The Haa Summer Festival is a lively and uplifting celebration of traditional living-culture, nomadic lifestyles, unique Bhutanese cuisine, traditional sports and religious performances. It provides unparalleled insight into the lives and traditions of Bhutan’s nomadic herders. It showcases a lively traditional living culture, nomadic lifestyles, and demonstration of local cuisines, brewing of local ara, traditional sports, religious performances, dances, songs, artifacts and natural alpine flowers. Tourists can also experience the night at one of the many village home stays and enjoy the hospitality of the local people of Haa Valley.
Things to do and see
Schedule your visit during the annual Haa’s Alpine festival to see the weaving and making of yak hair tent from scratch! Expect to see a variety of yak products on display including coveted bundle of white yak tails (which are believed to bring good luck to one’s home), learn about the traditional process of yak shearing and wool making, see how yak dairy is turned into delicious traditional meals that showcase the culinary traditions of Haa.
Since people of Haa are also known for their skills in the traditional 13 arts and crafts of Bhutan, you are likely to stumble on beautiful one of a-kind bargains crafted from gold, silver, bronze, clay, slate and wood.
As an added highlight, be sure to catch the Nublang cattle show at the alpine festival. A breed of cattle unique to the Haaps, the Nublangs trace their origins to a legendary lake called the Nub Tshonapata, located in the western mountain ranges. According to a local myth, this special breed of cattle was granted as a present to a herder from Haa for his kindness to a deity of the lake.
Day 1 LAND PARO - TRANSFER TO THIMPHU
Fly into Paro by DrukAir / Bhutan Airline. After completing your immigration formalities, you will be received by our representative of the Arise Dev Tours and Travels who will be your tour guide throughout your tour and drive to Thimphu. National Memorial Chorten, chorten literally means ' seat of faith' and Buddhists often call such monuments the 'Mind of Buddha'. Meet the elderly local in circumambulation at the National Memorial Chorten. Takin Preserve, which houses the national animal the Takin that is only found in Bhutan. This is an extremely rare member of the goat family. Found in herds in the very high altitudes (13,125ft and over). Tashichhoe Dzong, a fortress of the glorious religion. It was built in 1641 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel and was reconstructed into present structure by the late King, His majesty Jigme Dorji Wangchuck in the year 1962-1969. It houses the secretariat building, the throne room and the office of the king, and the central monk body. · Craft Bazaar -A one stop place to witness Bhutanese culture and buy Bhutan made art and craft product. The Bazaar in its 80 stalls covers all aspects of the traditional arts and crafts of Bhutan. At this Bazaar craftsmen and artisans from across the country display and sell their handicrafts. And also visit other handicraft stores.
Day 2 (Explore Thimphu)
After breakfast visit following place:
Institute for Zorig Chusum - commonly known as Arts & Crafts School or Painting School, the Institute offers a six-year course on the 13 traditional arts and crafts of Bhutan. On a visit, one can see students learning the various skills taught at the school.
- · Coronation Park - Located on the banks of the river (near the city stadium), this 5.6 acres of parkland offer a pleasant and relaxing environment to stroll or to sit and watch the river flow by.
- · Kuensel Phodrang and visit tallest Buddha statue and enjoy the full view of Thimphu Valley below.
- · The Folk Heritage Museum (Phelchey Toenkhyim) - It is dedicated to connect people to the Bhutanese rural past through exhibits, demonstrations, educational programes and documentation of rural life. The principal exhibit in the museum is a restored three storey traditional rammed mud and timber house, which dates back to the mid 19thm century. The design and form of house is that of an average household in the Wang area during that era. The age of structure demonstrates the durability and performance of the building materials. From ground to top floor, household objects, typical domestic tools and equipments that would have been used by a family during that period are put on display. The museum is also developing some of the native trees and plants that were used for various domestic purposes in the rural households
- · Changangkha Lhakhang - It is a fortress like temple and monastic school perched on a ridge above Thimphu, south of Motithang. The temple was established in 12th century on a site chosen by Lama Phajo Drugom Shigpo, who came from Tibet. The central statue here is Chenrezig in a manifestation with 11 heads. From temple courtyard, there is fascinating view of Thimphu valley. · Weekend Market - Every Saturday and Sunday most of Thimphu's scant population and many valley dwellers congregate on the banks of the river where weekend market is held. It is an interesting place to visit and provides opportunity to mingle with the local people.
