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The art of weaving is an integral part of Bhutanese society. Today, every Bhutanese home is equipped with a loom for weaving. Since time immemorial, Bhutanese women have adopted weaving as a respectable profession for eking out their livelihood. Young girls begin learning the art of weaving from their mothers at an early age and attain proficiency before they reach the age of twenty. Considering the societal and religious values associated with weaving in Bhutan, Bhutanese textiles have received wide accolades and recognition for its unique quality across the world.
To help you see and appreciate the beauty of Bhutanese textiles, Bhutan Journeys, offers this very unique tour centered exclusively on the intricacies of weaving in small villages. In the course of your visit, you will have the opportunity to interact and meet various segments of people involved in weaving and eventually learn the advancement of this industry in Bhutan. To help you see the manifestation of these textiles, we will take you to at least one festival where men and womenfolk attend in their best outfits embedded with intricate Bhutanese patterns.
Bhutan; Paro Air Port
3 Hours Before Flight Time
Depart Bangkok early in the morning by Druk Air to Paro. If you are lucky, you will have a glorious view of the snowcapped Himalayas. The remarkable and steep descent into the Paro valley is an awe-inspiring beginning to an adventure of a lifetime. After visa formalities and collection of baggage, you will meet the Bhutanese representative from Thunder Dragon Treks, who will receive you and take you for lunch at one of the local restaurants in Paro. After lunch, we will take a 2-hour leisurely drive towards the Capital of Bhutan, Thimphu. Upon reaching Thimphu, you will be taken to one of the best hotels in Thimphu, Hotel Druk. The hotel is centrally located and you can, on foot, go around the commercial establishments for shopping. After settling down, we shall have the Welcome Dinner. Overnight: Hotel Druk
After breakfast, there will be a short lecture on Bhutanese Textiles in the 21st Century. Soon after the lecture, you will be taken to the following places of interest.
– The Textile Museum: This museum displays the finest art of weaving from various regions of Bhutan. You will also be able to
see the different fabrics and the intricacies of weaving. There will be a brief audiovisual program on textiles of Bhutan.
– Bhutan Post (Post Office): As the sole postal organization of Bhutan, Bhutan Post offers you the finest collections of stamps
and postcards. You can purchase the finest stamps and cards as a souvenir.
– The Folk and Heritage Museum: This museum lets you experience the Bhutanese way of living.
– The Arts and Craft Institute: This is a vocational training institute where the art of painting, woodcraft, and sculpturing are
taught to students with the objective of preserving the rich and pristine heritage.
– Industrial State: Afternoon visit the Industrial State, where you can see the weavers weaving different fabrics.
– The Memorial Chorten: Built in the honor of the late King of Bhutan, this Chorten is centrally located for young and old
people to pray. After seeing this place of worship, you will visit the Handicraft Emporium, and other local handicraft shops to
experience the beauty of Bhutanese textiles. Evening at leisure.
Day will begin with a lecture on the Arts and Crafts of Bhutan particularly on and will be followed by an excursion to the indigenous hospital. This hospital manufactures traditional medicines from herbals collected from varying altitudes within the country. We will also visit the Bhutanese paper factory before leaving for Wangdue.
Wangdue is about 3 hours drive from the capital. The route passes through the horticulture center in Yusipang before reaching the 10,000ft Dochula pass. On a clear day, you will be able to see a spectacular view of the Eastern Himalayas from this pass. Many colorful prayer flags also dot the pass. Your lunch will be served at the Dochula cafeteria.
After lunch, we shall descend through the forest of rhododendrons and magnolia. After several stops on the way, you will pass the village of Lumitsawa; Thinleygang and reach the fertile valley of Lobesa. Another 20 minutes’ drive will take you to your hotel. Evening at leisure. If time permits, you can take a half an hour hike from your hotel to a typical Bhutanese farm village in “Rinchengang”.
In the morning we shall visit Wangdue town and other places of interest like Wangdue Dzong. Thereafter we shall drive through the tropical vegetation to Nobding and Pele la pass (11,000ft). Throughout your trip, you will come across the beautiful sceneries of rural Bhutan, with scattered settlements far from the road. Lunch will be served at a local restaurant in Nobding or a picnic lunch en route whichever is deemed appropriate. After lunch, we shall descend through the open meadows and valley of yak herders and several other villages via Chendebji Chorten. We shall stop for a tea break at a convenient spot and drive for another 2 hours drive to your hotel in Trongsa.
