Jakar Tshechu Bhutan Group Tour is a special tour led by the former Ambassador to the UN, Lhatu Wangchuk. Highlights include attending Jakar Tshechu, having a traditional Bhutanese lunch at Ambassador Wangchuk’s sister’s farmhouse, staying at a guesthouse in a village, climbing Tiger’s Nest, and meeting interesting people. This tour is specially designed to showcase the culture, traditions, and a festival of Bhutan.
Welcome to Bhutan!
Arrive Paro International Airport from Bangkok and drive to Thimphu (approximately 1 hour).
Paro International Airport is situated in the western part of Bhutan under the Dzongkhag (district) Administration of Paro. It is located at an altitude of 7,332 ft or 2,235m above sea level and 60 km from the capital city of Thimphu. Paro is home to the famous Taktshang or Tiger’s Nest.
Check into the hotel and have lunch.
After lunch, begin sightseeing of the valley.
Visit the National Textile Museum. Bhutan is well known for its fine hand-woven textiles with intricate designs. The museum was established under the Royal Patronage of Her Majesty the Royal Grandmother, Ashi Sangay Choden Wangchuck.
Visit Tashichho Dzong that houses the Royal Secretariat, throne room of His Majesty the King, and government offices. It is also the summer residence of His Holiness, Je Khenpo, and the monk body.
After breakfast, continue the sightseeing of the valley.
Visit Memorial Chorten (stupa). The monument (stupa) was built by Her Majesty the Royal Grandmother in 1972 in memory of His Majesty the Third King who passed away in 1972.
Drive to the statue of the Buddha Dordenma at Kuenselphodrang. The statue, perhaps the largest sitting Buddha in the world, sits on a face of a gentle hill overlooking the valley of Thimphu.
Visit Dupthop Lhakhang, better known as Zilukha Nunnery, located on the face of a hill. From here you have a panoramic view of the Royal Secretariat, Royal Thimphu Golf Course, Parliament building, and the northern part of Thimphu valley. This is a good place to take photographs.
Visit the National School of Fine Arts.
Visit the Folk Heritage Museum that is a typical farmhouse setting exhibiting how Bhutanese people live in remote villages. The museum was established with the philosophy of connecting people with the Bhutanese folk heritage and rural history through exhibits, demonstrations, educational programs, and documentation of Bhutanese rural life.
Visit the Institute of Traditional Medicine. Bhutan is known as the land of medicines and medicinal herbs where traditional medicine is practiced in close collaboration with allopathic medicine.
Enjoy a traditional dinner at a local restaurant. You will have the opportunity to discuss Gross National Happiness during the dinner with Ambassador Lhatu Wangchuk and invited guests.
After breakfast, check out of the hotel and drive to Punakha. The drive is 70 km and takes about 3 hours.
En route, after a 1-hour drive, stop at Dochu-La (3,150 m above sea level) that offers a beautiful and panoramic view of the snow-covered mountain ranges of Bhutan and Tibet. See 108 chortens that were built under the Royal Patronage of Her Majesty the Queen Mother, Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck, to honor and to express gratitude to His Majesty the Fourth King and the people for the victory in the war fought in 2003.
Arrive in Punakha and have lunch.
Visit Chimi Lhakhang that sits on a round hillock. This Lhakhang (temple) was blessed particularly for fertility by the famous divine madman, Drukpa Kunlay, an enlightened being. It is a popular pilgrimage site, particularly for couples who are unable to bear children.
Late afternoon, visit Sangchhen Dorji Lhuendrup Lhakhang Nunnery perched on a hilltop overlooking Punakha and Wangduephodrang Valley. This nunnery was built by the late Yab Dasho Ugyen Dorji, father of the Royal Grandmothers, as a Buddhist college for nuns. The view of the valley from the temple is worth a visit.
After breakfast, take a leisurely hike to Khamsum Yueling Namgyel Chorten. It is one of the best examples of modern-day Bhutanese architecture. It was built under the Royal Patronage of Her Majesty, Ashi Tshering Yangdon Wangchuck, the Mother of the 5th King.
After returning to the valley, enjoy white water rafting. The rafting program will last about two hours covering around fourteen kilometers.
Late afternoon, visit Punakha Dzong, which is situated at the confluence of the two rivers known as Pho-Chu (Male River) and Mo-Chu (Female River). Punakha was the old capital of Bhutan until it was moved to Thimphu. It is still the winter residence of Je Khenpo, Chief Abbot of the Kingdom, and the Central Monk Body.
After breakfast, check out of the hotel and depart for Gangtey. The drive is 78 km and will take about 3 hours. En route, stop at the Black Neck Crane Center. Phobjikha Valley is one of the most beautiful glacier valleys in central Bhutan and is home to the rare and endangered black-necked cranes. They migrate from their summer residence in Tibet and elsewhere in China to Phobjikha during the winter months.
Visit the famous Gangtey Monastery dating back to the 16th century. This is the only Nyingmapa monastery in the western part of Bhutan.
Visit Gangtey town.
After the visit, take a nature walk to explore the valley. On the way back, visit the Khewang Lhakhang (temple) and see how incense is manufactured by the monks.
After breakfast, check out of the hotel and drive to Bumthang. Bumthang is about 180 km and the driving time is approximately 5 ½ hours. The drive will take you through alpine forests. The highest altitude you will cross is Pelela Pass, which is 3,390 m above sea level.
En route, visit Chendibji Chorten, Trongsa Museum, and Trongsa Dzong.
