Raym & Chicchan Richards,
Byron Bay,Australia -
"During our Travel to Bhutan, Yak Holidays provided us with exceptional service from start to finish. The itinerary they created was great and it was flexible!Their driver “Druk” Tempa was patient and considerate and their guide..." Read More
Pacific Grove, CA 93950\ USA -
"What a special Bhutan Travel experience....Bhutan is incredibly beautiful, the people spontaneously friendly, the culture gentle, spiritual and inspirational. I was deeply touched by it all and had a wonderful time. Whenever life gets too hectic, I..." Read More
Brimingham,Mi 48009, USA -
"Thank you for a wonderful travel to Bhutan! My son and I thoroughly enjoyed it ? we are still talking about it and recommending it to everyone. Attached is Matt?s evaluation form, as well as mine...." Read More
Mexico City, Mexico -
"Hello my friend of Yak Holidays.I think you remember me, I travelled to Bhutan with your agency. I see recently on your web site the Comments section. I think you should add this..." Read More
This Tour is a combination of the Cultural tour with Spectacular festival, "The Grand Thimphu Tshechu" (meaning "Festival") where you can see various Mask dances performed by the Monks in the courtyard of the Tashichho Dzong. The Tour will lead you to the beautiful valley of Bumthang, spiritual hub of Bhutan and Gangtey/ Phobjikha valley (The Most beautiful glacial valleys in the Himalayas).
Day 01. Arrive Paro (Altitude 2280 m) (By Druk Air flight): Your Guide from Yak Holidays will receive you at the airport and drive you to the hotel.
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 Rimpung Dzong (literally meaning “Heap of Jewels”), the centre of civil and religious authority in this valley, built in 1646 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal. Dinner andovernight in Hotel.
Day 02. Paro – Thimphu (Altitude 2320 m, 54 kms) Excursion to Taktsang Monastery: After breakfast, visit Kichu Lhakhang, built in 659 A.D by the Tibetan king, Srongsen Gampo. This Monastery is one of the 108 monasteries built across the Himalayan region by the Tibetan King to subdue the Demoness that lay across the Himalayan region. The rest of the monasteries lie in other neighboring countries. Then drive to the ruins of the Drukgyal Dzong 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).
We drive back the same way to Satsam Chorten, 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 Taktsang Jakhang (cafeteria) and then walk a short distance until we see, clearly and seemingly within reach, Taktsang monastery. The Primary Lhakhang was built around Guru Rimpoche’s meditation cave in 1684 by 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 in 747 AD, flew here on the back of a flying tiger, Dorji Drolo, said to be his favourite consort. In the evening, drive to Thimphu. Dinner and overnight in Hotel.
Day 03. Thimphu Sightseeing: (Altitude 2320 m). After breakfast, visit to the National Memorial Chorten (1974) built in honour 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 we drive to the Traditional Medicine Institute where medicines are prepared according to ancient practices, and to Lungtenzampa to observe the Royal silver smiths and Bhutanese paper factory at work. 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). We finally visit the Handicrafts Emporium followed by shopping for souvenirs in the shops of Thimphu. Dinner and overnight in Hotel.
Day 04. Thimphu Sightseeing: (Altitude 2320 m).After breakfast, visit Folk Heritage Museum, Textile Museum, Changangkha Lhakhang and Philatelic office. After lunch, hike to Cheri Monastery and to the Largest statue of Buddha in the world. Dinner and overnight in Hotel.
Day 05. Thimphu - Punakha: (Altitude 1310 m) (76 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, stop a while to view Chimi Lhakhang, which was built by Lama Drukpa Kuenley in 15th century. 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 First National Assembly here in 1952. Dinner and overnight in Hotel.
Day 06. Punakha - Gangtey: (Altitude 3120 m) After breakfast drive to the beautiful valley of Gangtey. Enroute sightseeing in the valley of Wangdiphodrang includes: visit to Wangdiphodrang Dzong 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 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. Visit Gangtey Gompa Monastery, from outside. 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. Explore Phobjikha valley, famous for the Black Necked Cranes during winter. Dinner and overnight at the Guest House.
Day 07. Gangtey – Trongsa - Bumthang: (Altitude 2800 m, Distance 188 kms, Drive Time 6 hour drives.) After breakfast, drive to Trongsa. Visit Trongsa Dzong, the most impressive dzong of 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. After Lunch, drive to Bumthang. Dinner and overnight in Hotel.
Day 08. Bumthang Sightseeing: (Altitude 2800 m.) After breakfast, visit Jakar Dzong, which literally means “The Castle of White Bird”. The current structure was built in 1667. Visit Jambay Lhakhang, built by King Srongsen Gampo 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. In October one of the most spectacular festival, “Jambay Lhakhang Drup” is staged here. After lunch, we 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. In the evening, visit Membarstho which literally means, “The burning Lake”. Dinner and overnight in Hotel.
Day 09. Bumthang – Thimphu (212 kms): (Altitude 2320 m) Early breakfast, drive to Thimphu. Lunch will be served on the way. Dinner and overnight in Hotel.
Day 10: Thimphu festival: After breakfast, witness the Thimphu festival. You get ample opportunity to photograph the local people and the mask dances. After lunch, witness the festival. In the evening, free to stroll in the town for photography. Dinner and overnight in Hotel.
Day 11: Thimphu Festival: After breakfast, witness the festival. After lunch, witness the festival. In the evening, drive to Paro. Dinner and overnight in Hotel.
Day 12. Departure: (Altitude 2280 m) Early morning, drive to Airport and Farewell.