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/Bhutan Thimphu Festival
Bhutan Thimphu Festival 2018-02-19T11:21:25+00:00

Project Description

THIMPHU FESTIVAL 2018, BHUTAN

THIMPHU FESTIVAL 2018, BHUTAN

It’s big, it’s grand, it’s impressive and colourful; one of Bhutan’s biggest spectacles

Highlights

  • Thimphu’s festival in the hugely impressive Dzong
  • Tour western Bhutan, including Punakha and the Wangdue festival
  • Experience Bhutan’s unique culture
  • Fly straight past Mt Everest from Kathmandu

This 11 day trip concentrates on western Bhutan (Paro, Thimphu and Punakha), with a focus on two festivals. The Wangdue festival is neatly placed 2 days ahead of the Thimphu event so we take the opportunity to visit that too.

Using Kathmandu (Nepal) as the access point, the flight to Bhutan is under an hour and flies straight past Mt Everest (it’s the best view of Mt Everest you’ll ever get bar climbing it!). See How To Get To Bhutan. On arrival, having explored some of Paro, we drive to the capital Thimphu (overnight) before driving over the Doche La Pass (3000m) to Punakha. We spend some time in this lush green valley exploring the area including the Wangdue festival; great warm up to the main event.

The Thimphu festival takes place in and around the hugely impressive Dzong over several days. Your Guide will escort you and explain what is happening as the dancers perform and entertain. It is Bhutan at its colourful best with many locals dressed in their finest clothes.

Outside of the festivals, there is plenty of time to explore further: the ancient Library, numerous craft shops, the Takin Reserve, the Radio Tower (great views down onto Thimphu) plus just strolling around the streets and markets.

We visit the iconic Tigers Nest Monastery on the return to Paro the day before you fly back to Kathmandu and subsequently onto London. This is a popular time in Bhutan; very early booking recommended.

At A Glance   

Flight Inclusive Cost £2760
Land Only Cost £1460
Trip Duration 11 Days UK - UK
Trek Length N/A
Max Altitude 3000m, crossing Doche La by road
Grading
Accommodation Hotels
All meals in Bhutan. B'fasts in Kathmandu

It’s big, it’s grand, it’s impressive and colourful; one of Bhutan’s biggest spectacles

Highlights

  • Thimphu’s festival in the hugely impressive Dzong
  • Tour western Bhutan, including Punakha and the Wangdue festival
  • Experience Bhutan’s unique culture
  • Fly straight past Mt Everest from Kathmandu

This 11 day trip concentrates on western Bhutan (Paro, Thimphu and Punakha), with a focus on two festivals. The Wangdue festival is neatly placed 2 days ahead of the Thimphu event so we take the opportunity to visit that too.

We fly to Kathmandu (Nepal), overnight and then onto Paro. Having explored some of Paro, we drive to the capital Thimphu (overnight) before driving over the Doche La Pass (3000m) to Punakha. The Wangdue festival is a warm up to the Thimphu festival, which takes place in and around the hugely impressive Dzong.

Your Guide will explain everything; it is Bhutan at its colourful best with many locals dressed in their finest clothes. Plenty to do outside of the festivals too before returning to Paro and the trek up to the unmissable Tigers Nest Monastery. Next day fly to Kathmandu and subsequently onto London.

This is a popular time in Bhutan; very early booking recommended.

At A Glance

Flight Inclusive Cost £2760
Land Only Cost £1460
Trip Duration 11 Days UK - UK
Trek Length N/A
Max Altitude 3000m, crossing Doche La by road
Grading
Accommodation Hotels
All meals in Bhutan. B'fasts in Kathmandu

Wonderful colourful spectacle

All Meals In Bhutan

Fly straight past Mt Everest

Hotels
2 nights Kathmandu
7 nights Bhutan

ATOL Protected

Trip Information

Trip Information

This itinerary uses Kathmandu as the access point into Paro, Bhutan. It is possible to adjust this, OR you can choose Land Only.
For Land Only, we meet you on arrival at the airport in Bhutan; you organise your own flights.

15 Sep 2018. Depart UK, fly to Kathmandu

16 Sep. Arrive Kathmandu (Nepal), Transfer to hotel

17 Sep. Fly Kathmandu to Paro, transfer to hotel

18 Sep. Sightsee Paro, drive to Thimphu

19 Sep. Drive to Punahka

20 Sep. Wangdue Festival

21 Sep. Drive to Thimphu, Festival and sightsee

22 Sep. Thimphu Festival

23 Sep. Drive to Paro, trek to Tigers Nest

24 Sep. Fly Paro to Kathmandu, overnight

25 Sep. Depart Kathmandu for London

This itinerary uses Kathmandu as the access point into Paro, Bhutan. It is possible to adjust this, OR you can choose Land Only.
For Land Only, we meet you on arrival at the airport in Bhutan; you organise your own flights.

15 Sep 2018. Depart UK, fly to Kathmandu

16 Sep. Arrive Kathmandu (Nepal), Transfer to hotel
On arrival in Kathmandu, you will be collected from the airport and transferred to your hotel for an overnight stay at the comfortable Manang Hotel (3*).

