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Black Necked Crane Festival Travel

Destination : Gangtey Goempa, Phobjikha Valley (5/5) | 5 Reviews
  • temple
  • guide
  • vehicle
  • visas
  • meals
  • hotel
  • walking
  • hikes

Description

The Black Necked Crane festival is celebrated to rejoice and celebrate the arrival of this endangered Black Necked Cranes Phobjikha Valley winter roosting place for the endangered Black Necked Cranes. with the following objectives;

  • To create awareness on the importance of conservation of the endangered Black‐necked cranes.
  • To strengthen the link between conservation, economic welfare and sustainable livelihoods of the community.
  • To provide place for the local community to renovate their commitment to conservation of the black-necked cranes.
  • To showcase the local cultural heritage and skills.

The festival was first initiated by RSPN in the year 1998 and includes cultural programs such as folk songs and dances (some with black-necked crane themes) and mask dances performed by the local people, crane dances and environmental conservation-themed dramas and songs by the school children.  The festival is organized by Phobjikha Environment Management Committee (PEMC).

Please note that this tour can be customized and combined with any activities or interests as per your requirements, convenience, preference and interests.


Outline Itinerary

DAY 1 – Arrive Paro
DAY 2 – Paro – Haa
DAY 3 – Haa – Thimphu
DAY 4 – Thimphu Sightseeing
DAY 5 – Thimphu – Gangtey
DAY 6 – Gangtey – Punakha (Black Necked Festival)
DAY 7 – Punakha – Paro
DAY 8 – Paro
DAY 9 – Paro
DAY 10 – Departure


Detailed Itinerary

Altitude of Paro: 2280 m

On your journey to Paro, the panoramic views of the Himalayas are sensational, including the Everest and other famous Himalayan Peaks. The approach through the Bhutanese foothills and the landing, including a few steep turns to land at the tiny airstrip of Paro becomes more exciting as you enter Bhutan.

On arrival, you will be received with a warm welcome by your Bhutanese Guide with Tashi khadar and a small gift and escort to hotel.

After lunch, free time.

Dinner and overnight in hotel.

Driving Distance: 65 Kms, Driving Hrs: 2.5 Hrs, Altitude of Haa: 2700 Mts. 

After breakfast, drive to Haa via Chelela pass. Stop at Chelela pass and enjoy the view of High Mountains and the prayer flags. You can install your own prayer flags here.

Chelela Pass: It is the highest point between the Haa valley and Paro valley at an altitude of 3810 m. This place gives a very good view of the Himalayan mountains, including the mountain Jumolhari. The place also gives good view down towards the Haa valley. A lot of prayer flags flutter in the place.

Drive further to Haa Valley.

Haa Valley and places to visit in Haa:  Haa valley was known for its animist tradition during the pre- Buddhist era.  Inhabitants of Haa then believed offering animal blood to their local deities. However, after the visit of the tantric master, Guru Padmasambhava, in the 8th century the inhabitants were transformed into peaceful Buddhist.  Guru Padmasambhava, subdued the local deities such as Ap Chundu and made them the guardians of the Buddhist tradition. Traces of this belief system are still noticed in the form of festivals and rituals.

Opened to foreign tourist only in the year 2002, it is a culturally rich valley. A few famous places to visit are:

7th century Lhakhang Karpo (White temple) and Lhakhang Nagpo (Black temple) at the foothills of a venerated three brotherly mountains known as Meri Puensum. The grand annual Haa Tshechu is also performed here at Lhakhang Karpo on the 8th-10th day of the 8th Bhutanese month.

The Haa Wangchuklo Dzong built in 1915 after the Dumchog Dzong was razed to the ground by fire is worth visiting.

The valley is also unparalleled in Bhutan in terms of the diversity of the folk culture, legends and shamanistic rituals. The shamanistic traditions is vividly practiced in almost all the communities, most notable of which is the annual ceremony to honour Ap Chundu, the guardian deity of the valley. The valley is also a paradise for nature lovers and travelling there is a very rewarding experience.

Dinner and over night in hotel.

Driving Distance; 115 Kms, Driving time: 3-4 Hrs, Altitude of Thimphu: 2320 mts

After breakfast, drive to Thimphu.

