Bhutan Ura Yakchoe – 12 Days

Bhutan Ura Yakchoe – 12 Days

Nestled in the Eastern Himalayas, Bhutan ranks among the top ten hot spots in the world for biodiversity, in the month of May, nature spreads a feast to delight your senses. Bhutan hosts 600 species of wild orchids, 50 different types of Rhododendrons, Blue Poppy (the national flower), medicinal plants, high-altitude plants and tropical trees.
Go on 12 day trip for
US $4,140 PP
  • Trip Code: ATH3411
  • Country: Bhutan
  • Duration: 12 Days
  • Trip Level:
    Easy
    Just about anyone can participate in one of these holidays. Minimum walking time is 2 hours and maximum walking time is approximately 5 hours a day. By the time you walk around a number of historical sites you’ll be surprised at how quickly the time passes. You do have the chance to take your time and there are plenty of places where you can rest if needed.
  • Max Altitude: 3400 m /11152 ft
  • Activity: Festival Tours
  • Starts at: Paro
  • Ends at: Paro
  • Trip Route:

    Paro-Thimpu-Punakha-Bumthang-wangdue-Gangtey-Thimpu-paro

Trip Highlights

  • Sightseeing in Paro, Thimphu, Punakha, Bumthang, Ura
  • Taktsang Monastery (The Tiger’s Nest)
  • Ura Yakchoe Festival activities

Trip Information

Nestled in the Eastern Himalayas, Bhutan ranks among the top ten hot spots in the world for biodiversity, in the month of May, nature spreads a feast to delight your senses. Bhutan hosts 600 species of wild orchids, 50 different types of Rhododendrons, Blue Poppy (the national flower), medicinal plants, high-altitude plants and tropical trees. Over 70% of Bhutan is blanketed in virgin forests of richly diverse flora, with rippling pristine rivers meandering alongside terraced rice fields. Land-locked and surrounded by high Himalayan Mountains the essence of Bhutan is serenity and beauty distilled through the ages of time. This unique and custom itinerary gives you the best of Bhutan. Cultural hikes to ancient century-old dzongs, (forts), Temple and Buddhist monasteries. Week-end markets, remote villages and Bhutanese hospitality at its finest.

Highlighting this tour is the Ura Yakchoe Festival; invocations of local blessing and religious purification. Tsechus are spiritual, exotic arrays of color, medieval and breathtaking. The four valleys of Punakha, Bumthang, Ura, Wangdue defy words with their beauty.

Itinerary

  • April 15 – Arrival at Paro (by Druk Air) then transfer to Thimphu. Overnight at a hotel.
  • April 16 – Sightseeing around Thimpu. Overnight at a hotel.
  • April 17 – Thimphu to Punakha. Overnight at a hotel.
  • April 18 – Punakha to Bumthang. Overnight at a hotel.
  • April 19 – Bumthang excursion and sightseeing. Overnight at a hotel.
  • April 20 – Bumthang to Ura. Overnight at a hotel.
  • April 21 – Ura to Bumthang. Overnight at a hotel.
  • April 22 – Bumthang – Trongsa – Wangdue. Overnight at a hotel.
  • April 23 – Wangdue to Gangtey. Overnight at a hotel.
  • April 24 – Gangtey to Thimphu to Paro. Overnight at a hotel.
  • April 25 – Hike to Taktsang Monastery (Tiger’s nest) . Overnight at a hotel.
  • April 26 – Departure from Paro (by Druk Air)
April 15 - Arrival at Paro (by Druk Air) then transfer to Thimphu

You can take flight to Paro from Bangkok, New Delhi, Kathmandu, Dhaka etc. We recommend you to fly from Bangkok because Druk air offer everyday flight from Bangkok – Paro – Bangkok whereas Druk air do not operate everyday flights from other sectors.