After your early breakfast, you shall visit the monumental architecture, “The Trongsa Dzong”. The Dzong has played a vital role in shaping the political history of Bhutan. We shall view the Ta Dzong, an ancient watchtower. We shall drive towards Bumthang valley over the Yotung la pass (11,800ft). Early lunch at Trongsa or packed lunch will be served en route whichever is deemed appropriate. En route, we shall visit the “Yathra” weaving center at Zugney and spent our afternoon interacting with the local weavers. Yathra is the name for the colorful, hand-woven woolen cloth (often with geometric designs) that is produced in this region. Drive for another 30 minutes to Jakar. After checking at the hotel and evening at leisure. Dinner and Overnight: Hotel
Afternoon in Bumthang valley we shall visit the following places of spiritual and cultural interest.
In Bumthang Valley, we shall visit the following places of interest.
Jambay Lhakhang: Built by the Tibetan King Songsten Gompo in the 7th Century.
Tamshing Monastery: We drive to visit this monastery built by Terton Pema Lingpa (Treasure discovers). Kurjey Lhakhang: Legend has it that the body imprint of Guru Rimpoche was left behind while meditating in a cave in this temple. Lunch will be served at the hotel. Afternoon you will have a free stroll in Jakar main street.
Today’s early morning we take an excursion drive to Tang valley following the feeder road the Community School of upper Tang valley. You will pass through many villages scattered and people at work. From the school, we hike about an hour to Ugyen Choling. Ugyen Choling Monastery is located on the hill overlooking the valley. It’s about an hour walk from the school. A brief historical account of Ugyen Choling begins with e visit of the great Tibetan master of Buddhism, Longchen Rabjam (1308 -63). He is the most celebrated writer and philosopher of Nyingmapa School of Tibetan Buddhism and is regarded as the synthesizer of the doctrine and methods of Dzongchen ” school of great perfection”. Ugyen Chloing was never so much a seat of political power but played a vital role as a religious center. It is the only structure of its size and history that still exists and used by a family with direct historical links to it. With its size and magnitude of the complex has initiated to house as a historical museum to ensure its continuity with the following commitments:
– Preserving and maintaining Ugyen Choling as a religious and cultural legacy.
– Continuing the traditional religious observance and rituals
– Providing a place for religious studies, research, and solitude
– Reviving and enhancing traditional skills and providing an outlet for local handicrafts.
After visiting the museum, we shall walk down to the valley and drive to Jakar. Evening you have an audiovisual program on Gross National Happiness (GNH), a philosophy that has been initiated by His Majesty to bring balance between the spiritual and materialistic aspects for every Bhutanese citizen. Evening at leisure and Overnight at Guesthouse.
Drive to Mongar, Eastern Bhutan is a magical place; it is isolated, more rugged and less developed. The remote nature of the region results in its being one of the listed visited places in the country. Most of the tourists and many Bhutanese people have never visited this part of the country. Enroute you will be traveling through typical Ura Village, dense forest, gorgeous mountains, lush valleys, terraced hillside fields, remote villages, past smiling children and hard-working framers. You will begin to reflect the sense of magic that pervades life in this isolated region. To get to most places in this part of the country, one has to first drive to Mongar, the doorway to Bhutan. This valley is usually situated on the mountain slopes, which rise abruptly from the river. As we approach the summits, it gradually flattens out. You will visit Mongar Dzong on the availability of time, which houses the monastic center and administrative center for the valley. Overnight: Guesthouse.
Today we drive towards Lhuntse another isolated district in Bhutan. It takes 3 hours drive from Mongar till Sumpa Zam (suspension bridge). An hour’s brisk walk from bridge on the main Lhuntse main road will bring us to Khoma, the best-known weaving village in the country. This region is also framed for its weavers and special textiles, considered to be the best in the country. The living art of weaving done with the same technologies and applications as the weavers of the early centuries have the degree of sophistication to match any weaving tradition in the world. Evening at leisure.
Overnight Halt at the farmhouse
Note: there is no hotel and guesthouse available in this place, so we need to stay either in a local farmhouse or camp in tents. Another option would be to drive the Lhuntse District administration has a guesthouse but they have only four or five rooms available.
