Karma Quest - vacations and travel

Dancing Deities and Rhododendrons Galore

India, Sikkim, Asia, Ladakh

from $3,450* per person 18 Days March
Comfort accommodations Exertion level: 3
Operator: Karma Quest 15 people max
  • Paro, bhutan
  • Active & Adventure trips
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 with a naturalist guide, with all the comforts of hotel living in the evenings. At Sikkim’s first capital site, Yuksom, you’ll learn how the community’s youth are working to preserve the forests and fulfill their dream of becoming a “little Switzerland.”

Locations visited/nearby

India, Sikkim, Asia, Ladakh

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Itinerary

Day 1-2 - March 12-13 Fly to Bangkok,

overnight in Bangkok.

Day 3 - March 14 Fly Bangkok to Paro,

arrive mid-day. Visit Kichu Lhakhang and the Drukgyel Dzong. Overnight Paro.

Day 4 - March 15 Drive to Thimphu, sightseeing:

Visit the Folk Heritage Museum, government center, and papermaking factory. Free time for shopping. Overnight in Thimphu.

Day 5 - March 16 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 Punakha/Wangdi Phodrang.

Day 6 - March 17 Weekend Market in Thimphu/Drive to Paro

Drive to Thimphu, visit the weekend market where farmers sell their wares. Drive to Paro, overnight Paro.

Day 7 - March 18 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 8 - March 19 Final day of Paro Tsechu:

Arise early to witness the unfurling of the Thongdrel, a huge scroll tapestry/thangkas, at the conclusion of Tsechu. Afternoon sightseeing in Paro. Overnight in Paro.

Day 9 - March 20 Depart Paro,

drive to Phuntsoling (4-5 hrs). Overnight Phuntsoling.

Day 10 - March 21 Drive to Sikkim,

drive through tea gardens of North India to Sikkim. Overnight in a guesthouse.

Day 11 - March 22 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 12 - March 23 Continue trek through Sikkim’s flower wonderland.

Overnight in a hotel in Pelling, with panoramic views of the Sikkim Himalaya.

Day 13 - March 24 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 14 - March 25 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 15 - March 26 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 16 - March 27 Gangtok:

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

Day 17 - March 28 Drive to Bagdogra, fly to Calcutta.

Overnight in Calcutta, or transfer to international flight.

Day 18 - March 29 Fly to Bangkok or your home destination.

 

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