The flight into Paro on Bhutan’s national carrier, Druk Air, is a befitting introduction to the spectacular beauty of the country. In clear weather, magnificent views of the world’s highest peaks give way to the lush green Paro valley as you land. The first gift from Bhutan will be the cool, clean fresh air as you step out of the plane. After clearing customs and visa control you will drive you to Thimphu, the modern capital of Bhutan. The drive will take around 1 hour. Thimphu has a population of about 98,000. The town is made up of just three lines of shops and is the only capital in the world without traffic lights. Overnight at a hotel.
(Lunch and Dinner Included)

April 16- Sightseeing in and around Thimpu

In the morning we first stop at Bhutan’s National Bank to exchange currency as well as visit the post office to view and purchase elaborate and exquisite Bhutanese collector item stamps. We then will visit the National Memorial Chorten which was built in 1974 in memory of the third king. Also, the National Library where ancient manuscripts are preserved and the Takin Reserve which protects the national animal of Bhutan. After lunch visit the Textile Museum and the Arts and Crafts School. A visit to the House of Incense and House of Paper are always favorites as well. Overnight at a hotel.
(Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner Included)

April 17- Thimphu to Punakha

After breakfast depart to Punakha, an ancient capital of Bhutan. Leaving Thimphu the road climbs steeply through a forest of pine and cedar, festooned with hanging lichen high up near Dochula pass (3,050 m). This pass often offers panoramic views of the Himalayan mountain ranges. After stopping for tea and the view, we descend along a series of hairpin bends to the fertile valley of Punakha and drive to your hotel for lunch and check in. After lunch visit Punakha Dzong, winter seat of the Je Khenpo and the Monk Body, remarkably located between the rivers of the Mo (Female) Chu and Pho (Male) Chu. If time permits take a hike to Khamsum Yueley Chorten (45 minutes one way) through the terraced rice fields and overlooking the village to kabina. Dinner and overnight at a hotel.
(Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner Included)

April 18- Punakha to Bumthang

Today we start early for the fabulous drive to the central valleys of Bhutan. The drive to Bumthang via Trongsa is approximately 7 hours crossing over Pele La pass (3,300m) and Yotongla pass (3,400m). “The Central Road”, across the Black Mountains, was completed 30 years ago, and it brought about great changes to the people in central Bhutan. We pass Wangdue, one of the major towns and district headquarters of Western Bhutan. We climb steadily passing through semi-tropical vegetation and then to Pelela Pass (3,300m) with an alpine environment of rhododendrons and dwarf bamboo. This pass is traditionally considered the boundary between West and East Bhutan. If the weather is clear the Himalayan ranges can be seen, particularly the peak of Chomulhari (7,314m),to the west. En route we cross Chendebji Chorten built many centuries ago to suppress a demon. In Trongsa we visit the impressive Trongsa Dzong, ancestral home of the ruling dynasty. In olden days the dzong commanded the passage between East and West Bhutan. We then drive to Bumthang valley (described as “one of the most beautiful spot in the Himalayas” across the Yotongla pass (3,400m). Overnight at a hotel.
(Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner Included)

April 19- Bumthang excursion and sightseeing

In the morning we hike to visit Tamshing Monastery (one of the oldest monastic schools built by Terton Pema Lingpa) and Kurjey Lhakhang (where the Guru Rinpoche subdued a local demon and left his body imprint on a rock). We also visit Jambay Lhakhang (one of the oldest temples in Bhutan built in 7th century) and Jakar Dzong (seat of the district administration) In the afternoon drive towards east of Bumthang valley to visit Membar Tsho (burning lake) where Pema Lingpa found some Dharma and then visit Swiss Cheese farm where you can taste the cheese along with some cider juices and wines produced locally. Overnight at a hotel.
(Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner Included)

April 20- Bumthang to Ura

After breakfast drive to Ura Valley. Today we will witness URA Yakchoe in Bumthang. Ura is considered one of the holiest valleys in Bhutan. Today Bhutanese from many different areas will gather to pay respect and to be blessed at this social gathering. Bhutanese dressed in their finest clothes and jewelry attends this celebration of purification and religious blessings. Here we can truly appreciate the essence of Bhutanese people and a preserved steadfast culture. Arrays of colorful brocades whirl through the air as the dancers spin and dance the “thunderbolt step”. Masks of glorious demonic demons and animals arouse your senses as you watch the purification take place. The intensity goes on. Overnight at a hotel in village of Ura.
(Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner Included)

