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  • Mask Dancers of Haa Summer Festival, Bhutan
  • Paro Taktsang or Tiger's Nest, Bhutan.
  • Haa Summer Festival Ground, Bhutan.

8 Days Haa Summer Festival And Western Bhutan Tour

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8 Days 7 Nights
Availability : Annually in July
Paro International Airport
Paro International Airport
Tour Details

Sandwiched between the two giants of South Asia, there lies a tiny magical Kingdom tucked away in the eastern Himalayan mountains. Explore and find out what brings smiles to the faces of the people of Bhutan, the only carbon negative country in the world. A country known for founding Gross National Happiness (GNH), a development philosophy that measures well-being not only of its citizens but of all its inhabitants.

On this 8 Days 7 Nights adventure through the hearts of four western districts of Bhutan, you will witness celebration of traditional living-culture, nomadic lifestyles of Bhutanese people living in high altitudes, traditional sports, sacred mask dances and get to taste a unique local cuisine. Explore rural villages and magnificent fortresses and climb to the most recognized iconic landmark in Bhutan, the Taktsang monastery perched on a sheer 800 meters rock cliff. Delve yourself into the soaring Himalayan peaks and rich ancient Buddhist culture and discover happiness.

Trip Highlights
  • Witness a lively festival and get insights about Bhutan’s nomadic yak herders and taste their exotic foods.
  • Visit some of the oldest temples in Bhutan complemented by exhilarating hike to 8th century sacred site where Bhutan’s iconic landmark, 17th century Paro Taktsang or Tiger’s Nest is located.
  • Explore the hearts of four western districts including the capital city and delve into rich Buddhist culture and find inner peace.
  • Discover what brings smiles to the faces of the people living in this bastion of the Buddhist Kingdom.

Departure & Return Location

Paro International Airport, Bhutan

Tour Dates

Annually in July

Trip Cost

Only low season tariff applies as this tour runs annually in July.
US$1720– for single person traveller
US$1650per person – for a couple or group of 2 people
US$1440 per person – for a group of 3 people or more

Price Includes

  • Visa Fee of US$40
  • Sustainable Development Fee (SDF) of US$65 per person per night to the Royal Government of Bhutan
  • Surcharge of U$40 per night for a single person traveller
  • Surcharge of US$30 per night per person for a couple/two person travellers
  • All meals - Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
  • 7 Nights Hotel Accommodation on a twin sharing basis (double occupancy)
  • Round trip airport transfers
  • Dedicated land transport with driver for the entire duration of your trip within Bhutan
  • English speaking Licensed Tour Guide. Guides speaking other languages can be arranged at additional fee.
  • All internal taxes

Price Excludes

  • All Airfares - Both domestic and international. We can arrange domestic airfare and international airfare to and from Bhutan at no additional cost. You just have to take care of the connecting flights.
  • Travel Insurance
  • Emergency evacuation
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Laundry services, telephone call charges
  • Supplemental charges of US$30 per night if you opt for a single room occupancy
  • Premium accommodation in a 4-Star hotel and above
  • Cultural shows that require advance arrangement
  • Tips to Guides and Drivers
  • Any other personal expenses

Complementaries

  • Entrance Fees to parks, museums and other national monuments
  • Mineral water
  • Light snacks between meals
Itinerary - 8 Days 7 Nights
All tour services we provide are independent with flexible itineraries which can be customized to suit your interest and requirement.

Day 1Arrive Paro International Airport - Sightseeing in Paro

Paro Altitude 2,195 meters (7,200 ft)

You will arrive at Paro International Airport, usually in the morning, by either Drukair or Bhutan Airlines. On the way, if the weather is clear enough you will see Great Himalayan mountain ranges. As you enter Bhutanese airspace and soon approach Paro valley, you would already notice the green mountainous landscapes and Paro river snaking down the valley.

After arrival, your visa will be stamped on your passport at the immigration counter. You will be received by our guide and driver at the exit gate. If your arrival time is way earlier than the hotel check-in time, we will visit one or two places of interest within Paro town. Otherwise, you’ll be heading straight to the hotel. Your guide and driver will assist you to check into the hotel so that you can relax for a while and then have lunch, your first taste of Bhutanese cuisine.