Lunch at Thimphu.  After lunch is a time to refresh in the cool breeze of the Himalayas with the perfect views of the Thimphu valley. Visit the following:

Sangaygang view point: (2685 meters) to have view of whole Thimphu valley and walk through hundreds of colorful prayer flags that dot the hill overlooking the Thimphu valley.

Takin Reserve Centre. The takin, the national animal of Bhutan can be seen here. This particular animal is found only in the Himalayan region.

Kuenselphodrang: A place for refreshing with a huge statue of Buddha on the top of  Kuenselphodrang. The area also gives a very good view of the Thimphu valley from the west.

National Memorial Chorten: This Chorten was built in the honour of the Third King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, also known as “The Father of Modern Bhutan”. This Chorten was built in 1974 in a typical Tibetan style. This Chorten is also a center of worship for the people living in Thimphu and contains many religious paintings and tantric statues.

Then, free time to walk around The Thimphu town visiting different textile and handicraft shops.

Dinner and overnight in hotel.

Altitude of Thimphu: 2320 mts

After breakfast, visit:

The Institute for Zorig Chusum: Students are taught the 13 traditional arts and crafts of Bhutan in this institute.

The Institute of Traditional medicine: Here Medicines are prepared according to the Tradition practices.

Folk Heritage Museum: Founded by Her Majesty the Queen Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck.  The museum is one of a kind that portrays the lifestyle of a family in the Thimphu valley in the olden days. This is a three storied, 19th century traditional house giving an insight to the Bhutanese lifestyle, and artifacts from the rural households. The museum contains typical Bhutanese household objects, tools and equipments.

Typical Bhutanese lunch at the Folk Heritage Restaurant.

After lunch, visit:

Textile Museum: This Textile Museum is operated by the National Commission for Cultural Affairs of Bhutan. The Museum was established in the year 2001 and has a good collection of exclusive and antique Bhutanese textile artifacts. The museum was set up with an objective to promote and encourage weavers to continue weaving of traditional Bhutanese textile, Promote Bhutan in the field of textile art and to preserve and promote the history and tradition of Bhutan.

Jungshi handmade paper factory: It is a 1 km drive from main city of Thimphu to the factory. The factory Manufactures the traditional Bhutanese paper using the bark of two tree species in the manufacture of traditional paper  the Daphne tree and Dhekap. The entire process of traditional manufacturing of the Handmade paper can be observed. It was previously operated by the government. Now it is run by a private entrepreneur.

Tashichho Dzong (Fortress of the Glorious Religion): A Doom (Blue Stone) Dzong was built on the hill above Thimphu  in 1216 the lama Gyalwa Lhanampa. A few years later Lama Phajo Drugom Shigpo, who brought the Drukpa Kagyu lineage to Bhutan, took over Dohon Dzong. Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal (The one who unified the country) acquired the Dzong in 1641 from the descendants of lama Phajo and renamed it as Trashi Chhoe Dzong. The Dzong is the seat of the national government and the Central Monastic Body, including the summer residence of the Je Khenpo (Chief Abbot of Bhutan) at present.

Dinner and over night in Hotel.

Driving Distance: 138 kms, Driving Time: 4 – 5  hrs, Altitude of Gangtey/ Phobjikha – 3000 M

After breakfast, drive to Phobjikha Valley.  On the way, visit:

Dochula pass: The most known pass in Bhutan, about 30 km drive from the Capital City Thimphu on the way to Wangduephodrang. It is at around 3150 m height. On a clear day, spectacular view of the mighty Himalayas mountain ranges can be seen. The pass also has 108 Druk Wangyal Khangzang Chhortens which is believed brings multi fold merit to all sentient beings and which make the pass a must visit place.

Drive further to Phobjikha Valley.

After lunch, explore the Phobjikha Valley.

The Phobjikha Valley- This valley is one of the most beautiful glacial valleys in the Himalayas. It lies on the western slopes of the Black Mountains. The valley is a designated conversation area and borders the Black Mountain National Park of Bhutan. This is also an important place for Bhutan as it is the winter roosting place for the endangered Blacknecked Cranes.