April 21- Ura to Bumthang

Returning to Ura Festival meet with Ura Head Lama. Watch for the Atsara (clown) this dancer, unique in his own style, mimics dancers and entertains onlookers. Festival deities are invoked through benediction and luck is increased and misfortunate gone. Drive back to Bumthang. Overnight at a hotel.
(Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner Included)

April 22- Bumthang – Trongsa – Wangdue

After an early breakfast drive to Wangdue via Trongsa. The drive to Wangdue over the Pelela pass. Overnight at a hotel.
(Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner Included)

April 23- Wangdue to Gangtey

Morning drive to Gangtey enroute visit Wangdue Dzong and continue your drive to Gangtey which lies towards the east of Punakha and Wangdue on the flanks of the Black Mountains. There is an old monastery of Gangtey Gompa dating back to the 17th century. A few kilometers past the Gompa on the valley floor are the fascinating valley of Phobjikha. The gentle sloping hill side of Phobjikha is described as “the most beautiful valley in the Himalayas”. This is the winter home of black-necked cranes that migrate from the arid plains of Tibetan Plateau in the north to pass winter in milder and lower climate. Afternoon walk through the valley and observe the rare “Black Necked Crane” and its habitats. One can get good information about this bird from its observation center in the valley, it is worth a visit. Overnight at a hotel.
(Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner Included)

April 24- Gangtey to Thimphu to Paro

After breakfast drive back to Paro with lunch stop at Thimphu. Overnight at a hotel.
(Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner Included)

April 25- Hike to Taktsang Monastery (Tiger’s nest)

After breakfast drive the winding road to Drukgyal Dzong, the ruined fort, which once defended this valley from Tibetan invasions. Mount Chomolhari, can be seen the on a clear day from Drukgyal village. We then drive to Ramthangka to hike upto the Taktsang monastery (Tiger’s nest). The hike to the cafeteria will take around one and half hour. At the view point enjoy the stunning view of the monastery, where Guru Padmasambhava landed on the back of a tigress in the 8th century. After lunch at the café walk back to the road point. On your way back visit Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the oldest temples in Bhutan built in 7th century. Overnight at a hotel.
(Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner Included)

April 26- Departure from Paro (by Druk Air)

After breakfast at your hotel, your local Bhutanese guide will escort you to Paro airport for your onward flight and bid you farewell and happy journey back home.
(Breakfast Included)

  • We understand that some clients want their adventure trek/trip to be a private affair, so that it would enable them to spend some of their memorable moments with their near and dear ones at there own Schedule. Considering this, Ace the Himalaya organizes private journeys as well. Please choose your own departure date.
    • 13 plus 3 =
  • You can also use this tour as a base for a tailor-made itinerary. For example, we could add on more time exploring the Kathmandu Valley or relaxing in Pokhara, or add some wildlife safaris in Chitwan or Bardia National Parks. We can also adjust the trekking route and add some exciting white water rafting on the Seti, Trisuli or Bhote Koshi rivers. To discuss your ideas or to get some suggestions from one of our travel consultants, please fill in our tailor-made request form.
    • 13 minus 3 =

Price Includes

  • Pick up from and drop off at the hotel and the airport on a tourist car / van /minibus.

  • Standard government-approved accommodation (in twin sharing rooms) for the duration of the tour.

  • Full-board meals - breakfast, lunch, dinner and tea & snacks - for the duration of your stay.

  • Drinking water for the duration of the tour.

  • Country presentation and tour Briefing on the evening of Day 01 with welcome drinks.

  • Licensed English-speaking Bhutanese tour guides.

  • Private transportation and a designated driver within Bhutan. Toyota 4WD luggage vans and light trucks for group travel. Luggage will be hauled by horses, mules or yaks at higher elevations, if required.

  • Monument and museums entrance fees at all sightseeing locations detailed in the itinerary.

  • Cultural afternoon/evening sessions with traditional mask and folk dances (with beverages). Only for group tours.

  • Bhutan visa fees and processing assistance.

  • Government royalty (35% of $200), which goes to the country's health and education projects.

  • All route access and monument entry permits and fees.

