Bhutan festivals (Tshechus), which have been celebrated for hundreds of years, are very important in their culture. The festivals are held to honour Guru Rinpoche, who introduced Buddhism to the Bhutanese. In Tshechus, there will be mask dance and other types of entertainment, keeping the atmosphere exciting. The mask dance performances are remarkable with the monks wearing colourful outfits and reading Buddhist scripts. Tshechus are the oral traditional way of Bhutanese to pass on the history, the values, and beliefs from generation to generation. Some Tshechus will also display a gigantic thangkha (embroidered painting) of Guru Rinpoche and some other Buddhist gods.
Tshechus are also the time for Bhutanese to relax and socialize, and also to receive blessings. People put on their finest clothes and also some jewelry. They come to these events to celebrate and to have fun and stay all day at the monasteries or Dzongs – where Tshechus are held. People have different ways of celebrating Tsechus in regard to their different areas, so no festival is the same. Thousands of tourists visit Bhutan every year for the celebrations and these festivals leave an ever-lasting impression in their minds.
The most popular festivals are Thimphu Festival, Paro Festival, Punakha Festival, and Bumthang Jamba Lhakhang Drup Festival. The Bhutan festival packages are seasonal, as they are only available when the festivals are held. Nevertheless, we believe the beautiful and exciting Tshechus will amaze you.
Tour duration – 8days/7nights.
Tour destination – Paro, Thimphu and Punakha.
Tour overview – Paro festival is held at Paro Rinpung Dzong in Paro valley from March 27 to March 31, 2018. It is one of the most popular spiritual festivals in Bhutan in honour of Guru Rinpoche, commemoration of his great deeds. Before joining in the wonderful festival, you will visit Thimphu, the capital and Punakha, well known for its breathtaking nature and beautiful villages. During the festivals, there will be masked dance performed by monks, telling the famous tales of Bhutan. Bhutanese attend these festivals to celebrate and to receive prayers and blessings. Immerse yourself into the exciting and lively atmosphere of Paro festival for an unforgettable experience in Bhutan
Day 01: Arrival in Paro and move to Thimphu
- Altitude in Paro: 2280m
- Distance: 55km
- Estimated time: 1.30hr
The flight to Bhutan provides the most spectacular view of The Himalayas. As the plane approaches Paro, you will see the beautiful snow peaks of Himalaya range. The first gift from Bhutan will be cool, clean fresh air as you step out of the plane. Our representative will meet you and drive to Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan at 2320m, also the only capital in the world that does not use traffic lights.
On arrival in Thimphu, check in the hotel. After a brief rest we will head to the National Memorial Chorten, which was the idea of Bhutan’s Third King, His Majesty Jigme Dorji Wangchuk who had wished to erect monument to world peace and prosperity. Completed in 1974 after his Majesty’s untimely death, it serves both as a memorial to the Late King and as a monument to peace. You will see a lot of Bhutanese people circumambulating, reading mantras in murmuring and spinning their prayer wheels the chorten throughout the day.
Then we visit the Buddha Point, the massive statue of Shakyamuni Buddha measures at a height of 51,5 meters is located atop a hill in Kuenselphodrang Nature Park .You can pay your obeisance and offer prayers to the Buddha, the largest statue in Bhutan and then walk around to enjoy the great view of Thimphu valley .
In the late afternoon, take a walk around to explore Thimphu town and soak in the atmosphere of this charming capital with crowded shops, bazaars and hospitality local in national dress.
Overnight at the hotel in Thimphu.
Day 02: Thimphu sightseeing
We will begin our day‘s sightseeing of the following sites:
The National Library of Bhutan, was established in 1967 to preserve the rich cultural and religious heritage of Bhutan and The Himalayas. It holds a vast collection of ancient Buddhist texts and historic manuscripts, some dating back several hundred years, as well as modern academic books mainly on Himalayan culture and religion.
The Folk Heritage Museum, restored three-storey, rammed mud and timber house replicates a rural household and is furnished as it would have been in the mid-19th century to provide an interesting glimpse into rural Bhutanese life.
The National Textile Museum, is the place to learn about Bhutan’s living national art of thagzo (weaving). Weaving is an integral component of the culture and tradition of Bhutan. It displays Royal ghos and Kiras and introduces the major weaving techniques, styles of local dress and type of textiles made by women and men.