Visit National Museum of Bhutan (Ta Dzong)

The National Museum of Bhutan is located in Paro just above the Rinpung Dzong (administrative headquarter of Paro district). It is housed in an ancient watch tower called Paro Ta Dzong (Ta Dzong means “watch tower fortress”) built in 1649. It displays hundreds of ancient Bhutanese artifacts and artworks including traditional costumes, armour, weaponry and handcrafted implements for daily life. The collection at the National Museum preserves a snap-shot of the rich cultural traditions of the country. This unique ancient watch tower was converted into the National Museum in 1968.

Visit Paro Rinpung Dzong (Fortress of the Heap of Jewels)

Paro Rinpung Dzong (Rinpung Dzong means “fortress of the heap of jewels”) was built by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel in 1646 and established as the administrative and monastic centre of the western region. Today, the Dzong serves as the office of the governor of Paro district and head of the district monk body in Paro.

A great annual festival known as Paro Tsechu is held in Rinpung Dzong from the eleventh to the fifteenth day of the second month of the traditional Bhutanese lunar calendar (usually in March or April of the Gregorian calendar). On this occasion, holy images are taken in a procession followed by a series of traditional mask dances conveying religious stories which are performed by monks for five days.

After visiting the Dzong, take a short walk to the traditional wooden cantilever bridge called Nemeyzampa, where your driver will be waiting for you. The roofed wooden cantilever bridge is built in a traditional style and this type bridges are called Bazam.

Note: The coverage of excursion on your first day will depend on your flight arrival time. If you arrive in the morning, you should be able to visit all of the sites listed above.

(Lunch, Dinner)

Overnight at the hotel in Paro.

Hotels:
Tashi Namgay Resort in Paro - Bhutan Acorn Tours & Travel
Tashi Namgay Resort
Olathang Hotel in Paro - Bhutan Acorn Tours & Travel
Olathang Hotel
Khangku Resort in Paro - Bhutan Acorn Tours & Travel
Khangku Resort

Day 2Paro / Haa Valley

Road Distance Via Chelela 60km
Transportation Private SUV/Minivan/Bus
Driving Time Normally 2 hours
Haa Altitude 2,670 m (8,760 ft)

After breakfast drive to the valley of Haa, home to the two most sacred temples in the valley – Lhakhang Karpo (white temple) and Lhakhang Nagpo (black temple). En route, hike to the Kila Gonpa Nunnery built on a steep cliff face and is home to dozens of Buddhist nuns and see the spectacular views of Paro valley and surrounding Himalayan mountains. Hike little farther up and then come to Chelela Pass, the highest motorable road in Bhutan at 3,800 meters (12,500 ft).

Hike to Kila Gonpa Nunnery

Enroute to Haa, we will hike to the Kila Gonpa Nunnery built on the face of a steep cliff. The nunnery is home to dozens of Buddhist nuns. On a clear day, you can enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding Himalayan mountains. From there hike little farther up and follow the ridge to reach Chelela Pass, along the way get spectacular views of both Paro and Haa valley.

Chelela Pass at 12,500ft above sea level

Chelela is the highest motorable mountain pass at an altitude of 3,800 meters above sea level. It is about one and a half hour drive from the main town of Paro. We will spend sometime hoisting prayer flags which you can buy from one of the shops in Paro town, enjoy the spectacular views of the surrounding mountains. The air is thin and fresh at this altitude. On a clear day, you can view beautiful surrounding mountains like Mt. Jomolhari.

After spending sometime exploring the pass, continue driving to Haa. As you descend on the winding roads through the forests of blue pine, oak and fir trees you will see the grand view of Haa valley. Upon arrival in Haa, head towards Lhakhang Karpo (white temple) and Lhakhang Nagpo (black temple).

