Jambay Lhakhang Drup Festival Tour - 10 Days

Overview

Jambay Lhakhang Drup festival tour goes around the beautiful valley of Bumthang to attend the popular festival and also visits all the major cities of Bhutan. Bumthang Valley is the cultural heartland of the Dragon Kingdom and the festival itself is celebrated in a grand ceremonial atmosphere. The festival showcases the ancient living culture of Bhutan. Guru Rinpoche is honored in these festivals or tsechu, who brought Buddhism to Bhutan. Locals from the villages nearby gather in these festivals in a spirit of festivity with deep faith where unique masked dances and other celebrations are the highlights of the festival. Besides attending the festival, the tour goes to other sacred monasteries and temples like Chimi Lakhang, Punakha Dzong plus sightseeing around Thimphu, Punakha and Paro. In Paro, go for the most popular hike of Taktsang Monastery perched in a vertical cliff, also known as the ‘Tiger’s Nest’.

Outline Itinerary for Jambay Lhakhang Drup Festival Tour
Day 01 : Arrive Paro (2,250m) – Thimphu (2,350m)
Day 02 : Thimphu – Punakha (1,310m) via Dochula La (3,140m)
Day 03 : Punakha – Gangtey (2,900m)
Day 04 : Gangtey – Bumthang (2,745m)
Day 05 : In Bumthang – Witness Jambay Lhakhang Drup Festival
Day 06 : Excursion in Bumthang (2,745m)
Day 07 : Bumthang – Gangtey (2,320m)
Day 08 : Gangtey – Paro (2,250m)
Day 09 : Paro – Hike to Taktsang Monastery ‘Tiger’s Nest’ (3,120m)
Day 10 : Paro depart

Trip Highlights

  • Witness panoramic bird’s eye view of the world’s greated mountain series while flying in/out from Paro.
  • Explore Paro exploding with colors and tradition.
  • Visit the tiny capital Thimphu.
  • Attend the Jambay Lhakhang Drop at the cultural heartland – the Bumthang Valley.
  • Hike to Taktsang Monastery ‘Tiger’s Nest’- one of the most famous monasteries in Bhutan.
  • Visit Punakha Dzong – the most beautiful monastery in Bhutan.
  • Explore Bhutanese ancient culture and tradition coupled up with great Himalayan views.

Itinerary

Day 1
Arrival Paro (2250m) – Thimphu (2350m)

Arrive Paro by Bhutan’s national carrier, Druk Air, and it’s a scenic flight as the plane touch down the lush green Paro Valley flying past the world’s highest mountains. Steeping down from the plane, cool, clean and fresh air welcomes the visitor, the first gift of Bhutan. After clearing the customs and visa formalities met by the representatives and transfer to Paro for lunch.

Afterwards drive to Thimphu (1 & half hrs) following Pa Chhu downstream. In Thimphu, drive on to the Buddha Terrance for a stunning view of the valley and take a drive to visit Takin Preserve to see Takin, Bhutan’s national animal – a strange looking beast which some say resembles a beestung moose! Take a view of the majestic Tashichoe Dzong, the seat of the government before circumventing the Memorial Chorten – a monument erected in memory of Bhutan’s third king H.M. Jigme Dorji Wangchuk. Visit Centenary Farmers Market, the new authentic craft bazaar, National Institute of Traditional Medicine that still dispenses traditional herbal medicines to the locals, the Folk Heritage Museum – a 300 year old traditional house converted into a museum. Overnight at Hotel in Thimphu.

Day 2
Thimphu - Punakha (1,310m) via Dochula La (3140m)

After breakfast, drive for about 1 & half hours to Punakha. Climb up the mountain road to Dochula La at 3140m. On clear weather, the pass commands a wonderful panorama of the Eastern Himalayas. From the pass, descend through varied forest and finally emerging into the highly cultivated valley of Punakha. Take a short hike through beautiful rice fields to Chimi Lhakhang, a temple dedicated to Drukpa Kuenley, who as a favorite saint of the Bhutanese people is known affectionately as “the Divine Madman”. The temple is on a hillside in the middle of rice fields and has become a pilgrimage site for childless couples. Enjoy some tea and snacks at the end of hike while overlooking the fields. In the afternoon, we visit Punakha Dzong. Located at the confluence of the Pho-chu (male-river) and Mo-chu (female-river), the Punakha Dzong is arguably the most impressive dzong in the country. Overnight at Hotel in Punakha.

