The Thimphu festival or tshechu is Bhutan’s largest and most popular autumn festival held in the vicinity of Trashichhodzong, a 17th century fortress, under clear blue skies and plenty of sunshine. Thousands of people turn up for the four-day festival where colourful and ancient mask dances are performed in an open cobbled stone courtyard by monks and laymen.
DAY1: Arrive Paro – Thimphu
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, we enjoy afternoon sightseeing around Paro, including a visit to the Ta Dzong Museum and the 7th Century Kyichu Lhakhang. Then we drive to Thimphu.
DAY2: Thimphu – Attend the Festival
After breakfast, drive to Tashichhodzong to attend the Thimphu festival. You will see locals dressed in their finest clothes who have walked from miles around to attend the festivities. They come to watch masked dances, to pray, and to feast. There is inevitably a great deal of socialising. Overnight at hotel in Thimphu.
DAY3: Thimphu – Sightseeing
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.
DAY4: Thimphu – Punakha
Drive over the Dochu-La pass (3,100 meters), which on a clear day offers an incredible view of Himalayan peaks before descending into balmy Punakha valley (about 3 hrs total driving time). The drive through the countryside affords a glimpse of everyday life in this most remote of Himalayan kingdoms. 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.
DAY5: Punakha – Thimphu – Paro
In the morning drive to Yabesa village and hike through rice fields and up to Khamsum Yueley Namgyal Chorten, built by her majesty the queen Ashi Tshering Yangdon Wangchuk. Perched high on a hill on the bank of the river, the Chorten houses paintings belonging to Nyingmapa Traditions. We then drive back to Thimphu where you will have the opportunity to visit handicraft and souvenir stores. Afterwards proceed to Paro. Overnight at hotel in Paro.
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. If time permits, we could take a trip to the Haa Valley as well, one of the most picturesque districts in Bhutan. Reached via the beautiful Chelila Pass, Haa is characterised by its surrounding rugged and mountainous terrain. Overnight at hotel in Paro.
DAY7: 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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