ura yachoe

Tour Highlights:

Ura, a beautiful countryside of Bumthang, is known for its intriguing Ura Yakchoe festival. The highlight of the festival is unveiling of a sacred relic to receive blessing. Legend has it that one day an old lady, while sitting outside of her house, was asked for a cup of water by a passing by lama. Returning with a cup of water, she saw that the lama had disappeared leaving behind a sack with a statue that is now displayed annually. Owned by the descendants of that woman this relic has been passed on from one generation to the next.
Being so remote Ura is not crowded with tourists, but mostly locals dressed in their finest attire enjoying traditional picnics, which you will be able to enjoy as well.

Routes & Distances at Glance:

Day 1 :Paro - Thimphu. 65 km, 1 hour drive
Day 2 : Thimphu
Day 3:Thimphu - Punakha. 77 km, 3 hours drive
Day 4 :Punakha - Gangtey. 78 km, 3 hours drive
Day 5 : Hiking in Phobjikha valley (3-4 hours)
Day 6 :Gangtey -Bumthang, 188 km, 6 hours drive
Day 7 :Bumthang
Day 8 : Day Excursion to Tang valley
Day 9 :Bumthang - Ura. 49 km, 2 hours drive
Day 10 : Ura festival & short hike
Day 11 : Ura - Wangdue. 210 km, 8 hours drive
Day 12 :Wangdue - Paro, 130 km, 4 hours drive
Day 13 :Hiking trip to Taktsang monastery (5 hours)
Day 14 : Departure
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Detailed Itinerary:

Day 1: 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. After visa formalities you will meet the guide of White Umbrella tours at Paro airport exit doors. Transfer to Thimphu takes 1 hour.

Day 2: Thimphu
In the morning drive to Kunsel Phodrang (Buddha point) to have a ‘Birds Eye View' of Thimphu valley and visit the zoo to see the National Animal ‘Takin', and then we will visit the Drubthob Gompa Nunnery. Nuns with sport short hair, who play a vital role in the religious affairs of the local community, are enrolled here.

Then drive to Tashichoe Dzong, the main secretariat which houses the summer residence of the central monk body and main seat of government. Its majestic architecture in finely balanced proportions is complemented by artistic decorations and paintings and followed by visit to the Handicraft shop and return to your hotel.

Day 3: 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. In the Dochu-La area there are vast Rhododendron forests that grow to tree size and bloom in late April/early May covering the mountains in a riot of glorious spring colour.
Punakha was the ancient capital of Bhutan. On arrival, drive to Punakha Dzong, the ‘Palace of Great Happiness'. Built in 1637 by the Shabdrung, the ‘Unifier of Bhutan', Punakha Dzong is situated at the confluence of the Mo Chu and Pho Chu (Mother and Father Rivers). The three story main temple of the Punakha Dzong is a breathtaking example of traditional architecture with four intricately embossed entrance pillars crafted from cypress and decorated in gold and silver. It was here in 1907 that Bhutan's first king was crowned.

Hike to Chimi Lhakhang, temple of the Drukpa Kuenly who is also known as the Divine Madman. He inherited the Divine Madman title since he revolted against the orthodox Buddhism in his time. He taught the people that religion is an inner feeling and it's not necessary that one should be an ordained monk. He is also considered a symbol of fertility and most childless couples go to his temple for blessing.

Afterwards, drive 30 minutes towards northern part of Punakha valley and hike to Khumsum chorten. It's about less than 2 hours hike, worth to do hike as when you approach on hill, you will have splendor view of valley.

Altitude at Punakha: 1300 m

Day 4: Punakha - Gangtey
Drive to Wangduephodrang and visit the Dzong which is perched on a spur at the confluence of two rivers. The position of the Dzong is remarkable as it completely covers the spur and commands an impressive view both up and down the valley.
Then drive up a winding mountain road through oak and rhododendron forest, and over a high pass down into the Phobjikha valley, surely one of the loveliest high altitude valleys in Bhutan. Phobjikha is one of Bhutan's few glacial valleys, and chosen winter home of black necked cranes, migrating from the Tibetan plateau. Explore Phobjikha valley and also visit Gangtey Gompa (Monastery), the only Nyingmapa monastery in western Bhutan.

Altitude at Gangtey: 3000 m

Overnight: Farm house

Day 5:Gangtey
Morning, explore the scenery of U shape Phobjikha valley and take a glimpse of local people's daily core. And perhaps you may see flock working on their fields.
Later afternoon, we suggest to do hike ‘Gangtey Nature Trail'. It's about less than 2 hours hiking through pine forest, crossing stream and open valley. You may encounter some pheasant on the way and quite close with nature. Evening, visit farm house and taste our traditional tea.

Day 6: Gangtey - Bumthang
Drive via Trongsa to Bumthang across Pele-la pass (3300 m / 10830 ft). This pass is traditionally considered the boundary between western and central Bhutan. Further down the road, stop to visit Chendebji Chorten erected in the 18th century by a Tibetan lama to cover the remains of an evil spirit that was subdued at this spot. It is built in the Nepalese style, with painted eyes at the four cardinal points.The landscape around Trongsa is spectacular and its impressive Dzong, stretched along a ridge above a ravine, first comes into view about an hour before the winding road suddenly leads you into the town.

