Festival schedule: 20th – 22nd April 2018Nature lovers will get a treat of the beautiful wild rhododendron that grows in abundance in Northern Bhutan. The three-day Rhododendron festival at the Royal Botanical Park in Lamperi is about 35 kms from the capital Thimphu. Rhododendron flower is used in traditional medicines and it has always been special for Bhutanese. Numerous Bhutanese songs glorify the flower owing to its aesthetic beauty. Showcasing different rhododendron species that are in full bloom by May, the three-day rhododendron festival celebrates the blossoms at the Lamperi botanical park. Initiated in 2013, the rhododendron festival is an annual event.

DAY 1: Arrive Paro & Paro-Thimphu (54 km, 1 hr)

Your exciting vacation in this land of happiness begins. After completing your immigration formalities, you will be received by Pinehill Bhutan Travels representative who will be your tour guide throughout your tour.

Drive to Thimphu and visit Kuensel Phodrang (tallest Buddha statue), National Memorial Chorten (stupa), Takin Preserve (houses the national animal the Takin that is only found in Bhutan), Tashichhoe Dzong (fortress of the glorious religion) and finally the Craft Bazaar. Overnight in Thimphu. (Altitude 2,320 m).

DAY 02: Thimphu sightseeing

Yet another day in Thimphu is earmarked for visit to the Institute for Zorig Chusum (Arts & Crafts School or Painting School), Coronation Park, The Folk Heritage Museum and Changangkha Lhakhang (monastery). Overnight in Thimphu.

DAY 03: Hike to monastery

You will have an exciting hike to Tango Goemba. This monastery was founded by Lama Gyalwa Lhanangpa in the 12th century. Situated north of Thimphu, one way it takes about 30 minutes drive and one hour walk through shaded rhododendron forests to reach the monastery.

After the hike, you will visit Junghi Handmade Paper Factory and the Weekend Market. Overnight in Thimphu.

DAY 04: Thimphu- Rhododendron Festival & Punakha (71 km, 2 ½ hours)

Travel to Punakha via Dochula Pass (3140 m). In the clear spring sky, you can enjoy the panoramic view of the Himalayan Mountain ranges. Then pass by the beautiful 108 chortens built on the hill and the Druk Wangyal Lhakhang (monastery). Some distance ahead we will come across the rhododendron festival venue. This natural garden and Park is spread over 47 square miles and Bhutan has 46 Rhododendron species.

This Rhododendron Festival is an absolute gratification for nature and wild flower lovers. The Annual Event takes place for 3 days so there is time to explore and thoroughly enjoy the peaceful environment filled with the colorful Rhododendron flowers. The festival showcases several interesting programs on environment, cultural and food themes. The festival features the rhododendron garden walk and exhibition, local culture and cuisines, arts and crafts, traditional games, cultural program, guided walks and other interesting activities. Towards evening, you will drive to Punakha for night halt. (Altitude 1300 m).

DAY 05: Short hike

After breakfast visit the Devine Madman’s Monastery- Chhimi Lhakhang, famously known for its fertility shrine, where one can receive a special fertility blessing. Then visit the Punakha Dzong, located on the island of the Pho – Chu (male river) and the Mochu (female river). In the evening visit Rinchengang & Lobesa villages where you will take a short walk. Overnight in Punakha.

DAY 06: Punakha –Gangtey valley

You will visit the spectacular Phobjikha Valley. Phobjikha valley is part of the beautiful Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park (formerly known as Black Mountains National Park). Each winter it is home to a flock of 300 rare and endangered black-necked cranes. The surrounding hills and mountains are home to nomadic shepherds and yak-herders. After you arrive at Gantey village, visit the Gangtey Monastery. Post lunch at Gangtey, explore Phobjikha valley and also visit the Black Necked Crane Center. Overnight at Gangtey valley.

DAY 07: Gangtey nature trial hike

This pleasurable walk will give you a nice feel of Phobjikha valley. From the small hilltop overlooking Gangtey Goemba, you head downhill through flower meadows to Semchubara village and from here through beautiful forests and into the open valley. The trail ends at the local community school after passing a chorten and Khewa monastry. Overnight at Gangtey valley.

DAY 08: Gangtey–Paro

Travel to Paro. On arrival, check into your hotel and visit National Museum (housed in the Ta Dzong- watchtower) and Paro Dzong, a fine example of Bhutanese historic architecture. From the dzong, walk further down to Nyamai Zampa, an oldest traditional cantilever bridge in Bhutan. Overnight in Paro. (Altitude 2280 m).

DAY 09: Day excursion to Chelela pass & cooking demonstration

You will drive to Chelela (pass) situated at an elevation 3,988 meters. It is considered to be one of the highest motorable passes in Bhutan. About an hour’s drive along a thickly-forested road, is this pass- a botanical paradise. The pass provides stunning views of the sacred mountain Jomolhari and Jichu Drake. Later drive back to Paro and visit the farm house for the cooking demonstration. In the evening stroll through the Paro town and visit local handicraft stores. Over night at Paro.

DAY 10: A day hike to Taktsang Ghoempa (tiger’s nest monastery)

Today is another hallmark of the tour. You will drive to base of Takshang  Monastry which takes about 1 hr and then hike up to Taktsang Monastery, also known as ‘Tiger’s Nest’. The round trip will take about 5 hours hike with rest and lunch. You will enjoy a spectacular view of the monastery clinging to the side of the cliff.

On the way back, you will visit Kyichu temple built in the 7th century. We call the day off after the visit. Overnight in Paro.

DAY 11: Depart Paro

Drive to the airport for flight to your onward destination. We hope to serve you again with our other exciting tour packages in the future.