Today we drive back to Mongar for 3 hours and continue your journey for another 4 hours Tashigang over the Khorila pass (2, 450m) Picnic lunch will be served en-route. Tashigang is the heart of eastern Bhutan and an important center of trade. It is the biggest district in Bhutan and offers as a base to make an excursion trip to various places like Tashi Yangtse, Radhi, Kaling, and Phongme. You can see the spectacular view of Tashigang Dzong situated on a high promontory that overlooks the confluence of Drangme Chu and Gamri Chu. This Dzong houses the monastic institute for monks and administrative center for the valley. Upon reaching Trashigang, you pass through its town and check-in your hotel. Kelling lodge
In the morning depart for Rangjung, the roads descend from Tashigang to the banks of Gamri Chhu. It takes around 3 hours drive, passing through many villages, fields, and Chorten. After crossing the Tibetan style Chorten (stupa), you drive for another half an hour to Rangjung. You will pass the high school and see an elaborate Chorten in the center of the town. Also, you will see the Rangjung Wodsel Choling Monastery for monks. You will check in the monastery’s guesthouse for lunch. Afternoon, we drive to Radhi for half an hour and hike to Tzangkhar village as most women here are weavers, who specialize in fabrics made from Bura (raw silk). You have the opportunity to explore and visit the houses to see their work and learn some Bhutanese weaving techniques. Finally, visit Rangjung Wodsel Choling monastery. Evening at leisure and overnight: Rangjung Guest House.
After breakfast, we depart for Mongar and visit Tashigang Dzong and its town. Lunch at Tashigang town and continue your journey to Mongar. Enroute visit Naktsang monastery. Overnight: Guest House
Early morning depart for Bumthang and drive takes around 7-8 hours.
Overnight: Guest House. Evening an audiovisual program on Bhutan.
After breakfast, we depart via Trongsa to Phojikha. Enroute picnic lunch will be served at Chendebji Chorten. Drive over Pelela pass and after driving 10 minutes from the pass, we meet a road diversion that heads to the Phojikha valley. We follow the road to Phojikha valley about an hour’s drive to the guesthouse. Phojikha is an open wide valley, where Gantey Gompa is ideally located on a hill overlooking the valley. It is also the winter habitat for the Black-necked cranes migrating from Tibet. You will have the opportunity to see these graceful birds and visit the small carpet factory owned by the hotel owner. Evening at leisure and overnight at Guesthouse.
After breakfast, we drive back to Gantey Gompa to see the renovation and people at work. We continue our journey to Punakha for lunch at your hotel. Afternoon we will visit Punakha Dzong, one of the impressive and important Dzongs located between the two rivers and a stroll through the town. Late evening, there will be a demonstration on the Bhutanese national dress (Gho for men and Kira for Women) and an open discussion forum with your Bhutanese trip leader. Evening at leisure. Overnight at the hotel.
We will start early today towards Paro and lunch at one of the local restaurants in Paro town. Afternoon we will visit the National Museum and Paro Rinpung Dzong. The Paro Dzong may be familiar to people who watched Bertolucci’s film ‘The Little Buddha’. Evening stroll through Paro town. Overnight: Hotel
Today full day sightseeing at Paro. Early morning drive till the road head to Ramthangkha, from where we start our hike to the Taktsang monastery (Tiger’s Nest). Visitors are permitted to hike up to the viewpoint from where they can see the monastery hanging on a cliff. Legend has it that Guru Rimpoche flew from Eastern Bhutan on a tigress, bringing Buddhist teachings and meditated here in this cliff. This is one of the most venerated and sacred of all Buddhist sights around the world. Lunch at Taktsang cafeteria. Walk downhill to the road head and drive on to Drugyel Dzong (now in ruins) and en-route visit the Kyichu Lhakhang, built in the 7th century by Songtsen Gampo, which denotes the spread and emergence of Buddhism in the country. The riding horse will be arranged on the requirement for the hike to Taktsang.
Depart for Paro airport for your onward flight to Bangkok with full of Bhutanese NOSTALGIA.
Note: This itinerary is a sample, intended to give you a general idea of the likely trip schedule. Numerous factors such as weather, the physical ability of the participants, may dictate itinerary changes either before or while on the trip. We reserve the right to change this schedule in the interest of trip participant’s safety, comfort and general well being. I have included everything that is feasible for you all to see during the trip. Another thing, lectures will be given on availability of the resource person at various places and will ensure to have someone knowledgeable to talk on the topic mentioned in the trip itinerary.