Day 3 THIMPHU – PHOBJIKHA/GANGTEY
After breakfast, travel to Punakha through 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 by Her Majesty Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck (Queen Mother of Bhutan) for the security and well being of His Majesty, the King of Bhutan. The valley of Gangtey, is one of the most beautiful and peace places in Bhutan. The surprise of finding such a wide, flat valley without any trees after the hard climb through dense forests is augmented by an impression of vast space, and is an extremely rare experience in Bhutan where most of the valleys are tightly enclosed. A few kilometers beyond the Gangtey Monastery, on the valley floor lies the fascinating valley of Phobjikha. Latter visit Gangtey Goempa Perched on a small hill that rises from the valley floor, the Gangtey Monastery is the only Nyingmapa monastery on the western side of the Black Mountain’s Gangtey valley.The Monastery is surrounded by a large village inhabited mainly by the families of the 140 Gomchens who take care of the Monastery. Gangtey was founded by Pema Trinley, the grand son of Pema Lingpa, the famous Nyingmapa saint of Bhutan. In 1613, Pema Trinley establish the monastery and became the first Gangtey Tulku. The religious traditions of Pema Lingpa still taught there. The second Tulku, Tenzin Legpa Dondrup (1645 to 1726), enhanced the size of Gangtey while keeping up good relations with Drukpas, and rebuilt the monastery in the form of a Dzong.
Black Necked Crane Information Centre Situated on the edge of the forest and wetland along the main road of Phobjikha valley, the black-necked crane information Centre has an observation room equipped with high power telescope and spotting scopes for catching the best view of the cranes. The centre also offers display information that outline the natural and cultural history of the area. There is a small gift shop, which sells handicrafts produced by the local people.
Day 4 PHOBJIKHA/GANGTEY
BUMTHANG After breakfast, travel to Bumthang through Trongsa. The drive will take you through dense forests of oak and blue pine trees and through the subtropical vegetation. The journey will also take you through the village of Nobding and Pele la pass (3300m). Throughout your trip you will come across the beautiful sceneries of rural Bhutan, with scattered settlements far from the road which makes for good photographing. You will also pass through open meadows, and valley of yak herders and several other villages via Chendebji Chorten( Stupa) . Lunch will be served enroute. On arrival at Trongsa, you will stop for refreshment and also visit Trongsa Dzong, which is the most impressive dzong in Bhutan. Built in 1644 by the Shabdrung, the dzong is an architectural masterpiece. Then continue your travel to Bumthang passing through Yotong La Pass (3400 m). Just before reaching Bumthang you will come across “Yathra” Weaving Centre at Zugney Village where you will see local weavers weaving Yathra. Yathra is the name for the colorful, hand-woven woolen cloth (often with geometric designs) that is produced in this region and wool used for this type of textile is sheep wool as the sheep is reared in this Bumthang Valley. Yathra is made into jackets or bags, etc. Then you will be driven further to Bumthang Valley. On arrival at Bumthang, check into your hotel in Bumthang.
Day 5 BUMTHANG LOCAL SIGHTSEEING
Jambay Lhakhang It was divined that the supine demoness was causing obstruction to the spread of Buddhism, and temples were constructed on her body parts that spread across Tibet, Bhutan and the borderlands. The best known of these temples are Jokhang in Lhasa, Kichu in Paro, Bhutan and Jambay Lhakhang in Bumthang District, Bhutan. Other, lesser-known temples in Bhutan have been destroyed, but it is believed that, among others, Kongchogsum in Bumthang, Khaine in Lhuntse and two temples in Haa District may have part of these 108 temples. Jambay Lhakhang was visited by Padmasambhava and restored by King Sindhu Raja after the former returned his life force.
Kurje Lhakhang During the 8th century, Sendhu Raja, who was the king of Bumthang fell ill, and he invited Guru Rinpoche who brought Buddhism to Bhutan to cure him. Guru Rinpoche found out that the King’s illness was caused by the local deities including the powerful Shelging Karpo. Finding the cause of the illness, Guru chased the deities into a cave, and Guru meditated inside the cave for three months. Guru then subdued the deities including the powerful Shelging Karpo and left his body imprint inside the cave, thus giving the name Kurjey (Body Imprint). Beside the Monastery is a tall cypress tree that is believed to have sprouted from the walking stick of Guru Rinpoche. Mebartsho The Tang Rivers cuts through the first line of hills, forming a narrow gorge which contains one of the great pilgrimage sites in Bhutan: Mebartsho, “The burning lake” Today it is a sacred pilgrimage site where the devoted Bhutanese float small butter lamps and makes a wish. Images of Pema Lingpa and his two sons are carved on the rock. There is no sanctuary but the site of the gorge itself is sacred. Jakar Dzong Founded by great grand-father of the first Shabdrung, the Dzong was initially built as a monastery in 1549. It was upgraded after the Shabdrung had firmly established his power in 1646. The Dzong is now used as administrative centre for Bumthang valley, and houses the regional monk body.
