Paro Festival Tour (March 29 to April 3)

Overview: A 6 day holiday that gives you something of everything that Bhutan is famous for. You begin by seeing one of the most famous festivals in Bhutan, and visiting the stunning Tiger’s nest monastery and also offering the chance of a wonderful cultural tour in Thimphu.

Day 1: (March 29) Arrive Paro – (Airport) Altitude: 2280m/ 7524ft above sea level

The flight into Paro brings breathtaking views of the Himalayan Mountains. If the weather permits you will be able to see Mt Everest (8848m, 29,198ft) and other Himalayan mountains. The landing, flying through the Paro valley between the 4000 metre high mountains, starts your day in an unforgettable way! Your Bhutanese representative from Raven Tours and Treks will greet you on arrival and drive you through the beautiful valley of Paro to the hotel where you will be staying. If your flight arrived in the morning then after you’ve had the chance to settle into the hotel we’ll take you to lunch in Paro, then onto Paro Dzong for your first taste of the festivals and dancing. If your flight arrived in the afternoon then in the evening you will meet up with your fellow guests, and start get to know people.

Day 2:  (March 30)Paro

The day begins  with a visit to the famous Paro festival where you can watch the mask dances. As colorful as the dancers are, the locals try hard to compete and you will see people from all walks of life gathering to celebrate, dressed in their best clothes for the occasion. These festivals are a time of fun, and you can see people trying their luck in the local fair, and maybe take a chance yourself. Afternoon visit Ta Dzong: (Watch Tower). Perched  in the hills above Paro,it is no surprise that this building served as a watch tower to guard the region from the threat of Tibetan invasion. Built in the 17th Century, it was converted to the National Museum in 1968. It houses a fine collection of Bhutanese art, relics, and religious thankas; also paintings, stuffed Bhutanese animals, antique weapons and many examples of the country’s exquisite stamp collections.

Bhutan - Uma Paro - Bukhari
Paro Festival dancers

Day 3: (March 31)Paro

In the morning we visit Drugyel dzong: (ruined fortress): This dzong is of historical importance. It was this building that the Bhutanese repelled Tibetan invaders. It was built in 1649 also by Zhabdrung to commemorate the victory of the Drukpas over the Tibetan invasion in 1644. On a clear day (7326m/ 24176ft), you have a fascinating view of the white domed peak of sacred Jhomolhari (Mountain of Goddess)and then visit Paro festival. Later we take a hike to the famous Taktshang Monastery (Tiger’s nest): This is Bhutan’s most recognizable cultural icon perched 800m/2640ft up a seemingly sheer cliff. Although itwas tragically and mysteriously consumed by fire in April 1998 it has now been restored to its former glory. It is believed that in the 8th century, the great tantric master Guru Rimopche/ Padmasambhava (2nd Buddha) flew from Kurtoe (eastern Bhutan) on the back of a tigress to the site where the monastery now stands. The hike takes between one to two hours there and slightly less on the way back.  Most of the route is through wonderfully cool and sheltered oak forests. Although the paths are worn they are easily walked. There is a tea house half way for a break. After the tea house the path is slightly steeper and more open with one area of exposed steps. It is a route that anybody of reasonable fitness can make but those who suffer from vertigo might prefer to wait at the tea house.

Day 4 :(April 1) Paro to Thimphu.

Altitude: 2320m/ 7656ft above sea level Up early for a 2 hrs drive to the capital city Thimphu. In the morning we visit Memorial Chorten: It was built in 1974 in the memory of our third monarch late King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, who is regarded as the father of modern Bhutan. Inside the temple, you will see many embracing statues in their wrathful form, these represent the union of wisdom and skill in the Vajrayana (tantric) Buddhism and its philosophy.  It is the daily worshipping centre for the devoted and the aged residents of Thimphu. Then onto Sangaygang view point: (BBS tower). This is the site of the transmission tower of the only national television channel (BBS). From this point we can see the whole city and take some beautiful pictures, especially of the prayer flags which stand on the hill fluttering in the wind. After lunch we visit the following Mini zoo: Here we can see Bhutan’s national animal known as Takin. This is an extremely rare member of the goat family. Found in herds in the very high altitudes (13,125ft and over). They live on a diet of grass and bamboo. It can weigh as much as 550 pounds. The zoo was emptied in accordance with Buddhist principles, but the Takin came back so the keepers decided to look after them, also in accordance with Buddhist principles! Hand made Paper factory: Jungshi Paper Factory was established in November 1990 as an undertaking of the Royal Government of Bhutan It is a hand made paper factory where we can see a wide range of designs and paintings over the traditional paper and gifts made out of it. The paper is made from the bark of a Daphne tree. Textile museum: The foundation was laid in 2000 under the Royal Patronage of Her Majesty the Queen Ashi Sangay Choden Wangchuck. It was established with the aim of preserving and promoting Bhutanese textile arts. It’s a good place to see the art of traditional weaving being kept alive and preserved through exhibition and has a good collection of old textiles which are rich in colors and designs. In the evening if you wish, we can make arrangements to take you to enjoy the recent trends of the younger Bhutanese, who  spend their evenings  in the discotheques, or in the entertaining hubs where there are live performances of Bhutanese songs and dances (traditional and modern) by the best Bhutanese bands. If you wish you can even test your singing talents in the bars that offer Karaoke.