Day 3
Punakha - Gangtey (2,900m)

After breakfast drive up a winding mountain road through oak and rhododendron forest, and over a high pass down into the Phobjikha valley, surely one of the loveliest high altitude valleys in Bhutan. Phobjikha is one of Bhutan’s few glacial valleys, and chosen winter home of black-necked cranes, migrating from the Tibetan plateau. Enjoy 1½ hours Gangtey nature trail from the monastery through the jungle before emerging to the valley floor. Overnight at Hotel in Gangtey.

Day 4
Gangtey - Bumthang (2,745m)

Today, we drive 5 hours to Bumthang valley. The road climbs rapidly through a series of hairpins out of Trongsa and there are great views back to the Dzong and out across the valley. After passing through cultivated fields for a while, the trail re-enters the forest and reach the Yotong La (3400m). Descending to a low point of 2650m at a village called Chumey; the scenery is once again totally different as the route enters the wide-open Bumthang valleys. It takes about an hour to get to the roadside at Chumey, the first of the four valleys in Bumthang. Overnight at Hotel in Bumthang.

Day 5
In Bumthang - Witness Jambay Lhakhang Drup Festival

In the morning visit Kurjey Lhakhang, one of the most sacred places in the kingdom where Bhutan’s patron saint Guru Rimpoche meditated and 7th century Jambay Lhakhang. It dates back to the origins of Buddhism in Bhutan and is one of the Kingdoms oldest temples. After lunch, visit Jakar Dzong and Tamshing Lhakhang, founded in 1501 by Pemalingpa and containing interesting and ancient Buddhist wall paintings. Afterwards enjoy exploring the village of Jakar, Bumthang’s main township.

In the evening stroll around the beautiful landscape of the Bumthang Jakar valley. After dinner attend the first day of Jambay Lhakhang festival. The first day of the festival begins in the evening around 8:30 pm. The details of the first day of the festival are as follows:

Black Hat Dance (Shana) and of the Gings (emanations of Guru Rinpoche): Costume: Dancers, wearing long brocade robes and ornate black hats, perform this dance. The dancers’ who represent the Ging wear shorter robes with masks. This dance is performed to purify the ground and to chase away evil influences.

Dance of Offering (Tshogcham): A dancer offers the body of evil spirits to the deities. After the offering is made the audience goes outside the temple where an arch of pine bushes has been erected.
Fire Dance (Mecham): The arch of pine is set on fire. The fire is said to purify the earth of evil spirits. People who pass through the arch have their sins cleansed. A dancer chases away the evil spirits.
At around 12 – 2 am, the naked dance will be performed where you can only witness the act for yourself and photography will not be allowed during the act. Overnight at Hotel in Bumthang.

Day 6
Excursion in Bumthang (2,745m)

Return to experience more of the festivities at Jambay Lhakhang, or enjoy an excursion to Tang Valley, the most remote valley in the Bumthang district. Activities may include a 45 minute walk uphill to Ugyen Chholing Palace, built in the 16th century by the Trongsa Penlop Tshokey Dorji. The main building in the complex now features a fascinating museum offering a real insight into the lifestyle of a Bhutanese noble family. Highlights include a book of divination, a dakini dance costume made of bone. Option also includes visiting the 14th century Tang Rimochen Lhakhang where Guru Rinpoche meditated and Mebar Tsho (Burning Lake), where some of Guru Rinpoche’s treasures were found in the 15th century by the famous treasure discover Pema Lingpa. It’s a good location to meditate. Overnight at Hotel in Bumthang.

Day 7
Bumthang – Gangtey (2,320m)

After breakfast, re-trace the same route back towards Gangtey and the road journey today is bit longer with 8 hours of drive. Upon arrival at Gangtey, check-in hotel. Overnight at Hotel in Gangtey.

Day 8
Gangtey – Paro (2,250m)

After breakfast, drive back to Paro cross Dochula pass which is about 5 hours drive. PM: Stroll around the streets of Paro. Overnight at Hotel in Paro.

Day 9
Paro – Hike to Taktsang Monastery ‘Tiger’s Nest’ (3,120 m)

This morning, make an excursion to Taktsang Monastery – this has to be the monastery with the most outstanding setting in Bhutan. Set on a vertical cliff face at 2950m above sea level, it defies all engineering logic. For the energetic, hike 2 hours up to get a more dramatic view of the monastery. (The hike demands a certain level of fitness and a pony ride to the monastery can be arranged at additional cost). Just on the outskirts of Paro town, visit Kyichu Lhakang, one of the oldest temples in Bhutan and have the opportunity to meet the local villages in a local farm house. Overnight at Hotel in Paro.

