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14 Days

Gomkora Festival

Thousands of people visit Gomphu Kora, in Tashi Yangtse, Bhutan, each year to witness the sacred festivals held annually. The 400-year-old festival, which started according to the prophecy of Guru Rimpoche, can be still witnessed in its original forms. Gompa means “Meditation Cave” and Kora means “Circumambulation”. The name is derived from a cave formed out of a rock face next to a temple that has been built as a tribute to this sacred site.

The story of Gomphu Kora goes back to the 8th century AD. Legend has it that an evil non-human spirit named Myongkhapa escaped from Samye in Tibet when Guru Padmasambhava, the progenitor of the Nyingma strand of Buddhism, was spreading the Dharma in the Himalayas. Myongkhapa followed the course of the present-day Kholong chhu stream and concealed himself inside a rock where Gomphu Kora stands today. The Guru followed the evil, mediated for three days inside the rock cave, and finally vanquished it.

Today Gom Kora Tsechu is not only famous as a festival but also one of the pilgrimage places for eastern Bhutanese and some parts of India, it is also famous among young people for meeting their lovers.

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Detailed Program

On arrival in Paro, you will be met by our representative and transferred to your hotel in Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan for two nights. Spend the rest of the day at leisure to allow for acclimatization.

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Today we explore a fascinating full-day tour to see the best of Thimphu city at an altitude of 2,300 m. The first stop is at the National Memorial Chorten, built in memory of the third King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk, Next, visit the 13th-century Changangkha Temple overlooking the Thimphu town and the Folk Heritage Museum, a showcase of the Bhutanese artifacts used in rural households.

Later drive up to the Sangaygang Hill (Radio Tower) or the Kuensel Phodrang (Buddha Point) offering a panoramic view of the Thimphu valley, and visit the Mini Zoo of Takin, the national animal of Bhutan, or the Textile Museum of Bhutan. Continue to the Centenary Farmer’s Market on the banks of the Wangchhu River selling farm produces, local arts and crafts, etc.

Overnight in Thimphu.

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After breakfast, today we travel to Gangtey via Wangdue Phodrang for a distance of 135 km for about 5-6 hours journey and en route stop at Dochula pass at an altitude of 3,050 m. If the weather is clear, you will enjoy a breathtaking view of the snow-capped eastern Himalayan ranges and also a magnificent distant view of the Gasa Dzong from this spot. After lunch, visit the Wangdue Phodrang Dzong.

Continue on the journey to Gangtey in the Phobjikha valley. Along the highway, you’ll photo stops as there are loads of breathtaking views during the journey. The evening is at leisure to relax and enjoy, we have allowed some time for this and also to explore the delightful glacial valley of Phobjikha.

Overnight in Gangtey

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The altitude of Gangtey in the Phobjikha valley is 3,000 m. This morning you will visit the picturesque Gangtey Gompa (monastery). Enjoy the views of the remote Phobjikha glacial valley and the black mountain ranges. Phobjikha valley is one of the winter roosting grounds of the rare Black-necked Cranes, where they come in hundreds after spending their summer in Tibet and then migrate to the Himalayas of Bhutan to spend their winter – they arrive in September and October and fly back to Tibet between February and March.

Your overnight is in Gangtey.

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After breakfast, we travel a distance of 120 km for about 5 hours to Trongsa via Pelela pass at an altitude of 3,300 m. This pass is an important dividing range that separates western central and eastern Bhutan. Lunch will be at Trongsa and then visit the Ta Dzong (ancient watch tower) or the impressive Trongsa Dzong.

Continue the journey for a further distance of 68-km for about 2 hours to Bumthang at an altitude of 2,600m, the most beautiful valley and cultural heartland in the Kingdom. En route, we will stop for a quick visit to the Yathra Weaving Centre at Chumey, where they use yak and sheep wools for Yathra products with patterns unique to Bumthang.

Overnight in Bumthang.

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After breakfast, we set out for a full day of sightseeing to experience more of this spiritual heartland of Bhutan. You will visit the following legendary monasteries, temples, and dzong: the Jakar Dzong, the Jambay Lhakhang, built in the 7th century by the King Songtsen Gampo of Tibet, the Kurjey Lhakhang, built in 1652 and named after the body imprint of Guru Rinpoche who introduced the Buddhism in Bhutan, the Tamshing Lhakhang, built in 1501 and the most important Nyingma temple in Bhutan.

If time permits, visit the famous Swiss Cheese Factory and Diary Farm in Bumthang.

Overnight in Bumthang.

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This morning takes you through a scenic journey for a distance of 198 km for about 7-8 hours journey to Mongar at an altitude of 1,600 m. Along the journey, you will cross the two villages called Ura and Sengor passing through the highest point on Bhutan’s lateral road via Thrumshingla pass at an altitude of 3,800 m.

