Festivals of Bhutan

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  • Group Tour
  • Starting Price: $8,975
  • Length: 18 days
  • Operator: Travcoa
  • 866-591-0260
    Destinations: South and Southeast Asia, Bhutan, India
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Tour Description

Join us on this unique journey to these little-visited lands. Begin your exploration on a private early morning excursion to the summit of Darjeeling’s Tiger Hill to see a spectacular sunrise over the Himalayas; enjoy a special tour of a renowned tea plantation; and attend a cultural dance performance. In remote Sikkim, visit the monasteries of Gangtok and take a private guided tour of the bazaar in Kalimpong. Then travel to the mountain kingdom of Bhutan to witness one of its iconictsechus where dancers and performers recreate Buddhist legends in a swirl of color, music and mystery. Depending on your departure date, you’ll enjoy VIP access to a festival in Thimphu, the nation’s capital, or the lovely city of Paro. You’ll also travel through the exhilarating Dochu La Pass on your way to the imposingdzong (fortress) of Punakha. Finally, make a breathtaking ascent to Bhutan’s most sacred monastery, perched on the side of a towering cliff.

  • Enjoy privileged access to a vibrant Bhutanese tsechu (masked dance festival) in Paro or Thimphu
  • Ascend to the summit of Darjeeling’s Tiger Hill for an incredible sunrise
  • Visit a music school for underprivileged children and enjoy a private concert
  • Journey to the spectacular Taktsang (Tiger’s Nest) Monastery perched 3,000 feet above the Paro Valley
  • Savor a private tasting of Darjeeling’s finest teas
  • Wander through the teeming local bazaars of little-visited Sikkim
  • When possible, relish a special evening visit to a traditional monastery to witness the sacred rituals of the monks

Itinerary

DAYS 1 - 3

New Delhi, India

Arrive in New Delhi in the evening on Day 2. The following day, afternoon sightseeing will include the highlights of Old Delhi: the magnificent Red Fort; Raj Ghat, a memorial to Mahatma Gandhi; and Jama Masjid, the largest mosque in India. Then stroll down Chandni Chowk to savor the ambience of an oriental bazaar.

Taj Mahal Hotel, New Delhi

DAYS 4 & 5

Darjeeling

Fly from New Delhi to Bagdogra and continue by road to Darjeeling to see the Himalayan Institute of Mountaineering, Zoological Gardens, Tibetan Refugee Center and the Zoo. Visit a tea estate to see how tea is grown and processed, and enjoy a private tasting of the estate’s finest teas. One evening you will be a guest at a native cultural dance and music program. The next day, take an early morning excursion to Tiger Hill to witness the sunrise over the Himalayas, a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and the Ghoom Buddhist Monastery.

Mayfair Hotel or New Elgin Hotel, Darjeeling

DAYS 6 & 7

Gangtok, Sikkim

The drive from Darjeeling to Gangtok is exhilarating, through green forests and picturesque landscapes, amidst tea gardens and along the Teesta River. Perched at a height of 5,500 feet, Gangtok hosts approximately 200 monasteries - oases of serenity and repositories of centuries-old wisdom. Gangtok is home to many different cultures and friendly people, as well as myriad species of plants, flowers, birds and animals. Take in the unique atmosphere of this capital city and visit the Royal Chapel and the Deer Park. You will also visit the Rumtek Monastery, the Institute of Tibetology, the Enchley Monastery, Handicraft Center and a local bazaar.

Mayfair Hotel or Nor-Khill Hotel, Gangtok

DAY 8

Kalimpong

Nestled in the West Bengal Himalayas at 4,100 feet, Kalimpong features scenic views of mighty mountain peaks, lovely historic houses, monasteries and two storied entwining rivers, the Rangeet and the Teesta. After lunch visit the Gandhi Ashram School where you will listen to the children playing music. Enjoy a sightseeing tour of Kalimpong town, including Zang Do Phelri Phobrang Monastery and the Lepcha Museum. The Lepchas are the indigenous people of the area, now a minority. The museum showcases the Lepcha culture and displays their musical instruments, manuscripts, tools and other artifacts of the culture of this vanishing tribe. In the afternoon you can stroll around a local bazaar for some shopping and people watching, then end the day with a visit to Zang Do Phelri Phobrang Monastery to witness monks praying.

