Bhutan Festival Tour

Tour Details

Bhutan Festival Tour

Dates: October 20 - 30, 2018
Number of Days: 11


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* We’re sorry you missed this tour. Please contact us if you’d like to be put on the wait list (if/when someone cancels) or if you would like to join us on a future Bhutan tour.

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HIGHLIGHTS of the Bhutan Festival Tour

  • Hike to Tiger’s Nest, the country’s most photographed monastery
  • Attend two festivals in the Bumthang Valley where you’ll see a variety of dancing and singing
  • Take light hikes in the peaceful beauty of the Himalayan foothills
  • Visit stunning Punakha Dzong – considered the most beautiful monastery in Bhutan
  • Walk through the Gangtey Valley, where black-necked cranes migrate from the Tibetan plateau

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Note: Cancellation fees apply. Please read our Booking Terms and Conditions before registering.

Bhutan Festival Tour Itinerary

The group will depart from Bangkok on the morning of October 20 to Paro, Bhutan. Flights leave Bangkok very early on the morning of October 20 (usually 5:30 a.m.) so it’s best to arrive in Bangkok at least 24 hours prior to departure to Bhutan in the event of flight delays.

Your flight to and hotel in Bangkok is not included in the cost of this tour and you’ll be responsible for arriving at the Bangkok airport in time for your flight.

Day 1
October 20, 2018 – Arrive from Bangkok – ParoThimphu
Meals: Lunch, Dinner

Jomulhari in BhutanYou’ll immediately enjoy the magnificent beauty of the region as soon as you arrive in Bhutan. On a clear day, spectacular vistas of the Himalayas, the world’s highest mountains, make way for the rich, green Paro Valley. Stepping off the plane, you’ll be struck by the crisp, fresh air. You’ll be met by your guide and driver after going through visa control and customs and then drive to Thimphu, Bhutan’s capital (population 86,000; 7,520 feet) about 90 minutes away.

After lunch in Thimphu, you’ll have a chance to visit the city’s weekend market, filled with a wide variety of goods for both locals and tourists. Expect to see produce and meats for sale as well as souvenirs and clothes. Today you might also get a chance to see an archery tournament, which often take place at the local archery grounds.

Dinner and overnight at Namgay Heritage in Thimphu.

Day 2
Sunday, October 21, 2018 – Thimphu
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Today, you’ll enjoy a full day of sightseeing in Thimphu with a chance to learn about the local culture, arts and religion by visiting a number of sights. This might include the National Memorial Chorten, the handicraft emporium, the School of Traditional Arts and Crafts and the National Zoo (more like a preserve, the only animal there is the national animal, the extraordinary takin).

Dinner and overnight at Namgay Heritage in Thimphu.

HIGHLIGHT! Though Thimphu is considered a bustling city compared to the rest of Bhutan, it is the world’s only capital without a traffic light! It is also a great place to learn about the nation’s thriving arts and crafts.

Punakha Dzong in the spring BhutanDay 3
October 22, 2018 – Thimphu – Punakha
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Following breakfast, you’ll depart for Dochu La Pass (10,000 feet), ascending steeply through pine and cedar forests with hanging lichen. You’ll then take a short downhill hike through the woods and board your vehicle when you meet up with the road again. You’ll then drive onward to the Punakha Valley. Lunch will be served at the hotel.

In the afternoon, the group will tour nearby Punakha Dzong.

Dinner and overnight at Meri Puensum in Punakha.

HIGHLIGHT! Punakha Dzong is likely the most beautiful of all dzongs in Bhutan. You will have a chance to meander through this complex of architectural structures, which are home to hundreds of monks half of the year. You’ll see the magnificent main temple that contains massive Buddhas at the altar as well as thousands of small statues placed in the walls.

Day 4
Tuesday, October 23, 2018 – Punakha – TrongsaGroup Dochu La Pass Bhutan
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
After breakfast, you’ll depart for the five-hour ride to Trongsa. You’ll cut through the Black Mountains on Bhutan’s “Central Road.” This highway essentially opened central Bhutan to the rest of the world just over 30 years ago.

