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The Paro Festival Tour presents a fantastic chance to engage with Bhutan’s vibrant culture, traditions, and religious observances commemorating Guru Rimpoche’s birth anniversary. This 8-day tour encompasses visits to Paro, Thimphu, and Punakha, with a special focus on the Paro Festival at Paro Dzong.
The journey commences with a scenic drive from Paro to Thimphu, offering a tour of renowned temples, statues, and chortens. Subsequently, there’s a drive to Punakha for a day of exploration at the renowned Dzong, a visit to a nunnery, and a glimpse into ancient temples. The tour culminates with the main event, attending the Paro Festival. Following this, a day is dedicated to a hike to the awe-inspiring Tiger’s Nest Monastery before departure.
The trip offers a diverse range of experiences:
1. Immerse in the vibrant Paro Festival at Paro Dzong, engaging with unique dances, rituals, and receiving blessings from monks while connecting with the local community.
2. Explore Thimphu’s cultural landmarks including the King’s Memorial Chorten, Buddha Dordenma, Crafts Bazaar, and the lively Archery Ground.
3. Pause at the picturesque DochuLa Pass (3,100m) and visit the Chimi Lhakhang fertility temple en route to Punakha.
4. Discover the historical significance of Punakha Dzong, the second largest and second oldest Dzong in Bhutan.
5. Embark on a sightseeing tour of the Sangchen Dorji Lhuendrup Nunnery in Punakha, gaining insight into the nuns’ way of life.
6. Pay homage at Kichu Lhakhang, the spiritual nucleus and oldest temple in Bhutan, as well as the culturally rich Dumtse Lhakhang.
7. Challenge yourself with a hike to the awe-inspiring Tiger’s Nest Monastery perched on a cliff at an elevation of 3,180m in Paro.
Here’s a concise overview of the itinerary:
– Day 1: Arrival in Paro, followed by a scenic drive to Thimphu (1 hour, 55 Km).
– Day 2: Engage in a sightseeing tour in Thimphu.
– Day 3: Journey from Thimphu to Punakha (2 to 3 hours, 76 Km).
– Day 4: Explore the attractions of Punakha during a sightseeing tour.
– Day 5: Drive from Punakha to Paro (4 hours, 120 Km).
– Day 6: Partake in the festivities at the Paro Festival.
– Day 7: Embark on a hike to the iconic Tiger’s Nest Monastery.
– Day 8: Conclude the journey with the final departure from Paro.
On arrival at Paro Airport in Bhutan, our representatives will warmly welcome you. Following a delightful lunch, embark on a scenic drive to Thimphu, the capital city. Upon reaching Thimphu and settling in at the hotel, your guide will lead you on a brief city tour, providing insight into the local way of life and showcasing distinctive architectural marvels.
Enjoy your overnight stay in Thimphu.
In the morning, your guide will pick you up for a comprehensive tour of Thimphu’s renowned attractions. The first stop is the King’s Memorial Chorten, a tribute to the late King Jigme Dorji.
Following that, we’ll head to witness the impressive 50-meter tall Buddha Dordenma, one of the tallest seated statues of Shakyamuni Buddha. Another noteworthy architectural wonder is the Tashichho Dzong, which serves as the seat of the national government.
Additionally, you’ll have the opportunity to explore local handicrafts at the Crafts Bazaar, an ideal spot for purchasing souvenirs. If time allows, you can even engage in Bhutan’s national sport, archery, at the Archery Ground, or observe professionals in action.
Enjoy your overnight stay in Thimphu.
Our morning drive takes us from Swiss lakes to Swiss Army. At the once-secret Swiss army bunker at Fortress Fürigen, we’ll see part of the massive defense system designed to keep Switzerland strong and neutral. Afterward, a short drive into the countryside brings us to the charming Alpine village of Engelberg, our picturesque home for the next two days. We’ll settle into our lodge then head out for an orientation walk. Our stroll through the village will end at the Engelberg Abbey, a Benedictine monastery with its own cheese-making operation. You’ll have free time to wander back before dinner together. Sleep in Engelberg (2 nights). Bus: 1 hr. Walking: light.
The day kicks off with a scenic drive to the Sangchen Dorji Lhuendrup Nunnery, providing a unique opportunity to interact with the nuns. Here, you’ll gain insight into their spiritual practices and witness various activities such as tailoring, statue crafting, embroidery, and Thangka painting.
Following a satisfying lunch, the guided tour leads you to Wangdue Phodrang. There, you’ll catch a glimpse of the majestic Wangdue Phodrang Dzong, perched on a picturesque ridge. While the fortress is in the process of being rebuilt after a fire in 2012, its historical significance remains profound. After exploring the area, return to your hotel in Punakha for a taste of delectable Bhutanese cuisine.
Enjoy your overnight stay in Punakha.
You’ll embark on a picturesque drive from Punakha to Paro, crossing the scenic Dochula Pass along the way. A stop in Thimphu for lunch will provide a chance to refuel and rest.
Upon reaching your hotel in Paro, you’ll have the entire afternoon at your leisure. If you choose to explore, consider visiting the unique Dumtse Lhakhang, a Buddhist temple designed in the form of a chorten.
Later, proceed to Kichu Lhakhang, renowned as the oldest temple and the spiritual core of Bhutan. This sacred site draws numerous Tibetan Buddhist pilgrims, offering you a glimpse into their devotion.
Enjoy your overnight stay in Paro.
Early in the morning, prepare for the highly anticipated Paro Festival, the pinnacle of your tour. This significant celebration honors the birth anniversary of Guru Rimpoche, Padmasambhava, revered as the second Buddha in legend. The festivities commence at Paro Dzong in the early hours. En route to the Dzong, you’ll encounter a multitude of pilgrims hailing from various corners, both within and beyond Bhutan.
The profound tapestry of Bhutanese culture unfolds in the Masked Dances, executed with expertise. These include performances of Heroes, Ging and Tsholing, Religious Songs, Eight Manifestations, and Sixteen Fairies. The folk melodies, vibrant hues, invocations, and hymns collectively paint a vivid portrayal of Bhutan’s enduring traditions. If fortunate, you may even witness a grand Thangka (embroidered painting) displayed on the festival’s concluding day.
Following this immersive experience and receiving blessings, venture back to the streets of Paro before retiring to your hotel for some relaxation.
Enjoy your overnight stay in Paro.
Get ready for another exhilarating day of the tour as you embark on a visit to the renowned Tiger’s Nest Monastery, locally known as Paro Taktsang. Perched at an impressive altitude of about 3,180 meters on a cliff top, this monastery has garnered fame from a captivating legend. It is believed that Guru Rimpoche once visited two caves here, purportedly arriving on the back of a tigress and meditating in these very caves.
You’ll be chauffeured to the starting point of the hike, from where you’ll commence your ascent along the steep trail. At the midway point, take a well-deserved break at a restaurant for some lunch.
Continue your hike towards the monastery, where you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking views of the Paro valley from this elevated vantage point. Don’t miss the opportunity to explore the intricate thangka paintings, statues of Lord Buddha, and the impressive large prayer wheel.
Relish another restful overnight stay in Paro.
Our representatives will accompany you to the international terminal, bidding you a warm farewell. We hope you consider returning for more exciting hiking, trekking, and tour adventures in the future. Safe travels!