Visit Lhakhang Karpo

Lhakhang Karpo (White Temple) was built in the 7th century by Tibetan king Songtsen Gempo in his mission to build 108 monasteries in order to propagate Buddhism. He built Lhakhang Karpo and Lhakhang Nagpo in the Haa Valley. According to a legend, a black and white pigeon were released to select sites to build the temples.
These two temples stand as the guardian sentinels keeping watch at the south entrance of the valley. The white pigeon landed on the foothills of the three mountains called Rig Sum Gonpo and is where the Lhakhang stands today.
The temple was named Karpo (white) as it was built on the site where the white pigeon landed.

Visit Lhakhang Nagpo

Located in Dumchoe village, the monastery was established in the 7th century by King Songtsen Gampo in his mission to build 108 monasteries in one day. It is situated towards the north of Lhakhang Karpo. Legend has it that King Songtsen Gampo released a black and a white pigeon to select sites to build the temples. The black pigeon landed a little north of the white pigeon, indicating the preordained site of the present Lhakhang Nagpo. The temple was named Nagpo (black) as it was built on the site where the black pigeon landed. Built on a lake; an opening in the floor of the temple serves as the channel to the underground lake. Lhakhang Nagpo serves as the seat for the guardian deity Da Do Chen.

(Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Overnight at the hotel in Haa.

Day 3Full Day in Haa - Witness Haa Summer Festival

Haa Altitude 2,670 m (8,760 ft)

After breakfast, drive to the festival ground to witness and mingle among the local people at Haa Summer Festival. The Haa summer festival is a lively and uplifting celebration of traditional living-culture, nomadic lifestyles, unique Bhutanese cuisine, traditional sports and religious performances. It provides unparalleled insight into the lives and traditions of Bhutan’s nomadic herders. It displays a lively traditional living culture, nomadic life styles, demonstration of local cuisines, brewing of local ara, traditional sports, religious performances, dances, songs, artifacts and natural alpine flowers.

If you book this trip at least a month in advance, we can arrange a farm stay in one of the family farmhouses so that you can get a glimpse of rural life in Bhutan and enjoy the hospitality of the local people of Haa Valley. Farmstays are very popular at this time so we suggest you to booking much in advance.

Things to See and Do on the Festival Day

The Yaks and Their Utilization: Yaks are the primary livelihood of the people living a nomadic lifestyles at high altitudes in Bhutan for it gives milk and dairy products, fiber and meat, and yaks are heavy weights as beasts of burden. Watch as skilled local craftsmen weave yak hair into their traditional tents. Learn about the traditional arts of yak shearing and wool-making.
See how yak dairy products are transformed into delicious traditional meals that showcase the culinary traditions

Food, A Taste of Tradition: Sample the delicious Haapi Hoentoe, a dumpling which is made on by the people of Haa valley. It is made from buckwheat and stuffed with fragrant grated turnip, dried turnip greens, mushrooms, garlic, onions and chopped cabbage seasoned with ginger, ground walnut, chilli-powder, salt, butter, sesame and poppy seeds. Among the many tantalizing and exotic local food, the regional twist on the fiery national dish Ema Datsi (Ema means ‘Chilli’ and Datsi means ‘Cheese’) is also highly recommended. This variation of Ema Datsi uses yak cheese in place of regular dairy adding a delicious new dimension to the flavor of this classic dish.

Song and Dance: Come enjoy the lively folk songs and mask dances in this celebration of a timeless culture. Experience the long and sonorous Haapi Ausa, traditional songs extolling the virtue of their yaks that are typically sung while tending the animals.

Sports: Join in the competition and engage in the local sports such as Archery, Yak and Horse riding, Khuru darts), Soksum (light javelin throwing). These lively contests are energetic affairs accompanied by much laughter, singing and friendly taunts.

(Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Overnight at Hotel OR Farmstay in Haa

Day 4Haa / Thimphu

Distance 112 km
Driving Time Less than 4 hours
Thimphu Altitude 2, 334 (7,660 ft)

After hearty breakfast, drive to Thimphu via Dobji Dzong, a 16th century fortress and pass through some villages before we arrive at the Chhuzom (confluence) where the Paro river meets Thimphu river. The two rivers form Wang Chhu and flows southward and is the major river running two hydroelectric power plants. Chhuzom is not only a river confluence but also a major road junction from where the road diverts to Paro, Thimphu, Haa and Phuentsholing in the south. After Chhuzom the road follows Thimphu river upstream.

On arrival at Thimphu, check into your hotel and then settle down for lunch.


Visit Bhutan Postal Museum

After lunch, we will begin half day sightseeing around Thimphu city by first visiting Bhutan Post Office which located in the heart of the city in the same building as Bhutan National Bank so you can also exchange your money into local currency if you wish.

The Postal Service in Bhutan was first launched in 1962 with the opening of a post office in Phuentsholing, a town in the south bordering with India. The Postal Museum was opened in 2015 to exhibit the story of Bhutan’s progress and development of communications and postal system in the country. If you are interested in philatelic products and stamp collection, they have a good collection of stamps, First Day Covers and stamp albums.

Visit Royal Textile Academy & Museum

Weaving is an integral component of the culture and tradition of Bhutan. With rapid development and exposure to the western culture, the art of weaving and production of its own handwoven textile is declining fast. To preserve and promote this living art, Her Majesty Queen Mother Sangay Choden Wanchuck established the Royal Textile Academy of Bhutan in 2005 as a non-profit organization. Given the important role it plays in preserving and promoting our unique culture and tradition, The Royal Textile Academy was registered as a Civil Society Organization in 2011.

The Textile Museum showcases collection of artifacts to impart understanding of Bhutan’s rich textile traditions and way of life. The Museum consists of two galleries – The upper gallery which has a permanent display of the various types of textile weaves in the country and the lower gallery that displays temporary exhibitions on special themes.

Visit Tashichho Dzong – Open to visitors only after 5PM

Tashichho DzongDzong means Fortress in national language of Bhutan, Dzongkha, which means “Fortress of the Glorious Religion” is opened to visitors only after 5PM during working days and from 9AM to 5PM on weekends. The original Dzong, known as Dho Ngon Dzong was built in 1216 A.D. by Lama Gyalwa Lhanangpa on a location where Dechen Phodrang monastery stands today. It was acquired by Zhabdrung Ngawang NamgyelZhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel was a Tibetan Buddhist master who came to Bhutan in 1616 and unified Bhutan as a nation state in 1641 and renamed it as Tashichho Dzong. The original Dzong was destroyed by fire in 1771 and then relocated to the present location. The Dzong suffered several earthquakes and fires and was subsequently renovated and new structures added by successive rulers.

It was late His Majesty King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck who renovated and enlarged the entire Dzong to its present form in 1962 over the period of six years. The magnificent architectural feat was achieved using traditional method without any blueprint plans or nails. It houses the Secretariat and offices of the King, the Throne Room, Ministry of Home and Cultural Affairs, Ministry of Finance and Central Monastic Body.

(Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Overnight at the hotel in Thimphu

Hotels:
Hotel Amodhara in Thimphu - Bhutan Acorn Tours & Travel
Hotel Amodhara
City Hotel in Thimphu - Bhutan Acorn Tours & Travel
City Hotel
Tara Phendeyling Hotel in Thimphu - Bhutan Acorn Tours & Travel
Tara Phendeyling Hotel

Day 5Thimphu / Punakha

Distance 74 km
Driving Time 3 hours
Transportation Private SUV/Minivan/Bus
Punakha Altitude 1,200 meters (3,930 ft)

Today, after early breakfast, we will drive to Punakha Valley via beautiful Dochu La Pass. Before we embark on a 74km road journey which takes less than 3 hours under normal road condition, we will pay a short visit to the National Memorial Choeten, Buddha Point and pray for our safe journey ahead. Enroute, we will visit Chime Lhakhang, a late 16th century temple and finally end the day after visiting the historic and most beautiful Punakha Dzong.