Day 10
Paro depart

After breakfast, drive to the Paro airport in time to catch the onward flight. Bid farewell to the remote and legendary Dragon Kingdom disappears again behind its guardian mountains.

Cost

What is Included

  • Airport pick-up and drop-off by private vehicle.
  • 3-star accommodation (4 & 5 stars may require an additional premium).
  • Bhutan visa fee - including all necessary processing
  • Route Permit
  • Three meals per day during your stay in Bhutan
  • A licensed Bhutanese tour guide
  • All land transportation by private vehicle
  • Camping equipment and haulage for trekking tours
  • Sightseeing as per itinerary
  • Monuments entrance fees where applicable
  • Drinking water
  • All internal taxes and charges
  • A sustainable development fee of $65. (This sustainable development fee goes towards free education, free healthcare, poverty alleviation, along with the building of infrastructure.)

What is Not Included

  • Airfare & Travel Insurance
  • Expenses of personal nature, Tips to guides and drivers
  • Expenses occurred due to unavoidable events i.e. road wrecks, flight delays etc.

Trip Information

Bhutan Visa Information:
The citizen of Bangladesh, Maldives and India do not require VISA to enter Bhutan. People from other countries except from Bangladesh, Maldives and India need a VISA permit while traveling to Bhutan. The VISA processing for Bhutan requires a readable color copy of passport via email that has at least six month of validity from the date of exit from Bhutan. The file Scan Copy should be forwarded to via email in JPEG or PDF format. The passport number and picture of the applicant should be visible in the e-document.

The application should be processed at least 10 days prior to the date of entry to Bhutan. The tourism council of Bhutan then issues a VISA clearance letter and fax or email it to the local travel agent. Please note that the VISA service is not offered in Bhutan, travelers have to buy full service package from the local tour operator. Travelers traveling by air are required to produce a printed VISA clearance copy at the time of check-in for Druk Air flight. People traveling by land to enter Bhutan via Phuentshoking or Samdrup Jonkhar are required to produce a VISA clearance letter at the immigration center. The actual VISA is stamped in your passport on your arrival in Bhutan.

Flights to Bhutan:
There are several cities that have direct flights to Bhutan. There are two airlines Druk air and Bhutan airlines running the flights to Bhutan. Druk air is the national carrier of Bhutan. With its fleet of Airbuses A319-115 and ATR 42 the airlines fly from different Asian countries to the Paro international airport, Paro (PBH); which is only the international airport in Bhutan. There are daily direct flights from Tribhuvan International Airport, Kathmandu to Paro International Airport.

The flights from Indian cities to Paro International Airport with the airport name and their codes are listed below:
Bagdogra Airport, Bagdogra (IXB)
Indira Gandhi International Airport, Delhi (DEL)
Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport, Kolkata (CCU)
Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport, Mumbai (BOM)

Likewise, there flights from other countries with the codes are as follows:
Suvarnabhumi Airport, Thailand (BKK)
Shahjalal International Airport, Bangladesh (DAC)
Singapore Changi Airport, Singapore (SIN)

Note: The flight schedule and timings are subject to change. If you want to know more about the flight schedules and tour to Bhutan please feel free to contact us. We can also help to find you the cheapest fares available.

Best time to visit Bhutan:
The Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan lies in south Asia between China and India. Climate and weather vary according to the altitude, season and place of visit. Bhutan is open all year around for the visitors but it is better to make the travel arrangements as per your preference and nature of visit.

The ideal time to visit Bhutan is spring (March-May) and Autumn/fall (September-November). These are considered to be the best time to visit Bhutan to get the maximum adventure and trouble free experience. Summer and winter also have their own specialties that could draw the attention of tourists during these seasons. During the spring the weather mostly remains clear and climate is fantastic. It is also the best time to visit for the nature lovers to experience the mystifying beauty of nature. Varieties of flowers and plants bloom in this season that makes your adventure an exotic one. The route opens for Jomolhari and Druk Path treks from mid-April to May.

