Thimphu/Tangbi Mani Festivals Tour with Haa Valley Trek
Join this unusual TWO festival cultural tour and attend Thimphu
Festival in Western Bhutan and the unique Tangbi Mani Festiival in
Central Bhutan. The Tsechu or Festival is in honor of Padmasambhava- "One
who was born from a lotus flower,", popularly known under the
name "Guru Rimpoche,"
Join this unusual TWO festival cultural tour and 4 day Haa trek. Attend
Thimphu Festival in Western Bhutan and the unique Tangbi Mani Festival
in Central Bhutan. Enjoy the picturesque valley of Haa, recently openned
to tourist; and fabled in its beauty. The Tsechu or Festival is in
honor of Padmasambhava- "One who was born from a lotus flower,",
popularly known under the name "Guru Rimpoche,"
Day 1: Today after you check in at the airport, you will board your plane for a spectacular flight into Bhutan. Ascending over the High Himalayan Mountains you view in awe the sacred Mount Chomolhari, "The Goddess Peak" and Jitchu Drake. Excitement mounts following a descend in altitude over a large mountain ridge. You have arrived at Paro International Airport, Bhutan, altitude 7500ft. Your visa will now be processed. You are then received by your tour representative . Enjoy lunch in quaint Paro village and we then proceed to visit the National Museum (Ta-Dzong) once the watchtower for Rinpung Dzong. It was converted into the National Museum in 1968. The museum stands on a promontory overlooking the Paro valley in all its glory. On the way back visit the Paro Rinpung Dzong. A flagstone path rises gradually from a beautiful wooden bridge with shingle roofing and abutted by two guardhouses, to the dzong. Today the Dzong is the seat of the district administration as well as home for the monastic school. The central tower (Utse) of the Dzong, displays superb woodwork. A 2-hour drive brings us to Thimphu, Capitol of Bhutan. Check into Druk Hotel and enjoy Bhutanese art deco through out this lovely artful hotel. Dinner at hotel and go over itinerary with your guide. Tomorrow attend Thimphu Festival; Load the camera!
Day 2: Today we attend our first day of Thimphu Festival. Enchanting in its spiritual ritual, Tsechu blessings are received. Bhutanese from many different areas will gather to pay respect and to be blessed at this social gathering. Locals dressed in their finest cloth and jewelry attend this celebration of purification. Here we can truly appreciate the essence of Bhutanese people and a preserved steadfast culture. Enjoy a refreshing lunch nearby and a stop to exchange money at the bank. Visit the post office to purchase collector item Bhutanese stamps, a must for any collector. Now we attend the famous Thimphu Weekend market; a true Bhutanese delight! The marketplace is alive with fresh and organic fruits, rice, chilies, wonderful textiles, handicrafts, art and jewelry and so much fun! One of my very favorites…Bring the camera, there are many Kodak moments here. After we visit the Royal Textile Museum of Bhutan; Visit the exceptional Textile Museum, featuring masterpieces from the Royal Family of Bhutan and splendid fabric and exquisite Thangkas. Tonight we enjoy a dinner reception at the home of our local Bhutanese host, Soenam. Overnight Druk Hotel.
Day 3: Returning to the Thimphu Festival we again our captivated by clapping cymbal, drum, horn and the unforgettable chanting of Buddhist monks who preform religious dance of purification. Array of colorful brocades whirl through the air as the dancers spin and dance the "thunderbolt step". This afternoon after lunch at hotel we will enjoy sight-seeing of Thimphu city, a visit to the Tarkin Zoo, the National Animal of Bhutan, Memorial Chorten of the Third King. Along the way perhaps an archery match! Bhutan holds gold in the Olympic Games for Archery, an ancient art in Bhutan still preserved and enjoyed. The National Library will interest you with ancient and medieval document and script. Relax and enjoy dinner with your fellow travelers at hotel.
