Bhutan Cultural Tour with Trongsa Festival
Witness Trongsa Festival in Trongsa which was once a seat of power in over the eastern and central part of Bhutan. First and second king of Bhutan ruled the country from this ancient seats and the crown prince must serve the customary Trongsa Penlop before ascending to the throne.
Trongsa Festival Bhutan Cultural Tour: Highlights
- Witness Historic Trongsa Festival
- Visit the most beautiful and the spiritual heartland of Bhutan- Bumthang Valley excursion
- Tiger’s Nest/Taktsang Monastery. Hanging onto a precarious almost vertical mountain cliff, it’s a spectacular sight in terms of location, setting and history and is one of the holiest sites in the Buddhist arena.
- Experience and visit Western regions of Thimphu, Paro and Punakha
- Visit Dochula Pass and enjoy the spectacular panoramic view of the Himalayas
- Visit Tashi Chodzong or the fortress of the Auspicious Religion – the office of the Dragon King of Bhutan
- Included quality wining and dining : a welcome reception with drinks at every hotels of your stay,
- Welcoming Dinner by the founders of Bhutan Swallowtail Tours and Travels,
- Throughout your holiday to Bhutan, escorted by one of the Bhutan Swallowtail’s expert tour guide- your ‘travelling concierge’, expert guide, consummate facilitator and friend in a foreign land who ensures your journey is as enjoyable as possible.
- Baggage handling everywhere on your tour.
- Free Wi-fi and internet in most of the hotel rooms and lobbies.
- Enjoy the unique comfort of Bhutan Swallowtail’s Luxury air conditioned SUV and coach with extended leg room.
- Airport Transfers as per the scheduled flights.
- Airport Transfers
- Stay in hotels as indicated in the itinerary
- All three meals, tea and coffee
- Dedicated SUV vehicle with a driver and
- English Speaking Guide throughout the Trip
- Short hikes, Packed lunches and snacks wherever required
- Monumental Fees
- Bhutan Tourism Development Fee
- VISA processing Fee
Package Does Not Include:
- International Air fare
- Refreshments and bottled drinks and alcohol
- Cost arising out of Flight Cancellation/road blockades/ landslides and events beyond our control
- Expenses of personal nature and any other expenses not mentioned in the above cost
The vehicles of Bhutan Swallowtail are all luxurious and air conditioned catering to the comforts of our guests as well as ensuring a smooth ride over the mountainous and winding roads of Bhutan. With high ride quality and extended legroom you can enjoy the beautiful landscape from the inside of our cars. We have Toyota SUVs, Hi Ace buses and coaster buses with carrying capacity of up to 30 people in one bus. Driven by experienced and licensed drivers we will make sure you enjoy your holiday to Bhutan and the comforts of our luxurious fleet of cars.
VISA to Bhutan
All tourists must obtain a visa clearance prior to travel to Bhutan. Visas are processed through an online system by your licensed Bhutanese tour operator, directly or through a foreign travel agent.
You are required to send the photo-page of your passport to your tour operator who will then apply for your visa. The visa will be processed by the Tourism Council of Bhutan (TCB) once the full payment of your holiday (including a USD $40 visa fee) has been wire transferred and received in the TCB bank account. Once received the visa clearance will be processed within 72 working hours.
At your point of entry you will be required to show your visa clearance letter, the visa will then be stamped into your passport.
Terms and Conditions:
Tour prices and dates are correct at the time of the website going live, however are subject to confirmation at the time of booking. All tour information is correct at time of tours going live, however is subject to change, please confirm all details at time of booking. For full terms and conditions, please refer to our Booking Conditions page.
9 December - PARO INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT – Your first glimpse of Bhutan
On arrival at the Paro International Airport you will be welcomed by your tour guide and driver. Check into your hotel and after a brief rest, start your magical experience of Bhutan by first visiting the impressive Rinpung Dzong/Fortress of Heaped Jewels, a fine example of the ostentatious Bhutanese art and architecture. The Dzong is located in the heart of the town and a few minutes’ walk through Nyimazam, one of the few last remaining traditional cantilever bridges in Bhutan. Dzongs serve as a monastic institution and as district administrative office.
Located above the Dzong is the National Museum that houses various antiques and artifacts of Bhutan and provides a glimpse into Bhutan’s rich cultural and religious history.
Visit the 3 storied Dungtse Lhakhang/temple, built in the mid 1430’s by Thangtong Gyelpo, the iron bridge builder, to subdue a demon and the temple is firmly chained to the ground. The three floors of the temple represent hell, heaven and earth and house some of the finest murals in Bhutan. In the evening, visit a traditional farmhouse replete with paddy fields, vegetable garden and farm animals. Enjoy a hot stone bath in a wooden tub, get some cooking tips and help in preparing your dinner which you will eat in the traditional Bhutanese style with the whole family.
10 December - PARO TO THIMPHU VALLEY – 1 hour drive
After a leisurely breakfast drive for an hour to Thimphu through the beautiful landscape. Thimphu is one of the few capital cities in the world not having traffic lights and the traffic is still manned by traffic policemen.
