|Days: 11 days/10 nights trip (3day trek)
Dept. Ex. KTM :Nov 7-17
Per Person Cost:
This special itinerary combines the finest low-level walk in Bhutan with the Black necked cranes have a special place in the culture and traditions of the Bhutanese people. Each winter these magnificent birds migrate to the Phobjikha Valley from the inhospitable Tibetan plateau. Their arrival is marked with a festival that promotes the importance of the conservation of these endangered species. Tourism is seen as having an important part to play in this conservation message.
Our trek begins in the Gangtey Valley from the Nyingmapa monastery at Gangtey Gompa and passes through beautiful meadows, and forests of juniper, magnolia and rhododendrons. If we are lucky we may glimpse the elusive red panda. We start this trek by a flight to Paro. The flight to Paro is one of the most spectacular in the world. Out of the left hand window you can see the most famous of Himalayan peaks – Everest, Makalu, Shishapangma, Nuptse, Lhotse, and once in Bhutan Jichu Drake and Chomalhari.
Black Necked Crane Festival
Paro airport resembles a dzong and is your introduction to the splendid architecture of Bhutan. Here you will pick up your visa and pay the fee of $ 20 before meeting our representative and driving to your hotel. We stay one night at the hotel.The next day we visit the famous Taktshang monastery. This is the famous Tiger's NestMonastery that is reached after a strenuous 2-3 hr climb from where the views are spectacular. We will take lunch at a cafeteria before returning to Paro and a visit to Paro Dzong. After one night at the hotel we drive to Thimpu and at afternoon we go for sightseeing.
In Thimphu we visit the Late King's Memorial Chorten, the National Library, the thangkha painting school, Drubthob monastery (nunnery at Zilukha) and Tashichodzong. We stay for the night at a hotel The next day we drive to punakha. The drive takes about 3 hours and crosses the 3100m high Dochu La. If the weather is clear there are wonderful Himalayan views from the pass. On the way to Punakha we will stop for the short walk to Chimi Lakhang. It is a pleasant 20min stroll through fields to the temple that occupies a commanding position in the centre of the valley. The temple has special significance due to its association with Lama Drukpa Kunley, one of the most popular saints in Bhutan. From here we proceed to Punakha and the imposing dzong. We stay at a hotel for the night.
From Punakha we drive through Wangdi before climbing to the glacial valley of Gangtey. We will take lunch at Gangtey Gompa before continuing to the head of the Phobjikha Valley where we will camp and look out for the black-necked cranes.The first Crane Festival was in 1998 and was very successful. The 2001/ 02 festival will be organized by the Phobjikha community with assistance from RSPN. All guests to this festival will be asked to pay USD 50.00 that will go towards the organizational costs and the development of the Phobjikha community.
The 2000 Festival was a huge success with over 70 Internationalguests in attendance.The local people areoptimistic that this year's festival will also be well attended and therefore contribute substantially to their economy, thus convincing them of the economic opportunities of Black Necked Crane conservation. 9:40 AM: is the National flag hoisting ceremony, then marching ceremony followed by a welcome address by the Chairman of the Phobjikha Community Committee. Then address by the Chief guest. March drill by the school children, cultural programs- Various folk and masked dances performed by the students and the local people, Archery, dart, and “Degor” competitions. In addition there will be many food and game stalls. In the evening there will be more time to watch for black-necked cranes.
The next day we go to Gangtey Gompa - Gogona, 15kms,6/7 hours. The trek begins. The trail winds up on a gentle climb through fields to ascend the Tselela pass at 3440m, where we stop for lunch. After lunch we descend gradually through forests of juniper, bamboo, rhododendrons and magnolia. A short climb then takes us to the village of Gogona whose occupants were originally nomads and speak a distinctive language. We camp at night. The next day we go to the Gogona – Khotokha, 16kms, 6 / 7 hours. The day begins with a long but gentle climb to Shobjula pass at 3410m. The trail then descends to the wide valley of Khotokha, the home of the people of Sha. We camp here at night.The next morning we go to Khotokha – 12kms, 5 hours. A short ascent leads to Tashila pass at 2800m before descending through a beautiful forest that is abundant with bird-life. The trek finishes by the bridge over the Tang Chhu from where it is a short walk to the Dragon Nest Hotel. The next day we go to Paro from Wangdi. We have a leisurely start to arrive at Thimphu in time for lunch. After lunch there is free time to explore the town and visit the handicraft emporium and then drive to Paro for 2 hours. Then stay for the night at hotel.
Day 1 : Arrive Paro
Day 2 : Paro-excursion to Taktshang
Day 3 : Thimpu (sightseeing)
Day 4 : Thimpu-Punakha
Day 5 : Punakha-Phobjikha
Day 6 : Black necked crane festival
Day 7 : Gangtey Gompa-Gogona
Day 8 : Gogona-Khotokha
Day 9 : Khotokha-Chuzomsa/ Wangdiphodrang
Day 10 : Wangdi-Paro
Day 11 : Departure