The Jungshi Handmade Paper factory, a small factory produces traditional Bhutanese paper from the bark of two tree species, the Daphne and Dhekap tree. You can observe the entire process of producing handmade paper. It is named Deh sho paper, was originally used by monasteries for woodblock and manuscript books and also for writing prayer books.
In the afternoon we will visit the National Institute for Zorig Chusum, commonly known as the Arts And Crafts School or the Painting School, operates four to six- year courses on the thirteen traditional arts and crafts of Bhutan. You will be able to see students doing painting (thangkas- painted religious pictures, walls, and statues to the decorations on furniture and window-frames), embroidery (hangings, boots, clothes) or clay arts (religious statues, pottery), wood carving (masks, statues).
In the late afternoon visit the Tashichho Dzong, fortress of The Glorious Religion. It has been the seat of the government since 1952, after the Third King, His Majesty Jigme Dorje Wangchuck made this dzong to be a symbol of the new capital of Bhutan. It houses secretariat building, the throne room of His Majesty, the King and various government offices. It is also the summer residence of Chief Abbot and central monk body.
Overnight at hotel in Thimphu.
Day 03: Thimphu to Punakha
- Altitude in Punakha : 1300m
- Distance: 75km
- Estimated time: 2.30hrs
Today we will drive to Punakha. On the way we stop and take a short hike to the Hongtsho Goemba, a monastery built in 1525 by Lam Ngawang Chogyal, the older brother of Drukpa Kuenlay. The trail leads up passing farm lands Apple orchards, potato fields, and vegetable gardens. The Hungtsho Goemba stands overlooking the village below and serves as the Buddhist community centre.
The journey continues to Dochula pass which high on top of a mountain (3050 metres), overlooking the Himalayas with 108 chortens (stupas) known as “Druk Wangyal Chortens” and Druk Wangyal Lhakhang, built in memory of Bhutanese soldiers killed in the 2003 battle against Assamese insurgents from India. The Queen Mother, Her Majesty Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck, commissioned the monument the Fourth King, His Majesty King Jigme Singye Wangchuck was victorious in the struggle to dislodge the rebels who were using Bhutan as a base to raid India. We will stop for lunch and enjoy spectacular panoramic views of the Eastern Himalaya ranges here.
Along the way, we will take a pleasant hike to across hillock fields to the Chimi Lhakhang, the Temple of Fertility and built in the 15th century by Lama Drukpa Kuenley –“Divine Madman”.
On arrival in Punakha, we will visit the Punakha Dzong, “Palace of Great Happiness”. It is an imposing structure and was built in 1637 at the confluence of two rivers, the Pho Chhu and Mo Chhu. It served as the capital and seat of government until the early 1950s. The dzong is still the winter residence of the monk body.
In the evening we will take a stroll exploring Punakha village, located right on the bank of river.
Overnight at hotel in Punakha.
Day 04: Punakha sightseeing
Today after breakfast we take a hike to the Khamsum Yuelley Namgyal Chorten, stands majestically on a strategic ridge above the Punakha valley. After crossing a suspension bridge, it is a pleasant hike through beautiful fields of rice and pine trees. It takes about an hour from the road point to hike up to the temple, and 30 minutes downhill.
After lunch at local restaurant, we head to the Sangchhen Dorji Lhuendrup Lhakhang, a temple plus nunnery perched on a ridge overlooking the valleys of Punakha and Wangduephodrang, comprises a double storied temple, a chorten resembling Nepal’s boudhanath stupa and a nunnery complex.
Afterwards we hike to charming Talo village via Norbugang village to see a great views of Punakha valley. It takes you 3 hours to hike.
Overnight at the hotel in Punakha.
Day 05: Punakha to Paro
Today we return back to Paro. On the way we visit the Simtokha Dzong, one of the oldest fortresses in Bhutan, built in 1629 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel. The dzong houses statues and paintings of various Buddhas, deities and religious figures including The Eight Manifestations of Guru Rinpoche, Jampelyang the Bodhisattava of Wisdom, Shakya Gyalpo the Buddha of Compassion and others.
In the afternoon you can start your culture tour of Paro valley by visiting the Sangay Handmade Bowl and Cup Factory, nearby Paro Rinpung Dzong. You will see demonstration of traditional wood turning skills by local artisans who make traditional wooden bowls and cups. It calls Shagzo – the art of wood turning, one of thirteen traditional Bhutanese arts. You can try your hand as well if you wish.
