9N 10D Signature Royal Highland Festival

9N 10D Signature Royal Highland Festival

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Places Covered :  
  • Paro
  • Punakha
  • Gasa
  • Thimphu
  • Travel period: 18th - 27th October
  • Grade: Moderate
09 Nights / 10 Days Starting From US$ 2470 pp

Tour Highlight

  • High light of the trip Royal highland festival
  • Experience the high lands unique culture up-close
  • Walk through landscapes of lush valleys&high mountains
  • Gasa hot spring
  • Visit many cultural attractions including medieval fortresses
  • Hike up to the famous Taktsang Monastery

Package Desscription

*Note: This is a sample intended to give you a general idea of the likely trip schedule. Numerous factors such as weather, tour conditions, the physical ability of the participants’ etc., may dictate itinerary changes either before departure or while on the tour. We reserve the right to change this schedule in the interest of the trip participants’ safety, comfort and general wellbeing.

Daywise Detailed Itinerary

Upon arrival at the airport, you will be greeted by representative before embarking on the 10-minute transfer to the hotel. After you check-in and spend time settling into your new surroundings, we will take you on the first foray into this remarkable Himalayan kingdom, with sightseeing in and a temple visit.

Walk to Zurig Dzong, Rinpung Dzong, Ta Dzong, Kyichu Lhakhang & Paro Town.

Wind through pine forests high above Paro to the pretty grounds of the fortress-like monastery of Zurig Dzong. Traverse across to Ta Dzong, home to Bhutan’s National Museum with magnificent views over Paro, and down to Rinpung Dzong (also known as ‘Fortress on a Heap of Jewels’). The trail then leads across the Paro Chhu river via the traditional covered bridge Nyamai Zam, and then past the main archery ground, Ugyen Pelri Palace, before reaching Paro town. Driving a few kilometres north of Paro, we pay our respects at Kyichu Lhakhang. This is one of the oldest temples in Bhutan, with a magical orange tree that bears fruit all year round.

Duration: 5-6 hours

Difficulty: Easy

Overnight Paro: 2,280m

Drive to Satsam Chorten and spend the day hiking up the forested path to Taktsang Monastery, also known as Tiger’s Nest, Bhutan’s most famous and scenic icon. The climb is steep and takes about 4 hours round trip. An important place of pilgrimage and refuge for more than 1200 years, Taktsang Monastery clings to sheer cliffs two-thousand feet above Paro Valley, and from your closest vantage point on a rocky ledge directly across from it, you will still need 200-300 mm lenses and a steady tripod to get tight photographs.

This sacred place got its name when Guru Rinpoche rode there on the back of a flying tiger and meditated in a cave behind the present-day monastery. Sadly, in 1998, the central temple was destroyed by fire, leaving the country in mourning for their holiest of spiritual places. But religious leaders and the King quickly developed a plan to rebuild Taktsang and donations started pouring in from Buddhist centres all over the world, and today, the magnificently rebuilt exterior is complete. Tiger's Nest is once again the subject of cloud-shrouded posters that say, "Bhutan, Land of the Thunder Dragon." Picnic lunch on the hillside cafeteria. Stop for a nice cup coffee in the town before heading to your destination.

Later take a stroll in small bustling city of Paro.

Duration: 5 to 6 hours

Difficulty: Moderate to Hard

Overnight Paro: 2,280m

It’s about 3 & half hours’ drive from here. The Dochula pass is one of the most spectacular passes in Bhutan and is about an hour & half drive from the Paro. The pass (3080) marks the watershed between the districts of Thimphu on the western side and Punakha on the eastern side. It presents a panoramic view of these districts and some others beyond them. You can also get the panoramic view of the eastern Himalayas depending on the season and weather at time of your travel.

From the pass, we begin descending through varied forest and finally emerging into the highly cultivated valley of Punakha. On arrival, take a short hike through beautiful rice fields to Chimmi Lhakhang, a temple dedicated to Drukpa Kuenley, who as a favourite saint of the Bhutanese people is known affectionately as "the Divine Madman". The temple is on a hillside in the middle of rice fields and has become a pilgrimage site for childless couples. Enjoy some tea and snacks at the end of hike while overlooking the fields.

Later, visit Punakha Dzong.The dzong is located at the confluence of the Pho-chu (male-river) and Mo-chu (female-river), the Punakha Dzong is arguably the most impressive dzong in the country. Punakha is the former Capital of the kingdom and at present day hosts the 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 River. It was built in 1637 AD It was here on 17th December 1907, Bhutan's first king was crowned.

In the evening take a short walk to the suspension bridge which is 180 meters long fastened over the Pho chu river connecting the villages on the other side of the dzong. Time to get some fresh air and cool yourself down while enjoying the surroundings.

Duration: 6 - 7 hrs

Difficulty: Easy

Overnight Punakha:1,300m

On arrival to Gasa, visit Tashi Tongmon Dzong which is the administrative center of Gasa dzongkhag (district) in the northwestern region of Bhutan. The Dzong was built in the 17th century by Tenzin Drukdra the second Druk Desi/Secular ruler over the site of a meditation place established by DrubthobTerkungpa in the 13th century. The Dzong was constructed as a bulwark against attacks from the north and named Tashi Tongmön Dzong. It was later expanded by the fourth Desi, Tenzin Rabgye.