Along the way, you’ll go through Wangdue, a small village and the district headquarters of Western Bhutan. The road then climbs through tropical vegetation to Pele La Pass (10,900 feet), surrounded by towering rhododendron and dwarf bamboo. You’ll likely see yak, which often graze in this area and, if it’s clear, you might see impressive Mt. Jomolhari (24,140 feet). Coming down from the pass, you’ll continue on to Trongsa, where you’ll visit the striking Trongsa Dzong.

Dinner and overnight at Yangkhil Resort in Trongsa.

Day 5
October 24, 2018 – Trongsa – Bumthang Valley – Festival Day
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Today, you’ll journey eastward to the Bumthang Valley, an area rich with fantastic sights to see. Today is the start of the Jambay Lhakhang Tsechu (festival). Depending on your arrival time, you’ll be able to have lunch at the hotel before attending the festival or go directly to the festival before lunch and check in at the hotel later. You may also have time to visit the local monasteries, including Kurjey Lhakhang and Jambay, the Tamshing Gompa and Jakar Dzong.

Teschu in BhutanNote that also in the area is a wonderful shop that produces cheese, honey and local fruit spirits. There is a brewery next door. If they are open during the festival and if you have time, there is the option of visiting the farm on this day or tomorrow.

Overnight at Rinchenling Guest House in Jakar (Bumthang Valley).

HIGHLIGHT! It’s believed that Buddhism in Bhutan started in Bumthang. The valley is home to the two oldest temples in the kingdom as well as a number of sacred sites. A spiritual vibe fills the air of this idyllic valley.

Day 6
Thursday, October 25, 2018 – Bumthang – Festival
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

In the morning, you’ll have the chance to attend another festival! This one is the Prakar Lhakhang Tsechu and takes places at a different monastery nearby. You’ll not only see many dances at these festivals, but you’ll also see craftspeople from around the country set up with booths to sell jewelry, clothes, Buddhist treasures and other souvenirs. On this day, you may also have time for sightseeing around the Bumthang Valley.

Note: If you are not interested in another festival, there is the option to go for a hike in either Ura or Tang Valley (where there is a nunnery).

Overnight at Rinchenling Guest House in Jakar (Bumthang Valley).

Day 7
Friday, October 26, 2018 – Bumthang – Ura – Bumthang
Bridge with Prayer Flags Bhutan
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Following breakfast, you’ll start the drive back toward Paro. You’ll have a chance to stop at Yotong La Pass and continue on via Trongsa, to Pele La Pass. From there, it’s onward to the Phoblika Valley (10,000 feet), deemed the most beautiful valley in the Himalayas. You’ll have lunch along the way.

Dinner and overnight at Hotel Dewachen in Gangtey.

HIGHLIGHT! The Phoblika Valley is the winter home to the endangered black-necked cranes that migrate from the Tibetan Plateau. While they are usually only here from November through March, sometimes there are some early arrivals around this time.

Day 8
Saturday, October 27
, 2018 – Gangtey – Wangdue
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Following breakfast, you’ll visit Gangtey Gompa, which was built in the 17th century and renovated just a few years ago. From the gompa, you’ll walk back to the hotel along a path that cuts through a beautiful forest and then across the valley floor. Lunch will be served back at the hotel.

Phoblika Valley in BhutanIn the afternoon, you’ll drive about two hours to a riverside hotel near Wangdue (4,000 feet) and enjoy some leisure time before dinner.

Dinner and overnight at Hotel Lobesa in Wangdue.

HIGHLIGHT! You’ll enjoy the morning’s walk in the Phoblika Valley, which is one of the easiest and most beautiful on the tour. This region is breathtaking and you’ll likely see horses and cows meandering around the valley floor that’s ringed by low mountain ranges.

Day 9
Sunday, October 28
, 2018 – Wangdue – Thimphu – Paro
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

From Wangdue, you’ll drive onward to Thimphu where you’ll have lunch at a local restaurant and one last opportunity for sightseeing and shopping in the capital. You will then head to Paro.

Dinner and overnight at Metta Hotel and Spa in Paro.

Day 10
Monday, October 29, 2018 – Paro
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

On this last full day in Bhutan, you’ll get an early start in order to hike the two+ hours to Tiger’s Nest (Taktsang), the country’s most photographed and well-known Bhutan Monk at Tigers Nestmonastery. You’ll tour the few temples at the top and have time to enjoy the view. On the way down, you’ll stop at the tea shop/cafe, located midway, where you’ll have tea (or lunch, depending on the timing) and enjoy excellent views of Tiger’s Nest up above.