Day 4: Early breakfast at our hotel and prepare for our drive to the path to embark on a vigorous hike up the mountain to Tango Goemba Monastery. Tango is one of Bhutanese' most important Buddhist colleges. Its name, meaning 'horse's head', is derived from the horse-head shaped rock at the top. It is a beautiful dzong built in the 18h century by the 8th Desi, Druk Rabgye. Today Tango is home to the eight-year-old reincarnate Lama, Gyaltse Tenzin Rabgye. Meet with senior monks for discussions. Enjoy a hearty lunch at our hotel, some rest and relax time and the afternoon to enjoy at your leisure, exploring Thimphu and its hidden wonders. Bookshops, Hand made paper factory and house of incense, as well as Bhutanese special handicraft shops which are enjoyable to visit. Ask your guide to assist you in your explorations and enjoyment.
Day 5: Departing Thimphu today we begin our journey towards central Bhutan. We pass over 10,000ft Dochula Pass. We enjoy a photo stop here and view the high Eastern Himalayan mountains. We are encircled by many prayer flags, fluttering their prayer of peace and serenity . Here we will enjoy tea and a snack. We continue onwards Wangduepodrang, our destination tonight. After lunch we will visit Punakha Dzong, the former winter capital and present administrative seat of the district. Also the winter residence of the central monastic body and its Chief Abbot. The Dzong lies between two rivers, the Pochu and Mochu, male and female rivers. It was built in 1637 AD. Many feel Punakha is the most beautiful of all dzongs in Bhutan. We visit as well Chimi Lhakhang , the Fertility Monastery. Dinner and overnight at Dragons Nest Resort. Wonderful views from your balcony room.
Day 6: Departing Wangdi we journey deeper into Bhutan with our destination
tonight in Bumthang, central Bhutan.
Day 7: Today we attend a very unique village festival: Tangbi Mani
Festival. Masks of glorious demonic demons and animals arouse your
senses as you watch the purification take place. The intensity goes
on. Your spirit will fly, Your camera will snap away, and you will
again be transported. We will join the local people for picnic lunch.
Day 8: Depart Bumthang for Wandueprodrang with scenic stops for photo opportunity along the way. Look for Yaks along our route. Retracing our route, we arrive at Dragons Nest Resort for our evening hotel overnight and dinner.
Day 9: Return to Thimphu in the morning after breakfast. Check into
Hotel Druk to relax and enjoy your leisure time.
Day 10: Drive to Haa valley from Thimphu through the Confluence in Chuzum . Pincic lunch en route. On arrival in the picturesque Ha Valley, stroll through quaint town and begin the first part of the trek starting from Katso village (alt. 8840 ft). This is a fairly easy trek of about one hour walk through Katso village and fields. Opposite Katso village, one can see the famous Katso Lhakhang (temple) of Guru Rimpoche built against the rocky ledge. Camp above Katso Village in an open meadow through which runs a beautiful stream. Camp altitude 9472 ft.
Day 11: Katso to Kalila: A 5 hour trail walk beginning with a gradual climb crossing the stream through blue pine forest. After crossing the same stream three times, the trail leads up hill through spruce and conifer forest until you reach Kalila Pass at alt. 12497 ft. En route you will meet a few cow herders in summer and yak-herders in winter. From the Kalila Pass one can get a spectacular view of Paro and Haa valleys as well as the western Hiamlayan mountain ranges on a clear day. Camp at the pass in the open meadow.
Day 12: Kalila to Ngoba is another day of 5 hour walk crossing the
pass where the trail winds down hill over-looking Paro valley through
thick spruce and fir forests - a great place for bird-watchers. After
descending down for about 3 hour you will find stone piled stupa, which
is dedicated to the deity of Ngoba village. Camping in a farm house
at Ngoba village.
Day 14: Today we drive to "Tigers Nest Monastery" where you may hike or ride a pony, to the famous Taktsang Monastery. The monastery is perched on a rocky ledge with a sheer drop of nearly 4,000 feet. It is said that in the second half of the 8th century, Guru Padma Sambhava, the saint who converted Bhutan to Buddhism, alighted here upon the back of a tigress. Here we enjoy snacks and tea at the cafeteria viewpoint. Overnight in our hotel and enjoy farewell dinner with your guide.
Day 15: Depart to Paro airport for your Bhutan departure.