Nimalung & Kurjey Festivals

11 days/ 10 nights

Package Prices: USD 1850 per person

Fixed Departure Dates: 25 June – 5 July 2020

ITINERARY OVERVIEW

DAY 01: ARRIVE PARO – THIMPHU

DAY 02: THIMPHU

DAY 03: THIMPHU – GANGTEY/PHOBJIKHA

DAY 04: GANGTEY/PHOBJIKHA – CHUMEY

DAY 05: CHUMEY – JAKAR (BUMTHANG)

DAY 06: BUMTHANG

DAY 07: BUMTHANG – PUNAKHA

DAY 08: PUNAKHA

DAY 09: PUNAKHA – PARO

DAY 10: PARO

DAY 11: DEPART PARO

Enjoy two intimate Tsechu experiences in the Bumthang Valley, the Nimalung and Kurjey festivals Bhutan’s spiritual heartland. Villagers gather to witness colourful and unique masked dances and sacred rituals celebrating Bhutan’s unique cultural heritage. Also visit sacred sites in Paro, Thimphu, Punakha and Phobjikha Valley, winter home to the endangered Black-Necked Cranes.

Highlights of the Tour

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NIMALUNG & KURJEY FESTIVAL TOUR

This tour offers you a combo of two festivals in the beautiful and spiritual heartland of Bhutan. Scheduled in June, there is also the added value of a low season discount on tariff during this period. Another additional advantage is that other important sites offered in standard tours are also incorporated into this tour – taking advantage of two festivals and more than the standard tour. The Nimalung Kurjey tour is ideal for those interested in getting the most of festivals, culture, nature and travel.

Detailed Itinerary

DETAILED ITINERARY

DAY 01 ARRIVE PARO – THIMPHU

The flight into Paro offers spectacular views with an interesting and intricate approach to landing. Bhutan Travel Bureau’s representative will receive you at Paro airport exit doors following customs. After lunch, our first foray will be to the Ta Dzong(Watchtower) museum, which houses many religious relics, works of art and handicrafts and offers a great orientation in Bhutan’s historical, cultural and religious past. Next we visit Rimpong Dzong especially to see the painting of the great saint – Milerapa, considered a master of meditation by the Bhutanese and believed to have attained enlightenment in a single lifetime. Dzong’s – once strategic forts – are now large monasteries and district administrative centres. From here we walk down and cross a wooden cantilever bridge. Afterwards, drive to the

capital, Thimphu (1.5 h) along the Pachu river.

Overnight at hotel in Thimphu (2,400m)

 

DAY 02: THIMPHU

Begin your day with a drive to the viewpoint at the Big Buddha Dordenma Statue. The park here has several walking trails which range from leisurely to moderate. We then visit the National Memorial Chorten, Changangkha Temple, Other places of interest are Folk Heritage Museum, School of Arts & Crafts, and the Royal Textile Museum, which is divided into six areas of focus and also houses an invaluable collection of Bhutanese antique textile artefacts of Bhutan including the original crowns

of Bhutan’s kings, the traditional Bhutanese paper factory and the weekend market (open Friday to Sunday). Take a short walk to Drana Monastery, a sacred pilgrimage site across the river from Thimphu town. Additionally, we could visit the national animal (Takin) pen and Tashichhodzong if time permits.

Overnight at hotel in Thimphu (2,400m)

 

DAY 03: THIMPHU – GANGTEY/PHOBJIKHA VALLEY (197km – 6hrs drive time)

Depart for Gangtey/Phobjikha. The road takes us over Dochu-La pass (3,100m) where we can circumambulate the 108 stupas and, if the weather is clear, enjoy an incredible view of Himalayan peaks. The recently constructed Druk Wangyel temple is also located here. On our descent after crossing Dochu-La pass, we can choose to walk down ancient paths and visit Royal Botanical Garden in Lamperi.

