(09 Nights/ 10 days)

Festival Date: 18th – 20th April, 2016
Main Highlights of Bhutan Rhododendron Festival Tour

The three days Rhododendron festival is celebrated at Lampelri Botanical Park, which is about one and half hour drive from Thimphu en route to Punakha. Bhutan has over 46 different species of rhododendrons in the country. For nature and flower lovers, this is the perfect trip you can make best use of it. You can walk down the trail in the forest and enjoy the beauty of of wild rhododendrons that grows in abundance.

It has the highest record of 29 species of rhododendron grown in Lampelri Botanical Park out of 46 species of rhododendron in the country.

This festival also promotes Eco-tourism, enhance communities livelihood and create platform for the education on environment conservation through sustainable dependence on park resources. The local communities also perform cultural activities such as songs, dances followed by several other cultural programs by students integrating themes on importance of environment conservation.

Day 01 – Arrive Paro (2280 m)

The flight to Paro is one of the most spectacular flights amongst all the mountain flights. You can glimpse a spectacular view of Mount. Everest, Kanchenjunga, and other popular peaks in Bhutan such as Jhomolhari, Jichu Drake and Tsrim Khang. On arrival at the Paro Aiport, our guide will receive you and drive you through one of the most fascinating valleys of Bhutan to your hotel for overnight halt.

If in case you arrive early morning in Bhutan and if you’re not tired, you can visit the following exotic places after your lunch.

Visit Drukgyel Dzong; a ruined fortress located about 14 km away from Paro town. It was built in 1649 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel to commemorate the victory of Bhutan over Tibetan invaders, led by the Mongolian warlord, Gushri Khan in 1644. Drukgyel Dzong captured the eyes of western visitors when it was featured on the cover of the National Geographic magazine in 1914. Above the ruined fortress, appears the towering peak of Mount Jomolhari, “mountain of goddess” which is about 7,315m high. The fortress served as an administrative centre until 1951, when a fire caused by a butter lamp destroyed it. The ruins still attract lot of tourists for its rich history and glorious past.

Then on your way back to the hotel, visit Kyichu Lhakhang (Monastery), it is one of the two oldest monasteries built in the seventh century by King Songtsen Gampo of Tibet in Bhutan. It is considered one of the holiest places in Bhutan as it marks the advent of Buddhism in the country. Kyichu Monastery is located between Drugyal Dzong and Paro town. Evening, take a leisurely walk around Paro town.

Overnight halt in the hotel. Dinner and overnight in Hotel. (L, D)

Day 02 – Paro Sightseeing (2280 m)

After breakfast, hike to Taktsang Monastery. Literally meaning ‘Tiger’s Nest’ , because Guru Rinpoche (Precious Buddhist Saint) is said to have flown to the site of the monastery on the back of a tigress and then meditated in a cave for three months in the eighth century. It is precariously perched on the right side of a cliff, at 2950 metres above sea level and 900 m above Paro valley. It is considered one of the holiest places of pilgrimage for the Buddhist world today

It is about 4-5hours walk up and down. Lunch at Taktsang cafeteria. Evening, take a leisurely walk around Paro town.

Dinner and overnight in Hotel. (B, L, D)

Day 03 – Paro – Thimphu (2320 m) (Driving distance: 54 km, driving time: 1 ½ hrs.)

Morning, visit Ta Dzong (now National Museum); originally built as a watch tower of Paro Dzong in 1951 is now converted to the National Museum in 1968. It has a unique and varied collection of ancient paintings, textiles, weapons and armour, bronze statues, old household objects, exquisite postage stamps, jewellery and many other decorative arts.

Then visit Paro Dzong (Fortress); also known as Rinpung Dzong, which means ‘fortress of the heap of jewels’. It was built in 1646 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel and is one of Bhutan’s most impressive Dzongs in the country which depicts the finest examples of Bhutanese unusual architecture. It serves as the administrative centre of the Paro district and also houses the state monastic community. The courtyard of the Dzong serves as a venue of Paro Tshechu (festival), held annually in spring.

After lunch, drive to Thimphu. On the way, view a private monastery: Tamchog Lhakhang. En route, visit Semtokha Dzong, first fortress built by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel in 1627 among the series of fortresses built by him in 17th century in Bhutan. This fortress is situated on a lofty ridge and now houses the educational institute for Buddhist studies.

