Paro Tshechu is one of the most popular festivals in Bhutan. Featuring dances performed by trained monks and laymen in amazing masks and costumes, Tshechus (festivals) are one of the best ways to experience the ancient living culture of Bhutan. This tour also takes advantage of the beautiful spring time growth with stunning hikes through the countryside to a Rhododendron Forest in Phobjikha, as well as a visit to the Lamperi a Rhododendron Festival near Dochu La Pass.
DAY1: Arrive at Paro airport
The flight to Paro is one of the most spectacular mountain flights in the world, with a constantly changing panorama of some of the highest mountains on earth. Our team representatives will receive you at Paro airport. After lunch, enjoy afternoon sightseeing around Paro, including a visit to the Ta Dzong Museum and the 7th Century Kyichu Lhakhang. Overnight in Paro.
DAY2: Paro Taktsang (The Tiger’s Nest)
After breakfast, we will hike to Taktsang Monastery. The walk of approximately 1.5 to 2 hours uphill takes you almost a kilometer above the Paro valley floor (for those who cannot hike we will arrange a horse rides). The view of Taktsang Monastery built on a sheer cliff face, 900 meters above the valley floor is a spectacular sight. Nearby there is a tea house where you can stop for refreshments before returning to Paro for lunch. Overnight in Paro.
DAY3: Paro – Thimphu
Wake up very early at 2.30am and drive to Paro Dzong to witness the Thongdroel ceremony where a large religious painting of Guru Rinpoche made of cloth is unfurled on the side of the Dzong. This event signifies the final day of the annual festival. After some rest back at the hotel, we drive to the capital, Thimphu (1.5 hours). We stop on the way to take in the magnificent Tamchhog Lhakhang. Overnight at hotel in Thimphu.
We will give you a tour of whole Thimphu exploring the most famous tourist spots around, most famous of all being The Memorial Chorten, Buddha point, Farmers’ Market, Folk Heritage Museum, Thimphu Tashichho Dzong and more. Overnight at your hotel in Thimphu.
DAY5: Thimphu – Phobjikha
Drive from Thimphu to Phobjikha (5-6 hrs) over the Dochu-La pass (3,100m), which is marked by 108 little Chortens and prayer flags. On clear weather we can enjoy the view of almost all snow-covered mountains including highest mountain Gangkar Puensum (7740m). We will take a short walk to stretch legs to Chimilhakhang temple. After lunch at Chimilhakhang café, continue our drive crossing over Puntsangchu River at Wangdiphodrang via old town. In Phobjikha we will visit Gangtey monastery before we check into our hotel. Overnight at hotel in Gangtey/Phobjikha.
DAY6: Phobjikha – Punakha (Shasila hike from Phobjikha to Kheleykha)
This hike shortens your driving time towards Wangdue by about one hour. The trail is the migration trail for the Gangteps to the lower valleys in the fall. This beautiful hike starts from Gangtey monastery and continues through Tokha village and slowly upwards through Rhododendron forest. From here, the trail continues downwards through stunning old-growth Rhododendron forest all the way to Phama Hotel in Khelikha on the main Wangdue Phodrang road. From here, it takes one hour to drive back to Gangtey.
While in Punakha, we will visit the Chorten Nebu Temple. Time permitting, we can visit Punakha Dzong, the “Palace of Great Happiness” built in 1637 by the Zhabdrung, the ‘Unifier of Bhutan’ as predicted by the great Guru Rimpoche (Padmasambhava). It is situated at the confluence of the Mo Chu and Pho Chu (Mother and Father Rivers) and is the winter headquarters of the Je Khenpo and hundreds of monks who move en masse from Thimphu to this warmer location.
DAY8: Punakha – Paro
After leaving Punakha, end-route to Paro you enjoy a walk through a forest with temperate vegetation. Arriving at the royal botanical garden, which is 8,800 feet above sea level, you will enjoy Rhododendron festival performed by local people in and around Hongtso and Thinleygang village. Take a short walk around the small lake and you may spot a red panda, one of the rare animals in the Himalayas. Then we continue our drive to Paro. Overnight at a hotel in Paro.
DAY9: Depart Paro
Breakfast in the hotel, then drive to the airport for flight to your onward destination.
The Royal Government of Bhutan sets minimum selling prices for packages to Bhutan. These must be paid in US dollars prior to arrival in Bhutan.
