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November, 2017 Jambay Lakhang Festival Trek and Tour

This program provides an insider’s view of Bhutan including visits to BCF teachers in the field, receptions, private dinners and special access to sites across the country.

Dates: November 1- 10, 2017 (November 1-12 with optional Owl trek extension)*

Highlights: Paro, Tiger’s Nest, Thimphu, Punakha Valley, Jambay Lakhang Tshechu, school visits, private receptions, special access to historic sights.

This exclusive adventure travel trip to Bhutan will create memories to last a lifetime.

Dates:  November 1-10th, 2017*

Highlights: Trekking, white water rafting, Bhutanese designer’s atelier, school visits, private receptions, special access to historic sights.

Program Fee: $5,900, per person; contact andrea@bhutancanada.org or call (647) 233 – 6607 for details*

What’s Included:

  • Return airfare from transit city into and out of Paro International Airport
  • All meals and accommodation at 5 Star Hotels on twin-sharing basis
  • All land costs including private SUV driver’s and a professional guide
  • Visa fees
  • Government tariff

What’s Not Included:

  • International airfare to transit city (eg., Singapore, Kathmandu)
  • Laundry
  • Telephone calls
  • Beverages
  • Shopping
  • Tipping

In Country Itinerary*:

Day One

Land in Paro, a town situated in one of the most historic valleys in Bhutan. Paro Valley is known as the “rice bowl” of the kingdom because it produces everything from red rice to wheat, millet, potatoes, apples and seasonal vegetables.   You will be met at the Paro airport in Bhutan by your guide.  Drive to Thimphu, the capital city of Bhutan.   Thimphu is both the political and economic centre of Bhutan, with the most important political buildings in Bhutan, including the National Assembly of the newly formed parliamentary democracy and Dechencholing Palace, the official residence of the King.  Settle in to your hotel, The Druk, and spend the afternoon touring Thimphu,  participating in a gentle hike to Buddha Dordenma, a giant bronze Buddha statue that overlooks Thimphu city.

Day Two

Explore Thimphu, with visits to the Folk Heritage Museum, the Textile Museum, and the National Memorial Chorten.   In the afternoon enjoy a gentle hike through the woods above Thimphu. In the evening enjoy a dinner and reception with special guests from the Bhutanese cultural communities.

Day Three

Depart Thimphu in the morning and drive to Punakha, stopping to visit Simtokha Dzong and Dochula Pass along the way. Before descending from Docuhula Pass into the Punakha valley you will be treated to your first views of the Tibetan Plateau.   After lunch, enjoy whitewater rafting past the Punakha Dzong (also known as the ‘Palace of Happiness’)   This Dzong, which we will tour that afternoon, is the most beautiful and well-known fortress in all of Bhutan.   In the evening you will dine with local BCF teachers who work in the Punakha valley.  Stay at the Meri Puensum resort

Day Four

Tour a local school where one of our BCF teachers is hard at work; attend morning assembly, sit in on a class, and meet with students and school faculty. In the afternoon, drive on to  Trongsa.

Day Five

Drive to Chamkhar, and enjoy an afternoon hiking the Tang valley.

Day Six

Attend Jambay Lhakang Festival. One of the most spectacular festivals in the country, the highlight of the festival is the fire ritual that is held in the evening where crowds gather to witness the ritualistic naked dance.

Day Seven

Enjoy a gentle day hike through the beautiful Chumey valley.

Day Eight

For those who are not doing the Owl Trek- fly to Paro, Stay at Le Meridien, Paro.

Day Nine

Hike to Tiger’s Nest Monastery, Bhutan’s most revered temple which is perched on a rocky cliff above the Paro Valley. That evening, enjoy a farewell dinner or fellowship.  Celebratory Farewell dinner.Second night at le Meridien, Paro.

Day Ten

Depart Paro.

Owl Trek Alternative

Day Eight November 8

Menchugang to Schonath. 10kms, 6-7 hours, 550m ascent.     Drive to Menchugang 2,900m and visit the biggest village of Dhur in Bumthang at an elevation of 2,900m. The village consists of about 75 households with a recorded population of around 800 people. The single village has three types of inhabitants, the Kheps (tax payers) having cattle and farmland, Brokpas (nomads) having yaks and a third group having either. This village has two different dialects, the usual Bumthangkha and Brok ked (nomadic dialect). A walk above the village to get an overall view of the village is interesting. After visiting the village descent down to the river crossing it on a suspension bridge and up to the road where the trail takes a left turn following a stream gradually uphill through pine forest, bamboo, and finally fir trees just below the camp. Camp altitude 3,450m, overnight at camp.

Day Nine – November 9

Scho-nath to Kitiphu. 8kms, 5-6 hours, 420m ascent. Hardly any descent.  The trail climbs on the other side of the camp on the left making small turns through rhododendrons, fir spruce and hemlock and birch. Bamboos are the main undergrowth of this wild forest. Rhododendrons are in bloom during the months of April and May. It takes roughly about two hours to the pass at Drangela 3,600m. Then the trail is gradual with little descents till a yak herders camp, where the trail starts to climb to Kitiphu quite steeply. Camp altitude 3,870m, overnight at camp.

Day Ten- November 10

Kitiphu to Tharpaling 5.5kms, 3-4hours, 10m ascent, 770 descent.  After breakfast hike up to the top of the Kitiphu ridge 4,000m to get a glance of the Highest Unclimbed Peak, Gangkar Puensum 7,541. From the top there are great views of the Gyetsa valley under Chumey and Dhur village under the Chokhor valley. After your pictures, descend to the main trail and through a pass from where Tharpaling is visible. From the pass there is a trail going to Lamey Goemba over the Kikila pass, ending at Jakar.  Spend the night in Jakar.

Day Eleven – November 11

Drive to Paro, stay at le Meridian, Paro

Day Twelve – November 12

Hike to Tiger’s Nest Monastery, Bhutan’s most revered temple which is perched on a rocky cliff above the Paro Valley. That evening, enjoy a farewell dinner or fellowship.  Second night at le Meridien, Paro.

Day Thirteen

Depart Paro.

*Subject to change.

For more information or to book travel, please contact Elizabeth Shelton at elizabeth@bhutancanada.org or call (647) 233 – 6607.