After lunch proceed to Bumthang, holy heartland of Buddhism. The 68 km journey takes about 3 hours. The road winds steeply up to Yutong La (3400 m / 11155 ft), and then run down through dense coniferous forest to enter a wide, open, cultivated valley, known as Chumey valley. From here it is about an hour to Bumthang, a most pleasant run in the soft, late afternoon light.

Altitude at Jakar: 2600 m
Approximate driving time: 6 hours.

Day 7: Bumthang
Bumthang is the general name given to a group of four valleys Chumey, Choekhor, Tang and Ura, with altitudes varying from 2,600 to 4,000 m / 8,530 to 13,125 ft.

In the morning we will do hike to Tamshing Lhakhang, founded in 1501 by Pema Lingpa. It contains interesting and ancient Buddhist wall paintings. Later on we will visit Jakar Dzong, "the castle of the white bird", and then take a stroll through Bumthang's market area before returning to the lodge.

Altitude at Jakar: 2600 m

Day 8: Tang valley
Day Excursion to Tang valley, situated at 3000 m, north east of Chhokor valley and on the way visit ‘Me-bar tsho' (burning lake). En route to Tang valley, visit Nunnery Monastery established in 90's by the 9th re-incarnation of Pema Lingpa (mind). Drive through open field and crossing several villages and school.

We will visit Orgyen Chholing Museum established by Ashi Kunzang Choden, descended of Deb Tshoki Dorji (Temporal ruler). The hike to museum begins crossing Tang river, and village. Short walk, you will come across small wooden bridge, after that there is chorten and from there it is gradual ascend to the museum for less than hour. Before climbing there is small hut beside the trail. It is water mill back to the 18th century and still it is active perhaps you may see local people using it. Upon arrival at Museum, overlooking view of Tang valley and after visiting Museum, hike further down to suspension bridge for an hour. Picnic lunch at river bank. Later, drive back to Bumthang.

Day 9: Bumthang - Ura
Drive to Ura valley (1,5 hours) en route the mountain pass Shartang-la (3200 m). During cloudless day, you can see Gangkar-phunsum (7415 m) on the northern side. If you prefer to do short hike from pass to Ura village, it is possible the trail descend all way to the Ura village through fir trees and you will spot small prayer wheel turn by creek and few mani wall along the trail. It's lovely hike and fit for all ages.

On arrival, witness the Ura Yakchoe Festival at Monastery and later explore the cluster village.
Overnight: Farm house

Day 10: Ura festival & short hike
Morning, attend the Ura Yakchoe festival. Afternoon, drive 20 minutes to Shinkhar village and you can do short hike around the village, visiting the village temple and farm house. And since it is newly open to the tourist due to the road connection, most guests are interested to do round hiking and taking photo of natural beauty of environment, people and Shingkhar village. We guarantee that it is worth doing short hike!

Day 11: Ura - Wangdue
A full day's drive back to Wangdue from Ura via Bumthang, past Trongsa on the west side of the Pele La pass. There are many interesting sights along the way and you can make frequent stops to stretch your legs and explore.

Altitude at Wangdue: 1300 m
Approximate driving time: 8 hours.

Overnight: Wangdue

Day 12: Wangdue - Paro
Drive to Paro from balmy Punakha valley, then begins a long climb back up to the Dochu La, where a stunning field of white chortens and colorful prayer flags send blessings up to the Himalayan sky; snow peaks line the horizon.

Today enjoy sightseeing around Paro, including a visit to the National Museum, Ta Dzong. This museum houses many religious relics, works of art and handicrafts offering a great orientation into Bhutan's historical and cultural past. Next, visit the Rimpong Dzong to see the painting of the great saint Milarepa, considered as the master of meditation by the Bhutanese and believed to have attained enlightenment in a lifetime. Dzong's are large monasteries and district administrative centres, which were once strategic forts. Afterwards walk to the beautiful cantilever wooden bridge still in use.

Altitude at Paro: 2300 m
Approximate driving time: 4 hours.

Overnight: Paro


Day 13:Hiking trip to Taktsang monastery
Morning hike to Taktsang Monastery. The trail is broad and the walk of approximately 1.5 to 2 hours uphill takes you high above the Paro valley. The view of Taktsang Monastery built on a sheer cliff face 900 metres above the valley floor is a spectacular sight. The great Guru Rinpoche is said to have flown here on the back of a tigress when he brought the teachings of the Buddhist Dharma to Bhutan in the 8th Century. Nearby there is a cafeteria where you can stop for lunch.
On the return drive to Paro, visit 7th Century KyichuLhakhang, one of the 108 temples constructed by the Tibetan king SongtsenGampo. Kyichu is built in a manner similar to the Jokhang in Lhasa.
In the afternoon drive to the ruins of the 17th Century Drukgyel Dzong, an historic monument built by the Shabdrung to commemorate his victory against invading Tibetans in 1644. In fine weather the towering peak of the sacred Mount Jomolhari (7314 m) appears as a stunning backdrop.
Day 14: Departure
Transfer to the airport and take your flight to Delhi.
 

Tour date

By request
(14 days / 13 nights)

Group size & price

from 3-12 pax:
3,290 USD per person

Price includes

  • 3* hotels double occupancy
  • Full board
  • private vehicle
  • all entrance fees
  • English speaking Bhutanese guide (other languages upon request)
  • Visa fee

Supplementary fee

  • Single individual
    80 USD per night
  • Group of 2 persons
    30 USD per person per night
  • single occupancy
    40 USD per night

* Any individual tours and services can be upgraded according to your time and interest on request.
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