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Far East Mongar Festival
   

In this Mongar Festival Mask Dances are performed by both monks and lay person in brilliant costumes re-enacting the legendary events, accompanied by blaring horns, booming drums, and clashing cymbals as they whirl and leap around the courtyard. During the intervals, young women in their best of dress perform the folk dances that they believe is another way of offering which enables them to receive blessings and earn good karma.  Crowds of people gather in their finest hand woven dress, brightly patterned cloth for which Bhutan is renowned, creating an intensely colorful and exciting atmosphere that had remained unchanged in its traditional purity for centuries. Local people attend this festival to be blessed and to earn good karma and are also an occasion to see people and to be seen.
Bhutan is historically divided into three zones, the west, East and the central. We have designed this program to offer you an opportunity to experience Bhutan from the historic west to the spiritual central valleys and to the far remote Eastern Valleys. This trip allows the travelers to enjoy the daily lives of friendly Bhutanese people by visiting villages, temples, monasteries, and gigantic fortresses. It gives you a chance to meet people, enjoy the pristine forest with rare glimpse of wildlife and observe the ancient old traditions of arts and crafts. We would be traveling through the less frequented areas of Bhutan. Our journey starts from Paro Valley where our flight from Bangkok / Delhi / Kathmandu will land and continue by road through the lush valley of Thimphu and to Punakha.  We continue to explore the country through Phobjikha valley, a winter habitat to the rare black-necked cranes. And then to the enchanting valleys of Trongsa and Bumthang, which played a key role in influencing Bhutanese history, culture and religion.  We further continue our drive to Mongar through the lush pristine forest, spectacular waterfalls and medieval villages. We then spent couple of nights at Mongar attending the festival and fairs with the locals of the eastern Bhutan before we continue our drive through the historical Trashi Yangtse, Trashigang and finally to the plains of Bhutan and India.
This route will take us through the temperate zone with great biodiversity, ranging from lush forest of conifer, rhododendron and magnolia to orchid draped oaks, banana trees and cactus plants. During clear weather, the high passes we cross, provides spectacular views of high snow capped peaks that go up to 25,000 feet.
There will be ample opportunities to interact with the friendly people of Bhutan and learn their philosophy of “GROSS NATIONAL HAPINESS”.

Although the eastern part of Bhutan is far beautiful and remote than the central and western part of Bhutan, however, due to its farness the normal tourist does not visit much to these areas. Hence the hotel infrastructures available here are very basic, as such you may have to use hotels that have no attached bath but common bathrooms during this festival time at Mongar, Trashigang and Samdrup Jongkhar.

 
 

DAY 01 (Nov 03rd) ARRIVE PARO
Fly from Bangkok / Delhi / Kathmandu to Paro on Druk Air. From a window seat on clear days you can experience a spectacular view of Himalayan peaks as you approach Paro. On arrival you will be received by our representative and then drive to hotel for lunch. After lunch visit the National Museum of Bhutan, (Ta Dzong) which contains works of art, handicrafts, costumes, armors and rare stamps. Take a leisurely hike down to Rimpung Dzong. You will walk through a traditional covered bridge across the river to your waiting car and drive to your hotel. Overnight at hotel.

DAY 02 (Nov 04th)  PARO SIGHTSEEING
After breakfast, you will be guided to Drukgyal Dzong built in 1647 by Shubdrung Nawang Namgyal, the Dzong was destroyed by fire and left in ruins as an evocative reminder of the great victories it was built to commemorate. On a clear day you can get a magnificent view of the Mount Chomolhari, alt. 7314 m / 23,990 ft. Drive south to Satsam Chorten, built in memory of the late Dilgo Khentse Rinpochey, and continue on to Kyichu Lhakhang, built in seventh century by a Tibetan King, Songtsen Gonpo. After lunch we drive to Thimphu, the capital city. Overnight at hotel.

DAY 03 (Nov 05th)  THIMPHU SIGHTSEEING
After a late breakfast you will start your sightseeing of Thimphu this will be followed by a visit to the Medicine Institute traditional medicines are prepared according to ancient practices. Then we head to The Painting School where traditional art is still kept alive through instructions in the art of painting Thangkhas (sacred Buddhist religious scrolls). The Bhutan heritage Museum, a nineteenth century house preserves to presents the visitors of how Bhutanese lived their life in the past. Next visit will be at the National Library and return to the hotel for lunch. After lunch, we visit Textile Museum, the traditional gold and silver smith workshop and other places of interest. Overnight at Hotel.

