Bhutan Cultural Photo Tour June – July 2020

With the rain forest in the south, bordering India and the Himalaya range in the North bordering Tibetan Plato  – China, Bhutan is home to a wide range of  breathtaking Landscapes, unique architecture , great festivals and locals proud of their culture.  Do to all this Bhutan is one of the most exotic destinations on our planet.

Tour Cost: 5820.00 USD

( This price does not include any international flights from Bangkok – Paro – Bangkok, The flight cost is 987.00 USD. If you’ll like us to book the flight for you will be happy to, if not you’ll have to make the flight arrangements through our organizer in Bhutan )

Trip Leader: Gavriel Jecan,  Trip limited to 6 participants

Day 1/26th June – Bangkok-Paro, drive to Punakha

Activity: Drive & photography.

On clear sunny days, Druk Air’s flight to Bhutan provides a breath taking view of Himalayan scenery. Whether flying along the Himalayan range from Kathmandu or over the foothills from Kolkata, it is a wonderful journey into the hidden Shangrila.

At the Paro international airport, you will be received by a representative of Bhutan Creative Tours. After completing the airport formalities, you will be driven to Punakha, which is about 3 hours journey. The journey will take you along the outskirts of Thimphu city. After 20 minutes, you will climb up to Dochula Pass ( 3,080 m ), where you will stop for lunch. On clear sunny days, Dochula is the perfect site to view stunning peaks of the Eastern Himalayas. Visitors find it irresistible to photograph the prayer flags, stupas and snow-capped peaks. From the pass, we will drive downhill and experience vegetation change from Pine to broad leaved forest. You will also experience the thrill along the meandering roadsuntil you reach Wangdue and Punakha Valley, which is at about 1400 m elevation.On our arrival, we will check in to the Hotel.

Day 2/ 27th of June

Punakha-Sightseeing

Activity:Photography ,visiting historical places.

After breakfast, we will drive to Punakha dzong(fortress). Punakha dzongis situated at the confluence of two rivers, popularly known as Pho chu(male river) and Mo chu(female river). Punakha dzongis considered historically important and winter residence of the chief abbot of the monk body. The recent completion of renovation work has added traditional beauty and artistic view to the dzong. The dzongoffers multiple views for the visitors to take pictures from any direction. We will have lunch in Punakha.

After lunch, we will drive to the nearest road head and hike about 45 minutes (one way)to Chhimi Lhakhang, the famous temple of the divine madmanor popularly known as the temple of fertility. The hikewill take us through the paddy fields where we will find farmers transplanting paddy in the terraced field.We will also come across farm houses with prominent phallus paintings. It is traditionally believed that the phallus paintings can ward off evil spirits, evil eyes and ill luck and eventually bring good luck to the occupants and families. We will be greeted by the cactus plants as we approach near the temple. We will drive back to hotel in Punakha.

Day 3 /28 of June

Punakha-Trongsa(7 hours Drive)

Activity: Photography and travel

After breakfast, we will stop at the weekend market where farmers sell vegetables,cereals, fruits and rice which are organically produced in the region.we will drive further up to the Pelela pass where we may find red Panda. The pass is the place for grazing by yak in winter. From Pelela, we travel further and stop for lunchat Chendibji. After lunch, we will continue our travel to Trongsa. Depending on time and convenience, we shall take few stops to take photographs of two different types of monkey, birds, wild orchids,cobra, plants,primula and few species of rododendon which will be in the bloom on the way to Trongsa.On our arrival,we will check in to the Hotel.

Day 4-6 / 29June, 1 July

Bumthang

Activity: Festival photographyand visit to historical places (1. Nimalung festival: 13-15thJune  2016. 2.Kurje festival:15th June 2016)

After breakfast, we will drive early to Bumthang to witness the first day of the Nimalung festival at Chumey, which will take about one and half hours. The festival is in a remote place and less exposed to the tourist. It is mostly the local inhabitants who visit the festival.

In the next three days in Bumthang, we will focus mostly on festivals at two different sites and also visit the historical places of 7thand 8thcentury.

Sightseeing in Bumthang

1. Old palace at Wangdichholing 2.7th century temple (Jampel lhakhang). 3.Kurjey lhakhang, the monastery where second Buddha meditated in the 8th century. It was from here that Buddhism was spread all over Bhutan.Here we have one day festival on 15thApril 2016, our last day in Bumthang. 4. Visit Jakar dzong and have leisure walk in the Chamkhar town. In the evening before dinner, we will visit Kharchu monastery to capture the evening prayers performed by monks in the candle light. Drive back to hotel.

About the festival in Bhutan.

 In general Bhutanese love to socialize, an integral part of the Bhutanese tradition and culture. Bhutanese love social gatherings and present themselves in spirit of celebration. If you wish to see Bhutanese from all walks of life making fun, play, flirt and drink alcohol during such festivities. During your Bhutan Festival Tours you will really get to see the Bhutanese way of life and festival are also considered annual gathering for the family members scattered across the country. Linked to spirituality, festivals are annual events in all corners of Bhutan. Tsechu (Tse- Date Chu – Ten) is the most recognized and respected amongst festivals conducted during the auspicious tenth day of the Bhutanese calendar. Tsechu invites big gatherings where Bhutanese want to see and be seen in best attires.

