The Thimphu festival goes from Sept 21 to 23, 2007
Day 1: Arrive Paro international airport by Druk Air
The flight to Paro crosses the Himalaya Mountains, affording spectacular views of the awesome peaks, including the sacred Jumolhari and Jichu Drake peaks in Bhutan.
Upon arrival in Paro, you will be greeted by our representative and transferred to your hotel. In the afternoon you can visit the Paro Dzong. It was built in 1646 and now houses government offices and religious institutions, as do all the dzongs (forts) currently. You'll cross a traditional wooden bridge on the way to the dzong. You can then tour the National Museum, formerly the watchtower for the dzong. It now houses a collection of fine arts, paintings, thankas, statues, and antiques. Afterward you will visit Kyichu Lhakhang, the oldest temple in the country, and Drugyel Dzong (Bhutan Victory Fort), which was built in 1646 to commemorate Bhutan's victory over Tibetan invaders during the 1600s. On a clear day you can see Mount Jumolhari, Bhutan's second-highest mountain at 7,329 meters, from the village below the dzong. In the evening you can stroll through the Paro market and town. Overnight in Paro.
Day 2: Paro - Thimphu morning hike to Taktsang (Tiger's Nest) Monastery
After breakfast hike to Taktsang (Tiger's Nest) Monastery, which is Bhutan's most famous monastery. Guru Rinpoche is said to have flown on the back of a tigress from Singye Dzong in Lhuntse to meditate in a cave where Taktsang Monastery now stands. It is perched on the edge of a steep cliff, about 900 meters above Paro Valley. The hike to reach the viewpoint to the monastery makes for a nice half-day excursion. After lunch, drive to Thimphu, and on the way you will visit Simtokha Dzong (the oldest fortress in the kingdom). In the evening you can explore Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan, and absorb the lifestyle of the people. You can also visit some interesting handicraft shops. Overnight in Thimphu.
Day 3: Thimphu - Wangduephodrang, with afternoon excursion to Punakha
After breakfast you will drive to Wangduephodrang, with a stop en route for tea at Dochu La (3,100 meters), where on a clear day you can get spectacular views of the Himalayas. After lunch you will drive to Punakha, the former capital of Bhutan, and visit Punakha Dzong, which is noteworthy both for being one of the most beautiful dzongs in Bhutan and also for having been built by the first Shabdrung in 1637. On the way back from Punakha, you will stop at Metshina Village and take a 20-minute walk through the rice fields to Chimi Lakhang, which is a fertility temple, where you may receive a special fertility blessing if you wish. Overnight in Wangduephodrang.
Day 4: Wangduephodrang - Thimphu, afternoon sightseeing
Head back to Thimphu. In the afternoon, you will visit the King's Memorial Chorten (built in memory of the third King of Bhutan who reigned from 1952-1972), Changgangkha Monastery, the radio tower (for a great view of Thimphu Valley and the Thimphu Dzong), and the zoo, which contains the national animal of Bhutan: the takin. From there you will visit the nunnery temple, and the School of Arts and Crafts (also known as the painting school), the Folk Heritage Museum, a traditional paper factory, and the Simtokha Dzong (the oldest fortress in the kingdom). Overnight in Thimphu.
Day 5: Thimphu, attend festival
In the morning you will attend the festival and further enjoy this unique and fun celebration. In the afternoon you will visit the King's Memorial Chorten (built in memory of the third King of Bhutan who reigned from 1952-1972), Changgangkha Monastery, and the radio tower (for a great view of Thimphu Valley and the Thimphu Dzong). From there you will visit the nunnery temple, the School of Arts and Crafts (also known as the painting school), the National Institute of Traditional Medicine, and a traditional paper factory. Overnight in Thimphu.
Day 6: Thimphu - Paro
After breakfast, you can hike to Tango Monastery, which was built by the "Divine Madman" in the 15th century. It's a center of study for monks, and it affords a great view of the Thimphu Valley. On the grounds of the monastery is a "sin-testing" tunnel--it is said that if you have sinned, you will get stuck in the tunnel. In the afternoon, you will head to Paro. In the evening you can visit a traditional farmhouse and, if you wish, enjoy a hot-stone bath and a typical Bhutanese dinner. Overnight in Paro.
Day 7: Depart Paro