  • All government taxes, official expenses and tourist service charges.

Price Does not Include

  • International airfare and airport departure tax. (Please see the Druk Air flight info below)

  • Your travel insurance (mandatory for the trip, see the travel insurance page).

  • Expenses of personal nature, such as laundry.

  • Alcoholic and cold drinks.

  • Personal clothing and equipment.(See the equipment tab for detail information)

  • Tips for tour guides, porters, driver, hotel lobby and in restaurants. (Tipping is expected)

  • Other expenses not mentioned in the Price Includes section.

Please note: Druk air flight cost are not included in the trip price. Druk air flights cost are different as per the flights sectors that you are taking. Druk air offer flights from following location. We recommend you to book your flight to Bangkok as they have every day flight to Paro and from Paro as well.

Please let us know which route is more convenient to you, the cost of the flights are as below. Please contact us for the up-to-date Druk air flight rate.
Bangkok – Paro – Bangkok = US$890
New Delhi – Paro- New Delhi = US$875
Calcutta – Paro- Calcutta = US$510
Kathmandu – Paro- Kathmandu = US$520
Bangkok – Paro – Kathmandu = US$ 860
Bangkok – Paro – New Delhi = US$ 875

All you need to bring for this Tour is simply some comfortable clothes; there is no any requirement of  special equipment on the tour. However for your ease, the following gives you the general idea about the personal items you need to manage for the trip. The personal items referred here are optional and depends upon your choice. The most important factor to be considered while choosing the equipments and your Bag-pack, is the time of the year you are travelling.

In a tour, the vehicle transfers all the heavy items and equipments. But the Personal belongings of the clients which is required at any moment like money, water bottle, camera, suns cream and toilet paper etc. should be carried by yourself. It is therefore advisable that you pack the personal belongings into your daypack.

If you are going bhutan from kathmandu, we will supply complimentary water and wind proof duffel bag, which you can use on the tour for your shopping purpose. The duffel bag is yours to keep.

List of Recommended Equipment for the Tour:

  • Duffel or Rucksack bag or suitcase (We will provide one complimentary ACE duffel bag for you to keep.)
  • Daypack
  • Warm wool or synthetic hat that cover your ears (only if you are travelling in the cold season i.e January, February and December)
  • Goggles or sunglasses for sunbeam, dust and wind.
  • A neck warmer is another piece of gear for extra warmth if you feel you will need it and is for cold season i.e January, February and December.(optional)
  • 1 pair warm gloves (This is required if your are travelling in cold season i.e January, February and December).
  • T-shirts (2).
  • Waterproof (preferably breathable fabric) shell jacket (preferable if you are travelling in rainy season from June to September.)
  • 1 pair cotton pants (loose jeans/khakis), 1 pair shorts.
  • 2 pairs lightweight long underwear/thermals (if you are traveling in winter January, February and December).
  • 2 pairs of liner socks, synthetic or capilene.
  • 1 pair light camping shoes or sneakers..
  • 1 pair sandals (Optional).

Medicines and First Aid Kits

(Please note our guide will also carry the first aid kit bag during the trek. However we still recommend you to bring your personal first aid kit as well)

  • Extra Strength Excedrin for altitude related headaches.
  • Ibuprofen for general aches and pains.
  • Immodium or Pepto bismol capsules for upset stomach or diarrhea.
  • 1 small personal sized first-aid kit with blister treatments such as mole skin, band-aids, some waterproof tape, anti-infection ointments, etc. Your guides will have more extensive medical gear, but you should have the basics for general use.

Miscellaneous, but Important !

  • Passport and extra passport photos (4 copies).
  • Airline ticket (Please make a copy and leave on at our office in KTM just in case if you need to change the date of your).
  • Durable wallet / pouch for travel documents, money & passport.
  • Lip balm. At least SPF 20, 2 sticks. A string taped to the stick is helpful, to hang around your neck and some are now being sold with a cord already attached. Handy as it avoids you from having to stop and look for it.
  • Sunscreen.
  • Toiletry kit. Be sure to include hand wipes, and liquid hand sanitizer
  • 2 bandanas.