Check into your hotel and visit the Simply Bhutan Museum and you will then get an idea of how Bhutanese people had lived through the ages. Stroll through the craft bazaar, a single line of shops selling art and craft items. Then you can visit Zorig Chusum which is the school of arts and crafts of Bhutan.
Then you may visit the Takin reserve in upper Mothithang, legend has it that the unique national animal of Bhutan has the head of a goat and the body of a cow. It is dedicated Takin reserve which you will find only in Bhutan.
11 December - THIMPHU VALLEY EXCURSION – Combination of the Ancient and the Modern
Thimphu is the capital city of Bhutan and is one of the last few capital cities without traffic lights and the traffic managed by traffic policemen. Thimphu is the most populated city with about 100,000 people and truly a combination of the ancient and the modern. While strictly maintaining the traditional style of architecture in modern building, there are also very old temples and numerous monasteries in and around the city, and few discotheques and Karaoke.
Soak in the panoramic view of the Thimphu valley from the site of the gigantic Lord Buddha, a 51 meter bronze Shakyamuni Buddha statue gilded in gold.
The beautiful Memorial Chorten/stupa in town is another favorite with the tourists and a regular sight for congregation of devout Buddhists circumambulating the Chorten from dawn till dusk. The main statue of the Buddha inside the Chorten is said to grant wishes for the earnest and honest hearted!
If you want to mingle with the Bhutanese people and jostle with local farmers amongst the aroma of organic fruits and vegetables, the Centenary Farmers Market is the place to be. Smiling tourists watch in awe as locals bargain with the vendors and you could even stock up on your organic fruits for the coming days.
Visit the Changangkha Lhakhang the oldest temple in Thimphu. In the evening visit the Tashichho Dzong/fortress of the Auspicious Religion and office of the Golden throne of the Dragon King of Bhutan. Stroll through the market places and the craft bazaar.
12 December - THIMPHU VALLEY - TANGO & CHERI MONASTERIES EXCURSION
After breakfast, drive towards north of Thimphu till you reach the base of Tango and Cheri Monasteries. Built on adjacent hills both the monasteries are about one hour hike along well maintained pathways. You can visit the Tango Monastery which also serves as a university of Buddhist studies. If you want you can also hike up to Cheri Monastery or return back to Thimphu and continue exploring Thimphu valley.
In the evening walk through the main streets and visit the many shops selling local and imported good.
13 December - THIMPHU TO WANGDUE & PUNAKHA VALLEYS – 3 hours drive
After breakfast check out of your hotel and drive for about three hours to Wangdue and Punakha valleys. Enroute stop over at the Dochulaa Pass (3150 meters) and enjoy the spectacular views of the snow capped Himalayan Mountains. The 108 small stupas built over a small hill is also a beautiful sight. The road from the Pass winds down to the warm and fertile valleys and after a brief rest visits the Fertility Temple / Chime Lhakhang. It is a pleasant 30 minutes walk through mustard and paddy fields. Standing on a picturesque hilltop the Lhakhang is famous for its fertility wish grants to couples. Inside the walls of the Lhakhang are beautiful frescoes depicting the colorful life of Lama Drukpa Kuenley, the Divine Madman regarded for his crazy methods of teaching which included blessing women in the form of copulation!
Check into your hotel in Wangdue and in the evening stroll through the valley and market places.
14 December - EXCURSION OF GANGTEY, PHOBJIKHA & NEIGHBOURING VILLAGES
Today you drive for about 3 hours to the serene and beautiful valleys of Gangtey and Phobjikha. Gangtey, Phobjikha and the surrounding villages are located in one of the most beautiful glacial valleys of Bhutan and are a favorite with tourists. The valleys are also home to the endangered and graceful Black Necked Cranes in the winter and you can see them in the marshes in the middle of the valley. In the summer the cranes fly to Tibet.
Visit the Gangtey Monastery located atop a hill overlooking the valley. Gangtey Goenpa is an important Monastery of the Nyingmapa school of Buddhism.
Excursion of Gangtey, Phobjikha and neighboring villages, stroll through the valley and visit few traditional houses.
15 December - GANGTEY – TRONGSA – 6 hours
After breakfast, hike through the serene Gangtey Nature Trail for about an hour. Then you will drive to Trongsa (5 Hours). It is a scenic drive via the Pelela Pass at 3420 meters and across quaint little highland villages of Sephu, Rukubjee, Chendebjee, Tangsibjee and many other small rural settlements along the way. At the Trongsa viewpoint, enjoy the view of the majestic Trongsa Dzong/fortress of the vanguard of Warriors and the neighboring valleys.
Overnight stay at your hotel in Trongsa and prepare for the Trongsa Tsechu/festival which will be held from 20-22nd-December.
16 December - ATTEND “TRONGSA TSECHU” FOR THE DAY
The venue will be in the Trongsa Dzong which was once the seat from which power was exercised over central and eastern Bhutan. It is from this fortress that the 1st king and the 2nd king ruled the nation; it is a customary tradition for the new king to serve as the Trongsa Poenlop (Governor) before he is crowned. The fortress was built in 1648 built on a dominating strategic point; it was once the only trade route which connected the east from the west of Bhutan.
