Nomad Festival brings the highlanders of Bhutan together. Here is a chance to see all the nomads in Bumthang. You will save all your time trekking to those regions otherwise. Nomad Festival set in central Bhutan allows you to see most part of Bhutan. Bumthang is now connected by Air from Paro and Yonphula. The Nomads’ festival will showcase the tradition and culture of the nomads including dairy products, handicrafts, weaves, and nomadic way of life. Witness the grand pageantry of the Chipdrel, a ceremonial procession reserved for royalty, see some of the toughest highlanders in the country demonstrate their skills in keyshey or traditional Bhutanese wrestling. Here at this festival we offer you an opportunity to enjoy archery played out with bamboo bows and arrows. You may even try the Bhutanese dart game called khuru, a stone-dischurling (dego) or the Bhutanese javelin called soksum.
It will also have other major attractions like horse riding, yak riding, and dances by the Nomads’ and local community besides hordes of Bumthang cuisines like Zambuli, khuli, puta, pin etc. You may also be interested in the festival-wide demonstrations of traditional Bhutanese village life. See how ancient millstones are still used for grinding maize, how rice harvests are pounded to separate the grain from the husk and ox-drawn ploughs are used to till the fields. In this festival one can have a glimpse of the traditional Bhutanese folk life and get a sense of rural Bhutan. During the three day mega event hygienic food stalls put up by public will cater to the visitors. The event is held annually from 23- 25th February at Nasiphel.
Day 1 ARRIVAL IN BHUTAN, THIMPHU Elevation 2,320 m
Welcome to Bhutan and your first day in the magical Land of the Thunder Dragon! Upon arrival at Paro International Airport, just outside the arrival hall, you will be greeted by one of our guides. At more than 7,300 feet above sea level, you will need to acclimate to the high altitude. So, we will take it easy with a short drive to your hotel, enjoy a Bhutanese lunch, and then visit a few sights around the capital city of Thimphu.
We start our tour at Motithang Takin Preserve, home to Bhutan’s national animal, the takin. This unusual animal is often described as looking like a moose that was stung by a bee. Formerly a small zoo, the king decreed that penning up animals was contrary to Buddhist beliefs, so they were released. The takin had difficulty adapting, so the preserve was established to care for these gentle creatures.
We will then drive up to Buddha View Point where the Buddha Dordenma statue sits. At 169 feet tall, this bronze statue can be seen from just about anywhere in Thimphu. One of the largest statues in the world depicting a seated Buddha, it is the perfect place to enjoy stunning, panoramic views of the city.
Day 2 THIMPHU TO PUNAKHA Elevation 1,300 m
On our way to Punakha, the former capital of Bhutan, we will stop at Dochula Pass. Providing stunning 360-degree views of the Himalayan Mountains, it is also the location of the 108 Druk Wangyal Chortens. Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck, the present Queen Mother of Bhutan, built the memorial to commemorate Bhutan’s victory over Indian militants and to liberate the souls of those who died.
Sitting at the fork of two rivers, Punakha Dzong is considered one of the most beautiful spots in Bhutan. With spectacular displays of Bhutanese architecture, it stands like a medieval city surrounded by lavender Jacaranda trees. Built in 1637, the six-story structure is the second oldest and second largest dzong in Bhutan. It still serves as the winter home of the Je Khenpo, Chief Abbott of the clergy. In 2011, it hosted the royal wedding of King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck and Queen Jetsun Pema.
Day 3 PUNAKHA TO GASA TO TONGCHU ZAM CAMP Elevation 4500 m
Early Morning leave your hotel for your approx. 4 hours drive to Gasa where the road ends, from there start your trek (4 hours) to Koina which, is your destination for tonight. Starting from end of the road, trek for approx 4 and half hours, the trail first winds with a gradual descend till Koina and then winds up with a gradual climb till your camp site past the small bride (Thongchu zam).Overnight Camp.
Day 4 TONGCHU ZAM TO LAYA Elevation 4800 m
After breakfast, start trekking to your destination, the beautiful highland village of Laya. The trail winds up gradually and at times with steep climbs till you reach Laya. Early arrival to your camp and enjoy the scenic beauty of the landscape and then you will come across a lot of locals in their typical Laya costumes.Overnight Camp.
Day 5 AND DAY 6: LAYA (2 DAYS FESTIVAL) Elevation 4800 m
The Royal Highlander festival was first introduced last year (2016 on 16thOf October) to mark the celebration of the birth of HRH the Gyalsey; 400 years of Zhabdrung Rinpoche and the Rabjung (60 years cycle) birth year of Guru Rimpoche. This year will be the 2nd year of the Royal Highlander festival and will be held on 23rd and 24th Octber, 2017. The Royal Highlander festival shares the beauty and the wonders of Gasa district through its nature, history and its age old tradition and culture, to share Gasa’s vision of “Good to Great Gasa” and to finally share all theses authenticity and the simplicity of the life of the Highlanders with our guests.
During the festival, visitors can witness The traditional offering of Buelwa (Gift offering) with Auley (traditional epic poem/song recitation tradition originated from Zhabdrung Rinpoche days) that begun during Zhabdrung Rinpoche’s reign in showing loyalty and respect by the community of Laya is being offered for dynamic and visionary leadership of our successive monarchs.
Variety of cultural programs will be performed by Layaps. Competition such as traditional songs and dances.
The various competitions on highland animals including the Yaks, horses and Mastiffs will be held.
The festival consists of series of stalls ranging from local based yak produce to highland technology, highland agriculture technology, medicinal herbs & plants and others
Day 7 LAYA TO THONGCHU ZAM Elevation 4500 m
After the festival, we trace your way back to Thongchu Zam on days 7. Over night at Thongchu Zam.
Day 8 THONGCHU ZAM TO GASA Elevation 4500 m
On Day 8 we go back to Gasa. Have a warm hot spring bath after your long travel.
Over night at Gasa Camp.
Day 9 GASA TO PARO (6 HOURS DRIVE BACK) Elevation 2,280 m
We head back to scenic Paro Valley, home to many of Bhutan’s oldest monasteries and the country’s only airport. This mixture of old and new makes Paro an important part of Bhutan’s past, present, and future.
The valley is home to Jomolhari Mountain, located on the northwestern border of Bhutan and Tibet. Often called the wife of Kangchenjunga, the world’s third highest mountain, Jomolhari is Bhutan’s third tallest mountain at 24,035 feet. The glacier waters flowing from the mountain feed the rivers of the Paro Valley.
Paro (Rinpung) Dzong means Fortress on Jewels because it was built using stones rather than clay. It is an excellent example of 15th-century architecture and one of the most impressive dzong in Bhutan. It currently serves as the government center of Paro. A cantilever bridge that crossed the river was damaged by fire in 1907 and later washed away by floods, so the original construction was lost.
Located on a hill above Para Dzong is Ta Dzong. This cylindrical watchtower was built in 1649 and converted into the National Museum of Bhutan in 1968. The spiral-shaped building holds antiques, art, textiles, weapons, and household items that tell the history of Bhutan
Day 10 PARO Elevation 2,280 m
Are you ready for the long awaited hike to Tiger’s Nest?
We will take a two-hour hike to Taktsang Monastery, arguably one of the most photographed monasteries in Bhutan. Accessible only by foot, this sacred site was built precariously on the cliff’s edge, more than 10,000 feet above sea level. This is where Guru (Rinpoche) Padmasambhava, the father of Bhutan Buddhism, is said to have flown on the back of a tiger to meditate in a cave for three years. An exhilarating climb to the cafeteria is decorated with colorful prayer flags and provides breathtaking views of the Himalayas.
Day 11 DEPART FROM PARO
Today we will bid fond farewell to this beautiful Himalayan country and take an early flight back to Singapore. We hope by now you would have made some friends and also kept many photos and beautiful memories of Bhutan! And we look forward to seeing you again in this beautiful land of endless Enchantments! Tashi Delek
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