Swiss Farm & Red Panda Beer Factory The Swiss Farm was founded by Fritz Maurer, a Swiss who came to Bhutan in the mid 1960s to help develop farming in the Bumthang region as part of the Pro Bhutan Foundation. He got married to a Bhutanese and started a Swiss cheese factory and in 1996 set up the brewery. The small family run factory produces variety of Swiss cheeses, clover honey, apple cider, wine, apple brandy and local draft beer called Red panda. Beer and cheese tasting can be arranged. The family also runs a guest house.
Day 6 BUMTHANG – PUNAKHA
The Chimi Lhakhang, situated on a hillock in the centre of the valley, is dedicated to Lama Drukpa Kuenley, who in the late 15th century used humour, songs and outrageous behaviour to dramatise his teachings and due to this also known as "Divine Madman". This temple is also known as the temple of fertility. It is widely believed that couples who do not have children and wanting one, if they pray at this temple, they are usually blessed with a child very soon. It is about 30 minute walk across field from the road to the temple. The trail leads across rice fields to the tiny settlement of Pana, meaning "field". It then follows a tiny stream downhill to Yoaka and across more fields before making a short climb to Chimi Lhakhang. Punakha Dzong The Dzong is open for visitors during Punakha festival and in summer months when the monk body moves to Thimphu. The dzong is historically important and stands as the symbol for a unified Bhutan. Punakha had served as the capital of Bhutan from 1637 till 1907
Built strategically at the junction of Pho Chhu and Mo Chhu rivers in 1637, by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal to serve as the religious and administrative centre of the region, Punakha Dzong has played an important role in Bhutan's history. Punakha has been inextricably linked to some of the most momentous events in the Bhutanese history and deserves its reputation as one of the most beautiful and significant regions at the heart of Bhutanese culture.
Day 7 - EXCURSION IN AND AROUND PUNAKHA - PARO
Hike to Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten - A beautiful hike takes one to the regal Khamsum Yuelley Namgel Chorten, which was built to remove negative forces and promote peace, stability and harmony in the changing world. The Chorten dominates the upper Punakha Valley with commanding views across the Mo Chhu and up towards the mountainous peaks of Gasa and beyond. After lunch drive to Paro.
Day 8 - HAA SUMMER FESTIVAL TOUR
After breakfast drive to Haa valley via chelela pass viewing beautiful mountain ranges to witness summer festival. Evening back to Paro
Day 9 EXCURSION TO TIGER’S NEST MONASSATERY
It is one of the most famous monasteries, Tiger's nest located on the side of a cliff 900m above the Paro valley floor. It is said that Guru Rinpoche arrived here on the back of a tigress and meditated at this monastery and hence it is called "Tiger's Nest". This site has been recognized as a most sacred place and visited by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal in 1646 and now visited by all Bhutanese at least once in their lifetime. On 19 April, 1998, a fire severely damaged the main structure of building but now this Bhutanese jewel has been restored to its original splendour. Lunch will be served in tiger nest cafe. On the way visit Kyichu temple, one of the 108 temples built in the 7th century by the Tibetan King Songsten Gampo. The story goes that a giant demon lay across the whole area of Tibet and the Himalayas and was preventing the spread of Buddhism. To overcome her, King Songtsen Gampo decided to build 108 temples, which would be placed on all the points of her body. Of these 108 temples, 12 were built in accordance with precise plans. Thus, it happened that in about the year AD 638 the temple of Jokhang in Lhasa was built over the very heart of the demon
Day 10 Depature to paro
After breakfast, drive to the airport for flight to your onward destination. Our representative will help you with exit formalities and then bid you farewell.
What is included in the tour
- Private guided tour
- Visas for Bhutan
- Airport transfers
- Daily 3 meals (B/L/D) at designated restaurants or hotels
- Accommodation at 3 star hotel
- A qualified & licensed English-speaking guide
- An experienced driver
- A tour vehicle
- Entry fees & road permits
- Government fee, royalty, taxes & surcharges
- Mineral bottled water
- Set of traditional costume (to be return at the end of your stay)
- Full service & assistance before, during and after your Bhutan trip
- Free Local Sim
- Excited Trip Gift exclusively from Arisedev Tours and Treks
What is NOT included in the tour
- Flight into Bhutan via Drukair (can be arranged with us)
- Flight on other airline to catch Drukair Flight
- Meals at 4-5 stars restaurants
- Hotel stay outside of Bhutan
- Expenditure of personal nature
- Travel Insurance (can be arranged with us)
- Tips for the guide and driver
- Alcoholic drink
- Guaranteed Visa approval. We have yet to disappoint a single of our travellers in term of Visa issuance.
- Your choice of hotels will be confirmed for your inspection before your arrival. We only book you on hotels which we love and would love again.
- We will be happy to change your guide, driver or vehicle on the first two days of arrival in Thimphu if you are not satisfied with our selection. Drop us a note and our hospitality team be on the spot to assist you.
- We’re here to help. Our world-class member services team is available by phone or email — there's no automated system or call center; you'll communicate with a real person.