Bhutan Winter Dragon Festival Tour
This program Bhutan winter Dragon festival tour is designed to experience Bhutan through Bhutan tour operator from the historic west to the spiritual central valleys and to the remote and the least explored regions of Far East coinciding with Tsechu (festival) in Lhuntse from 05th till 07 January, 2009. As you take a drive from west to east you can have varieties of experiences. It has everything in it; from picturesque farmland and ancient forest, to alpine pasture and high passes which offers panoramic views of eastern Himalayas are amongst its many highlights. Whilst, a number of strategically located fortress-monasteries and scattered settlements, provide a full measure of cultural interest.
At Lhuntse Tsechu, you are not likely to come across many other foreign visitors other than the locals because of its remoteness. You can see the ancient old religious mask dances that are performed by both monks and laymen in brilliant costumes re-enacting the legendary events, accompanied by blaring horns, booming drums, and clashing cymbals as they whirl and leap around the ancient old courtyard of a Dzong (Fortress). Crowds of people gather in their finest hand woven dress, brightly patterned cloth for which Lhuntse region is renowned for, creating an intensely colorful and exciting atmosphere that had remained unchanged in its traditional purity for centuries.
- 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 workshop, meet the artisans, weavers and painters!
- And much more…
- 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
What’s is Not Include
- Guide and Driver tip
- International Airfare
- Laundry Charges
- Internet, International calls
- Other Beverages
- Donation when photographing
- Travel Insurance
- Baggage Handlers tip
You’ll follow an itinerary which has been researched and planned by our experts, saving you all the hassle of organizing the trip. The itineraries are designed to minimize the time spent travelling and maximize the variety of experiences. From small buses to riverboats as well as on foot.
Itinerary at a Glance:
- DAY 1: Bangkok/Paro.
- DAY 2: Hike to Tiger’s Nest Monastery.
- DAY 3: Paro/Thimphu.
- DAY 4: Thimphu/Punakha.
- DAY 5: Punakha/Tongsa.
- DAY 6: Tongsa/Bumthang.
- DAY 7: Bumthang sightseeing.
- DAY 8-9-10: Jakar/Tang Valley.( Local festival for 3 days).
- DAY 11: Bumthang (Tang – Chamkhar).
- DAY 12: Bumthang – Gangtey.
- DAY 13: Gangtey (Valley Excursion).
- DAY 14: Gangtey – Paro.
- DAY 15: Depart Paro.
The Paro valley has attractive sites to visit. In the morning, you will visit Ta Dzong; once a watchtower, built to defend Rinpung Dzong during inter-valley wars of the 17th century. Ta Dzong became the Bhutan’s National Museum in 1968.
Next visit is Rinpung Dzong. Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, the first spiritual and temporal ruler of Bhutan, built the dzong in 1646; the dzong continues its age-old function as the seat of the district administration, district court and the monastic body. The southern approach to the dzong has a traditional roofed cantilever bridge called Nemi Zam. A walk across the bridge offers a spectacular view of dzong’s architecture and an opportunity to tread the same path as the ancient warriors. “Little Buddha”, the Hollyhwood movie has captured the beauty and splendour of Rinpung Dzong and Nemi Zam.
After lunch, you will have 18km drive from Paro town to the northern valley to view the ruins of Drukgyel Dzong (victory fortress). Drugyal Dzong is a well-known place from where the Bhutanese fought back several invading Tibetan armies in the 17th century. Unfortunately, the fire that started from a butter lamp destroyed the dzong in 1951. The ruins depict the past war strategies of Bhutanese army and the ancient lifestyle of a farming community and are still a tourist attraction.
You will also visit Kyichu Lhakhang, one of 108 lhakhangs built in 7th century by the Tibetan king, Songtsen Gampo. Legend has it that king Songtsen Gampo built Kyichu Lhakhang on the right foot of a demon. It is now the oldest and most sacred shrine in the kingdom.
In the evening, you will visit traditional farmhouses for an opportunity to interact with the local families and learn more about their lifestyle. Later, you can take an evening stroll along the main street, and perhaps visit a few handicrafts shops, or take refreshments at a local café or bar.
Overnight at hotel in Paro.
Altitude at Paro: 2300m
Overnight: in Paro
Coming back, we are following a different path that takes us through the pristine thick forest of oaks and rhododendrons festooned with Spanish mosses.
Approximate walking time: 06 hours. Altitude at Paro: 2300m
Overnight: in Paro
Approximate driving time: 01 hour. Altitude at Thimphu: 2400m.
Overnight: Resort in Thimphu
Punakha served as the capital town of Bhutan until 1955, and it is still the winter seat of the Je Khenpo (Chief Abbot). Visit Punakha Dzong, built by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal in the 17th century and situated at the junction of Pho Chu and Mo Chu rivers.
Approximate driving time: 03 hours. Altitude at Punakha: 1300m.
Overnight: Resort in Punakha
Approximate driving time: 05 hours. Altitude at Trongsa: 2200m.
