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Bhutan Festival with David Suzuki

Map

Route map for Bhutan Festival with David Suzuki (ATBF)

Day 1 Bangkok

Upon arrival you will be transferred to the hotel. There are no activities planned. You are free to relax, explore the city & adjust to the frantic pace and humid heat of Bangkok.

Please plan your arrival at our start point hotel before 6pm for an important group meeting where you will meet you Chief Experience Officer (CEO) and the other group members. Please look for a sign on the hotel's notice board for the time and location of your group meeting.

At this meeting your CEO will ask to see your travel insurance and complete some other paper work. After your meeting, you may choose to head out for an optional dinner to further get to know your CEO and fellow group members.

Day 2 Paro (1B,1D)

Catch our flight to Bhutan - In clear weather, enjoy magnificent views of the world’s highest peaks as they give way to the lush green Paro valley as you land. The first gift from Bhutan will be the cool, clean fresh air as you step out of the plane. After clearing customs and visa control you are met by your local CEO and then drive to visit Ta Dzong, an ancient watchtower, which now houses the National Museum. Later in the evening take a walk around the main street of Paro’s main shopping district.

Day 3-4 Paro festival (2B,2L,2D)

Spend 2 days experiencing the sights and sounds of the Tshechu festival putting you in the middle of the colourful mask dances and religious art forms of Bhutan. The dances known as Cham, are said to bring blessings upon the onlookers, to instruct them in the teachings of the Buddhist dharma, to protect them from misfortune and evil influences. It is a spiritual festival where visitors are most welcome and it is believed one gains merit by attending. In the afternoon of Day 4 we also do some Paro valley sightseeing.

Day 5 Bumthang (1B,1L,1D)

Flight to the Bumthang Valley where we visit the sacred Kurjey Lhakhang cave and the Zangdopelri monastery. After we hike to the Tamshing Monastery (one of the oldest monastic schools). This afternoon we visit Jambay Lhakhang built by the Tibetan King Songtsen Gampo in the 7th Century, which denotes the spread and emergence of Buddhism in the country. Then visit the Jakar Dzong, the castle of white bird, which houses the administrative centre and institute for monks.

Day 6 Bumthang (1B,1L,1D)

After breakfast drive over the Shengthala pass and hike through the dense forest of pine trees and rhododendrons until you reach the Ura valley. The trail descends a series of bends for 35 minutes until you finally reach Ura Lhakhang amidst the clustered village of Ura. The main occupation of the Ura people are Yak and Sheep raising and the farming of Potatoes which has brought a certain degree of prosperity to the valley. Here we visit Ura village and meet some local people. Enjoy a picnic lunch before driving back to Bumthang. This evening we visit the Chamkhar Bazar.

Day 7-8 Gangtey (2B,2L,2D)

Enjoy the scenic drive to Gangtey in the Phobjikha Valley, thought to be the most beautiful valley in the Himalayas. On Day 8, walk to the monastery of Gangtey Goempa, which holds the most scared relics of Bhutan. Also visit the Community School of Gangtey, where we sit with the students through one of their classes, then enjoy a walk across Phobjikha Valley and into the Khewa Valley, where we visit an old temple and offer a donation.

Day 9 Punakha (1B,1L,1D)

Continue on to Punakha, the ancient capital of Bhutan where we take a short hike to Punakha Dzong, a monastery and fertility shrine. Later, walk through rice terraces and forest to Khamsum Yueley Chorten, a shrine built by the Queen of Bhutan.

Chime Lhakhang, temple of the “Divine Madman” was built in 1499 and today it is mostly visited by the women as it is known as a temple of fertility. After the visit walk back to the road point and then drive to Punakha where we cross the bridge and visit Punakha Dzong, an ancient capital of Bhutan, spanning the MoChu and Pho Chu rivers. It is also the winter capital for the monks and the Je Khenpo (chief abbot). Continue on to a suspension bridge and then hike to Khamsum Yuelley Chorten, through the rice terraces and deep pine forest until you reach the stupa at the top which was consecrated in December 1999. After enjoying the view, descend the trail to the suspension bridge and then drive to your hotel.

Day 10 Paro (1B,1L,1D)

Drive to Wangdue and a hike to Chhimi Lhakhang, visiting radar Nye and monastic central of Wangdue valley. Continue on to Thimphu for lunch and a visit to the National Memorial Chorten and the Drubthob Goempa Nunnery and Institute of Traditional Medicine, where old healing arts such as acupuncture and herbal remedies are still practiced. Also visit the Folk Heritage Museum and Textile Museum, where the art of traditional weaving is still kept alive. Continue to Paro for the evening.

Day 11 Bangkok (1B)

Flight back to Bangkok where we enjoy our final evening.

Day 12 Bangkok (1B)

Depart at any time. A transfer to the airport is included.