Bhutan Textile Tour

Days

16

Trip style

Cultural

Ratings

4.5/5
5/5

From

$3,415

Textile Tour Eastern Bhutan

Textile is an embodiment of Bhutanese culture and tradition and a staple identity of the Kingdom.  

Textile arts in Bhutan is a treasured cultural identity. Each region of the country has its own unique textile with unique intricate designs. The Kishu Thara with its origin traced back to Khoma village in the east, is one such textile that is highly priced in the market today for its meticulous production. The skills that weavers portray through these textiles are immaculate and justifies why weavers in the Royal court were hired from Khoma. 

Apart from the prominent beauty of these textiles, in ancient days textile ownership was used to gauge a person’s economic status. The more you owned the more wealthy you were considered. Materials were not readily available and production of these textiles were and still are time consuming as they are mostly handmade making them very costly. 

Itinerary

The flight to Paro crosses the Himalayan Mountains, affording spectacular views of the majestic peaks, including the sacred Jumolhari and Jichu Drake peaks. On arrival you will be greeted by the guide. If your flight is in the morning you will visit the Rinpung Dzong meaning “fortress of the heap of jewels”. It has a long and fascinating history. Along the wooden galleries lining the courtyard of the Rinpung Dzong are fine wall paintings illustrating Buddhist lore. You will walk downhill till the road point crossing the traditional wooden bridge. Your vehicle will be waiting here to take you to Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the oldest and most sacred in the country. Evening is at your leisure, you can explore Paro town. Overnight at a hotel in Paro. 

In Paro, the Chencho Handicraft is worth a visit. Also known as the Traditional Weaving house, this store has a collection of local handicrafts such as Bhutanese attire, jewelry, artifacts and other accessories. There are also weavers in action on-site. You will then drive to the capital, Thimphu. On arrival, visit the Memorial Chorten built in memory of the third King of Bhutan who reigned from 1952-1972. The Folk Heritage Museum and the world’s tallest Buddha statue at Kuenselphodrang made of bronze measuring 52m are also some great sightseeing opportunities. Then you can be of your own and stroll around Thimphu City. You can spend time visiting handicraft stores for souvenir shopping. Overnight at a hotel in Thimphu.

Today you will visit some Bhutanese textile gems in the capital city. The Bhutan Textile Museum has amassed a substantial collection of antique textile artifacts exclusive to the country. With the vision to promote local weavers, conduct research and textile studies as well as conserve the unique culture of the country, the museum is vital in preserving the Bhutanese textile. The museum also houses the Royal Collection including but not limited to the first rendition of the Raven Crown and clothes worn by the Kings of Bhutan. The museum embodies the the evolution of Bhutanese textile from ancient styles to the modern day clothing.

Soon we will head over to the Gagyel Lhundrup Weaving Centre. The production of some of the most expensive, high-quality and hand-woven textiles occur here. Watch the whole process of production from the preparation of materials to the weaving right here. 

Soon after we can visit the National Institute for Zorig Chusum (Arts and Crafts School), students undergo a 6 year course to learn the 13 traditional arts and crafts of Bhutan from painting to calligraphy to sculpting and wood carving. Lastly, we will pay a visit to the National Institute of Traditional Medicine. They collect medicinal plants from remote areas of the Himalayas, they produce and disperse ointments, pills and medicinal teas to regional health centers. The small museum here exhibits 300 herbs, minerals and animal parts used for healing such as the Yartsa Goenbub (cordyceps – “worm-root”) with unique functions and properties. 

After breakfast this morning, enjoy a scenic drive to Punakha with a stop for tea at the Dochu La pass (3140m), where on a clear day you can get spectacular views of the Himalayan giants such as Mt. Jumolhari, Tsendagang and Masangang. From the pass we drive downhill through forests of rhododendron, fir and hemlock. You will arrive Punakha after traveling through rice fields and along the banks of Punakha River. On the way, you will stop at Metshina Village and take a 20-minute walk through the rice fields to Chimi Lhakhang, which is a fertility temple, dedicated to the Divine Madman, a man who was known for his earthly sense of humour and non-conventional methods of imparting teachings. After lunch, visit the Punakha Dzong, which is stunningly situated in between the male and female rivers like an anchored ship. Overnight at a hotel in Punakha.

Today you will drive to Trongsa from Punakha. It is a beautiful drive passing several beautiful spots. As you drive on and cross the Puna Tsang Chhu bridge you will get an amazing view of the Wangdue Dzong perched on the hilltop across the bridge. The township of Wangdue is also an endearing sight to see. Continuing on we will drive past the Chelela Pass at 3990m, an accumulation of prayer flags to mark the pass. Driving onwards we will also pass by the Chendebji Chorten which imitates the architecture of the famous Boudhanath Stupa in Kathmandu, Nepal. As we arrive at Trongsa, after almost 4 hours on the road, we can visit the Trongsa watch tower. The watchtower is an epitome of Bhutanese architecture, anciently used as an advantageous standpoint against internal rebellion now a national museum. 

On the drive over to Bumthang we will come across the small village of Zhungney in the Chumey Valley. This village holds the well-known Yathra Factory and Weaving centre. Yathra is yet another unique textile which is endemic to this village. The textile is made from yak and sheep wool and doesn’t imitate any other textile in the country and with patterns native to Central Bhutan. Here you can watch the weavers in action and also witness the natural dying and other processes of production.

