Valley of the Cranes Tour

Black Necked Cranes, one of the highly endangered birds, winter here in this high and beautiful alpine valley of Phobjikha in Central Bhutan. Cranes arrive by the end of October from Siberia and parts of China. They would stay here browsing in the marshes and the fields left fallow. Since the villagers here are gentle and respect the cranes as some celestial creatures,  the cranes also seem to mingle comfortably with the villagers. You would be surprised to learn that the cranes seem to feel uneasy with outsiders, and won’t allow people to get as close to them as the locals. However, you will get enough opportunity to take close up pictures and watch the graceful dances of the crane to court their mates.

Phobjikha is a glacial valley. The valley is basin-shaped, which helps to collect water and form the waterlogged marshes that provide food for the Black necked cranes. Gangtey monastery sits on a ridge overlooking the wide picturesque valley. This would be a real getaway from the modern world, since the nearest telephone is literally beyond the mountain pass to the north.

 

“…scarcely touched by modern times.” –

Valley of the Cranes Tour Itinerary

 Day 1:
Arrival at Paro – Transfer to Thimphu in afternoon

Arrive at Paro by Druk Air flight. Reception will be arranged for you on arrival.  After lunch proceed by car to Thimphu. Stroll through Thimphu town in the evening.
Night halt: Thimphu.
Day 2:
Sightseeing in Thimphu

Thimphu valley sightseeing for full day which includes: Memorial Chorten (Stupa), Bhutan Textile Museum, Folk Heritage Museum, National Library, School of Fine Arts, Institute of Traditional Medicine, Tashicho-dzong (the seat of the Royal Government), Zilukha Nunnery, Traditional Handmade Paper Factory and Handicrafts Emporium.
Night halt: Thimphu.
Day 3:
Thimphu – Punakha

Morning drive to Punakha via Dochu La pass (3,050 m), which offers a panoramic view of the Himalayan ranges. Afternoon visit to Punakha Dzong (previously the winter capital of Bhutan).
Night halt: Punakha.
Day 4:
Punakha to Wangdue and Gangtey/Phobjikha

Morning visit Wangdue Phodrang Dzong. Then proceed to Gangtey Valley. Evening free or walk on your own to Phobjikha Valley.
Night halt: Gantey
Day 5:
Gangtey / Phobjikha – Wangdue – Thimphu

After breakfast visit Gantey Monastery and drive to Thimphu via Wangdiphodrang.
Night halt: Thimphu.
Day 6:
Thimphu to Paro

Morning drive to Paro. Enroute visits Semtokha Dzong (oldest dzong in Bhutan). After lunch, visit 8th century Kichu Monastery. Visit Ta-Dzong (National Museum), Rinpung Dzong and Paro’s local market.
Night halt: Paro
Day 7:
Paro Valley sightseeing

After breakfast drive to the ruins of Drukgyel Dzong (the Fortress where Drukpas won over joint Tibetan-Mongol Invasions in 1700s). Along the way, one can view the sacred Mount Jhomolhari (7,314m) – The abode of the Goddess Jhomo. Drive back to Satsam Chorten and then hike up to view the Taktsang Monastery (Tiger’s Nest) built on the face of 1000 m rock cliff.  End the day by visiting typical Bhutanese farmhouse to experience the daily life of the local farmer.
Night Halt: Paro.
Day 8:
Depart from Paro Valley on Druk Air flight.
Transfer to the airport for your onward flight from Bhutan.