The following are some useful information:
1) Royal Highlander Festival dates: 16 – 18 October 2016
3) How to get to Laya.
i) By road :
Thimphu to Gasa (5 hrs drive ), Gasa to last road point towards Laya (2 hrs drive), Last road point to Laya ( 9 hrs walk); Last 2 hours of uphill can be on horse/yak riding @ Nu. 1200 and porter pony @1500/pony till Laya.
Prior booking for porter/pack/riding pony/yak contact Ugyen Rinzin – 17110638; Tshering Jamtsho- 17742386; Tenzin - 17615283
ii) By helicopter: Paro- Laya- 40 minutes; Thimphu-Laya- 30 minutes
Special charter fees @ Nu 1,31,100 /hr for Bhutanese / Expatriate with Bhutanese working permit only.
Contact Gembo Thinley - 77278790; Sherub Gyaltshen - 1738949
Laya is at 3800 masl and festival venue is at 4000 masl. In October, it can be fairly cold with daytime temperatures (1 - 12 Celsius) and night time can be below freezing. Light snowfall and drizzles could be also expected. It could be windier in the afternoons with an average relative humidity of 48 %.
Walk to Laya from Gasa can be challenging especially if the weather is wet. Extra warm, wind/rain proof clothes and good walking shoes are advised.
5) En-route (Gasa – Laya) facilities:
Locally operated restaurants at 4 points between Gasa and Laya will be in operation, so no need to carry packed lunches unless you like to do so. Toilets and basic medical services will be also available at these points.
6) Communication: No mobile network en-route Gasa and Laya. In Laya B Mobile network is available but no 3 G. Internet is very slow.
At Gasa: Basic accommodation will be arranged in home stays and guest house (bedding provided). For guest house users, advised to bring your own bedding/sleeping bags etc.
Contact: Dorji Wangchuk – 17642846;
At Laya: Guests/visitors will be put up in houses of the local (home/farm stays) house. The host will provide bed and meals at nominal rates. Lunch during the festival shall be available from restaurants operated by local community at the festival venue.
Guests are advised to carry only inner bed sheets. All bedding material will be provided.
Prior booking required @ Sherub Gyaltshen – 17389849; Kinley Dorji - 17518700; Dorji Wangchuk – 17642846; Tenzin - 17615283
OR can make your own arrangements
8) Food: Food will be mostly local products and vegetarian
Basic medical services will be at various points on en-route and at BHU, Laya and Festival venue. Medical camp by Kidu Mobile Medical Team will be in operation during and after the festival.
All guests/visitors especially cross country participants are advised to seek doctor’s advice prior to registration. (High altitude sickness can be a potential risk).
Contact Dr. Lotey Tshering- 17162399; Dr. Tshering Pem – 77478449; Dr. Sonam Wangchuk - 17121217
10) Special permits to travel to Gasa/Laya:
Special permits for expatriates living and working in Bhutan with Bhutanese work permit may apply to Gasa Dzongkhag Administration. The applicants will submit the copies of Bio information and visa stamp pages of passports; Bhutanese work permit/MC/Student card and other requirements.
Contact: Kinzang @ 16288223
11) Festival programme
i) Display of Tradition and culture of Highlander
Songs, dance, games, sports, costumes, arts and crafts, Bja (Yak fur tents), life style
Auley, an annual local offering festival coincides with the festival this year. It is a rich traditional epic poem/song recitation tradition originated from Zhabdrung Rinpoche days. This tradition will be enacted at the festival with symbolic offering by Layaps to Their Majesties and Wangchuck Dynasty in gratitude and appreciation for their dynamic and visionary leadership.
ii) Exhibition of different technologies
Highland related technologies will be showcased through exhibition stalls consisting of yak related products, financial and banking services to spectators.
iii) Contest and judging of highlander’ animals
Contest on highland animals of yaks, horses and dogs will be top featured in the festival. Competitions solely created to value animals through 70% public voting and 30% through appointed judges using prescribed technical criteria.
iv) Games and sports: Strong man competition, yak race, horse race
v) 2016 World Food Day Celebration
contact @ BB Rai - 17607471
For more inquiries:
1. Nima Norbu, -16288181 (Email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
2. Leki Tshewang, 6288163/17634037a