Get an early start on Bhutan’s exciting 2020 travel season with this early March departure to experience the colorful “Pageant of Warriors,” a unique festival that celebrates the handpicked historical guardians of Buddhist treasures in Bhutan. From the western valleys of Paro, Thimphu and Punakha this active adventure takes you cross-country to the beautiful central regions of Bumthang where we explore a network of hidden valleys. We close our journey with a scenic mountain flight back to Paro and a final hike up to spectacular Tiger's Nest!
FROM OUR PHOTOGALLERY
A group of Bhutanese warriors, the Paazaaps, have long been entrusted with the safety of Bhutan’s holy Buddhist relics, housed inside the great fortress of Punakha in western Bhutan. It is a sacred duty they have performed with honor and pride for centuries. This early springtime festival celebrates their important contributions to Bhutanese history, and the colorful role they play in protecting the cultural treasures of the country, providing us with a wonderful excuse to visit the festival and range across the Bhutanese countryside. We start with the western cultural centers before making our way overland across to the surpassingly lovely valleys of central Bhutan, with stops along the way to visit a series of unforgettable monasteries and temples. A short flight past the peaks and valleys of Bhutan, and a final climb up to fabulous “Tiger’s Nest,” closes this remarkable 2020 adventure.
To see photographs and read about a recent warriors pageant festival, please see our picture story: Bhutan’s Procession of Warriors Festival.
DAY BY DAY
DAY 01: FLIGHT FROM BANGKOK, THAILAND TO PARO, BHUTAN
DAY 03: GIANT BUDDHA, HIKE & LUNCH; PUNAKHA
DAY 10: FLIGHT TO PARO / PARO MARKET
DAY 09: EXPLORE TANG VALLEY
DAY 08: EXPLORE BUMTHANG
DAY 06: TRANSFER TO JAKAR, CHUMEY WEAVING CENTER
DAY 12: BANGKOK, THAILAND/DEPART
DAY 05: TRANSFER TO GANGTEY/TRONGSA
DAY 04: FESTIVAL DAY IN PUNAKHA
DAY 02: EXPLORE THE MARKETS & MONUMENTS OF BHUTAN’S CAPITAL CITY
Thimphu has some of the most interesting markets in the country as well as many colorful temples and monasteries scattered colorfully around the valley. We explore some of the best options in our itinerary today. Later, dive into Bhutanese culture with a trip to the magnificent Royal Textile Academy and learn about Bhutan's 13 sacred arts and crafts. End the day with an evening walk with Buddhist devotees at the National Memorial Stupa, built in memory of Bhutan's third king.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodations: The Ariya Resort or comparable
DAY 07: PILGRIM’S WALK, JAKAR
DAY 11: HIKE TO TIGER’S NEST/PARO MARKET
WHAT TO KNOW BEFORE YOU GO
The activities on this trip are rated as moderate and suits a wide range of interests and physical fitness levels. Trip members should be in good health and comfortable standing or walking for extended periods of time and confident navigating mixed and steep terrain that may include rocky trails, slippery conditions and, or, steps and stairs. Daily activities include city walking tours, hiking to and entering monasteries, temples and fortresses, driving over winding mountain roads and easy to moderate hiking with some strenuous options where possible. The general elevations in the valleys will mostly range from 6,800 ft to 9,000 ft, with drives that will take us over higher passes before descending to the average elevations mentioned above. The final hike to Tiger's Nest Monastery is 10,000 ft.
The high-end accommodations on this journey feature traditional Bhutanese style with modern elements. The lodges are handpicked for regional character, comfort, and hospitality, including our beautiful family lodge in the central highlands of Bhutan, the Mountain Resort (see more on the Mountain Resort below). In peak season, depending on availability, we may use lodges comparable to the ones we have listed or advertised.