This list is only a guide. While you are required to bring everything on this list, there are numerous options, brands, and versions of each piece of equipment. Use your experience and the listed features to find the best gear for you. 

Here's a few answers to most common Questions asked by the customers.

This festival tour is suitable for any kind of person, no previous experience is required.

Yes, our airport representative will be there to greet you at the airport. S/he will be displaying signboard with your name on it. Upon arrival, you will be transferred to your hotel.

Hotels vary in style and quality. All Government approved hotels are clean and well maintained with hot and cool water, telephones with international dialing and fax facilities. We use three to four star hotels for this trip. All the meals and hot drinks are included in the trip price.

Most of the restaurants serve Bhutanese, Indian, Chinese and Continental cuisine always plenty to choose from. Local Bhutanese food are spicy like the Indian food.

Ace the Himalaya is all about providing you with local insights, lifestyle as well as adventure. Using a variety of private transport is an integral part of our Himalayan tours, enhancing the experience!

We use private tourist vehicles for sightseeing, city tours and pickups; whereas we use the best 4WD SUVs as our support vehicle. These vehicles are extremely sturdy, spacious and reliable and they make the journey as comfortable as possible. For larger groups, we also use supported trucks to carry your luggage.

It depends on the season you’re travelling. During winter (December to February), it is colder at night and relatively warmer during the day, with the temperature ranging from 4°C at night to 22°C. Between March and May, the weather stays prefect as the temperature averages 25°C during the day. From September to December, following the monsoon, the temperature gets cooler and allows for a great time to travel. The average temperature during this season is 20°C. The vehicles and the hotels during the trip will be air-conditioned making your travel very comfortable.

These facilities will be available in most of the places in your hotel. Remember to bring travel adapters!

You will have many photo opportunities during the tours. Please ask for permission before taking a person’s photo. Photography in, monasteries, shrine rooms of Dzongs and religious institutions is generally not permitted, but outdoor photography is. To be sure when visiting such places, you may consult with your guide just to make sure. Carry plenty of films and batteries. Photo shops in Bhutan do not sell equipment or accessories.

Telephones and Internet and international calls are readily available in most of the town for this trip

There are just a few ATM’s in Bhutan for credit card (Master card / Maestro) & only few establishments in Bhutan accept credit card payments hence US Dollars   (cash or Amex travelers cheques) or Euros Cash  is suggested and convenient  to cover any personal expenses  (eg. beverages , laundry ,phone bills , tipping , shopping etc) that  the Pax  may make in the Kingdom.    1US$ is equivalent to Nu. 55 & 1 Euro is equivalent to Nu.69 as of today (the day we writing this text).  .  NU= Ngultrum, the Bhutanese currency

It depends on your spending habits. Generally, all the foods, accommodation and hot drinks are included in the price. You can allocate USD 10 to USD 15 for chocolates and a few drinks during the trip.

Druk Air allows only up to 20 kgs of luggage per person, after which the excess baggage charge is USD 5 per kg.

Yes, they have all received a 45-day training from the Hotel Management and Tourism Center. The guides have also received high altitude first aid training

We will handle the visa procedures for you. The Govt. will sanction the VISA only after the receipt of full payment in advance. The visa fee is included with our tour price. Actual Bhutan VISA will be stamped in your passport on arrival on Paro airport. Without visa clearance number, tourists cannot board the flight or enter the country.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs forwards a copy of this visa clearance to the concerned Druk Air stations and other entry points; we also fax a copy of the visa clearance document to our clients for their reference. While the actual visa is stamped on arrival, the initial visa clearance is also required at the time of issuing Druk Air Tickets.

All you need is to carry 2 copies of original passport-sized photographs, which are required on arrival in the country. Please e-mail us the clear color copy of the passport for the visa procedures.

Yes, you need to book your own International flights. We are a local agent and it would cost you significantly higher to book through us. Please find more information in the International Flight page.

Druk air is the only one airline to entre and exit Bhutan. We will book the Druk air flight to and from Bhutan and e-mail you the e-ticket.