Visit National Memorial Chorten

The National Memorial Chorten is a Buddhist Stupa built in 1974 in memory of the Late Third King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck who passed away in 1972. It is one of the important landmark in Thimphu. People from all walks of life comes here to pray and circumambulate and it is a good opportunity for you to observe how Bhutanese people devote themselves to daily prayers and take refuge in the teachings of the Lord Buddha.

Visit Buddha Point – Buddha Dordhenma Statue

The marvelous 169 feet tall bronze statue of Lord Buddha is located on a hilltop, Kuensel Phodrang, overlooking the Thimphu valley. From here you can see a nice view of Thimphu city. It was built to celebrate the 60th birth anniversary of the Fourth King His Majesty Jigme Singye Wangchuck and also for the purpose of bringing peace in the world . The giant Buddha statue houses more than 100,000 8-inch tall Buddha statues of same type. The construction began in 2006 and was completed in 2015 after almost 10 years. The total cost of the entire project is well over US$100 million. We then start our journey toward Punakha.

Enroute, stop at Dochu La Pass – 3,150 meters (10,330 ft) above sea level

About 45 min drive from Thimphu towards Punakha is a mountain pass at an altitude of 3,150 meters above sea level from where you can see, on a clear day, some of the highest peaks of Bhutan. Before the construction of these beautiful 108 Druk Wangyal Choetens (stupas) in 2004, this mountain pass remained only as a sacred place blessed by a famous Buddhist saint, Lam Drukpa Kuenley in late 15th century. Her Majesty Queen mother Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck built these 108 stupas in memory of the fallen soldiers in a 2003 battle which was personally led by our Fourth King, His Majesty Jigme Singye Wangchuck, against ULFA/BODO militants from neighbouring Indian state of Assam who camped illegally inside Bhutanese territory along the southern belt and refused to leave the country peacefully. There is also a temple called Druk Wangyal Lhakhang (temple) on a nearby hilltop built in honour of His Majesty the Fourth King. The past and future appears to merge in the details of the lhakhang (temple) and its structure tells the story of a supreme warrior figure, whose vision pierces the distant future in a fine blend of history and mythology. There is a nice cafeteria from where you can relax and view the surrounding mountains.

After a light snack and tea at Dochula Pass, we will continue driving towards Punakha, passing through some villages, the elevation drops gradually and the road winds through the pine trees. As you reach the lower valley, you will feel the drastic change in altitude from 3,150m just an hour and a half ago to 1,200m. Lunch will be served at Lobesa, a small town where a road tri-junction is located leading to Thimphu, Punakha, Wangdue Phodrang and further to the eastern and southern Bhutan.

Visit Chhime Lhakhang – Temple of Fertility

After lunch, we will do a 20 – 30 minutes walk to the famous temple called Chime Lhakhang through terraced paddy fields and farm houses.

Chime Lhakhang is located on a gentle hilltop near the village of Sopsokha. The site offers a panoramic view of the Punatsangchu river and Wandue Phodrang town.

Lama Drukpa Kuenley built a small black stupa on this hilltop to mark the burial site of demons whom he managed to subdue after chasing all the way from Dochula Pass, where the demons were terrorizing the travellers. This black stupa can be seen even today just outside of the main temple. It was Lama Ngawang Chogyel, the younger brother of Lama Drukpa Kuenley, who built the present temple in 1499 A.D.

Lama Drukpa Kuenley was a Tibetan Buddhist Master who travelled extensively in western and central Bhutan exercising his holy powers to subdue devils and liberate people from suffering during the late 15th century and early 16th century A.D. He was known as “Divine Madman” for his obscene behavior and outrageous ways of cleansing people from religious dogmatism and egoistic self-possession by exhibiting his strong desire for sex. He would often use his desire, emotion, and sexuality to arouse disillusionment, insight and delight in all he encountered. He would often use phallus as a tool to subdue malevolent spirits. Using the phallus was also intended to free up the social inhibitions enforced by the socially established values.

Today, one of the relics of Chime Lhakhang is a phallus. The blessing of the phallus is considered sacred particularly to women who are unable to conceive a child as it brings fertility to women, giving them ability to bear offspring. Because of this belief, people like to call Chhime Lhakhang as “Temple of Fertility”.

