Dancing Deities and Rhododendrons Galore
A Cultural Tour of Bhutan, and Sikkim’s Rhododendron Forests
Trip dates: April 4 to 17, 2018







Punakha




Paro Tse Chu dancer

The cost includes: Hotels/lodges/guesthouses on twin-sharing basis in Bhutan and Sikkim, three meals a day in Bhutan, breakfast and some lunches/dinners in Sikkim, overland travel from Bhutan to Sikkim, airport transfers including from Sikkim to Bagdogra airport, guided sightseeing tours as mentioned, Bhutan visa fee, monastery and Dzong entry fees on tour.

The cost does not include: International airfare including a possible flight from Paro to Bagdogra, hotel and meals en route, meals other than those mentioned above, drinks, items of a personal nature, Indian visa, airport tax, optional guide tips, and travel insurance.


For more information and a detailed itinerary... please contact

KarmaQuest Ecotourism and Adventure Travel
Tel: (650) 560-0101/
Fax: 712-8164
699 Spindrift Way, Half Moon Bay,
California 94019 USA
Karma@KarmaQuest.com
Website: www.KarmaQuests.com


Bhutan
blooms with life in Spring: forests come alive with birds and blossoms, and in the courtyards of Paro Dzong, villagers sit entranced by the Tsechu masked ritual dances. On this special trip you too will witness the dances for the deities, receive blessings, and rise early to see the unfurling of a giant thangka (embroidered tapestry) at sunrise.

April in Sikkim is the time of magnificent Rhododendron blooms. Sikkim boasts 36 species of Rhododendron, some as tall as 30-40 feet. You’ll spend two days walking through Rhododendron forests ablaze with boisterous blooms. Overnight in a cozy bungalow. Then travel by road to Sikkim’s first capital site, Yuksom, where you’ll learn how the community is working to preserve the environment and fulfill its dream of becoming a “little Switzerland.”

Itinerary

Day 1 - Arrive in Paro, arrive mid-day. Visit Kichu Lhakhang and the Drukgyel Dzong. Drive a short distance to Thimphu and overnight.

Day 2 - Sightseeing in Thimphu: Visit the Folk Heritage and Textile museums, the government Secretariat, a papermaking factory and more. Overnight in Thimphu.

Day 3 - Punakha: Drive over Dochula (10,000 ft) and on to Punakha Dzong, an impressive 17th century monastery/fortress. Take an easy walk through farmfields to Chimi Lhakhang, home of the Divine Madman, who is said to cure infertility! Overnight at Punakha/ Wangdi Phodrang.

Day 4 - Drive to Paro, stopping in Thimphu to shop for souvenirs. Overnight in Paro.

Day 5 - Paro Tsechu: Attend the Tsechu, held in the Paro Dzong courtyard. Dancers adorned in colorful silk robes, masks and with swords dance in a trance to the crowd’s delight. A great photo opp. Overnight Paro.

Day 6 - Hike to Taktsang (Tiger's Next Monastery) . Day in Paro visitng the spectacular Tiger's Nest monastery and return to hotel. Overnight in Paro.

Day 7 - Fly Paro to Bagdogra and drive to Sikkim through the manicured tea gardens of North India. Overnight in South Sikkim.

Day 8 - Drive to trailhead -- Hike through forests of Rhododendron: Stretch your legs on a half-day trek through the mid-hills, amidst a breathtaking array of flowering Rhododendron trees! Delight in the range of colors, shapes and sizes. Overnight in a comfortable lodge.

Day 9 - Continue trekking through Sikkim’s flower wonderland: Overnight in a hotel in Pelling, with panoramic views of the Sikkim Himalaya.

Note: for those who prefer, take a day hike into the Rhododendron forest rather than embark on the overnight journey. Or substitute another outing such as a homestay visit.

Day 10 - Pemayangtse to Yuksom: Visit this premier Nyingma monastery, Pemayangste, with its ornate carved wooden image of heaven. Visit holy Khechepalri Lake, and drive an hour to Yuksom. Overnight in lodge.

Day 11 - Yuksom: Visit the coronation site of Sikkim’s first Choegyal (King) and take a guided walk through the magnificent forests of Kangchendzonga National Park. Learn about village conservation in Yuksom. O/N Yuksom.

Day 12 - Yuksom to Gangtok: Visit a tea estate en route to Gangtok (5 hr drive), capital of Sikkim. Stay in a traditional Sikkimese hotel, Gangtok.

Day 13 - Gangtok: Tour Rumtek Monastery and Buddhist university, Dodrul Chorten. Enjoy a last night special Sikkimese dinner. O/N Gangtok

Day 14 - Connect to your flight homeward: Drive to Bagdogra, and fly to Delhi, Kolkata or another hub to catch your international flight home.


Trip Cost:

4-6 persons US$3,950/person

7-10 persons US$3,750/person

Single supplement US$600/person.

Optional Extension in India: Please inquire about an optional 3 night/4-day extension to Delhi, Taj Mahal, Jaipur and back to Delhi

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