DAY 04 (Nov 06th)  THIMPHU-PUNAKHA
Leaving Thimphu the road climbs steeply through a forest of pine and cedar, festooned with hanging lichen high up near Dochula pass (3,050 m). This pass offers panoramic views of the Himalayan mountain ranges, as we descend along a series of hairpin bends to the fertile valley of Punakha (1,350 meters/ 4,430 feet). Before proceeding further to Punakha town we will hike up to the Chimi Lhakhang temple on a small hilltop. This temple is dedicated to the great Yogi in 14th century known as Drukpa Kuenley or popularly known as “Divine madman” to the westerners. It is believed that this temple blesses women who seek fertility. After lunch we will proceed to Punakha town to view the majestic Dzong (fortress), situated between the two rivers Pho Chu and Mochu (male and Female River). This fortress is now used as the winter seat of the Je Khenpo (the Spiritual head of Bhutan). In the past this Dzong was the capital seat of the Kingdom. After strolling through the town of Punakha retire back to hotel.

DAY 05 (Nov 07th)  PUNAKHA - PHOBJIKHA - TRONGSA
After breakfast you will begin your journey to Gangtey Monastery, it is about 3 hrs drive from the hotel. This village known as the Phobjikha Valley is one of the most beautiful glacial valleys in the Kingdom. It is also the home to the rare black-necked crane that migrates from Tibet in the winter. Your car will drop you at the Monastery where you will visit the surrounding village and the monastery. You will then walk downhill to the valley floor where you will see the beautiful cranes dancing in the marshy ground while some are feeding themselves on the bamboo roots. The car will meet you at the valley and resume your drive to Trongsa. Overnight at Hotel.

DAY 06 (Nov 08th)  TRONGSA - BUMTHANG
After breakfast we will visit the majestic Trongsa Dzong, built in 1647, by Shubdrung Nawang Namgyal, this Dzong was the source of many important historical events in making of Modern Bhutan. Next we will visit Taa Dzong, the ancient watchtower, overlooking the Dzong and the town. We will than resume our drive to Bumthang crossing the Yotongla Pass and into the first four valley of Bumthang known as Chumey, we will visit Domkhar Palace, this palace was used as the summer residence of 2nd king Jigme Wangchuk. Lunch will be served here in the open ground. We will make another stop at Tsungney village, where we will observe the weavers weaving the famous Bumthang fabric known as Yathra. Continue our drive for an hour and arrive at the Chokhor Valley, if time permits we will have sightseeing around the valley. Overnight at Lodge.

DAY 07 (Nov 09th)  BUMTHANG SIGHTSEEING
Bumthang is the general name given to a complex of four valleys-Chumey, Choekhor, Tang and Ura. Choekhor and Chumey are agricultural valleys while Tang and Ura depend mostly on the animal husbandry. Sightseeing in the valley of Chokhor will involve walking almost throughout the day. Begin your hike from your Lodge to the Temple of Jambay Lhakhang through scattered and clustered villages of Jakar. A Tibetan King, Songtsen Gonpo, built this temple in the 7th century. Your next stop will be Chakar Lhakhang, which was built in the 8th century. This House was a castle of the King Sindhu Raja who used to rule the Bumthang Valley. Continue your hike to Kurjey monastery, it is here, the great tantric saint Padmasambhava had meditated and subdues a local deity known as Shelging Karpo. Continue your hike north and cross the Chamkhar River you will arrive at Tamshing Lhakhang. Terton Pemalingpa built this temple in 1500s. Your final stop of the hiking will be at Konchogsum Lhakhang, built in 7th century.   From here you will drive to the Apple and Cheese factory. Your next stop will be the small town of Chamkhar. The car will drop you near the bridge from where you will stroll through the small half-kilometer town and return back to Lodge.

DAY 08 (Nov 10th)  BUMTHANG MONGAR
The drive from Bumthang to Mongar will surely enchant you as it offers one of the most spectacular views of the country. Evergreen junipers and colorful Rhododendrons cover the hillsides, as fresh new scenery unfolds with every twist and turn of the winding road. Sound of the rushing streams and cascading waterfalls greets you as you look down at the valley looming in the distance below the precipitous rock face. You will be so captivated by its beauty that the seven hours journey will hardly be noticed. Overnight at Guest House.

DAY 09 (Nov 11th) ATTEND MONGAR FESTIVAL
After breakfast drive to the festival site and witness the ongoing festival. This festival is celebrated annually in fall in honor of Guru Padmasambhava, popularly known as Guru Rinpochey and to commemorate his deeds. Both lay people and monks perform the dances of the Tsechu. The dancers take on the aspects of wrathful and compassionate deities. The dances known as Cham, bring blessings upon onlookers, to instruct them in the teachings of the Buddhist Dharma, to protect them from misfortune, and to exorcise evil influences. Deities are invoked during the dances; through their power and benediction, misfortunes may be annihilated, luck increased and wishes realized. It is also a social gathering where the people rejoice together, dressed in their finest clothing and jewelry. Overnight at hotel.