Overnight in Trongsa
Overnight Lodge in Jakar
After lunch drive up the hill to visit the Jakar Dzong. Founded by the great-grandfather of the first Shabdrung, the Dzong was initially a small hermitage in 1549. It was expanded the Shabdrung 1646 to help consolidate his expanding power into the eastern region. Scouting for a place for the Dzong a small white bird was seen perched on a hill, which was taken as an auspicious sign, and hence the name Jakar, meaning white bird. As others the Dzong is now the seat of district administration and monastic body of Bumthang valley.
The last stop for the day will be Tamshing Lhakhang, located in a village across the river from Kurjey Lhakhang. It is the seat of Bumthang’s famous son saint Pema Lingpa. He built it himself in 1501. A skilled tantric master and an artist he sculpted the main statues and painted the frescoes, which can be seen even today, mostly in original state. There is also a chain mail made by Pema Lingpa that devotees carry and circumambulate the inner sanctum. The throne from which he performed the consecration ceremony is preserved in a small temple outside the main hall. The physical structure surrounding the main inner temple was restored at the end of the 19th century. Pema Lingpa’s expansive skills in building, painting, sculpture and metal work can still be seen in mostly original state. Tantric Buddhists believe in the tradition of treasure finders or terton. Treasures are various forms of relics hidden by Guru Rimpoche to be discovered by the future generation, to aid religion in times of degenerate age or changing times. Pema Lingpa is the first of five main tertons. He is also revered as the incarnation of Guru Rimpoche himself.
Altitude at Jakar: 2700m
Overnight Lodge in Jakar.
Today after the breakfast we will drive to Tang valley with packed lunch and visit one of the old palaces, which is now a museum. From Jakar, we will drive towards Ura in the east. After about 10kms, unpaved road on the left leads you to narrow gorge of Tang. After the turn off, there is a parking lot for short walk to Mebartso. The road climbs above the river for 7km before the Drangchel village. You will notice the monastic hermitage Kunzangdrak Goemba perched on the rocky cliff. It was founded in 1488 by Terton Pema Lingpa. The excursion to Knzangdrak takes about 2 hrs of steep uphill climb. We will continue along high feeder road for about 3km and pass through Jamzhong village. After short descent for about 2km, you will arrive at Misithang.Short distance away from misithang is a lhakhang known as Tag Rimochen (impression of tiger stripes) now known as Tang Rimochen, located below an enormous rock. Tang Rimochen was founded by Dorji Lingpa in 14th Century. The name of the place was derived from the marks on the rock that resemble tiger’s stripes. It is a sacred place where Guru Rimpoche meditated. The rock has body imprints of Guru Rimpoche and his two consorts. After Tang Rimochen, the road gets rougher till Kizum. From Kizum, we will cross the bridge over Tang Chu and climb up to the hill top of UgyenChholing Palace, built in 16th century by Deb Tsoki Dorji. The palace complex is now a museum for religious studies, research and solitude. The exhibits in the main building depict the life style and art works of a Bhutanese noble family.
Over night in tang valley.
- Trip to Bhutan or Trip to Asia
- Farmer in bhutan ploughing the fied
- Monk learning to play flute I
- Travel to Bhutan (Dochula Pass 3100mts in Bhutan)
- Tour Bhutan (Festival in Bhutan)
- Bumthang Festival
What is the best time to visit Bhutan?
In Bhutan every season has its own charm; as such the country has variety of doings to the tourist according to their interest. But the most visited months are usually March, April and May during which the country is at its best scenery as the spring just hits off and of course in the later months of the year like August, September, October and November. These are the peak seasons as the weather during these time of the years are pleasant and warm and not to forget the festival months. However, Bhutan Creative Tours is focusing to spread out visitation over the year because, come rain or shine, there is something for all parts of the year. The winters are cold, but we have winter treks and festivals in the southern parts of Bhutan,which has warm weather through out the year. A winter in Bhutan is characterized by clear blue skies, but you need your jackets with you.
Do I need a Visa for Bhutan? How can I obtain a Visa for Bhutan?
All visitors traveling to Bhutan are required to obtain a Visa prior to your arrival to Bhutan, except for Indian nationals holding a valid Indian passport. After your confirmation to visit Bhutan with us, you can just download and fill out the Visa Application form from our website and send it to us. We’ll have the visa confirmation letter processed within 7 working days and send it to you. The Visa Application System used by the national tourism office is designed by our CEO when he was working as the Chief Researcher for the Tourism Council of Bhutan. This makes it very easy for us to leverage visa processing even during the final minutes before your arrival to Bhutan.
What Documents will I require at the Airport when I come to Bhutan?
You will need your Passport which has 6 months validity for its expiry date, Druk Air e-ticket, whether you booked it through us or the Druk air’s website and your Visa confirmation letter which we will send you prior to your arrival in the country. And please to carry a copy of your tour itinerary as well.