Bumthang, consisting of four valleys – Chumey, Choekhor, Tang and Ura, is home to several Buddhist temples and monasteries. We will visit the Kurjey Lhakhang, where Guru Padmasambhava subdued a local demon. He also left a body imprint on a rock, a very sacred relic. You will also visit the Jambay Lhakhang built in the 7th century. The Tamshing Lhakhang possess some of the oldest buddhist wall paintings in Bhutan. Then a visit to Jakar Dzong followed by a stroll in the village visiting handicrafts will bring your day in Bumthang to an end. Overnight at a hotel in Bumthang. 

Bumthang, consisting of four valleys – Chumey, Choekhor, Tang and Ura, is home to several Buddhist temples and monasteries. We will visit the Kurjey Lhakhang, where Guru Padmasambhava subdued a local demon. He also left a body imprint on a rock, a very sacred relic. You will also visit the Jambay Lhakhang built in the 7th century. The Tamshing Lhakhang possess some of the oldest buddhist wall paintings in Bhutan. Then a visit to Jakar Dzong followed by a stroll in the village visiting handicrafts will bring your day in Bumthang to an end. Overnight at a hotel in Bumthang.

Driving along the east bank of Chamkhar Chhu from Jakar, and climbing up to Tansibi Village, the road slowly ascends to Sertangla Pass (3590m) then slowly descends into Ura Valley. The valley is sparsely populated and a very serene village. Then we will drive through the Thrumshingla National park, over cliffs and past camp areas to the Thrumshingla pass which sits at 3750m. With clear weather, the pass affords an amazing view of Gangkhar Phuensum (7570m). Then we continue on the road to Kuri Chhu valley a very good area for bird watching. Gradually driving past terraced rice paddies and pine forests we arrive at Mongar.  

Today you will spend a full day exploring the historic Dungkhar village. After breakfast, you will drive 40km to this small village through unpaved road. You will visit the one of the main sites in the region, the ancestral home of the Royal Family, Dungkhar Naktshang, which is a centuries-old traditionally built mansion. It is the birth place of the first King’s father and from this house sprung the current Royal Family of Bhutan. You will explore some of the farmhouses and even lunch at a local farmhouse. Later you will drive back to Takila for night halt.

After breakfast you will explore Khoma Village, a unique village with an ancient cluster layout of traditional farmhouses.  This village is renowned for its high quality production of the handwoven silk textile — the Kishu Thara. It is high-priced not only because of the material but also because of its intricate and meticulous designs that fills up the entire textile. The Kishu Thara is highly celebrated by the Bhutanese, worn only on special occasions, celebrations and festivals. Weavers from Khoma village are praised for their nimble hands. This is how they make a living — weaving the whole day everyday. Watch the women weave in their makeshift textile cottage. In the olden days weavers from Khoma were hired in the court to weave for the Royal Family. Witness this ornate textile come to life as you walk in the streets of the village, and maybe even purchase one. Travel back to Takila for the night.

You will trace your journey back to Mongar and continue on to Trashigang. From Mongar the road ascends a while to Kori La pass (2400m) marked by a café and a few prayer flags. As you descend from the pass you will cross Yadi, a small town. Continue your drive to cross the Sherichhu river bridge at 600m. The road from here is almost flat till Dangme Chhu river bridge from where you ascend till Trashigang. You will notice that Trashigang is a compact and bustling town which acts as a business hub in eastern Bhutan. Overnight at a hotel in Trashigang.

After breakfast today we will head to Khaling, a town in the Trashigang district. In Khaling we will pay a visit to the National Handloom Center, a non-governmental organization, a pioneer of enforcing and preserving the weaving culture in Bhutan. Shop for authentic Bhutanese textiles produced using ancient indigenous dyeing and weaving techniques. Khaling also has the first and only school for the blind, established in 1973, Muenselling Institute which is also worth a visit to see a school inclusive for the differentially abled. 

A day excursion to the Radhi Village awaits you today. After the visit to Rangjung Monastery and an exploration of Rangjung you will drive to Radhi and Phongmey villages. They are renowned for two things — their ample rice fields and for being pioneers of the production of “Bura” textile — made of fine raw silk. Almost all households in the Radhi village make their living from Bura textiles. Using traditional weaving and dyeing techniques the village residents are skilled in producing this famous textile. If lucky, you may come across a few Brokpas; semi-nomadic yak herders from Merak and Sakteng who have come to barter their Yak butter, cheese and dried meat with other food commodities. Later in the evening, you will drive back to Trashigang for your night halt.

From Trashigang to Yonphula, the drive takes up to a little more than an hour. We will then take a flight from Yonphula to Paro which takes only 45 mins. You may complete some last minute shopping for souvenirs in Paro town. Overnight at a hotel in Paro. 

Today you will hike to Taktsang (Tiger’s Nest) Monastery, which is Bhutan’s most famous monastery situated at 3180 meters. Guru Rinpoche (spiritual master) is said to have flown on the back of a tigress to meditate in a cave where Taktsang Monastery now stands. Lunch will be served in the Cafeteria Restaurant, located about halfway up on the mountain. The monastery is perched on the edge of a steep cliff, about 900 meters above Paro Valley. After having explored the monastery, you will hike down to Paro. Evening you will visit a farmhouse for a nice traditional Bhutanese meal. You can also enjoy the traditional hot stone bath. This is a fantastic conclusion to your stay in Bhutan! Overnight at a hotel in Paro.

After breakfast, you will drive to airport for departure. Our representative will bid you farewell.

Inclusions

Accommodations

15 Nights

Meals

Breakfasts, Lunches & Dinners

Transportations

Land transportation included. Intra-air between cities is not included, please contact us for details.

Guide

English speaking guide through out the trips

Entrance fees

Included in a price

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FIXED DEPARTURE

8 DAYS | 7 NIGHTS