Duration: 5 hours + 1 hour walking (tentative depending on road progress)

Difficulty: Easy to Moderate

Overnight Koina Campsite: 3,240m

The trail from Koina first ascends above the river again to descend to river bed. Continue along the Mo chu river further with some gentle up and downs. After few hours you’ll reach to Takshikha military camp where you get your permits checked. From here there is final approximately 300 meters climb to village Laya village which is inhabited by Layap people. Layap woman are famous for their antenna hat made of bamboo. Layaps are traditionally seminomadic Yak herders ethically different from Bhutanese and Tibetans to the north.

Duration: 4-5 hours trekking

Difficulty: Moderate to Hard

Overnight Campsite/Farmhouse: 3,800m

The Royal Highland Festival was initiated by His Majesty the King in 2016, as an annual event celebrating and showcasing the unique Highland culture and beauty. The festival, held in Laya, one of the highest settlements in Bhutan, has participants from 10 dzongkhags of Bhutan with Highland communities, each with their unique dress, local customs and products.

Bhutan’s Highland communities are among the most resilient peoples in the country, inhabiting remote, high altitude villages rich in natural beauty, and largely unchanged by the passage of time. The Royal Highland Festival is an opportunity for visitors to experience the Highland way of life, and for Highland communities to enhance their income through international and domestic tourism.

Duration: 5-6 hours

Difficulty: Easy

Overnight Campsite/farmhouse: 3,800m

Retrace your way back to Gasa leaving Laya village.After trekking for about 5hours, you eventually get to back to last road point where you will be later driven to the Gasa Tsachu (hot spring) and relax in the thermal water. The Gasa Tsachu is one of the most popular hot springs in Bhutan which is believed to have healing medicinal properties for various ailments.

Duration: 4-5 hours

Difficulty: Moderate to Hard

Overnight Guesthouse/Campsite: 2,240m

Thimphu the cultural heartland of the kingdom. Thimphu is a small, charming capital city nestled in the heart of the Himalayas. It is nothing like what a capital city is imagined to be. Most of the houses and buildings are painted and constructed in traditional Bhutanese style.

Later visit the Tashichhoe Dzong (fortress of glorious religion), the main secretariat building, and the office of the King and Throne room and also the house of the State Monastic Body. In the evening visit weekend market where vendors from different regions come to sell their products mostly vegetables and food stuffs.

Duration: 6-7 hours

Difficulty: Easy

Overnight Thimphu: 2,320m

The view over Thimphu from the big Buddha statue helps to get our bearings before we plunge into this vibrant growing town struggling to blend the shock of the new with traditional aspects of life in the shadow of the Himalaya, followed by Memorial stupa, which was built in memory of our Late Third King. It now serves as a focal point of worship for people residing in Thimphu especially for elderly people.

Later depending on opening hours, guest interests and time, your guide may include some of the following in your private schedule: The school of Arts & crafts, the Folk Heritage Museum, Post office if you are interested in making personalized stamps, Bhutanese handmade Paper factory or you may wish to just go window shopping.

It is time to retrace our steps back to Paro valley. Returning to the Chunzom (or confluence) we catch a glimpse of the three shrines in Nepali, Tibetan and Bhutanese style which were built to ward off evil spirits near the checkpoint. On the final leg the sinuous route follows the Pa Chhu River, through apple orchards and rice paddies, past quaint homesteads to our home in the Himalaya, Paro town.

Duration: 5-6 hours

Difficulty: Easy

Overnight Paro: 2,280m

Today is your last morning in this mystical and memorable country of Bhutan. We will have breakfast and proceed to Paro for your onward flight. We bid a fond farewell to Bhutan for the flight back to your home. We hope you have enjoyed your trip immensely and taking back wonderful memories!

Tour package cost is inclusive of the following

  • SDF and taxes of the government
  • One time US$ 40 (visa fee for single entry)
  • Accommodation on twin sharing basis (3 star hotels approved by DOT)
  • Entrance fees to various museums, dzongs & temples
  • Meals (breakfast, lunch & dinner)
  • Licensed English speaking tour guide
  • Ground transportation within Bhutan
  • Camping equipment and gears for the trekking
  • Ponies and pack animals on trek

Tour package does NOT include the following:

  • Flight fare
  • Refreshment, any alcoholic/non-alcoholic beverages and any other personal expenses
  • Travel Insurance (Must for all tours)
  • US$ 30/Night, single room supplement charge for 2 Pax and above
  • Luxury star hotels and resorts available at an additional cost
  • Luxury camping/trekking can be arranged at an additional cost
  • Gratuities to guide, driver, trekking staff, etc.
  • Specialized guides (Foreign Language, Photography, Bird Watching, Buddhism, Flora and Fauna) available at an additional cost

The rates given above are applicable per person per night halt in Bhutan. On the day of departure, the “local agents” host obligation shall be limited to breakfast only and extra requirements shall be payable on actual basis.

The rates shall apply uniformly irrespective of locations and the type of accommodation provided/asked for. List of hotels and lodges approved for international tourist accommodation updated from time to time shall be issued by Department of Tourism.

Delayed Arrivals

There is no SDF charge for the delays in arrival and departure because of weather conditions disrupting flights or road blocks. The tourist must however bear the cost of food, accommodation, transportation, and other services required.

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