Dinner and overnight in Hotel. (B, L, D)

Day 04 – Thimphu Sightseeing (2320 m)

Morning visit includes Memorial Chorten (Stupa), one of the most religious stupa visible in Thimphu. The religious paintings and complex tantric statues inside the monument reflect both peaceful and wrathful aspects of Buddhist deities. Then visit Changangka Lhakhang (Monastery), which was built in 15th century by the high saint Phajo Drugom Shigpo followed by visit Nunnery, to see nuns reciting prayers & Zori ChuSum – the Traditional Painting School, a centre where children learn 13 forms of arts. On a visit, one can view the students at work. Finally visit to Folk Heritage Museum, living farmhouse of the 19th century depicting the harmonious living style of the Bhutanese family with the domestic animals in the premises.

After lunch, Visit Takin Preserve Centre, Royal Textile Museum and Handicrafts Emporium, where various products of Bhutanese arts and crafts are displayed and can be purchased as well.

In the evening, visit Tashichhoedzong,“fortress of glorious religion”. The Dzong was initially erected in 1641 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel and later the third king Jigme Dorji Wangchuk rebuilt its present form in 1965.

Dinner and overnight in Hotel. (B, L, D)

Day 05 – Thimphu – Punakha (1300 m) (Driving distance: 76 km, 3 hrs. driving time)

After breakfast, drive to Punakha and Wangdue (about 2 hrs drive). En route, halt at Dochula pass (3160 m) and view the spectacular view of snowcapped eastern Himalayan Mountains if the weather permits.

En route attend full day Rhododendron Festival at Lampelri Botanical Garden.

Lunch at Lampelri Botanical Park

Take a short hike through the Rhododendron Park. Evening, drive to Punakha.

Dinner and overnight in Hotel. (B, L, D)

Day 06 – Punakha Sightseeing (1300 m)

Morning hike to Khamsum Yuela Chorten built by Her Majesty the Queen Ashi Tshering Yangdon Wangchuk. It’s a short pleasant hike across the rice fields to the hilltop. Once you reach there, you can catch a stunning view of the beautiful villages in the valley. On the way back, visit Punakha Dzong built in 1637 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel to serve as the religious and administrative centre of the region. It is located strategically between the confluence of Pho Chu (Male River) and Mo Chu (Female River).

After lunch, visit Chimi Lhakhang, a revered temple popularly recognized as a pilgrimage site for childless couples to receive blessings. Situated on a hillock in the centre of the valley, it is about 20 minute’s pleasant walk across the rice fields from the road. The temple was built in the 15th century by Ngawang Chogyel after the “Divine Madman” Lam Drukpa Kuenley built a small stupa on the site.

Dinner and overnight in Hotel. (B, L, D)

Day 07 – Punakha – Gangtey (3100 m) – Wangdue (1300 m) (Driving distance: 67 km one way, 3 hrs.)

Drive to Gangtey & check into hotel. Photo stops on the way.

After lunch, visit Gangtey Gompa built on the ridge overlooking the beautiful wide valley of Phobjikha. The pristine green valley is also the winter residence of rare and endangered black-necked cranes that migrate from Tibet to Bhutan in late autumn in a group of 200 to 300. Evening, take a leisurely walk across the beautiful Phobjikha valley and visit the Crane Information Centre. Dinner and overnight in Hotel. (B, L, D)

Day 08 – Gangtey – Wangdi – Paro (2280 m) (Driving distance: 191 km, 6 ½ hrs.)

Morning, drive to Paro. En route visit Rinchengang Village opposite to Wangdi Dzong. Evening, free to stroll through town.

Dinner and overnight in Hotel. (B, L, D)

Day 09 – Paro – Haa Excursion (Driving Distance: 67 km one way, 3 hrs) – Paro (2280 m)

Drive to Haa valley recently opened to tourists via Chelila pass (3980 m) which is the highest motorable road in the Kingdom. If the weather is clear, you will have a spectacular glimpse of Haa valley. Also you can catch a magnificent view of Jhomolhari, “mountain of goddess” which is about 7,315m high (the second highest peak in Bhutan) and Jichu Drake which is about 6,794m high. En-route, you will get immense opportunities to take photographs.

We drive down to Haa valley- one of the most beautiful and fascinating valleys in Bhutan. While in Haa, visit Lhakhang Karpo (White Temple) and Lhakhang Nagpo (Black Temple). Each temple has its rich religious interpretation and is definitely worth visiting. Finally visit Haa town before lunch.

Dinner and overnight in Hotel. (B, L, D)

Day 10 – Paro- Departure:

Our guide will escort you to the Airport in the early morning to bid farewell for your onward journey. (B)

Travel Bhutan with our holiday packages

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Bhutan Cultural Tour
Bhutan Cultural Tour 2
Bhutan Festival Tour
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