Married couples who are unable to conceive a child often come to this temple seeking blessings from the Divine Madman. As much as it sounds ‘too good to be true’, there are many stories of happy couples who are blessed with child after visiting the temple.

Visit the historic Punakha Dzong

Drive further towards Punakha town for about 30 mins and visit the historic Punakha Dzong which was originally known as Pungthang Dechen Phodrang, meaning the “Palace of Great Bliss”. It was built in 1637 A.D. by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel (Tibetan Buddhist master who came to Bhutan in 1616 and founded nation-state of Bhutan) on a small stretch of land where the rivers Phochu and Mochu converge. Punakha Dzong is the second oldest and second largest Dzong in Bhutan. The Dzong served as the administrative centre and the seat of the Government of Bhutan until 1955, when the capital was shifted to Thimphu. Punakha Dzong displays exquisite and intricate Bhutanese architecture and it is the most beautiful dzong in Bhutan.

Today, it serves as the office of the governor and head of the monk body in Punakha district. It is also the winter residence of the Chief Abbot of Bhutan, Je Khenpo. During the winter months from November to April, the Je Khenpo along with the central monk body moves from Thimphu and resides in Punakha Dzong and moves back to Thimphu Tashichho Dzong during the summer. This tradition of maintaining a summer and winter residence was first introduced by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel himself in the 17th century and the tradition is still practiced to this day.

A great annual festival called Punakha Tsechu dedicated to Guru Padmasambhava (the saint who brought Buddhism to Bhutan in the 8th century A.D.) and Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel is held at the Dzong. Punakha Tsechu or religious festival is conducted from the tenth day of the first month of the traditional Bhutanese Lunar calendar which usually falls sometime during the month of February or March on the western calendar. People from far flung villages and other districts come to attend the sacred festival.

Leisure time in the town. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Overnight at a hotel in Punakha.

Hotels:
Hotel Lobesa in Punakha - Bhutan Acorn Tours & Travel
Hotel Lobesa
Meri Puensum Resort in Punakha - Bhutan Acorn Tours & Travel
Meri Puensum Resort
Hotel Vara  in Punakha - Bhutan Acorn Tours & Travel
Hotel Vara

Day 6Punakha / Paro

Distance Approx. 128km
Driving Time 4 hours
Transportation Private SUV/Minivan/Bus
Paro Altitude 2,195 meters (7,200 ft)

Today, before we drive back to Paro valley, we will do 2-hour return hike to Khamsum Yulley Namgyel Choeten a Buddhist temple built on the beautiful mountain ridge overlooking the fertile valley of Punakha. Enroute to Paro, visit the oldest Dzong in Bhutan built by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel in 1631.

Hike to Khamsum Yulley Namgyel Choeten

After breakfast, hike to Khamsum Yuelley Namgyel Choeten. Located on a ridge overlooking the picturesque Punakha valley, this wonderful Buddhist structure is a fine example of Bhutanese architecture used in building temples, monasteries and Zangdogpelri (Zangdogpelri means “copper coloured mountain”, a multi-storeyed temple dedicated to Guru Rinpoche is a Buddhist tantric master “who brought Buddhism to Bhutan in the 8th century A.D.Guru Rinpoche). It was built over a period of almost 10 years under the patronage of Ashi Tshering Yangdon Wangchuck, one of the Grand Queen Mothers of Bhutan and was consecrated in 1999.

It takes only about 20 minutes drive from the main town of Punakha to the nearest road point. From there you cross a suspension bridge over the Punakha Mochu River (female river) and the trail takes you through paddy fields. Normally it takes just under one hour to reach the serene site of the marvelous choeten. The view below is stunning with glacial fed Mochu river snaking through the fertile Punakha valley.