We cross the Punatsangchhu river and climb past the ruins of Wangduephodrang dzong and through mixed forests.  The road takes us through typical Bhutanese homesteads where we will come across herds of cattle before eventually crossing a high pass and descending into the wide and picturesque Phobjikha valley. This is one of Bhutan’s few glacial valleys and the chosen home of the endangered bird species – black necked crane or grus nigricollis (Nov to Mar) migrating from the Tibetan plateau.

Overnight at lodge or hotel in Gangtey/Phobjikha (3,000m)

DAY 04: GANGTEY/PHOBJIKHA –CHUMEY (170km 6hrs drive time)

Following breakfast, visit Gangtey Gompa (monastery), which dates back to 16th C. Enjoy a last view of this beautifual valley before departing over the Pele la pass (3,420m) on the Black Mountain range towards Trongsa. Enroute, we pass charming villages and hamlets and visit the beautiful Chendebji chorten. Trongsa is the ancestral home of Bhutan’s ruling dynasty. Visit Trongsa dzong, the largest in Bhutan and the Ta dzong museum housing a collection of historical artefacts of the royal family.

Continue our drive to Bumthang, the spiritual heart of the country. Bumthang is home to some of Bhutan’s oldest palaces, Buddhist temples and monasteries. We halt for today at Chumey, the first valley of Bumthang at the Chumey Nature Resort.

Overnight at resort in Chumey (2,800m)

 

DAY 05: CHUMEY – BUMTHANG (Nimalung Festival)

After breakfast, drive to Nimalung monastery to witness its annual festival. We will see villagers attired in traditional finery and jewelry from all over the valley. The festival is celebrated with mask dances and historical folk dances in colourful costumes, and is celebrated to bring happiness, a better harvest and prosperity to the village and the country as a whole.  We spend most of the day at the festival and walking around nearby villages in this beautiful valley before proceeding to Jakar (Bumthang) over the gentlest of passes – Kiki-La, which connects Chumey to Jakar.

Overnight at hotel/lodge in Bumthang (2,700m)

 

DAY 06: Bumthang (Kurjey Festival)

Today we drive upstream of the Chamkhar Chhu river to enjoy the festival at Kurjey Lhakhang. Historically, Guru Rinpoche was invited here to subdue evil spirits plaguing the land. Here the Guru meditated resting against a rock face where imprints of the Guru’s body remained – hence the name Kurjey, meaning imprint of his holy body. The festival here is an important occasion not only for locals of Bumthang but for all Bhutanese, bringing together people from all over as it presents the perfect occasion to receive blessings by witnessing age-old rituals and enjoy this unique culture in the natural

beauty of Bhutan’s spiritual heartland.

Later, visit Jambay Lhakhang, one of two – of the 108 temples built across the eastern Himalayas in 7th C by the Tibetan king Songtsen Gampo; the other being Kyichu Lhakhang in Paro.  Other places of interest are Jakar dzong, Pema Lingpa founded Tamshing Lhakhang (1501) and the Mebar Tsho (Burning Lake) from which Pema Lingpa is believed to have found treasures hidden by Guru Rinpoche.

Overnight at hotel/lodge in Bumthang (2,700m)

 

DAY 07: BUMTHANG – PUNAKHA (210km 7hrs drivetime)

Depart for Punakha via Trongsa over three passes – Kiki La, Yotong La and Pelela passes, stopping along the way at places of interest and occasionally to stretch our legs or to walk for brief distances along the road, before we descend into the rice bowl of Bhutan past the ruins of Wangduephodrang dzong and on to Punakha, the ancient capital of Bhutan.

Overnight at hotel in Punakha (1,300m)

 

DAY 08: PUNAKHA

Visit Punakha Dzong, the “Palace of Great Happiness” built in 1637 by the Shabdrung, the ‘Unifier of Bhutan’ as predicted by the great Guru Rimpoche (Padmasambhava). It is situated at the confluence of the Mo Chu and Pho Chu (Mother and Father Rivers) and is the winter headquarters of the Je Khenpo and hundreds of monks who move en masse from Thimphu to this warmer location. The three story main temple of the Punakha Dzong is a breathtaking example of traditional architecture with four intricately embossed entrance pillars crafted from cypress and decorated in gold and silver. It was here on 17th December 1907, Bhutan’s first king was crowned.

