Bhutan Tour: Black-necked Crane Festival

Festivals of Bhutan

Attend the Black-necked Crane Festival on our Bhutan Tour. Nestled in the inner Himalayas of the Kingdom of Bhutan at about 3000 metres above sea level, is the wide alpine wetland valley of Phobjikha. The wetland is considered the most significant wintering ground of the rare and endangered Black‐necked cranes in Bhutan. Every year, over 300 of the estimated 500 cranes that migrate to Bhutan spend their winter months in this valley.

Additionally, the highly revered Gangtey Monastery that overlooks the wetlands surrounded by farms and natural forest areas makes Phobjikha a stunningly beautiful and sacred valley. Today, this supposedly glacial valley is an attraction not just to tourists but also pilgrims.

Activities of the festival generally include cultural programs such as folk songs and dances (some with black-necked crane themes) and mask dances performed by the local people, crane dance and environmental related drama and songs by the school children. .  This is an exciting opportunity to really become immersed in the true Bhutanese culture as you travel Bhutan with Original World!

  • Visit Bhutan and experience the very local celebration of the return of the Black-necked Cranes to spectacular Phobjikha Valley.
  • Explore the countryside visiting monasteries, markets, shrines and small villages
  • Learn about Bhutanese culture at the famed School of Arts and Crafts in Thimphu
  • Visit Drugyel Dzong for a magnificent view of sacred Mt. Jumolhari
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Monks at the Thimpu Tsechu Festival in Bhutan

  • 1
    Day 1: Arrival in Paro-Drive to Thimphu

    You are met at airport and we drive one hour through the hamlets of Paro along the riverside to Thimphu the capital city of Bhutan.

    On the drive we will pass the Tamchog Lhakhang, built by Thangtong Gyalpo (iron bridge builder/saint from the 14th-15th century. We shall stop to visit the 17th century Simtokha Dzong standing on a lofty ridge).

    This afternoon we shall explore the small city including a visit to the National Memorial Chorten, the Textile Museum and the Weaving Center.

  • 2
    Day 2: Thimphu

    Our small group will enjoy visiting the cultural highlights of Thimphu.

    Visit the School of Arts and Crafts, National Institute of Traditional Medicine, the Folk Heritage Museum, the textile museum and weaving center and Tashi Cho Dzong, as well as the bustling local bazaar.

  • 3
    Day 3: Wangdue-Gangtey

    This morining we drive to Wangdue over the Dochula Pass where we see the 108 Bhutanese stupas.

    We visit the remarkable ruins of the 378 year old Wangdiphodrang Dzong.

    Then drive to Gangtey in beautiful Phobjikha Valley.

  • 4
    Day 4: Gangtey

    We attend the Black-necked Crane Festival and visit the interesting Crane Information Center.

    In the afternoon, we shall visit Gangtey Gompa, the largest Nyingma Monastery in Bhutan. Gyalse Pema Thinlay built a small temple in 1613, which was later built into the larger Gompa by the 2nd reincarnation Tenzin Legpai Dhendup.

    You can take a walk from the Gangtey Monastery that ends over the meandering Chhu Nap (Blak River) near Khewang village.

  • 5
    Day 5: Gangtey-Trongsa-Bumthang

    During a spectacular drive to Trongsa enjoy unspoilt natural scenery with many waterfalls alongside the climbing road. We drive over Pele La pass (3,420m) on the Black Mountain range.

    Visit the beautiful Chendebji Chorten en route built in Nepalese style with painted eyes facing the four directions. The Chorten was erected in the 18th century by a Tibetan lama to cover the remains of an evil spirit that was subdued at this spot. The imposing Trongsa Dzong can be viewed across a deep canyon to signal your approach to the town around a curving road. Trongsa is the ancestral home of Bhutan's ruling dynasty.

    We visit Trongsa Dzong, a masterpiece of Bhutanese architecture and the largest Dzong in Bhutan. It is the location where the institution of monarchy in Bhutan began.
    After lunch, a pleasant drive to Bumthang one the most spectacular valleys in Bhutan and also the spiritual and historical heartland of the country. The road winds steeply up to Yo Yutung La Pass (3,400m) before descending down through dense coniferous forest to Chummey Valley.
    Enjoy a visit to the Chummey weavers' workshop. Here you can see example of Bumthang's noted textiles.

  • 6
    Day 6-7: Bumthang

    Our small group guided tour visits the many other rich cultural sites of Bumthang.

    One day we will venture off the usual tourist route to visit the isolated village of Ura in the beautiful central valley.

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    Day 8: Bumthang-Trongsa

    This morning we drive to Trongsa and visit Trangsa Dzong and Museum.

  • 8
    Day 9: Trongsa-Punahka

    We drive to Punakha via Pelela Pass at 3340 Metres and enjoy snow capped Himalayas. Enroute we pass prayer wheels turned by the flowing water.

    Punakha was the old capital of Bhutan and the magnificent Dzong is situated on an island in the middle of the river. This is also the winter residence of the central monastic body.

    The tour visits the Punakha Dzong (Fortress) and Chimi Lhakhang where childless women go to the temple to receive blessing from the saint and pray for progeny.

  • 9
    Day 10: Punahka-Paro

    Returning to Paro, we drive again over the Dochula Pass (3050m). In Dochula, there are 108 stupas built by the queen for the well being of the country. Stop here for a cup of tea and enjoy the spectacular view of the eastern Himalayan Mountain Ranges (on a clear day). Visit Paro Highlights this afternoon including revered monasteries, chortens and the other sites.

  • 10
    Day 11: Paro - Taksang Monastery

    An early start to hike of Taksang Monastery (Tiger's Nest Temple).

    Afterwards, visit Drugyal Dzong, nearby, to see the ruins of the Dzong that defended the valley in the 17th century from Tibetan Invasion.

    On the return to Paro town, visit the Kyichu monastery built from the 7th century. This is one of the oldest monasteries in Bhutan built by the great Tibetan King Songsten Gyepo and the main statue is of the Future Buddha, which is similar to the main Buddha statue in the Potala Palace in Lhasa Tibet.

  • 11
    Day 12: Depart
  • Trip Length

    12-day trip begins in Paro and ends in Paro

  • Dates


  • Land Cost

    From $TBA

  • Accommodations

    Best available traditional guesthouses in Bhutan

  • Group Size

    6-12 guests

  • Included Meals

    All meals in Bhutan

  • Extend Your Trip


Thimphu, Bhutan

Wangdue Phodrang, Bhutan

Gangtey Palace, Paro, Bhutan

Trongsa, Bhutan

Bumthang, Bhutan

Trongsa, Bhutan

Punakha, Bhutan

Paro, Bhutan

Taktsang Palphug, Paro, Bhutan

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