After breakfast, witness the Jakhar Tshechu.
Tshechu is a religious festival in honor of Guru Padmasambhava, popularly known as Guru Rinpoche. It is held around the dzong (fortress) and monasteries on the tenth day of the month of the lunar calendar corresponding to his birthday. The Buddhists believe that everyone must attend a tshechu and witness the mask dances at least once in order to receive blessings and wash away their sins. Every mask dance performed during a tshechu has a special meaning or a story behind it. In monasteries, the mask dances are performed by monks and in remote villages, they are performed jointly by monks and village men (laymen).
In addition to the mask dances, tshechu also includes colorful folk dances and other forms of entertainment. It is a grand event where the entire community comes together to witness religious mask dances, receive blessings, and socialize.
Lunch is at a local restaurant.
Visit Jambay Lhakhang (monastery), built by the Tibetan Buddhist King Songsten Gampo in the 7th century.
Visit Kurje Lhakhang that consists of three temples. Two of them were built by Her Majesty the Royal Grandmother, Mother of the Fourth King. Guru Rinpoche, the Indian Saint, who brought Buddhism to Tibet and Bhutan, meditated at the oldest of the three temples.
Visit Lhoddrakharchu Gonpa, Buddhist School, established by a reincarnate monk, His Holiness Namkhenyingpo.
After breakfast, witness the festival at Jakar.
Lunch is at a local restaurant.
After lunch, continue sightseeing of the valley and take a nature walk around the valley.
After breakfast, check out of the hotel and drive to Tang Valley. En route, visit Mebar Tsho or Burning Lake. This sacred site is not a lake but rather a pool along a river. It is believed that Terton Pema Lingpa, one of Bhutan’s important religious figures, uncovered a holy treasure through divination here.
Check into the guesthouse and enjoy lunch.
Visit Ogyen Choling Museum and explore Tang Valley.
After an early breakfast, check out of the hotel and drive to Mongar, which is about 193 km. The driving time will take approximately 7 hours due to road conditions.
After checking into the hotel, if time permits, walk around the small town.
After breakfast, check out of the hotel and drive to Lhuentse. The drive is 77 km and takes around 3 hours. This district is formerly known as Kurtoe. It is the ancestral home of Bhutan’s Royal Family.
Visit Khoma Village, famous for its weavers. Their distinctive textiles are generally considered to be the best in the country especially its signature woven textile, the Kishu Thara.
Visit the world’s largest statue, Guru Padmasambhava. It is 173 feet high and stands on the Takila mountain slope, one of the most beautiful scenic spots in Lhuntse district.
Gangzur village is famous for pottery as its women are skilled artisans of this dying art. The government is now making efforts to revive it through financial support.
Most of Lhuntse district is part of the environmentally protected areas of Bhutan. The district contains parts of Wangchuck Centennial Park in the north, Thrumshingla National Park in the south, and Bumdeling Wildlife Sanctuary in the east.
After breakfast, check out of the hotel and leave for Trashigang. Trashigang is 167 km and the driving time is around 6 hours due to road conditions.
Late afternoon is at leisure.
Enjoy the wonderful ambiance of the Lingkhar Lodge. Lingkhar Lodge is located at the foothill of Rongthung Village surrounded by beautiful gardens and rice fields.
After breakfast, drive up to Shingchen Gonpa, Yonphula, and visit Ambassador Lhatu Wangchuk’s sister for a traditional lunch.
Late afternoon, enjoy a round of archery using the traditional bow and arrows at the hotel.
After breakfast, visit Khaling National Handloom Development Project. See the natural coloring and dyeing techniques used for textiles in Bhutan and the different types of weaving for patterns and designs.
Visit Trashigang Dzong, the Fortress of the Auspicious Hill, that was built in 1659, to defend against Tibetan invasions. This imposing fortress is strategically situated high atop a spur overlooking the Dangmechu River. It is accessible only from the north via a narrow road paved by blasting through the cliffside. Due to its location, Trashigang Dzong is one of the most strategically placed Dzongs in Bhutan.
After an early breakfast, check out of the lodge and depart for Yonphula Airport for the flight to Paro. The flight will take about an hour.
After checking into the hotel, visit the sites of the valley.
Visit the National Museum. The view of the valley below is fascinating and a good place to take photographs.
Visit Rinpung Dzong, popularly known as Paro Dzong, which is the seat of the local government and the monk body of Paro.
Visit Kyichu Lhakhang (temple) built by the Tibetan Buddhist King Songtsen Gampo in the 7th century. Under the Royal patronage of Her Majesty the Royal Grandmother Ashi Kesang Choden Wangchuck, this Lhakhang has been restored to its former glory like many other similar monasteries in the country.
After an early breakfast, hike to the famous Taktshang (Tiger’s Nest). It is about a 3 – hour hike up and a 2 – hour hike down. Taktshang Temple clings to a sheer cliff at 3,000 ft above the valley. Guru Rinpoche came on a flying tigress and meditated here in a cave that is now concealed behind a carved wooden grill in the inner sanctum of the temple.
Lunch is at a local restaurant.
After lunch, walk around Paro.
Farewell dinner is at Naksel Boutique Hotel with a cultural program.
After breakfast, check out of the hotel and depart for the airport for the flight to Bangkok.
Our tour representative will see you off at the airport. He or she will also assist you with the departure formalities in case any help is needed. Our representative will bid you farewell “Lok Jeygay – See you again”.
This trip is limited to 12 people.