Overview: Raven’s winter holiday giving you – the chance to explore Bhutan with a 7 day package. The rarest chance to experience one of the famous Black Necked crane Festival, and visit some of the classic cultural sites of Bhutan, including the Tiger’s Nest monastery.

Day 1 Arrive at Paro Airport . Altitude: 2280m/ 7524ft above sea level The flight into the Himalayas reveals scenic and breathtaking views of Himalayan Mountains of the world. If weather permits you will be able to see Mt Everest (8848m, 29,198ft) and other Himalayan mountain ranges. Landing in the Paro valley, surrounded by 4000 meter high mountains stretching across the west of Bhutan, enables you to have a visual landing which is indispensable and that makes your day an unforgettable one. Your Bhutanese representative from Raven Tours and Treks will greet you on arrival and drive you through the beautiful valley of Paro to the capital city Thimphu(Altitude: 2320m/ 7656ft above sea level). It’s about 2hrs drive from Paro.

Day 2 In Thimphu. Altitude: 2320m/ 7656ft above sea level). In the morning, visit weekend market where you 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. November 11 is the birth anniversary of our beloved king Jigme Singye Wangchuck. We have a grand celebration all over the country. You can join the celebration in the Changlimithang ground. There are different kinds of dances (traditional and modern) that you can see being performed by the Bhutanese people. It’s a great opportunity for you to see the Bhutanese way of celebrating the beloved king’s birthday. Late afternoon visit – 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 plant.

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. If you wish you can also attain the evening bonanza.

Day 3 Thimphu to Gangtey Valley. Altitude: 2800m/ 9240ft above sea level). Early drive to Gangtey to attain the festival which takes about 4hrs. Driving towards Gangtey(4hrs), we come across a pass known as Dochula (3140m, 10362ft) where you get to see the wide panoramic view of the Himalayan peaks, including Bhutan’s highest mountain, Gangkar Punsum (7561m, 24951ft ). In the festival you will be able to witness students performing crane dance and numerous cultural programs organized by the community .The community also puts up a small stalls that offer many colorful local items such as yak tail dusters, butter tea cups, turquoise and also different Bhutanese handicrafts for sale. This is also a good time for you to see Black Necked Cranes who migrate to Bhutan from Tibet during the winter.

Day 4 Gangtey Valley to Punakha. Altitude: 1350m/4455ft above sea level  Morning drive to Punakha which takes about 2 hrs

Visit Punakha dzong: Built in 1637 by Zhabdrung which is remarkably located between the rivers of Mo (Female) Chu (river) and Pho (Male) Chu. Until the time of second king it served as a seat of the king. Now it is the winter capital of the central monk body. Later in the afternoon visit – Chimi Lhakhang: This Temple was built by lam Drukpa Kuenley (The Divine Madman) in 1499. It is about thirty minutes hike across fields from the road – a welcome chance to stretch your legs after the drive. His style of teaching was thought shocking, insulting and including obscene behavior. His outrageous actions and sexual antics were a deliberate method of provoking people to discard preconceptions. In the temple you will receive a blessing from his wooden phallus. Wooden phalluses are often found hanging in the four corners of the houses and also its phalluses are painted on the walls of the houses. It is the common belief in Bhutan that this helps in driving away evil spirits.

Day 5 Punakha to Thimphu Drive to Thimphu which takes about 3 hrs. Later visit – Memorial chorten(stupa): Built in 1974 in the memory of our third monarch, the late King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, who is regarded as the father of modern Bhutan. Sangaygang view point: This is the location of the transmission tower of our only national television channel (BBS). From this point you can see the whole city and take some beautiful pictures and it’s also an opportunity to take pictures of the prayer flags which stand fluttering in the wind on the hills. Mini zoo: Here we can see Bhutan’s national animal known as Takin. This is an extremely rare bovid of the ovine-caprine 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. 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 6 Thimphu to Paro

Early drive to Paro which takes about 2hrs  Morning visit Drugyel dzong: (ruined fortress): This dzong is of historical importance, from whose ramparts the Bhutanese repelled Tibetan invaders. It was built in 1649 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) 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 it was 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 7 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