Later, we take a short walk across rice paddies to Chimi Lhakhang, a fertility temple dedicated to Drukpa Kuenley, a Tibetan Buddhist saint known popularly as the Divine. He inherited the Divine Madman title since he revolted against the orthodox Buddhism in his time. He taught the people that religion is an inner feeling and it’s not necessary that one should be an ordained monk. The temple sits atop a picturesque hill surrounded by rice fields. Drukpa Kuenley built a chorten on the site, and it has long been a pilgrimage site for couples hoping to start a family

Overnight at hotel in Punakha (1,300m)

 

DAY 09: PUNAKHA – PARO (142km 4.5hrs drive time)

In the morning drive to Yabesa village and hike to through rice fields and up to Khamsum Yueley Namgyal Chorten, built by Her Majesty the Queen Mother Ashi Tshering Yangdon Wangchuk. Perched high on a hill on the bank of the river, the Chorten houses paintings belonging to Nyingmapa Traditions.

Drive back to Paro over Dochu La via Thimphu where you will have an opportunity to visit handicraft and souvenir stores, and enjoy lunch at a local restaurant in Thimphu. Afterwards, we drive back to Paro.

Overnight at hotel in Paro (2,300m)

 

DAY 10: PARO (Hike to Taktsang)

After breakfast we hike to Taktsang Monastery. The trail is broad and the walk of approximately 2 hours uphill takes us to Taktsang Monastery. Built on a sheer cliff face 900 metres above the valley floor, the monastery is a spectacular sight.  It is also an important pilgrim site for the Buddhists. Legend has it that the great Guru Rimpoche and his consort meditated in a cave here for three months – where the monastery now stands. After meditation, they manifested themselves in the form of Guru Dorji Drolo and a tigress to subdue demons of the Paro valley.

On our return from Taktsang, visit other remote monasteries in the valley

Overnight at hotel in Paro. (2,300m)

 

DAY 11: DEPART PARO

Breakfast at hotel, and then drive to the airport for flight to your onward destination.

Special Terms & Conditions

Special Terms & Conditions

You can register for our fixed departure tours individually, as a couple or together with friends.  There will be no surcharges for the solo traveler.  Our standard deadline for registration is one month before the tour start date for low season and three months prior to tour start date for high season.  Please NOTE that the tours dates are set and not changeable in order to ensure the concessions of group travel for our clients.

Our groups size will be anywhere from 3- 16 people and will be put together by language preference.  All groups are provided with an English speaking guides, however we will try our best to accommodate translators subject to availability.

Please read in detail what is included and excluded from the tour package along with our cancellation policy for fixed departure on our website.  It will also be shared with you during the registration and confirmation process.

For those who wish for a tailor designed tour, oor consultants are experts in creating the most unique Bhutan tour just for you.

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BHUTAN TOUR DATES

The Fixed Departure tours were especially designed keeping in mind cost saving for our clients without compromising on the quality of the experience. Our Tour is perfect for the client who is adventurous, friendly and willing to share their adventure with other travelers.   The itinerary dates and times are fixed to facilitate the timely completion of the tours for all our clients that select the set departure tour packages.

Please NOTE that the tours dates are set and not changeable in order to ensure the concessions of group travel for our clients.   We set minimum of three clients and maximum of 16 in a group.

WHAT’S INCLUDED

*Private guided tour

*Visas for Bhutan Guaranteed

*Airport transfers

*Daily 3 meals (B/L/D) at designated restaurants or hotels

*Accommodation at 3-star hotel

*A qualified & licensed English-speaking guide

*An experienced driver and Vehicle

*Monument Entry fees & road permits

*Government fee, royalty, taxes & surcharges

*Mineral bottled water

WHAT’S EXCLUDED

*Flight into Bhutan via Drukair (can be arranged with us)

*Travel Insurance

*Extra baggage charges

*Telephone calls

*Personal expenses

*Soft Drinks and alcoholic Beverages

*Accommodation and meals in luxury hotels

*Tips for the guide and driver