Enroute visit Simtokha Dzong

After driving for about 74km, we will stop at the outskirt of Thimphu and visit Simtokha Dzong which is built strategically on a ridge overlooking the Thimphu valley. The Simtokha Dzong is significant not only because it was the first Dzong built by Zhangdrung Ngawang Namgyel but also stands on the borders of three major regions: Thimphu, Paro and Wangdue Phodrang. Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel built this Dzong in 1631 to consolidate his rule over the western Bhutan. Simtokha Dzong is considered as the oldest Dzong in Bhutan.

One of the main statues inside the Simtokha Dzong is the statue of Buddha of Compassion. Legend has it that fortunate visitors are able to see a light shining forth from the chest of the Buddha. The Dzong has more than three hundred slate carvings from the 17th century. Recently, His Majesty the 5th King donated statue of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel which wasn’t there initially.

We will continue to drive towards Paro, on arrival check into hotel and relax or take a free stroll in the town.

(Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Overnight at a hotel in Paro.

Hotels:
Tashi Namgay Resort in Paro - Bhutan Acorn Tours & Travel
Tashi Namgay Resort
Olathang Hotel in Paro - Bhutan Acorn Tours & Travel
Olathang Hotel
Khangku Resort in Paro - Bhutan Acorn Tours & Travel
Khangku Resort

Day 7Full Day in Paro - Hike to Taktsang Monastery (Tiger's Nest)

Hiking Time
both ways
4 hours
Paro Taktsang Altitude 3,120 meters (10, 236 ft)

Today, on the last day of your trip, you will be going on an excursion to the famed Taktsang Monastery and later in the afternoon visit one of the farm houses in Paro and indulge in a much needed relaxing spa – hot stone bath.

Hike to Taktsang Monastery at 10,240 feet above the sea level

Taktsang monastery is located on a sheer 800-meter rocky cliff in Paro. It normally takes about 2 hours to reach the monastery from the nearest road point. It is the most popular tourist attraction in Bhutan.

Taktsang, or the Tiger’s Lair (people prefer to call Tiger’s Nest), is regarded as one of the most important monasteries in Bhutan. Its history is associated with the visit of Guru Padmasambhava (known as Guru Rinpoche), the Indian saint who came to Bhutan and introduced Tantric Buddhism in the 8th century A.D. It is believed that Guru Padmasambhava flew into the cave from Kurtoe Singye Dzong in eastern Bhutan, riding on a tigress.

Taktsang is not only a sacred site visited by Guru Rinpoche but was also visited and blessed by many other renowned Buddhist masters; Langchen Pelgi Singye – one of the 25 disciples of Guru Rinpoche in the 8th century, Jitsun Milarepa – famous 11th century yogi, Phajo Drugom Zhigpo – 13th century saint who brought Drukpa school of Tibetan Buddism to Bhutan, Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel – the founder of nation-state of Bhutan in the 17th century, Desi Tenzin Rabgay – the fourth administrative ruler of unified Bhutan in the 17th century.

It was fourth Desi Tenzin Rabgay who built the Taktsang monastery in 1692. However, the monastery you see today is not the original structure. It was destroyed by fire in 1998. His Majesty Jigme Singye Wangchuck, the fourth King initiated and personally supervised the reconstruction of Taktsang monastery to its former glory. It was completed and consecrated in 2005.

Inside on of the temple is a Choeten, a Buddhist stupa built in memory of Langchen Pelgi Singye and holds his sacred body relic. It is believed that the Choeten fulfill wishes if you pray with pure devotion.

Lunch at Taksang Cafeteria

Visit 7th century Buddhist monastery – Kyichu Lhakhang

After visiting Taktsang monastery and a sumptuous lunch at Taktsang cafeteria, hike downhill to the road point where your driver will be waiting. From there we will visit Kyichu Lhakhang (Lhakhang means “temple”), which is located just a few minutes drive from the main town of Paro, is one of the oldest monasteries in Bhutan. It is believed to have been built in 659 A.D. by the Tibetan King Songtsen Gampo.