Upon returning to Paro, you may have time for relaxing or going to town for last-minute souvenir shopping.

Final dinner and overnight at Metta Hotel and Spa in Paro.

HIGHLIGHT! The hike up to and visiting Tiger’s Nest could quite possibly be the highlight of your time in Bhutan! This iconic site, perched on the side of a mountain, is revered by the Bhutanese – and you’ll soon see why.

Day 11
Tuesday, October 30
, 2018 – Paro – Bangkok
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Following breakfast, you’ll leave for the airport for your flight to Bangkok. Flights usually arrive into Bangkok late in the afternoon (4:30 p.m. or later). Though you can connect with an international flight that night, you might consider staying in Bangkok for one night in case flights out of Paro are delayed (not uncommon).

** Itinerary subject to change without notice.


*  We’re sorry you missed this tour. Please contact us if you’d like to be put on the wait list (if/when someone cancels) or if you would like to join us on a future Bhutan tour!


Single supplement: 
lights from Bangkok to Paro, Bhutan:  

Interested in sharing the cost with another fabulous traveler? We do our best to pair up our tour participants so you can avoid the single supplement. However, priority is given to the first deposits received. If you’re interested in sharing, please send in your deposit as soon as possible in order to take advantage of this benefit. (Why a single supplement? See this FAQ page for an explanation.)

Booking and Payment Details

Price includes: Transportation in Bhutan, all meals as noted in itinerary, hotels, guides, driver, bottled water during activities, visa and tourist development fund charge. Also includes entrance to monasteries and festivals.

Price does not include: Flights to and hotel in Bangkok, evacuation insurance (highly recommended), souvenirs, personal purchases (such as books and snacks), beverages other than water and tips for guide and driver.

This trip is limited to 12 people due to the limited availability of accommodations and requires an $800 deposit to secure your spot.

Minimum bookings required: 

Final payment is due no later than August 20, 2018.

It’s easy to register…

We love checks as it helps keep our costs down by avoiding credit card fees. If you’re able to pay the deposit or full amount by check or wire transfer, we’ll not only love you more but we’ll send you a free copy of one of Beth’s books (your choice which one). ** U.S. residents receive a print copy, international residents receive a PDF.

Here’s our mailing address:

PO Box 16102
Seattle, WA 98116

Of course, you can pay by credit card as well. Simply click on the Register Now button below and you’ll be taken to PayPal where you add your debit or credit card information for the $800 deposit. Though this goes through PayPal, you do not need a PayPal account. Subsequent payments may be made through PayPal or by check (see above for our wonderful offer!). 🙂

Note: Cancellation fees apply. Please read our Booking Terms and Conditions before registering.

The fine print

Bhutan Festival Tour 2018 Registration Form (online form)

Bhutan Fall Tour 2018 Itinerary (PDF)

We recommend Insure My Trip for travel and/or evacuation insurance.

For questions, contact Beth at:
beth (at) wandertours (dot) com

** This is an unescorted trip which means that we rely on a fantastic English-speaking guide in Bhutan to lead the group. The itinerary is the same as our tours where someone like Beth may “lead” the group, but having an unescorted tour helps keep your costs down!

About Bhutan
Few travelers go to Bhutan because of the country’s insufficient infrastructure and the government’s desire that the country sustain its extraordinary culture. Accommodations are quite comfortable, usually in the 3- to 4- star range (5-star hotels can be upward of an additional $1,000/night!), and have private bathrooms, heat and hot water. Meals are usually served buffet-style at the hotel and include plenty of cooked vegetables, rice and meat. Vegetarians will have no issues finding enough to eat.

Bhutan is situated high in the Himalayas. The altitude shouldn’t be a problem for most, but sometimes people react to it with minor headaches or stomachaches. Participants should be fairly fit and expect to do light hiking throughout the journey. Consult your doctor and consider high altitude medication.

For those vulnerable to motion sickness, please bring medication or natural remedies in the event the twisty roads get to you.

Related links:
Bhutan Photo Gallery
Bhutan Holiday and Vacation Tips
Bhutan FAQs
What to expect in Bhutan
Recommended Books about Bhutan
Bhutan’s Most Popular Foods