The Tsechu/festival will be a three day event; however you will be witnessing the festival for just one day which holds more significance and events. There will be the unfurling of the sacred giant painting called “Thongdrel” which is a depiction of Guru Rinpoche the patron master, and it is believed just a glace will bless you and drive ill will from your life. Infuse yourself with the amazing mask Dances performed by the skilled Monks and mingle with the peaceful people who will be there from all corners of the country. Be dazzled by the colorful dress and jewelry of the men, women and children as they offer their loyalty and devotion to the spiritual world. It will be a day you should not miss and further more it gives you a perfect opportunity for photography of the Bhutanese culture and Tradition at its full glory.
Check into your hotel and if you wish go for a stroll through the market place.
17 December - TRONGSA-BUMTHANG VALLEY EXCURSION – Spiritual Heartland of Bhutan
Bumthang is compared to Switzerland for its beautiful landscape and is the spiritual heartland of Bhutan. In the ancient times the people of Bumthang used to be frequently disturbed by demons, wandering ghosts and negative forces. Starting from the 8th Century, Guru Padmasambhava and numerous religious saints and monks visited Bumthang, subdued the demons and converted these demons into local protecting deities. Hence there are numerous temples and monasteries each with its own legend and significance.
After your breakfast it is a 2 hour drive from Trongsa to Bumthang, will drive via the Yotongla Pass at 3400 meters. Enroute stop over at the Yathra Weaving center in Chumey village where you can watch men and women weavers at their loom weaving yak wool products.
Take a walk at a leisurely pace to the three temples of Jambay Lhakhang/temple, Kurjey Lhakhang and Tamzhing Lhakhang. All the monasteries are ancient and with their unique history and beauty.
After lunch visit the Jakar Dzong/fortress of the White Bird and the Swiss factory/farmhouse where you can taste and or buy local beer, honey wine, Swiss cheese, clover honey, apple cider, apple brandy and other products.
In the evening stroll through the town and have dinner at a local restaurant serving the unique Bumthang cuisine as compared to other parts of the country.
18 December - BUMTHANG - TRONGSA – PUNAKHA
Today you drive back to Punakha via Yotongla Pass (3400m), Trongsa, Pelela Pass and descend down the warmer valleys of Wangdue and into the lush and wide Punakha valley. Since the drive is about 6 hours you can relax and rest at your hotel for the night.
19 December - PUNAKHA VALLEY – The old capital of Bhutan to Paro (4 hours drive)
Punakha valley was the old capital city of Bhutan and the Punakha Dzong meaning the fortress of Great Bliss was built by 1673 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel (the first spiritual & political leader of Bhutan) to commemorate the final victory against numerous Tibetan invasions. Located on a piece of land between two rivers Pho Chhu and Mo Chhu (literally meaning male and female rivers), the Dzong is massive, huge and magnificent in all its architectural grandeur. Although ravaged by flood, fire and earthquake many times, the Dzong was always rebuilt with its original pattern and design. The Dzong has hosted significant events such as the crowning of the first king of Bhutan, The Royal Wedding ceremony of the Fifth King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck to Jetsun Pema on 13th October 2011 was conducted in Punakha Dzong and important religious ceremonies are still held in the Dzong.
Walk for about an hour to Khamsum Yulley Namgyel Chorten stupa. It is a beautiful walk through the pine trees, the stupa is stunning and so is the view from there. Enroute you will also be walking through a suspension bridge over the Puna Tsang Chhu – Punakha River.
After visiting the Punakha Dzong/Fortress of Great Bliss, drive to the Nunnery and enjoy the spectacular views of Punakha and Wangdue valleys.
20 December - TAKTSANG MONASTERY/TIGER’S NEST –The high light of your holiday to Bhutan
Have a sumptuous breakfast for your hike to Taktsang Monastery / Tiger’s Nest which is about 3 hours uphill and 2 hours down. Riding ponies are also available if you think the hike is a bit daunting. Located around 900 meters above the Paro valley on a precarious almost vertical mountain cliff, Taktsang Monastery is truly a wonderful and spectacular sight in terms of its location, setting and history. In the 8th Century this was one of the major sites where Guru Padmasambhava – the patron saint of Buddhism in Bhutan meditated with his consort Khandro Yeshey Tshogyal. It is believed that Guru flew on a female tigress in pursuit of a demon which he subdued at the current site of the Monastery. It is one of the holiest site in the Buddhist arena and the most important cultural icon in Bhutan.
You can have your lunch, tea/snacks at the cafeteria midway.
Before you drive back to your hotel visit the Kyichu Lhakhang/temple, one of the oldest temples built in the 7th Century by the Tibetan King Songsten Gyembo.
If you wish you can go for a stroll through the valley or rest in hotel.
21 December - Departure
After breakfast drive to Paro International Airport where your guide and driver will bid you fare well and hope you had a pleasant holiday and hope to see you in Bhutan again.
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