Trongsa Tsechu

Tour Highlights:

The first monastery of Trongsa, a most interesting historic town of Bhutan, was built here in 1543. It is believed that the festival tradition of Bhutan was started in Trongsa. Most of mask dance teachers, Champoen, learned it in Trongsa.
The town's dzong is particularly spectacular, often referred to as a "dragon flying over the mountains".

Unveiling of an impressive Thongdrel (for liberation and blessing) on the last day of the Trongsa festival is the highlight of Trongsa Tsechu, one of the oldest festivals

Routes & Distances at Glance:

Day 1: Paro
Day 2: Paro-Punakha, around 4 hours drive
Day 3: Punakha - Trongsa. 142 km, 5-6 hours drive
Day 4: Trongsa Tsechu festival- Bumhang 68 km, 2 hours drive
Day 5: Bumthang
Day 6: Bumthang, Tang Velley
Day 7: Bumthang- Gangtey, 188 km, 6 hours drive
Day 8: Gangtey
Day 9: Gangtey- Thimphu, 150 km, 6 hours drive
Day 10: Thimphu
Day 11: Paro sightseeing
Day 12: Paro Taksang
Day 13: Departure
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Detailed Itinerary:

Day 1: Paro
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 the hotel. Evening stroll to the town.

Day 2: Paro - 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 4 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.

Altitude at Punakha: 1300 m.

Day 3: Punakha - Trongsa
In the morning, drive to Trongsa across Pele-la pass (3,300 m / 10,830 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. On arrival, visit and experience the masterpiece of Bhutanese architecture at Trongsa Dzong. It was Shabdrung's great - grandfather who founded the first temple at Trongsa in 1543.

Later visit Ta Dzong on the hillside above the town built as a watchtower to guard Trongsa but recently converted into museum in 2008.

Altitude at Trongsa: 2100 m

Day 4: Trongsa festival, Bumthang
Today we witness the festival and picnic lunch will be arranged at festival ground. You can have glimpse how the locals share the food in circle and young kids giggle while you take pictures of them. After lunch we will drive to Bumthang.

Altitude at Jakar: 2600 m

Day 5: 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.
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.

Day 6: Tang valley
Day Excursion to Tang valley, situated at 3000m, 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 7: Bumthang-Gangtey (Phobjikha valley)
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 8: 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 9: Gangtey-Thimphu
After long trip take rest in the hotel or eveining walk to the town.

Day 10: Thimphu

We'll visit Arts and Craft School. This is a vocational training institute where the art of painting, woodcraft and sculpturing are taught to students with the objective of preserving the rich and pristine heritage.
Later, drive to Kunsel Phodrang (Buddha point) to have a ‘Birds Eye View' of Thimphu valley.
Then drive to Tashicho 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 11: Paro excursion
Visit the Paro National Museum, which will shed further light to some of things that you will be seeing on your trip and visit Paro Dzong built in 1646, which houses the administrative center of the Paro district and religious institute for monks. Thereafter you will walk down to the coach crossing over the traditional wooden covered bridge called 'Nymezampa' which spans over the Paro River. 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 (7314m) appears as a stunning backdrop.

Day 12: Taktsang Monastery
After breakfast drive to Paro. 1 hour.
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 says 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. This site is known as one of the most venerated pilgrimage sites in the country. 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.
On the return drive to Paro, visit 7th Century Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the 108 temples constructed by the Tibetan king Songtsen Gampo. Kyichu is built in a manner similar to the Jokhang in Lhasa.

Day 13: Departure
 

Tour date

By request
(13 days / 12 nights)

Group size & price

from 3-12 pax:
2,440 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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