17 Sep. Fly Kathmandu to Paro, transfer to hotel
We will transfer you to the international airport for your flight to Paro, Bhutan. This amazing 1 hr flight goes straight past Mt Everest so try to sit on the left hand side of the aircraft. On arrival in Bhutan, you will be met by your Guide and driver at the airport; he will escort you throughout your time in Bhutan. Transfer to your hotel in Paro and potentially sightsee Paro, which will include the imposing Rinpung Dzong, a huge Monastery that overlooks Paro and is typical of Bhutan.Your Guide will brief you on the coming days. Overnight Paro, BLD

18 Sep. Sightsee Paro, drive to Thimphu
Today, you can concentrate on Thimphu.There are so many sights to see in an around here that you will be spolit for choice. There are plenty of short walks, many cultural sights including traditional Thangka paintings, paper factory (hand made), craft making and a nunnery. You can also visit the Radio Tower, which affords excellent views over the town and don’t miss the Takin reserve; the Takin is Bhutan’s National animal and is unique to Bhutan. Overnight Thimphu. BLD

19 Sep. Drive to Punahka
The drive to Punahka takes you through some lovely countryside and over the 3000m Doche La Pass. Be sure to stop here and enjoy the vast views of the Eastern Himalaya. In the afternoon, visit the imposing Punakha Dzong followed by an hours stroll through the local area. Overnight Punahka. BLD

20 Sep. Wangdue Festival
A beautiful drive further east to the remote Phobjikha valley and the black mountain ranges. Visit Gangtey Gompa (a very old Monastery and recently renovated). Overnight will be in Phobjikha. This is the favoured place of the black-necked cranes (November). Overnight Phobjikha, BLD

21 Sep. Drive to Thimphu, Festival and sightsee
Enjoy the drive back over the Doche La back into Thimphu. You will get a good view into the Dzong as you drive down; this is the first day of the Festival. Take this opportunity to see other parts of the capital such as the Radio Tower, the Takin Reserve, Craft shops and the town itself. Overnight Thimphu. BLD

22 Sep. Thimphu Festival
The Thimphu festival is one of the biggest events in the country. It takes place in the huge and impressive Thimphu Dzong. Watch the colourful dances performed by Monks and lay people in their wonderful costumes. They have prepared for this festival for months. Whilst this is potentially a full day, you can leave and return as you wish. The final act of any festival is the unfurling of the huge religous painting down the side of the Dzong. This takes place in the very early hours of the following morning! Overnight Thimphu. BLD

23 Sep. Drive to Paro, trek to Tigers Nest
Drive back to Paro at your leisure in time for lunch. After lunch, trek up to the iconic ‘Tiger’s Nest’ (locally known as Taktshang). Make sure that you are adequately prepared footwear wise as it is a stiff 90 mins – 2hrs up and quite steep in places. The Monastery is perched 900 metres above the valley floor and Guru Rinpoche is said to have flown to the site riding on a tigress. He meditated here for three months. The Tigers Nest is a must see for all visitors to Bhutan. Overnight Paro. BLD

24 Sep. Fly Paro to Kathmandu, overnight
Your Guide and driver will escort you to the airport for your flight to Kathmandu. On arrival, you will transfer to your hotel for the night. B

Note, that you can elect to remove this overnight stop and connect to a flight straight back to London in the evening but please read the information in the box (bottom left).

25 Sep. Depart Kathmandu for London
You will be transferred to the airport for your day flight back to london, arriving same day. B

Note – B: Breakfast L: Lunch D: Dinner

Dates & Prices

Dates With Flights Without Flights
15 - 25 Sep 2018 £2760 £1460

Deposit – £250
Group Size – 1 – 12 (see below).

Sole Occupation – see tab below.

The above prices are the based on the relevant travel months and an overall min group size of 3. If the overall group size is less than 3, the price will be adjusted; ask for a quote.

Low Season months: Jan, Feb, Jun, Jul, Aug, Dec
High Season months: Mar, Apr, May, Sep, Oct, Nov

What the Price Includes

  • International flights London to Bhutan, via Kathmandu
  • 2 x overnight hotel stays in Kathmandu (twin share, B&B basis), including airport transfers
  • Guide, dedicated vehicle and driver in Bhutan
  • All hotel accommodation in Bhutan
  • All meals in Bhutan
  • All camping services: sleeping tents, sleeping mats, kitchen, dining tent, toilet tent, ponies to carry supplies (own sleeping bag required)
  • All entrance fees to local sights, Monasteries
  • Tourist visa for Bhutan

What the Price Does Not Include

  • Travel Insurance
  • Nepalese visa
  • Tips for Guide and driver
  • Personal spending

What the Price Includes

  • Guide, dedicated vehicle and driver in Bhutan, from airport collection to return
  • All hotel accommodation in Bhutan
  • All meals in Bhutan
  • All camping services: sleeping tents, sleeping mats, kitchen, dining tent, toilet tent, ponies to carry supplies (own sleeping bag required)
  • All entrance fees to local sights and Monasteries
  • Tourist visa for Bhutan

What the Price Does Not Include

  • Travel Insurance
  • Nepalese visa
  • Tips for Guide and driver
  • Personal spending

Sole occupation charges:

2 hotel nights in Kathmandu – £60. This is payable only if sole occupation is requested.

