Black Necked Crane Festival

Tour Summary

Black Necked Crane Festival is an one day annual event held at Gangtey Monastery. It is the official day of welcoming the Endangered Black Necked Cranes to their Winter home in Phobjikha Valley. Black Necked Cranes spends their three winter months in Bhutan before flying out to Tibet, China and other parts of the colder regions.

The very first Black Necked Crane Festival was introduced by the Royal Society for Protection of Nature (RSPN) with support from both Gangtey and Phobjikha villagers.

Unlike other unique Bhutanese festivals, the black necked crane festival is totally dedicated to the Black Necked Cranes themselves for safe and healthy stay in Bhutan and also while flying back.

The local folks performs traditional Bhutanese Dances followed by Crane songs and local students dresses up like Black Necked Cranes and performs cranes dance to the public. We strongly recommend you to be part of this unique Black Neck Crane Festival.

You can catch Drukair, Royal Bhutan Airlines, National Flag Carrier flight from Bangkok, Kathmandu, New Delhi, Kolkata, Dhaka & Singapore.

Tour Facts

Festival Date: 11th November

Duration: 8 Night 9 Days

Specialty: Black Necked Crane Festival

Level: Easy – Leisure

Attractions:  Traveling from Western Bhutan to Central Bhutan crossing High Mountain Passes. Witnessing Black Necked Crane Festival

 Altitude: Western 1300 – 2200m  Central 2200m – 2500m

Mountain Pass: Dochula Pass 3150m – Lawola Pass 3000m


Outlined Itinerary

Day Trip Schedule
Day 1 Arrive Paro Transfer to Thimphu Hotel
Day 2 Thimphu Sightseeing Hotel
Day 3 Thimphu to Gangtey Hotel
Day 4 Black Necked Crane Festival Hotel
Day 5 Gangtey to Punakha Hotel
Day 6 Punakha Sightseeing Hotel
Day 7 Punakha to Paro Hotel
Day 8 Day Hike to Taktsang ‘Tiger’s Nest” Hotel
Day 9 Depart Bhutan

Travel during Off Season: Jan-Feb-Jun-Jul-Aug-Dec
Single Traveller – Free Independent Traveller (FIT) : US$ 2240

Couple or Two Person Traveler – Free Independent Traveler (FIT) : US$ 2140 per person
Group of 3 & More : US$ 1840

Travel during Peak Season: Mar-Apr-May-Sept-Oct-Nov

Single Traveler – Free Independent Traveller (FIT) : US$ 2690
Couple or Two Person – Free Independent Traveller (FIT): US$ 2590 per person
Group of 3 or More: US$ 2290

The Above Price includes following services;

  • Bhutan Visa
  • All Permits – Museum Fees
  • Standard Room in 3 Star Hotels – Upgrade to 4 & 5 Star can be arranged on Additional Cost.
  • Breakfast – Lunch – Dinner with Evening Tea
  • Tourism Council of Bhutan (TCB)  Licensed Professional Driver
  • SUV for FIT & Toyota Van from 3 – 8 Pax & Toyota Coaster Coach from 8 – 20 Pax
  • Decade old TCB Licensed Tour Guide
  • All Sightseeing with Walks and Hikes
  • Bottled Mineral Water

Not included:

  • Round Trip Air Tickets
  • International Travel Insurance
  • Alcohol & Beverages
  • Entertainment Cost – Pub & Nightclubs
  • Tips for Tour Guide, Driver and Hotel Staffs
  • Donations to Monasteries and Temples
  • Payment Wiring Fee of USD 50

Day 01: Arrive Paro, Paro – Thimphu

The flight into Bhutan takes you close to the great Himalayas, offering dazzling scenic views of some of world’s highest glacial peaks.  As you enter Paro valley, you will sweep past forested hills with the silvery Pa Chu (Paro river) meandering down the valley below.  Paro Dzong (fortress) and Ta Dzong (watchtower) on the hills above the town will be a fine sight.  Our Bhutan Majestic Travel representative will meet you at Paro airport, and after completion of arrival formalities you will be transferred to Bhutan’s capital, Thimphu, an exciting blend of tradition and modernity but before that you will be visiting two of the most important places in Paro the Ta-Dzong or the National Museum of Bhutan and The Paro Rinpung Dzong – The District Administration of Paro. Overnight in Thimphu.

Day 02: Thimphu

Today’s full day of sightseeing in Thimphu valley includes visits to:

National Library, which holds a vast collection of Buddhist texts and manuscripts, some dating back several hundred years, as well as modern academic books mainly on Himalayan culture and religion;

Institute for Zorig Chusum – School of Thirteen Arts and Crafts (commonly known as the Painting School) where students undertake a six-year course on the 13 traditional arts and crafts of Bhutan;

National Institute of Traditional Medicine where the medicinal herbs abundant in the kingdom are compounded and dispensed, and traditional medical practitioners are trained;

National Memorial Chorten: The building of this landmark was envisaged by the third king, His Majesty Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, as a monument to world peace and prosperity.  Completed in 1974 after his untimely death, it is both a memorial to the Late King (“the father of modern Bhutan”) and a monument to world peace.  The paintings and statues inside the monument provide a deep insight into Buddhist philosophy;

Tashicho Dzong: This impressive fortress/monastery houses the secretariat building, the throne room of His Majesty, the King and various government offices.  It is also the summer residence of the Chief Abbot and central monk body;

Folk Heritage and National Textile Museums: These museums, both of which opened in 2001, provide fascinating insights into Bhutanese material culture and way of life.

Handicrafts Emporium: This government-run enterprise displays a wide range of beautifully hand-woven textiles and craft products.  It also carries a small collection of books on Bhutan, Buddhism and Himalayan culture. Dinner and overnight at your hotel in Thimphu.