Tsechu is celebrated to remember and respect the great deeds of Guru Padmasambhava, the tantric master who spread Mahayana Buddhism in entire Himalayan region in the 8th century. It is during the 8th century that mask dances were invented. We will find Tsechus being dominated by multicolored Mask Dances of ancient times. Monks and lay persons in brilliant costumes perform Cham (mask dance) depicting the legendary events of religious significance. The music of cymbals, drums, large and small horns, conches and bells accompany the dancers as they bend, whirl and leap on the courtyard of a Dzong (Fortress). The mask dances are said to bring blessings to onlookers. In some cases, dancers wrap their heads with cloth strips to protect them from the weight of the masks. The dancers with colorful costumes represent the wrathful and compassionate deities, heroes, demons, the dead and animals. Their movements tell the stories about history and fantasy. Atsaras (masked clowns) entertain the crowds, mimic the religious dancers and make fun of onlookers.

Bhutan Festival Tours are rare opportunities to witness crowds of people gather in their finest hand woven dresses with bright patterns exhibiting the rich Bhutanese art and tradition. Local Bhutanese believe that presenting themselves in best attire in such occasions is another way of pleasing the deities, which brings them merit, luck and prosperity. The dances depict the religious and social lives and movements reflect deep devotion, compassion, tolerance, and harmonious living. The mask dancers represent the deities that are encountered when one journeys through the intermediate phase of death and rebirth.

Festivals are conducted in Dzongs and monasteries. Some monasteries are far flung while some are about half an hour walk from the motor able road. During these festival trips, you will travel to various parts of Bhutan depending on the tour programs you select.Most of the scroll painting of second budda or the thongdrel is hung early morning and roll back  before the sun rise

Buddhist Butanes dancers

Day 7/2nd of July

Bumthang-Phobjikha(6 hours drive)

Activity: Photography and travel

Drive to Gangtey is about 6 hours and on the way we will visit Trongsadzong (fortress)with lunch stop at Chendibji. After lunch, we will spend about an hour to take photographs of Chendbji stupa and fluttering prayer flags. We will resume the travel to Gangtey.

Day 8/3rd of July

Activity: Valley excursion at Gangtey

Phobjikha (Gangtey) is a valley created by receding glaciers over the centuries. The valley is at the elevation of 2900m and a popular roosting ground for the black necked cranes for 5 months in winter. Over 300 birds migrate from the Tibetan plateau in winter. They are the endangered species. In order to cause little harm and protect these birds, the government has substituted the electricity with solar energy.

At 9 am after breakfast, we will drive to Gangtey Goenpa(monastery). On the way, we will visit the crane information centre. Usually, at this time of the year, the cranes fly back to Tibetan plateau. If there are cranes, we shall take their pictures.
Gangtey Goenpais the only Nyingmapa(oldest of the four major schools of Tibetan Buddhism) monastery in the western Bhutan. We will drive back to the hotel for Lunch.

After lunch, we will explore the valley, people and take photographs of the farm houses and people performing different activities.

Day 9 /4th of July

Phobjikha-Punakha(3 hours drive)

Activity: Photography and drive

After breakfast, we will drive to Punakha for another two and half hours. We will stop at certain places for photography. Farmers of Punakha and Paro valleys stay busy at this time of the year transplanting paddy in the field. Later in the evening, we will drive to Punakha to photograph the farm houses and the patterns of rice fields. We shall also indulge intwilight photography of the Punakhadzong.

Day 10/ 5th of July

Punakha- Paro.(4 hours drive)

Activity: Travel and photography


Afterbreakfast, we will drive to Paro. We will once again stop at Dochula Pass for about an hour to take photographs of fluttering prayer flags, stupas and mountain views if the sky is clear. We will stop for lunch in Thimphu.After lunch, we will have about 2 hours for shopping before we drive to Paro.

Overnight in Paro.

Day 11/ 6th of July

Paro.Tiger nest excursion.

Activity: Hike and photography

We will hike up to Taktsang(Tiger’s Nest) and experience steep climb with switch backs, which will take almost a day. We will start our climb from 2600m and finish at 3100m elevation at Taktsang with the total gain of 500m elevation. Taktsang, being a very sacred place built on sheer rocky cliff is a must visit pilgrimage site for Buddhists. It is considered one of the wonders of Asia to most visitors. The visitors enjoy several photographic stops while they hike up and down the tiger’s nest. Without visiting Taktsang,any holy trip to Bhutan is said to be incomplete.

Day 12/ 7th of July
Paro-to – Bangkok

After the breakfast, we will drive to the Paro International Airport for departure.

NB:

  • So when you fly in and out of Bhutan make sure that you have overnight in Thailand as we never know the change with the flight schedule or delay because the weather in the mountain is unpredictable. By which you might lose the connecting flights.
  • Since the road widening from west to east Bhutan has already started we will have to bear with the road opening and closer timing at certain points.
  • Photography is strictly prohibited inside dzongs, monasteries, temples and other structures of historical and religious importance and no authority reserves the right to grant permission for such purposes.
  • The tour company reserves the right to change the tour programme as per demands of the clients.

Price includes:

  • Hotels
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner, evening tea
  • Ground transportation
  • Guide and driver and baggage handler
  • Permits and museum fees
  • 36% Royalty to the government from the daily land cost of $250
  • Assistant fee
  • Mineral water on drives
  • Visa fee
  • Tour leader fee
  • Horse ride to Tiger nest Monastery

Price does not include:

  • International Airfare
  • Guide and driver tip
  • Laundry charges
  • International calls
  • Other Beverages ( except mineral water )
  • Travel Insurance

Price is based on double occupancy.

A single supplement of $ will apply ( We will make every effort to connect you with a roommate if you’ll like to share a room with, However, if we’re unable to find a roommate for you, a single supplement will apply.

Deposit of 1,000.00 USD up on registration is required to hold your  spot

Single accommodation: .00 USD

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Single accommodation: