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Black-necked Cranes Festival


Black-necked Cranes Festival

9 days | Trip Code: F13
Route:
Paro-Thimphu-Wangdue-Punakha-Paro
Trip Style
– Festival/Cultural
Trip Rating by Popularity– *****
Physical Demand Rating – 1
Can be Customised?:Yes
Discounts: Applicable on this Trip
Start/Finish: Paro/Paro
Group Size: Maximum 12, Avg 5
Group Leader: Certified Tour Leader from Bhutan Memorable Travels

Transport: New Model Toyota Hiace/Coaster bus/Land Cruiser not more than 3 years old

Highlights:

  • Witness one of our favourite festivals – the Black-necked crane festival in Gantey valley.
  • See the endangered Black-necked cranes up-close in Phobjikha.
  • Explore rural Bhutan and village lifestyles in Phobjikha.
  • Optionally stay in local farmhouses of Phobjikha and interact with the locals by visiting local schools, farms and temples.
  • Interact with Bhutanese people by visiting local houses, schools, and temples and experience Bhutanese lifestyles up-close.
  • Explore the beautiful valleys of Paro, Thimphu, Punakha and Wangdue.
  • Experience the unique living culture of Bhutan, our rich heritage, history, and sacred Buddhist sites.
  • Be immersed in the grandeur of the Himalayas; enjoy pristine nature and one of the world’s richest biodiversity.
  • Visit many sacred temples, medieval fortresses (Dzongs), museums etc. visit the most beautiful fortress of Bhutan, the Punakha Dzong.
  • Get to know about our art and architecture in the form of paintings, appliqués, textiles, murals, houses etc.
  • Enjoy Bhutanese hospitality with overnight stays our partner boutique hotels.
  • Enjoy Bhutanese culinary and food.
  • Hike up to the famous Taktsang Monastery.
  • Enjoy a cultural show (our value-added activity)
  • Optionally. Enjoy camping in Punakha at the riverside.

Trip Description

This trip features are one of our favourites amongst our guests and happens in the beautiful month of November. The Buddhist reverence for all forms of life and Bhutan’s dedication to nature preservation unite at Gangtey Monastery’s Black-necked Crane Festival in Central Bhutan. The valley chosen by the birds as their winter roosting grounds is the beautiful Phobjikha valley which is often called the ‘Switzerland in Bhutan’, and for a good reason. The Monastery sits high above a broad valley overlooking the Phobjika Nature Reserve, which hosts a handful of migrating Black-necked Cranes who come to Bhutan in the winter from the Tibetan plateaus. The valley is restricted for economic development (which otherwise have enormous potential) in order to conserve the birds. Monks pray for the safe return of the birds, as they are considered Boddhisatvasor “agents of God.” According to legend, the cranes circle the monastery clockwise three times as a sign of their devotion before landing in the marshy valley. After the cranes’ long journey south from Tibet, local villagers gather at the Monastery for a colorful festival celebrating their safe arrival. School children present pageants about the cranes and local nature conservation, the Gangtey monks adapt their traditional temple dances to themes related to the cranes, and more celebrations and gift-giving ceremonies abound amidst the country fair atmosphere. Whether it’s the dramatically beautiful cranes, the fascinating Bhutanese culture, or the many opportunities for day hiking, this festival trip has something for travelers from all walks of life. This trip includes other not-to-be-missed sights such as Taktsang Monastery, several of the greatest Dzongs, the great museums and palaces of Punakha, Paro and Thimphu.

Trip Overview

Day 1: Arrive at the Paro airport and explore the town in the afternoon. Visit the oldest temple, Kyichu Lhakhang. Drive to Thimphu after evening tea.


Day2:  Whole day sightseeing and exploration of the capital town Thimphu. Visit the National Folk Heritage Museum, the Zorig Chusum school of 13 traditional arts/crafts, the Textile Museum, Tashichhodzong Dzong. Visit the colourful vegetable market and the Bhutan Post Office. Enjoy a fabulous evening around the capital city with choice of restaurants for dinner.


Day3: More of the capital city by driving upnorth to hike to Tango and Cheri monasteries in the morning. Visit the Takin Reserve Center to see the national animal of Bhutan and continue to Buddha Point to see the world’s largest statue of Buddha Doderma. Visit the traditional paper factory, Memorial Stupa and explore the city on foot in the evening.


Day4: Drive to Phobjikha through Dochula pass (3140m). Enjoy a breathtaking view of the Himalayan range from the Drug Wangyal Chortens – a collection of 108 stupas at Dochula. Lunch at Wangdue and visit the Wangdue Dzong (fortress) and continue to Phobjikha.Experience farmhouse stays by staying in one of our partner local houses equipped with basic amenities for your comfort. Option to either camp at the school grounds or stay in our partner hotel.


Day 5: Proceed to Gantey Gompa and witness this beautiful festival the whole day.


Day 6:Visit the cranes observatory in the morning and see the endangered Black-necked cranes aided by a telescope. Take a hike around phobjikha village, visit the school and continue to hike around the roosting area of the Black-Necked Cranes that leads to Gangtey town.


Day 7: Drive to Punakha through Wangdue Phodrang town. Visit the Wangdue Dzong. Explore Punakha town in the evening.Option to camp next to the river with a bonfire.


Day 8: Visit the most beautiful fortress of Bhutan, the Punaha Dzong in the morning and conitnue to Chhimi Lhakhang temple which takes you through a short village hike to the temple. Drive to Paro in the afternoon. Cultural show with dinner- a value-added activity from Bhutan Travelclub inclusive of the package price.


Day 9: Whole day sightseeing in Paro including a hike up to Tiger’s Nest, Drugyal Dzong (fortress in ruins) and visit the National Museum in the afternoon. Explore Paro town in the evening.


Day 10: Farewell and Depart from Paro on your onward journey.

Additional Activities that can be included: Specialised Language Guides, Mountain biking, Motorcycling, Swimming, Cooking Classes, Attending rituals in private homes, Meditation Sessions with reputed lamas, Yoga sessions, Buddhism talks, Volunteerism like being part of a house construction, fruit-picking; Sports like Tennis, Squash, Golf, Basketball and even a Football match; Music Jam-up sessions with local musicians.  If you have a burning desire to share your story with the locals, we can also have some FM radio stations or local newspapers to talk to you – you name it and we will make it possible!! We can value-add some of these facilities for FREE if in small quantity and depending on whether these facilities are in demand during the time of your trip.

Whats Included

  • Bhutan Royalty ($65 per person per day)
  • Visa Fees ($20 per person)
  • All necessary permit fees
  • All transfers and sightseeing with entrance fees
  • All meals including evening tea
  • All accommodation in our partner hotels, which are some of the best in the country on twin sharing basis (camping facilities if you choose to camp in Punakha and Phobjikha).
  • English-speaking tour leader, guide and driver.

Whats Not Included

  • Airfare for flights into and out of Bhutan
  • All personal expenses like laundry, telephone, tips, shopping expenses
  • Meals and Beverages other than the ones mentioned above (see inclusions)
  • Spa Charges
  • Travel and Medical insurance