Day 03: Thimphu – Gangtey, Phobjikha Valley

After early breakfast, drive up to Dochu-la pass (3,088m/10,130ft) stopping briefly here to take in the view and admire the chortens, mani walls, and prayer flags which decorate the highest point on the road.  If skies are clear, the high Himalayan peaks towards the north east will be revealed in all their glory.  On a clear day, the following peaks can be seen from this pass (left to right): Masagang (7,158m), Tsendegang (6,960m), Terigang (7,060m), Jejegangphugang (7,158m), Kangphugang (7,170m), Zongaphugang (7,060m) a table mountain that dominates the isolated region of Lunana, and finally, Gangkar Puensum, the highest peak in Bhutan at 7,497m.

Then continue onwards, reaching Wangdue Phodrang town in time for lunch.  From here, it is a long, winding descent into the Wangdue Phodrang valley, which is about 1,700m below the pass.  Take lunch at Wangdue Phodrang town, then continue on to Gangtey across Lawola Pass pass 3000m and then down the valley of Phobjikha, Black Necked Cranes. Black Necked Cranes comes to this valley during winter and spends three months and then go back to China to spend the rest of the year. Every year 11Th Nov is celebrated as Black Necked Crane Festival dedicated to the endangered Black Necked Cranes by the people of the Valley and organized by the Royal Society for protection of Nature (RSPN). Visit the 16th Century Gangtey Monastery, house of His Eminence Gangtey Truelku Rimpoche. Overnight Farm House or Lodge.

Day 04: Black Necked Crane

Whole day at the unique and interesting Black Necked Crane Festival, where there will be traditional dance and songs performed by locals and school children’s will be dressed like the Black Necked Cranes and performs Crane Dance. Its an whole day event but you can head back to hotel for lunch and back for the Festival or can drive to Gangtey Monastery and do the popular Shasila Nature Trail Hike from Monastery to the Festival venue. Must take your binoculars and rain gear because weather in Phobjikha remains super unpredictable. Overnight Farm house or lodge.

Day 05: Gangtey – Punakha

After breakfast proceed to Punakha, the day is going to be full of driving but make sure to stop for photography and shorts walks to keep your legs and arms active. Overnight hotel in Punakha.

Day 06: Punakha Sightseeing After breakfast drive to Punakha Dzong with stop over at Lekithang School to see the magnificent Punakha Dzong built on the confluence of Pho (Male) and Mo (Female) Rivers. Best photo spot too. Further drive to the parking and walk through the wooden cantilever bridge which has got the best Bhutanese architecture built over the Mo Chu and another place to take side photo of the beautiful Dzong. Punakha Dzong is built in 1738 and is the third oldest Dzong after Simtokha Dzong in Thimphu and Wangdue Phodrang Dzong. Punakha Dzong is the most magnificent Dzong in Bhutan. Punakha Dzong, a massive structure built at the junction of two rivers.  Punakha was Bhutan’s capital until 1955, and Punakha Dzong still serves as the winter residence of the central monk body.  Bhutan’s first king, Ugyen Wangchuck, was crowned here in 1907.  The fortress has withstood damage from fire, earthquake and flood over the centuries.  The latest flood, in October, 1994, caused great damage to the fortress but miraculously spared its most holy statue. After the visit walk for 15min to reach the Bhutan’s longest suspension bridge over the Male River on the way to Shegana Valley, where the best Red Rice comes from. Lunch in downtown Punakha. After that drive down to the Lobesa Village to do hike to one of the famous Monastery built by Devine Madman or Lama Drukpa Kuenley. The Chimi Lhakhang Monastery is best describe as New Life. The couples who are married for long time but doesn’t result to new born then they go to this monastery to pray and get blessings and the women gives birth in next nine months. The hike to the monastery goes by the village and rice fields and some handicraft shops. Overnight hotel in Punakha.

Day 07: Punakha– Paro

Drive to Paro with lunch stop over in Thimphu and last minute shopping. Evening drive to Punakha for the night.

Day 08: Paro

Drive for 15kms and reach the base of Famous Tiger’s Nest “TAKTSANG” Monastery and hike up which would take Two Hours up and approximately One Hour down. Stop at Taktsang Tea House “Cafeteria” for refreshment of Tea & Coffee and on your return back from monastery you will have your Lunch here.

Taktsang is at 2900mts. Hike for another half an hour and you reach the Great and Magnificent Taktsang where you will be greets by the monks who live there and Special Bhutanese Butter Tea will be served with Snacks.

Visit the most important monastery were the Guru Rimpoche was flying on a Flaming Tigress from Singye Dzong in Eastern Bhutan to here and meditated for Three Months and flourish of Buddhism in Paro started from 8th Century.

Walk down to the Tea House for Vegetarian Lunch.

After Lunch walk down hill and drive to the Ruined Fortress the Drukgyal Dzong meaning Bhutanese Victory Fortress built in 1649 by great fortress builder and also the man who unified Bhutan in 17th Century.

On the drive back to Paro visit the Bhutan’s oldest monastery the Kyichu Lhakhang, built in 659AD by Tibetan King Songtsen Goenpo in order to subdue the Orgress in Tiber, he built 108 Stupas in Twenty Hours of time of which two are here in Bhutan, the one built on Left Knee is the Kyichu Monastery and next built on Left Toe is in Bumthang and it is called Jambay Lhakhang. The main deity inside the Monastery is the Buddha Maiteria which is commonly known as Future Buddha or referred as Jow Jamba the same in Jokhang in Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet. Overnight: Hotel in Paro

Day 09: Depart Paro

After breakfast drive to the Paro International Airport to catch onward flight.