DAY 10 (Nov 12th)  MONGAR – TRASHIGANG Via TRASHIYANGTSE
TRASHIYANGTSE: (altitude 6,000 feet) Driving from Mongar to Trashigang you take the left road to Trashiyangtse before crossing Chazam (Bailey bridge) to Trashigang. The road traverses north and takes about 2 hours to reach at Trashiyangtse. Tashiyangtse Dzong is half-hour walk from the main road. Established in 1656, the Dzong was completely renovated in 1976.Tashiyangtse is a small village with a garden aspect and a lovely place from where to launch a couple of hour's stroll into surrounding countryside.  The drive is again a picturesque with sub tropical forest blooming with different vegetation and wild life the place is paradise for nature lovers. On your way to Trashigang you will make several stops before turning back for Trashigang. Gomkora: 15 miles from Trashigang before arriving Trashiyangtse is a popular pilgrim site where Guru Rinpochey had meditated and subdued the demon that dwelt in the vicinity. This is also the venue for Gomkora Festival held in early spring. Duksom, a small village with many shops and small eating places is a small shopping area for the surrounding villages, you will find women weaving clothes in particularly colorful patterns using back strap looms. Continue your drive North to Chorten Kora, a large stupa designed similar to Nepal’s Boudnath stupa, this large white stupa was constructed in 1740 by Lama Nawang Lodey. During the second month of Lunar calendar that is March or April the people in Trashiyangtse celebrate a festival known as Chorten Kora. You have arrived in Trashiyangtse, stroll the bazaar before you turn back to Trashigang. Overnight at Guest House in Trashigang.

DAY 11 (Nov 13th)  TRASHIGANG
In the morning stroll the small town of Trashigang, here you will meet several different ethnic groups of eastern Bhutan that come to shop here. In particular the Merak Sakten people, who have a complete different language and dress code. After Lunch, we will visit the Trashigang Dzong, rest of the day will be free for individuals to explore Trashigang on your own.

DAY 12 (Nov 14th)   TRASHIGANG – SAMDRUP JONGKHAR
After breakfast we will resume our drive to Samdrup Jongkhar, the border town between Bhutan and India. En route we visit the Zangdo Pelri temple at Kanglung, a town with a clock tower and a college campus, the only degree college in Bhutan. The road climbs through fields of corn and potatoes crossing through Yongphu La Pass (7190 feet) and swoops along the top of the Bartsam valley, cuts across a ridge into another valley, then winds down again and enters into Khaling. Khaling is the home to the National institute for the disabled. After visiting the institute you will drive few kilometers further and then visit Khaling National Handlomm Development project, operated by the National Women’s Association. The hand woven products manufactured from this institute are sold in Thimphu market. You can purchase any hand woven products that you may like. You will continue the drive through sub tropical forest to tropical forest when you arrive in Samdrup Jongkhar. Overnight at hotel.

DAY 13 (Nov 15th)  DEPART BHUTAN
If you have tour organized in India, then you should let your Indian agent pick you up this morning from Samdrup Jongkhar. Otherwise our vehicle can drop you at the Guhati Airport (a small surcharge will be added above your cost) if this service is required. From Guhati you can fly to New Delhi or Kolkatta for connection of your International flight back home or to Bagdogra and then take the flight to Kathmandu.

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NET PACKAGE COST PER PERSON IN USD
Group Size Single 2 3 & Above Single Supplement

COST

$ 3,770 $ 3,640 $ 3,250 $ 455
 
Airfare Bangkok – Paro – Bangkok (Subject to change) $ 988.00 Per person
   
Visa Fee to be paid along with the land cost $ 20.00 Per person

Single Travelers:
Participants who specifically request single accommodations, subject to availability, pay a single supplement. If you are traveling alone and wish to share accommodations, we will try to match you with a roommate. However, if a roommate is not available, you will be charged with a single supplement.

 

 

Note: This is a sample intended to give you a general idea of the likely trip schedule numerous factors such as weather, tour conditions, the physical ability of the participants etc., may dictate itinerary changes either before departure or while on the tour. We reserve the right to change this schedule in the interest of the trip participants’ safety, comfort and general well being. RATES ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE.

 
 

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Thanks for a good tour of your country. We liked it very much. Your most treasured and positive attribute is a realistic population of 600,000. The mountains are beautiful - the people are beautiful & happy & getting educated.