En route stop at Ura Shelthangla, where you will enjoy a magnificent view of Bhutan’s highest peak, Mt Gangkar Puensum at 7,500 m. Next, stop at Sengor village and Namling where you can view the breathtaking landscapes of the cascading waterfalls and admire the diverse flora and fauna in these places. Descending the road will take you to Lingmethang at an altitude of 700 m and cross the Kurichu River, where the largest hydroelectric power in the eastern region is commissioned over the river.

Spend the night in Mongar.

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After breakfast, we depart Mongar after a quick visit to the Mongar Dzong and head to Trashiyangtse for a distance of 146 km for about 5 hours journey passing via Korila pass at an altitude of 2,450 m. Afterward, the road descends and passes through the famous turns of Yadi, and en route, you will see the temple, perched on top of a steep hill above the village which is the most important monastery in eastern Bhutan.

This is the place of origin of the famous Drametse Nga Chham, a masked dance with drums. Lunch will be at Trashigang. Continue into Trashiyangtse at an altitude of 1,850 m, a fairly new district that was separated from Trashigang.

You will spend two nights here.

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This morning you will be taken to visit Bumdeling, a wonderful plain alongside the Kholong chhu River. Bumdeling is also one of the winter roosting grounds of the rare Black-necked Cranes, where they come in hundreds after spending their summer in Tibet and then migrate to the Himalayas of Bhutan to spend their winter – they arrive in September and October and fly back to Tibet between February and March. Back to Trashiyangtse and lunch at your hotel.

Later visit the new Trashiyangtse Dzong. We will also visit the dazzling white Chorten Kora (stupa) on the Kholong chhu riverbank below the town and the Institute for Zorig Chusum, where students are trained in the 13 traditional arts and crafts of Bhutan.

Overnight in Trashiyangtse.

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Today’s return journey is a distance of 55 km for about 2 hours to Trashigang at an altitude of 1,150 m, the largest and most populated district in Bhutan. En-route visit the old Trashiyangtse dzong. Later, visit the Trashigang Dzong, which serves as the civil administrative center and the local monastic body, situated on a steep hillside above the Gamri River.

The rest of the day is at leisure to relax and enjoy, we have allowed some time for this and also to explore the surroundings of Trashigang town.

You will spend three nights here.

Places and attractions:

Attend the festival of Gomkora Tshechu, which is held in early spring in a sacred religious site of Guru Rinpoche (also known as Padmasambhava) at Gomkora Lhakhang. This festival is very popular in the eastern region of Bhutan and draws people from all walks of life including the Dakpa tribe with entire families from Tawang, a neighboring state of Arunachal Pradesh in India.

The biggest attraction of Gomkora is the circumambulation of the people dressed in their finery and jeweler partaking in this festivity. For some, traditionally, the Gomkora festival is also an occasion to have a date for the people of eastern Bhutan that leads to many marriages.

Overnight in Trashigang.

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Depart from Paro towards your onward destination or options you can take a domestic flight from Bumthang to Paro for onward destination.

  • Inclusion
  • Exclusion
  • Insurance
  • Airport pick-up and drop-off by private vehicle.
  • 3-star accommodation (4 & 5 stars may require an additional premium update).
  • Bhutan visa fee – including all necessary processing
  • Route Permit
  • Three meals per day during your stay in Bhutan
  • A licensed Bhutanese tour guide
  • All land transportation by private vehicle
  • Camping equipment and haulage for trekking tours
  • Sightseeing as per itinerary
  • Monuments entrance fees where applicable
  • Drinking water
  • All internal taxes and charges
  • A sustainable development fee of $200. (This sustainable development fee goes towards free education, free healthcare, and poverty alleviation, along with the building of infrastructure.)
  • Airfare & Travel Insurance
  • Expenses of personal nature, Tips to guides and drivers
  • Expenses occurred due to unavoidable events i.e. road wrecks, flight delays etc.

Package does not include insurance of any kinds, and that you are required to obtain separate coverage from your home country before your trip begins.

Our Host

Bhutan is one of the most unusual and beautiful countries in the world. You’ll find a land that is blessed with abundance, a deep connection to the past, and a unique culture. Truly Bhutan’s Host is second to none. Handpicked, highly experienced, and scrupulously trained, they bring a wealth of skill and knowledge to each trip. They are fun and friendly, whose aim is to ensure that each trip remains an unforgettable experience. Creating colorful, discovery-oriented tours in a combination of safety and comfort is the mission of our guides. All Host have earned the tour guide’s certificate from the Tourism Council of Bhutan.

Trek guide

Jigme Dorji | Culture & Trekking Expert

Dechen Dema

Dechen Dema | Culture & Trekking Expert

host

Pelden Dorji | Culture & Trekking Expert

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