Dinner and overnight in hotel.

Driving Distance: 78 Kms, Driving Time: 2.5 – 3 Hrs, Altitude o Punakha: 1310 M

After breakfast, drive to Gangtey Goempa and witness the Black Necked Crane Festival.

In the evening, drive back to Punakha.

Dinner and overnight in hotel.

Driving Distance: 136 Kms, Driving Time: 4 – 5 Hrs

After breakfast, sightseeing in Punakha includes;

Punakha Dzong: This Dzong was built by the Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal in 1637. It is built at the junction the Pho Chu and Mo Chu Rivers. The annual Punakha Tsechhu(Festival) is held here. The monk body resides in this dzong in winter.

Then take a short excursion to visit the Chimmi Lhakhang.

Chhimi Lhakhang: This temple is located on the way to Punakha. This temple is also known as the temple of fertility and was built by Lama Drukpa Kuenley in the 15 century. Lama Drukpa Kuenley is also known as the Devine Madman.

After lunch, drive to Paro. On the way visit;

Royal Botanical Park – Situated at an altitude range of 2100 meters – 3800 meters, the park covers an area of 47 square kilometers and is located between Thimphu and Punakha. The park contains a rich biodiversity of flora and fauna and features a huge species of plants and animals including endangered species such as Himalayan yew, native Rhododendron, Royal Bengal Tiger, Musk Deer, Red Panda, Blood pheasants and Himalayan Monal. You can also find Tetracentron (an ancient relict angiosperm with no vessel in its trunk) in the park. The park has 14.5 km of trails for eco trek for cycling and walking and one of the main attractions is the rhododendron garden including a picnic spot with children’s play ground.

Dinner and overnight in hotel.

After breakfast, excursion to Taktshang Monastery.

Taktsang Monastery (Tiger’s Nest): Paro Taktshang is one of the country’s most famous tourist attractions. The trail to the monastery climbs through beautiful pine forest, and an occasional grove prayer flags. It is said that Guru Padmasambhava, the tantrum mystic who brought Buddhism to Bhutan, came in the form of form of Dorje Droloe riding a flying tigress to subdue the evil and demon that were obstructing the spread of Buddhism in the Himalayas.

After lunch, visit a village and a farm house and learn about the rural Bhutanese way of life. Relax in a traditional hot stone bath in the farm house.  The hot stone bath helps relaxing and is said to have medicinal values.

Hot stone bath: The traditional Bhutanese hot stone bath, known as Dotsho in local language has been practiced in Bhutan for centuries as a medicinal soak. Many Bhutanese believe that the bath helps in curing joint pains, helps in relaxing and other medical problems. River stones are heated and then put in water to heat the water; sometime medicinal herbs are added to the water before it is ready for the soak.

Dinner and overnight in hotel. 

After breakfast, sightseeing includes;

Rinpung Dzong:  Meaning “fortress of the heap of jewels”. The dzong now serves as the administrative and judicial seat of Paro district and residence for around 200 monks of Paro and was built at the same time of Drukgyel Dzong.The famous Paro tshechhu ( festival) is held here in spring.

Ta Dzong: It overlooks the Rimpung Dzong and was built in 1951 as a watch tower. This dzong is Round, more like parts of the European castle. The Dzong was established as the National Museum of Bhutan since 1967 and holds fascinating collection of arts, relics, religious thangkha,etc.

After lunch, visit the following;

Kyichu Lhakhang: This temple is one of the oldest buddhist temple in Bhutan. The Tibetan King, Songtsen Gompo, to consecrate the entire region of Himalaya, in the 7th century miraculously built 108 temples. Kyichu Lhakhang is considered to be one of them.

Drukgyel Dzong: This dzong is in ruins now. The Dzong was destroyed by fire in 1951 and is now preserved as heritage site. The Dzong is situated in Drukgyal, overlooking the beautiful village with Mount Chomolhari in the background. The dzong was built in 1646 by Zhabdrung Nawang Namgyal to commemorate victory over the Tibetan invaders led by Mongolion warlord, Gushri Khan.

Dinner and overnight in hotel.

After breakfast, drive to Airport and farewell.


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