Then we visit the National Museum of Bhutan (Ta Dzong), originally built as watchtower around 1649. It is on top of the hill above Rinpung Dzong to defend Paro Rinpung Dzong and Paro valley during times of war, in an unusual circular construction resembling a conch shell. This dzong was converted into the National museum of Bhutan in 1968. The extensive collection includes antique thangkha paintings, textiles, weapons and armour, household objects and a rich assortment of natural and historic artifacts.
Afterwards we visit the impressive Paro Rinpung Dzong, meaning the fortress of The Heap of Jewels, is one of the finest examples of Bhutanese architecture. It was built by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal between 1642 and 1646. This dzong now houses monk body and administrative offices of Paro and is symbolic as the religious and secular center of all affairs of the valley. Along the wooden galleries lining the inner courtyard are fine wall paintings illustrating Buddhist lore such as four friends, the old man of long life, the wheel of life, scenes from the life of Milarepa, Mount. Sumeru and other cosmic Mandala.
Then we walk down to the hill and cross the cantilever bridge towards Paro Town. We will take an explorative stroll around main streets and market at Paro town.
Overnight at the hotel in Paro.
Day 06: Paro festival
Today we will join Paro festival, one of the most popular spiritual festivals in Bhutan which is festival in honour of Guru Rinpoche, commemoration his great deeds. In the early morning hundreds of local people dressed in their finest clothes and jewellery who have walked from another region around to attend the festival. You will have opportunity to see a story about victories of Guru Rinpoche to drive out evil spirits and purify the ground with their footsteps or the story of the assassination of the anti – Buddhist Tibetan king Langdarma, in the year AD 842 by a monk,…. by the performance of monks, laymen or gomchens with masks, dances and religious music. It is also an occasion for prayer and blessings.
On the last day of festival the monks display a gigantic thangkha (embroidered painting), the Guru Throngdel, inside the dzong. Thongdrols are especially impressive examples of Buddhist art and never fail to amaze viewers. They are considered so sacred that simply seeing a Thongdrol is said to cleanse the viewer of sin.
Overnight at the hotel in Paro.
Day 07: Paro sightseeing.
Today after breakfast we take a hike to the Taktsang Monastery, also known as Tiger’s Nest. It is one of the most holy sites in Bhutan, clings to a cliff more than 3000 metres above sea level and 900 metres above The Paro valley floor. The legend says that Guru Padmasambhava (Guru Rinpoche) arrived here on the back of a tigress in the 8th century. Subsequently, he meditated here for three months. Every Bhutanese person is expected to complete the pilgrimage at least once in their lifetime. You will have lunch at Taktshang cafeteria from where you get a spectacular view of the monastery.
Then we will visit the Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the 108 temples built in The Himalayas by Tibetan King, Songtsen Gampo in the 7th century. This temples marks the introduction of Buddhism in Bhutan. In the 8th century the temple was visited by Guru Padmasambhava.
Overnight at the hotel in Paro.
Day 08: Depart Paro
After early breakfast at the hotel, your guide will accompany you to the airport for flight to your onward destination. Tashi Delek (goodbye and good luck) and hope to see you again.
- Single traveler: US$ 2,070 per person
- Group of 2 people: US$ 2,000 per person
- Group of 3 people: US$ 1,790 per person
OFF PEAK SEASON
- Single traveler: US$ 1,720 per person
- Group of 2 people: US$ 1,650 per person
- Group of 3 people: US$ 1,440 per person
- If you are planning to travel Bhutan with a group of 4 people and more, please feel free to contact us to get the cost for your group.
|The cost includes||The cost excludes|
|Bhutan visa fee.||Laundry/beverages/telephone calls and any personal expenses.|
|3 star categories hotel/resort twin sharing room.||Travel insurance.|
|Accommodation in the best 3 star hotels/resorts in Bhutan.||Airfares.|
|All meals in day.||Airport taxes if any.|
|Bottled water on the trip.||Excess baggage charge.|
|A sustainable development fee.||Tips to guides and drivers.|
|Museum fees and other special entry fees.||Services not mentioned.|
|Internal transportation with experienced driver throughout the trip.|
|Sightseeing as per itinerary with English speaking guide.|