Silver Oaks Hotel, Kalimpong

DAYS 9 & 10

Thimphu, Bhutan

Thimphu is a small, charming capital city in the heart of the Himalayas. Visit the memorial to the late King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk, a traditional Bhutanese stupa, also known as a chorten. The Memorial Chorten is an impressive monument with golden spires, tinkling bells, and an endless procession of elderly people circling around it paying homage. Drive past the Tashichhodzong, a Buddhist monastery called the “Fortress of the Glorious Religion,” first constructed in 1641. Enjoy a special visit to the Institute for Zorig Chusum, which teaches 13 traditional Bhutanese arts and crafts, and observe the students practicing their crafts. Then visit the Textile Folk Heritage Museum, a fascinating testimony of Bhutan’s living traditions. One evening, you will witness a special performance of Bhutanese folk music and dancing. Guests on the September departure will see the colorful Thimphu Festival.

Taj Tashi, Thimphu or Terma Linca Resort Spa, Thimphu

DAY 11

Punakha

Drive through the 10,500-foot-high Dochu La Pass which reveals a dramatic view of the mountain ranges in the distance. In Punakha you’ll visit Punakha Dzong, built in 1637 as the religious and administrative center of the region, and Khamsum Yulley Narngyal Chorten, a newly built stupa. Then see the Punakha Dzong, one of the most historic dzongs in the country, located at the confluence of two rivers. Stroll around the town’s main street, shops and local markets.

Puna Tshangchu Cottage, Punakha

DAYS 12 - 14

Paro

Paro lies in a beautiful valley with a rich culture, scenic beauty and hundreds of myths and legends. It is home to Bhutan’s oldest temples and monasteries, as well as the National Museum. Here you will see Rinpung Dzong, “The Fortress of the Heap of Jewels” built in 1646 on a hill above the town, and Ta Dzong, the watchtower built to overlook it. Ta Dzong now holds a fascinating collection of art, relics, paintings, coins, handicrafts and a small natural history collection. Enjoy a morning excursion to Taksang Monastery, perched on the side of a high cliff. Taksang is the most famous monastery in Bhutan and the most sacred; the Bhutanese pilgrimage here once during their lifetime. Guests on the March departure will witness the Paro Tshechu, a popular religious festival. The tshechu offers the opportunity to mingle with the Bhutanese during one of their most important celebrations.

Zhiwa Ling Hotel, Paro

DAYS 15 - 17

Calcutta, India Depart for Home

Calcutta is one of the largest cities in the world and is the capital city of the Indian state of West Bengal. The former capital of British India, the port of Calcutta today forms the commercial and industrial hub of eastern India. Visit Mother Teresa’s Ashram and the Jain Temple. Take a walking tour of British-built Calcutta, then later visit Birla Temple. On Day 16 enjoy an early morning visit to the Flower Market. Then continue to take in the sites of Calcutta, driving past the Victoria Memorial Hall, opened in 1921 as a museum dedicated to the men who played a prominent part in the history of India. After lunch, visit Dakshinesewar and its famous Kali temple, and then Belur Math. Sprawling over several acres of land on the western banks of the river Hooghly (Ganga), Belur Math is a place of pilgrimage for people from all over the world of different religious faiths.

On Day 17 you will be transferred to the airport for your return flight home or on to your next destination.

Taj Bengal, Calcutta or Oberoi Grand, Calcutta

DAY 17

Calcutta Depart for Home

You will be transferred to the airport for your return flight home or on to your next destination.

Departures

Pricing Information

September 25, 2011

From $8,975.00 per person double occupancy.

From $2,490.00 single room supplement.

March 19, 2012

From $9,475.00 per person double occupancy.

From $2,600.00 single room supplement.

September 14, 2012

From $9,475.00 per person double occupancy.

From $2,600.00 single room supplement.

Journey Includes

  • Deluxe rooms in the best available hotels
  • Three meals per day, including our unique Dine-Around program that lets you enjoy any restaurant you choose with à la carte dining, or relax with room service when available*
  • A professional Travel Director as your personal concierge
  • Local sightseeing with professional English-speaking guides with unparalleled knowledge, including entrance fees for places visited
  • Active participation and up-close encounters to experience the cultures of your journey
  • Bottled water, soft drinks, coffee and tea included with meals; bottled water during sightseeing excursions
  • All gratuities to hotel and restaurant staff and local guides and drivers
  • Group or individual airport transfers on arrival and departure flights
  • TheTravcoAssist Travel Protection Plan, including emergency medical evacuation insurance coverage for injury or illness, and 24-hour Worldwide Live Travel Assistance through Travel Guard Assistance

*Due to remote or undeveloped locations on some journeys, accommodations may not always meet Western standards. Dine-Around opportunities will be limited in remote or unsecured locations.

All prices are in US dollars and do not include international airfare, unless otherwise noted.

Prices displayed are based on the lowest season base price and assume double occupancy. Prices are shown in U.S. dollars and may or may not include administrative fees, taxes, meals, airfare (where applicable) and Single Supplements. Cancellation penalties, blackout dates and other restrictions may apply.

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