Day 5: (April 2) In Thimphu In the morning we visit the weekend market.

We can see people from all walks of Bhutanese society who come to buy fresh produce. The crowded stalls offer many colorful local items such as yak tail dusters, butter tea cups, turquoise from Nepal and Tibet and also different Bhutanese handicrafts for sale.  During weekends we can also see the archery match at the Changlimithang ground. Archery is the national game of Bhutan. Folk Heritage museum: Is dedicated to connecting people to the Bhutanese rural past through exhibition of its items and artifacts used in rural households. It displays the replica of a traditional farm house as it would have been equipped about a century ago and also the existing traditional farm houses. Zorig Chusum Institute (Thirteen Crafts): It was established in 1971 by the Royal Government in order to preserve the invaluable heritage and promote the arts of Bhutan. The institute teachers train their students in the field of painting, calligraphy, embroidery, wood carving and sculpture. After lunch National Institute of Traditional medicine: Built in 1988. The institute still practices the art of healing that was centuries old. There is a facility where doctors diagnose patients and prescribe appropriate traditional medicines and treatment. They work hand in hand with allopathic doctors. The building can be structured in three sections which could be seen as corresponding to three levels of universe Handicraft Emporium: The shop will provide you with different styles of Bhutanese textiles and arts and crafts. Tashichho Dzong: Means Fortress of Glorious Religion. It was built in 1641 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel and was reconstructed into present structure by the late King, His majesty Jigme Dorji Wangchuck in the year 1962-1969. It houses the secretariat building, the throne room and the office of the king, and the central monk body. Evening we leave for Paro.Overnight at Paro.

Day 6:  (April 3) Depart from Paro

Early breakfast at the hotel and then drive to the airport to board the flight. Your escort from Raven Tours and Treks will assist you with exit formalities and bid you farewell. TOUR COST All Tours are subject to an Acceptance Payment/Deposit of £200. Cost per person on twin share basis as per itinerary On application for the current Tour Cost Bhutan Standard Tour cost is US$ 240 per person per day – subject to confirmation at the time of booking.  (This cost is specified by the Bhutanese Government.) Payment. 1.On acceptance – £200 per person, Acceptance Payment/Deposit (non refundable) by cheque payable to “S W & M Miller”. Your Contract for all tour arrangements is directly with Raven tours & Travel, Bhutan to whom payment for the tour is made. 2. Eight weeks prior to arrival in Bhutan or on Acceptance  – Full Payment in US $, by Credit Card or International Bank Transfer, direct to 3. On arrival in Bhutan – 50% payable, in US $, by Credit Card or Cash.

Cancellation Charges

35 days prior to arrival a cancellation fee of US$200 per person will be applicable. 30 days notice of cancellation a fee of 25% of the total amount will be applicable. 25 days notice of cancellation a fee of 50% of the total amount will be applicable Less than 25 days notice incurs the full amount. Acceptance Payment non refundable Included in the Cost

  • Accommodation on a twin sharing, room and breakfast basis at the hotels specified,
  • Full board at Wildlife Park if applicable.
  • Any single room subject to supplement shown.
  • All transfers, sightseeing and excursions by air-conditioned vehicle.
  • Services of an English speaking local guide (or a naturalist in National Parks)
  • Entrance fees at monuments and parks where applicable
  • Train journeys where applicable
  • Domestic Flight (economy), where applicable, are subject to change.
  • Porterage at airports, rail stations and hotels (not tips).
  • All currently applicable taxes.
  • The UK pounds price shown is based on current exchange rates.

Excluded from the Cost

  • Expenses of a personal nature such as table drinks, laundry, telephone calls, Internet charges, mineral water, tips, shopping etc.
  • Any other meals or services not mentioned in the programme.
  • Any international airfare or any airport taxes.
  • Any Government or State taxes subsequently introduced.
  • Travel Insurance