Druk air flight cost is not included in the trip price. Druk air flights cost are different as per the flights sectors that you are taking. Druk air offer flights from following location. We recommend you to book your flight to Bangkok as they have every day flight to Paro and from Paro as well.

Please let us know which route is more convenient to you, the cost of the flights are as below. Please contact us for the up-to-date Druk air flight rate.

· Bangkok – Paro – Bangkok = US$890
· New Delhi – Paro- New Delhi = US$875
· Calcutta – Paro- Calcutta = US$510
· Kathmandu – Paro- Kathmandu = US$520
· Bangkok – Paro – Kathmandu = US$ 860
· Bangkok – Paro – New Delhi = US$ 875

This is a difficult thing to gauge. We have seen everything from USD 20 to USD 1000 per person for guides and porters. Tipping is not required, but a small gesture of thanks to your guides and local porters thanks for their help. The level of the tip should reflect the level of satisfaction from and personal involvement with your guide.

No, because we can’t change your Druk air flight once it is booked.

Our company insures all our staff members, including guides, cooks, Sherpas and porters.

Here are some documents that you will need to carry with you:

· Valid Passport – must be valid for up to 6 months after you return from your tour, keep a separate photocopy.
· Travel insurance, keep a separate photocopy
· Cash and Traveller’s Cheques, keep numbers and proof of purchase separately

· Flight tickets
· Emergency contact numbers for T/C’s, banks, insurance, family contacts.

A holiday should never be about making it to the final point quickly. Along your trek we can add days at your request with additional costs to cover guides, porters, accommodation and food.

Yes, there are a plenty of options and choices to extend your holiday before or after your main trip.Please go through the trip extension page for more information.

We cater to all group sizes, while maintaining the field staff ratio to give you the best quality and experience.

Laundry service is easily available at your hotel. Please note that laundry service is not included in the package price.

No vaccinations are compulsory fro travelling in Bhutan, but we do recommend you are covered for diphtheria TB, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, *malaria, typhoid, polio and tetanus.

We also recommend:

· A dental check-up prior to travelling.
· That you know your blood group in case of emergency.

If you have any pre-existing medical conditions which might affect you on tour, you make these known to your tour leader and Ace the Himalaya at the time of your booking.

These full and frank reviews are from the travellers who have travelled with Ace the Himalaya previously. They are not edited by us; find the real story, from real travellers below.

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    The above information is a guide and standard template of what we provide. Our trip can be customized at your request to accommodate your specific requirements.

    NOTE: During the trip; weather, local politics, transport or a multitude of other factors, that are beyond our control can result in a change of itinerary. It is, however, very unlikely that the itinerary would be substantially altered; if alterations are necessary the leader will decide what is the best alternative, taking into consideration the best interests of the whole group. Where a change does occur, we do everything we can to minimize its effect, but we cannot be responsible for the results of changes or delays.


    Book Bhutan Trip as early as possible
    Druk Air, Bhutan’s national airline is the only airline to entre and exit Bhutan. The Druk air flight tickets sold out two to eight months in advance. We recommend you reserve your Bhutan trip as early as possible, so we can secure these flights for you.

    What makes this trip different ?

    Ace the Himalaya works closely with and is one of the main supporters of local NGO Sambhav Nepal. We support them in a number of ways.

    Donation
    Ace the Himalaya donates up to 10% of its annual revenue to Sambhav Nepal’s projects which cover regular maintenance of school buildings, constructing toilets, rebuilding earthquake-affected houses and schools, and so on.

    Sponsorship
    One of the major activities of Sambhav Nepal is the children sponsorship program, which is conducted with full collaboration with Ace the Himalaya and its sister organizations, Ace Holidays and Ace Xpeditions.

    Partnership (Volunteering Program)
    The Volunteering Program, devised by Ace the Himalaya and Sambhav Nepal, aims to mobilize teams of experts and interested individuals as an effective and economic measure in providing the human capital for education, health and community development in the villages of northern Gorkha district, western Nepal.

    After the Earthquake of April 25, 2015, the Volunteering Program’s focus has been mobilizing the volunteers in various school and house rebuilding projects in the hard-hit Gorkha district.

    For more details, visit Sambhav Nepal’s website www.sambhavnepal.org