The minimum daily package applicable per tourist per night halt in Bhutan for tourists travelling in a group of 3 people or more is as follows:
• USD $200 per person per night for the months of January, February, June, July, August, and December.
• USD $250 per person per night for the months of March, April, May, September, October, and November.
The minimum daily package covers the following services;
• A minimum of 3 star accommodation (4 & 5 star may require an premium payment).
• All meals
• A licensed Bhutanese tour guide for the extent of your stay
• All internal ground transport
• Camping equipment and haulage for trekking tours
• USD 65 Sustainable Development Fee (SDF)
Tourists travelling in a group of two (2) persons or less shall be subject to a surcharge, in addition to the minimum daily package rates. These are as follows;
• Single individual – US$ 40 per night
• Group of 2 persons only – US$ 30 per person per night
The surcharge will not be applicable to representatives of foreign travel agents on business study or promotional visit duly approved and cleared by TCB.
There is no charge for 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. It is highly recommended that you purchase travel insurance prior to travel.
Individual tour operators has their own cancellation policy. Please discuss with your own service provider (tour operator) on the cancellation policy.
Prior to your trip to Bhutan, you will be asked to wire the full payment for your holiday to the Tourism Council of Bhutan.
You must wire the tour payment calculated by your tour operator as well as USD 40 (one time visa fee) to the Bhutan National Bank through one of their certified international partners with the Bhutanese tour operator specified as the ultimate beneficiary.
With the exception of visitors from India, Bangladesh and Maldives, all other visitors travelling to Bhutan need a visa.
Indian, Bangladeshis and Maldivian nationals can obtain a permit at the port of entry on producing a valid passport with a minimum of 6 months validity (Indian nationals may also use their Voters Identity Card (VIC)).
All other tourists must obtain a visa clearance prior the travel to Bhutan. Visas are processed through an online system by your licensed Bhutanese tour operator directly or through a foreign travel agent.
You are required to send the photo-page of your passport to your tour operator who will then apply for your visa. The visa will be processed by the Tourism Council of Bhutan (TCB) once the full payment of your holiday (including a USD $40 visa fee) has been wire transferred and received in the TCB bank account. Once received, the visa clearance will be processed within 72 working hours.
At your point of entry you will be required to show your visa clearance letter, the visa will then be stamped into your passport.
Online Regional Permit System
In order to streamline and facilitate smooth visitation by tourists from Bangladesh, India and Maldives, the Department of Immigration, Ministry of Home and Cultural Affairs and the Tourism Council of Bhutan have launched the Online Permit System. The system facilitates the online processing of permits for regional tourists through registered Bhutanese tour operators and TCB certified hotels. The facility is offered as an optional channel to process permits for visitors from the region and is applicable for entry from Paro and Phuntsholing. Visitors who use this facility will be able to obtain their permit clearances and route permits ahead of their arrival in Bhutan similar to international tourists.
Payment System in Bhutan
Bhutan’s currency is the Ngultrum (Nu.) It is at par with the Indian rupee which is widely accepted in the country. ATMs are located within all main towns throughout Bhutan, where money can be withdrawn using a Visa or MasterCard. In addition, POS (Point of Sale) services are available nationwide, meaning visitors can pay by credit card at most hotels and handicrafts stores.
How to make the payment?
All payments shall be made in US dollars via bank wire transfer to the Tourism Council of Bhutan’s bank account at the Bhutan National Bank, with your tour operator shown as the ultimate beneficiary of the funds. Please note that it is not possible to make the payment by credit card as the payment has to be routed through the government account in order for your visa to be authorized and is not paid directly to us.
Wire Transfer: In order to make your payment, please request your bank to remit money to the bank as follows via wire transfer only. It takes 3 – 7 working days to get your money in Bhutan.
Standard Chartered Bank Ltd, New York, USA Standard Chartered Bank Ltd., One Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10010-3603 SWIFT Code: SCBLUS33 CHIPS ABA: 0256 FED ABA: 026002561 Beneficiary Bank Account : 358-202-171-9001 (USD A/C) Beneficiary Bank : Bhutan National Bank P.O Box 439, GPO Building, Chang Lam, Thimphu Bhutan SWIFT Code: BNBTBTBT Ultimate Beneficiary:
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Minimum of 3 star rated accommodation
All meals (excluding alcoholic beverages)
All internal transportation (excluding domestic flights if any)
Professional English-Speaking guide and driver
All road permits and entry fees
Government fee, royalty and surcharges
All services and assistance before, during and after the trip
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