According to the legend, spirit of a giant demoness lay spread across Tibet and Bhutan causing obstruction to the propagation of Buddhism. In order to subdue this demoness, King Songtsen Gampo was required to built 108 temples across the affected region. Kyichu Lhakhang, built to pin down the left foot of the giant demoness, is one of the two temples that were built in Bhutan. The other is called Jambay Lhakhang located in the district of Bumthang in central Bhutan and was built to pin down the left knee. Both the temples were believed to have been built overnight.

The old temple is known as Jowo Lhakhang and holds the original 7th century Jowo Jampa Statue in its inner chapel. Jowo Jampa is a Tibetan term for Buddha Maitreya, the Future Buddha. The outer hall of the Jowo Lhakhang houses the statue of Chenrizig, the God of Compassion Avalokiteshara.

Next to the Jowo Lhakhang is Guru Lhakhang which was built by Her Royal Grandmother Ashi Ashi Kesang Choden Wangchuck in 1971 and houses the statue of Guru Padmasambhava. Inside this temple is also a statue of her spiritual root teacher His Holiness Dilgo Khentse Rinpoche, a highly accomplished Buddhist master who passed away in 1992. Many important religious annual rites are conducted here at Kyichu Lhakhang under the patronage of Her Royal Grandmother.

Visit a Farm House and relax in the hot stone bath

Visit one of the beautiful farm houses in Paro and experience the traditional Bhutanese way of life. If you are interested, you can indulge in a traditional hot stone bath for an additional fee. Specially selected stones are heated in a wood-fired fireplace. The bath tub is made of wood and a medicinal shrub is added to the hot bath. You can enjoy locally brewed warm liquor known as Ara while soaking in the relaxing bath.

Later in the evening, delicious dinner of authentic Bhutanese cuisine will be served.

(Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Overnight at the hotel in Paro.

Hotels:
Tashi Namgay Resort in Paro - Bhutan Acorn Tours & Travel
Tashi Namgay Resort
Olathang Hotel in Paro - Bhutan Acorn Tours & Travel
Olathang Hotel
Khangku Resort in Paro - Bhutan Acorn Tours & Travel
Khangku Resort

Day 8Departure from Paro

After breakfast, you will be transferred to the Paro Internatioal Airport for your onward journey. Your guide will assist you to complete all exit formalities before you check-in.

(Breakfast)

Add-on Options

All tour services we provide are independent with flexible itineraries which can be customized to suit your interest and requirement. You can form a group to get discounts. Apart from the predesigned packages which have proven successful, Bhutan Acorn Tours & Travel can also arrange the following add-on activities to enrich your experiences in Bhutan. These activities can be fitted into any tour itineraries. 

  • A short discourse on Gross National Happiness (GNH) by a renowned scholar
  • Astrology chart by qualified Buddhist Astrologer
  • Recitation of prayers by monks/nuns at a monastery/temple to remove obstacles and clear path (Barched Lamsel)
  • Wedding ceremony in traditional Bhutanese style
  • Dinner and cultural show (Folk dances and Sacred mask dances)
  • Archery – the national sports of Bhutan
  • Massage and Spa/Hot Stone Bath
  • Yoga & Meditation
  • Cooking lessons

Please note that some of the activities may involve extra fees.

Cancellaton & Refund Policy

All your deposits and any payment less administrative fees of US$100 per person will be refunded if you notify us at least 30 days prior to your arrival date. Refer the cancellation fee schedule below to determine the applicable charges:

DAYS TO ARRIVAL CANCELLATION CHARGES PER PERSON
30+ US$100 administrative fee per person
16-29 20% of the total cost
8-15 50% of the total cost
0-7 days No refund is available
Curtailment

In case the trip is cut short or duration lost due to unforeseen reasons after arrival in Bhutan, no refund is available as the payment would have been already made to hotels and other logistics.

Delayed arrival or departure

There shall be no charges for the number of days of delay either during arrivals or departures or both, due to weather conditions, communication problems, cancellation or delay in Bhutanese airline flights, sickness or any other legitimate reason as Tourism Council of Bhutan (TCB) may deem reasonable. However, the Tourist will be charged on the actual expenses on accommodation, food, transport and any other services provided.

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