sections for specific time to visit the specific areas.
Light warm clothing are always recommended since it is a hilly country (even in summer). A pair of comfortable shoes for walking, some spare T-shirts, trousers, sun glass, sun hats, pullovers are always necessary. During winter warm clothing are a must.
Bhutanese currency is called NGULTRUM and the rate is US$ 1= NG 46 approx. Only few hotels and outlets accept credit cards in Bhutan. So it is best to have some CASH US$ for your expenses and even better to have it on small bills.
Bhutan is 6 hours ahead (+) of GMT, 30 Minutes ahead of India and 15 Minutes ahead of Nepal.
|Frequently Ask Questions|
Here you will find answers to some of our most frequently asked questions. If you still have any doubts or queries do not hesitate to contact us.
1. Where is Bhutan located?
2. Who is Bhutan Himalayas Guide?
3. Is Himalayas Guide, a secure site?
4. Why should I choose Himalayas Guide?
5. How much will my package cost?
Peak season months: March, April, and May, September, October & November.
6. How does the booking process work?
7. How do I contact Himalayas Guide?
8. Do you offer discounts for children & students?
9. What is included in my trip package?
10. Tell me more about the tour & trek itinerary?
11. How do I pay for bookings with Himalayas Guide?
12. When will I get my trip confirmation?
13. What airline will I fly on and from where?
14. What if I need to cancel my trip at the last moment?