7 hotel nights in Bhutan – £100. This is payable by anyone occupying a single room.

brochure
book
key information

It’s All In The Detail

Passport – Must be valid for at least 6 months from the date you enter Bhutan. Information source is the FCO Travel Advice Bhutan.

Visa – A tourist visa is required for Bhutan and it is the Tour Operator (us) that is responsible for doing it. It is included as part of the trip. Our confirmation to you will explain the process further but in short, we apply for it and we will provide you with it when the time comes.

Flight Tickets – paper tickets are rare these days; all e-tickets. All you need to check in is your passport and PNR Reference No (which we provide you with). From that your boarding passes are provided. We either provide your boarding passes (by email) or you check in on line yourself (or at the airport).

Travel Insurance – Mandatory on our trips. We will ask for proof of cover. We do not sell travel insurance. Go to our Information webpage for our unbias advice and tips.

This is a tour and subsequently the walking experienced is in and around the places you visit.

The exception is the Tigers Nest Monastery. It is perched some 900m off of the valley floor and it takes approx 90min – 2 hrs to walk to it, which is a stiff climb.

Good sturdy walking shoes are required.

Any Concerns? – Call us on 01529 488159 or 07725 943108

Food

  • All meals are supplied in Bhutan, b’fasts in hotels in Kathmandu.
  • Bhutan Hotels – all meals tend to be served buffet style so you can vary what you eat throughout.

Note – Bhutan is primarily a Buddhist country so they have no slaughterhouses and therefore meat is not in abundance.

Accommodation

  • Hotels – twin share basis, same sex.

International Flights – Our default flights are:

  • London Heathrow (LHR) – Kathmandu (KTM). We use a variety of high quality airlines using one stop (there are no direct flights to KTM from London). Included luggage allowance in the aircraft hold is a min of 20kg but more commonly 23 – 30kg.
  • KTM to Paro, Bhutan (PBH). Drukair is Bhutan’s National carrier and the only scheduled airline to fly into Bhutan.

There are good reasons why we use KTM as the access point, but there are alternatives such as Delhi. Please ask for details.

London not convenient? – Other UK regional airport options are possible, such as Manchester, Glasgow and Cardiff. We appreciate the potential inconvenience of London if you live far away. Whilst using regional airports may attract supplements due to higher flight costs, that cost may be offset by the cost and time of travelling to London. Please ask for advice on 01529 488159.

The advice here is given in good faith from trusted sources; we are not medical professionals. Check with your Medical Practice if you are up to date with the primary courses.

Vaccinations:

  • Usually advised: Hepatitis A; Tetanus; Typhoid
  • Consider: Cholera; Hepatitis B; Japanese Encephalitis; Rabies
  • Yellow Fever – consult the website below
  • Information source – http://www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk/destinations/asia-(east)/bhutan.aspx#immunisations
  • Malaria – there is a low to no risk to Paro, Thimphu. It very much depends on where else you go on your travels. Consult the fitfortravel website link above for a malaria map coverage. If required, please consult your GP or Medical Practice for advice.

FREE Vaccinations – the following are usually FREE on the NHS as they are considered the greatest risk if brought into the country:
Cholera, Diphtheria, Polio, Tetanus and Hep A (be aware some of those are combined vaccinations).
Information source – http://www.nhs.uk/chq/Pages/1071.aspx?CategoryID=67

The others you are likely to have to pay for.

We recommend budgeting approx £300 – £400 for miscellaneous expenses during your trip but bear in mind, everything you need in Bhutan is paid for.

Miscellaneous expenses may include alcoholic drinks, supplementary snacks and tips etc. but this amount does depend on your personal spending habits and your wish to buy souvenirs. It will also include meals in Kathmandu (other than b’fasts).

We recommend either carrying additional spare cash OR a debit/credit card as a back up. The latter (credit card) should always be carried for emergencies.

Bhutan’s currency is the Nulgrum. The currency is not on the open market and therefore you will not be able to obtain any prior to arrival. Its value is linked to the Indian Ruppee. Indian Rupees are accepted in Bhutan but not the other way around. US$ are widely accepted in Bhutan but any change given is likely to be in Nulgrums and the exchange rate certainly in their favour. Your Guide will take you to a bank to exchange currency.

Nepal’s currency is the Nepalese Rupee (NPR). The currency is not on the open market and therefore you will not be able to obtain any prior to arrival. You can change all major currencies for NPR at the airport, the hotel or on the streets of Thamel (official money changers). Traveller’s Cheques are not accepted in Nepal.

Note that in both cases, it is possible to withdraw money from ATM’s but do not rely on them.

Further generic information on subjects such as travel insurance and travel health can be found on our Information webpage.

Anything missing? – Ask A Question