Summer (June-August) in the other hand could get tricky at times due to the early arrival of monsoon. The month of June would be great for traveling if the monsoon is pushed further. Usually monsoon is in full swing by early July. Travelers who would strive to get some trekking experience on muddy trail while witnessing swollen rivers, green forests and flourishing paddy field could choose late summer to plan their adventure. The view of open clear blue sky after the rain is something that strikes you with its mystifying beauty.

Fall (September-November) is another favorable and crowded season after spring. The weather gets mild despite cold mornings and evenings. Tourists from all around the world thong to Bhutan during this season to witness Black-Necked-Crane festival. The month of October has its own significance and the valley turn into a shade of gold as the farmers prepare to harvest their rice crops during this month.

Winter season (December to February) is not that crowded with tourists in comparison to other seasons. Planning your adventure during the winter could be a better idea if you want to avoid the hustle-bustle of the peak season. During the winter Bhutan may see some snow fall. The temperature level goes down (even below freezing point) during some winter days.

VACCINATION FOR BHUTAN:
No vaccinations are presently required However, the following vaccinations are recommended:
Hepatitis A: Hepatitis A is a virus that infects the liver. The disease is distinctly unpleasant, with profound nausea, loss of appetite, and weakness.
Tetanus: Tetanus bacteria can infect small wounds and cause a fatal infection.
Typhoid Fever: Typhoid fever is caused by infection with Salmonella typhi bacteria, passed in human feces and acquired by eating contaminated food or water.

WEATHER IN BHUTAN:
Bhutan lies in South Asia between China and India in the Himalayas, weather in Bhutan depends upon the altitude. In the northern parts of the country where mountains rise up to 7,000m, weather conditions are similar to arctic. Southwards, closer to India, the weather is hot and humid in the summer and cool in winter. The monsoon rains are usually heavy. Winters can be a good time to visit the lower parts, but then the highest areas are freezing.

The best times to visit Bhutan are spring (March-May) and autumn (late September – November) when the weather is warm, dry and sunny but always throw in a couple of warm clothes into your travelling gear when you travel to Bhutan regardless of the season.

WHAT TO WEAR AND BRING:
Layering Clothing
Bring your clothes according to the season and region of your travel. Based on your activity and the weather, you can make quick adjustments, by putting on more clothing if it is cold or taking off layers as it warms up. In the summer time, days can be quite warm, especially in the lowlands of Punakha and Phuentsholing, light cotton clothing is recommended for day time. But in most of the tourist and trekking areas, light woolen clothes for evenings and heavy woollens / down jackets for winter are necessary. A waterproof windbreaker is important for trekking and outdoor activities.
Comfortable and Sturdy shoes.
You have a lot of opportunity to walk around in Bhutan, you will be glad you wore sturdy shoes that keep your feet comfortable. Good shoes will let you explore the rural and allow you to have a long day walk. Bring sandals or slip ons to take off easily when entering temples.
Long pants / skirts
Wear particularly conservative clothing in the towns, women should wear long pants or long skirts, men should wear long pants and shorts are not appropriate for anyone. In the dzongs and temples, the legs and arms must be covered, and even threequarter-length capri pants are not acceptable for women.
Rain gear
Be prepared for occasional shower. A folding umbrella is a good idea to bring with.
Hat, Sunglass, Sunscreen & lip protection.
The sun can be scorching in Bhutan. Be sure to apply sunscreen in the morning and throughout your day.

Other requirements:
A quality sleeping bag.
Waterproof gators.
A headlamp torch and a normal torch. (Including spare batteries.)
Binoculars and Camera.
Small day pack.
Water bottle
Towel
Small medical kit that includes aspirin, motion sickness tablets, diamox.(The guide carries a larger Medical kit but please bring own travel medications)
Antiseptic hand gel for disinfecting hands without water.
Mini-flashlight

DIFFERENT CURRENCY ACCEPTED BY BHUTAN BANK:
Credit cards are accepted only in major international hotels and high-end shops in Bhutan.

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Jambay Lhakhang Drup Festival Tour

Trip Facts

  • Bhutan
  • 09 Nights/10 Days
  • Spring (March-May) & Autumn/fall (September-November)
  • Private vehicle
  • Easy
  • Paro, Bhutan
  • Paro, Bhutan
  • Attend festival/Sightseeing/Hiking
  • Festival & Sightseeing tour
  • Jambay Lhakhang Drup Festival, Taktsang Monastery 'Tiger's Nest', Punakha Dzong, Dochula pass, Trongsa Dzong, Bumthang
  • Government approved 3 stars and Above

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