haa summer festival

Tour Highlights

Located in Western Bhutan, Haa is one of the least visited areas in the country. This tiny region is one of the most gorgeous and isolated areas in the kingdom, adorned with pristine alpine forests and serene mountain peaks.

A home to nomadic herders, Haa hosts an annual Summer Festival demonstrating their unique lifestyle. This is a one of a kind experience to sample the delicious home-cooked cuisine and enjoy traditional songs and dances while sipping on the inebriating local liquor (Ara).

At the time of Haa Summer festival, in the valley you may see the rare White Poppy (Meconopsis superba), which cannot be found anywhere in the world but in Haa.

Join us on this wondrous journey to the Mythic Valley of the Guardian Spirit.

Routes & Distances at Glance:

Day 1: Paro - Thimphu. 65 km, 1 hour drive
Day 2: Thimphu
Day 3: Thimphu - Gangtey. 210 km, 6 hours drive
Day 4: Hiking & exploring Phobjikha valley
Day 5: Gangtey - Punakha. 78 km, 3 hours drive
Day 6: Punakha - Haa. 150 km, 4 hours drive
Day 7: Haa festival
Day 8: Haa - Paro. 60 km, 2 hours drive
Day 9: Hiking to Taktsang monastery (trip takes 6 hours)
Day 10: Paro
Day 11: 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, 1 hour.

Day 2: Thimphu

Sightseeing around Thimphu. Visit the National Memorial Chorten, which was first initiated by the Third King as a protection from the negative elements of modernisation, and as a monument to world peace. The Royal Queen Mother completed it as a memorial stupa for the Third King who passed away in 1972. Continue on to 12th century Changangkha Temple and Drubthob monastery housing the Zilukha Nunnery.

After lunch visit the School of Arts and Crafts where students are taught the 13 types of Bhutanese art, The National Library housing the collection of Bhutanese scriptures dating back to the 8th century, the Traditional Paper Factory displaying the Bhutanese paper making process, and a fascinating replica of a medieval farmhouse at the Folk Heritage Museum.

Day 3: Thimphu - Gangtey
Drive to Phobjikha valley en route Dochu-la pass (3100m). On clear weather you will see the majestic view of Himalayan foothills and also 108 stupa (chorten) mark on the pass. Actually it was built by Queen mother for honoring our beloved King who fought with Indian militants' flash out from our soil in year of 2003. And our country lost few soldiers lives during war.

As you descent down to balmy forests, you will find different vegetation with short period of time. After little over 1 hour, you will arrive to the intersection called Mesina (locally fond of calling Lobesa). On left, to Punakha valley and we continue on high way and drive up a winding mountain road through oak and rhododendron forests, and over a high pass down into the picturesque Phobjikha Valley.

Phobjikha is one of Bhutan's few glacial valleys, and chosen winter home of black necked cranes (November - March) migrating from the Tibetan plateau.

After lunch, visit Gangtey Gompa (monastery), dating back to the 16th century.

Day 4: Phobjikha valley
Explore the Phobjikha valley, hiking the ‘Gangtey Nature Trail'. It's about roughly two and half hours hike through village, open field and evergreen forest. Later when you approach open, you will be amazed for entire U shape glacier valley and during winter time, you can spot birds(Black Neck Crane) roosting in marshy valley.

Afternoon, do visit Black Neck Crane information centre function by RSPN(NGO) it provide lot of information about the birds and its habitants and later farm house to have glimpse of their daily core and taste traditional tea suja. Well, if you are interest or would like to go for local wine (Ara) brewed from crops(buckwheat), please ask your guide, he will arrange it.

Day 5: Gangtey - Punakha
From Gangtey, the road descend to balmy Punakha valley, on arrival we will visit the Punakha Dzong that was built by Zhabdrung in 1637 A.D on a strategic place at the confluence of Pho chu and Mo chu rivers. The Dzong has played a hallowed role in the history of Bhutan. It served as the ancient capital for more than 350 years, several foreign delegation were received here in 18th & 19th century, the coronation of first king held here, National Assembly was established in 1953 and the central monastic body continues to reside here in winter.

Later, do hike to the Chimi Lhakhang (fertility temple) the trail goes through the open field and houses. Most of the Bhutanese people do visit the temple for child blessing those who are in-fertile. Once when you approach to the temple, you will feel the cool breeze from the river.

Day 6: Punakha - Haa
On the way back from Punkha Valley, we suggest you to drive early to Haa valley via Thimphu, en route to confluence where you spot three different shape chorten built near the confluence of two rivers (Pa chu & Wang chu) it's mainly to ward off the negative forces.

Later on, we drive to the village of Dewakha and in distance you will see the Dobji Dzong built during the first king time. Now the Dzong is converted into Monastic school, at present it houses of 30 young monks.

Late afternoon, enjoy the lovely festival at Haa.

Day 7: Haa festival
Morning, visit the festival, taste delicious food, local favorite dish called Haap-pi-hantey (dumpling) and mingle with local people about their life and activities.

Afternoon visit lhakhang ‘Nag-po' & ‘Kar-po' back to the 7th century. It's said that the king of Tibet during 7th century, he had sent two pigeon(black & white bird to located the site of the monastery to build). Local people believed that two pigeon settled on the foothill of Manjushri hill, later he built the monastery that is how the monastery got its name.

Day 8: Haa - Paro
Hike to the Yumthang Village. It is very beautiful walk through the forest and come across the small Monastery back to 16th century. As you decent from Monastery, you can exit at Yumthang village and visit some farm house, talk about their day to day activities perhaps taste cup of traditional Suja.

Late afternoon, drive 2 hrs to Paro valley en route Chele-la pass (3899m) the highest motor road in Bhutan. During clear day, you can see the mountain Jomolhari (7300m).

Day 9: Hiking to Taktsang monastery
Today, we hike up to the famous cliff-hermitage called Taktsang, the ‘Tiger's Nest'. This monastic retreat is built into a sheer cliff face high above the Paro valley. Legend has it that the Tibetan Buddhist saint Padmasambhava flew across the Himalayas on the back of a tiger and landed here, bringing Buddhism to Bhutan. The trail to the monastery climbs through beautiful pine forest and an occasional grove of fluttering prayer flags.

After visiting what is known as one of the most venerated pilgrimage sites in the country, we will go off the beaten track further up to the temples that are on the hill tops above Tiger's Nest. It's so peaceful there and you can really communicate with nature as you enjoy the views from the top be it that of mountains or the valley. No wonder that some monks have chosen this place to meditate for the rest of their lives!

Coming back, we are following a different path that takes us through the pristine thick forest of oaks and rhododendrons festooned with Spanish mosses.

Day 10: Paro
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.

Day 11: Departure
After breakfast, transfer to the airport and see you off.
 

Tour date

By request
(11 days / 10 nights)

Group size & price

from 3-12 pax:
2,040 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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