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Bhutan Bird Festival

TRIP OVERVIEW

The only alpine crane species in the world, the black-necked crane is considered a sacred and heavenly bird in Bhutan and is celebrated every year during the Black-necked Crane Festival. Perched on a forest-clad hill overlooking the Phobjikha Valley, Gangtey Goemba is one of the oldest and largest Nyingmapa monasteries in Bhutan. Every November, local children, farmers, and monks flood the monastery’s courtyard to celebrate the arrival of some beloved visitors: black-necked cranes, among the rarest cranes in the world—several hundred of which migrate here each year. The cranes travel from their summer breeding grounds on the Tibetan Plateau to this picturesque Bhutanese valley, where they feed on the dwarf bamboo that grows in the valley’s alpine wetlands. During the winter months, as they roost amid the farms and cottages of Phobjikha, they form an integral part of life for the people who live here.

  • Duration 8Days
  • Tour Type Festival
  • Destination Paro - Thimphu - Punakha - Gangtey

During this flight one will enjoy the view of Mt. Everest, Mt. Kanchenjunga and other Himalayan Mountains including the sacred Mt. Jhomolhari & Mt. Jichu Drake in Bhutan. On arrival at Paro Airport a representative of Rabsel Nima Bhutan Adventure will receive you and drive to Thimphu.

After lunch visit:

  • Buddha Point/ Kuensel Phodrang – Is the largest Buddha statue in the country, from there you can get a good view of the Thimphu valley.
  • Memorial Chorten – Built in the year 1974 in the memory of our third king of Bhutan, His Majesty Jigme Dorji Wangchuck.
  • Tashichho Dzong – The “fortress of the glorious religion” was initially erected in 1641 and rebuilt by King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck in the 1960s. Tashichho Dzong houses some ministries, His Majesty’s secretariat, and the central monk body.

Overnight at hotel.

  • Changangkha Lhakhang – It is right above Thimphu Valley, this temple and a monastic school was established in the 12th century on a site chosen by Lama Phajo Drugom Shigpo.
  • Motithang Takin Preserve – Houses the rare national animal of Bhutan. Takin is listed by international conservation agencies as a vulnerable species and it is a rare animal found only in Bhutan, Nepal and Burma.
  • Traditional Medicine Institute – In Bhutan, equal emphasis is given to both allopathic and traditional medicines. The rich herbal medicines made up from medicinal plants are prepared and dispensed here.
  • Folk Heritage Museum – The house replicates a traditional farmhouse and is furnished, as it would have been about a century ago.
  • National Institute for Zorig Chusum – The school of Arts and crafts is an institute where student undertake a six-year course on the 13 traditional arts and crafts of Bhutan.

Overnight at hotel.

After breakfast, drive to Phobjikha – approximately 6-hours drive through picturesque valleys and mountain slopes dotted with typical Bhutanese villages. From the Dochula pass, at over 10,000ft, vast panoramic views of the high snowcapped peaks of the Bhutanese Himalaya can be enjoyed on a clear day. Continue drive down into the Phobjikha visit Gantey Goenpa as it is a major attraction with an old monastery date back to the 16 century. Later walk around the valley, which is also the winter home to the rare black-necked cranes, which migrate, from remote parts of Tibet, China and Siberia during winter to this valley.  Overnight at hotel.

The Black-necked Crane Festival, which began in 1998, draws an increasing number of travelers to this remote valley each year, creating a valuable revenue stream for Bhutanese residents. The one-day event at Gangtey Goemba provides an opportunity for locals to celebrate the arrival of the cranes, showcase their cultural heritage through masked folk dances and songs, and raise awareness about conservation issues. For visitors, it’s not only an opportunity to experience one of Bhutan’s most famed festivals—it’s also a chance to pay homage to this sacred bird while supporting a community that is working to protect it.

After breakfast drive to Punakha. On the way visit Chhimi Lhakhang – This was founded in 15 Century by Lama Dukpa Kinley also known as divine mad man. It is half hour walk across a local village and rice field. After lunch visit Punakha Dzong – built in 1637 by Zhabdrung. It is one of the most beautiful Dzong in the country. Later walk around Punakha and Khuruthang town.  Overnight at hotel.

After breakfast drive to Paro. Driving time approximately 4 hours.

Visit:

  • Kyichu Lhakhang – One of the oldest and most sacred temple in the kingdom, dating back to the 7th century.
  • Ta Dzong – Former Watch Tower which now houses the National Museum
  • Rinpung Dzong – Which houses the monastic school and the office of the civil administration and walk down passing close by crossing the Bhutanese typical wooden roofed bridge to Paro town.

Overnight at hotel.

After breakfast, drive for half an hour and start the hike, which is about 5 hours (round trip.) The trail is along an ancient path marked by river-powered prayer wheels. As you reach Taktsang you will be struck by the architectural wonder of this most pious Buddhist shrine in Bhutan. Perched some 1000m, 3000ft on a cliff overlooking the valley; it would justifiably qualify as one of Bhutan’s wonders. Tragically wrecked in a fire early in 1998.  It has been rebuilt to its original glory. It is said that the legendary Indian saint, Guru Padma Sambhava, flew from Tibet on the back of a tigress to tame five demons, who were opposing the spread of Buddhism in Bhutan in 746 A.D. Hence the name, Taktsang, or the “Tiger’s Lair.”

Descend back to Ramthangka. If the time permits, drive further north to visit another symbolic structure, which is now under reconstruction. Drugyel Dzong, or “”Castle of the Victorious Drukpa,” which was also built by the Shabdrung to commemorate Bhutan’s victory over the Tibetans in the 16thcenturies. From here, the Jomolhari Peak (“Mountain of the Goddess”) can be seen on a clear day (Alt. 7,329m/24,029ft.).  Overnight at hotel.

After breakfast, drive to Paro international airport for your onward flight. The representative of Rabsel Nima Bhutan Adventure will see off and bid farewell.

WHAT’S INCLUDED

  • Bhutan VISA fee
  • Government royalty & taxes
  • Dedicated English speaking tour guide
  • Dedicated tour vehicle and driver
  • 3-star accommodation (twin sharing)
  • Daily 3 meals (B/L/D)
  • Airport transfers
  • Mineral Bottled water
  • Entry fees to parks and monuments

WHAT’S EXCLUDED

  • Flights to and from Bhutan
  • Personal expense/shopping
  • Beverages (soda/juice/alcohol)
  • 4 or 5 star accommodation (extra charges will apply)
  • Travel insurance
  • Tips for guide and driver

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