Festivals of Bhutan
Tshechu, are religious festivals held annually in various temples, monasteries and dzongs throughout Bhutan. Tschechus are held to honour Guru Rimpoche (Padmasambhava), who brought a Tantric form of Buddhism to Bhutan in 8th century. These are grand events where entire communities come together to witness religious mask dances, receive blessings and socialize. Bhutanese believe that by witnessing the mask dances, one receives blessings that will wash away their sins. There is at least Tshechu every month almost ensuring that you have an opportunity to experience one.
This tour begins in Paro, Bhutan’s resort town. Fly to Jakar near Bumthang, a beautiful valley in Central Bhutan. After a brief stay, continue to Punakha, located in a sub-tropical valley. Also visit, Trongsa Dzong and Punakha Dzong both built in the 17th-century. Drive back via Thimphu, Bhutan's capital before returning to Paro. Trek to the famous Taktsang Monastery. Stay at luxury resorts.
TRAVEL UNTAMED ON THIS 10-DAY FESTIVAL OF BHUTAN TOUR...
And, explore its remote valleys, experience colourful mask dances.
Begin with comprehensive touring in Paro, a resort town. There are forts of historical, architectural and religious importance and many great day walks in the valley and beyond. This tour will be adjusted, dependent on the festival in Bhutan at the time of your travel.
Next, fly to Jakar near Bumthang, one of the most beautiful valleys and the religious heart of Bhutan. Almost every festival is celebrated here with utmost reverence and gaiety that makes it the perfect place to be during the festival season. Your private guide will explain every aspect of the festival so you get an educative experience from your holiday.
Continue to Punakha, the ancient winter capital located in a sub-tropical valley. Enroute visit the 17th century Trongsa Dzong, once the seat of power of the Wangchuck dynasty. Although burnt down by a recent fire, it still remains impressive and dominates the surrounding valley. The beautiful Punakha Dzong built on the confluence of two rivers provides an important subject to the photographers.
Next, enjoy a drive back via Thimphu, Bhutan's charming capital before returning to Paro where the tour concludes but not before you make the adventurous hike to the famous Taktsang Monastery (Tiger's Nest).
You will stay at the beautiful Ziwa Ling hotel, the only fully owned Bhutanese hotel to have earned a 5 star rating. In Bumthang you will stay at the exclusive Amankora Resort, The Uma Deluxe in Punakha and Taj Tashi in Thimphu.
Festivals of Bhutan A fascinating 10-day journey of Bhutan, experiencing the colourful festivals and mask dances.
Paro, Bumthang, Punakha, Thimphu
(10 Days – Travel Any Day)
Day 1 – Arrive Bhutan
Paro The flight to Paro is one of the most spectacular of all mountain flights. You will fly over a wall of green hills known as ‘dwars’, or doors to the Himalaya. You will see Mt Everest, Mt Kangchenjunga, Mt Makalu and some of the most beautiful Himalayan peaks - a never-to-be-forgotten vista of a lifetime. On arrival, you will be received by our representative, who will escort you to your hotel.
Zhiwa Ling (Local Restaurant – D)
Day 2 – Explore
Paro Although there are some interesting sites to see in Paro, the tour here is very much unlike a sightseeing tour as you might imagine; it is more of experiencing an old world. We start our tour with a visit to the Ta Dzong (watchtower), rated as one of the finest natural museums in South Asia, filled with antique thanka paintings, textiles, weapons and armour. Then travel to Rinpung Dzong, built in the mid-17th century to defend the valley against Tibetan invaders. The Dzong is now used as an administration centre and school for monks.
Hike to the famous Taktsang Monastery (‘Tiger's Nest’), an hour and a half uphill. The monastery is perched on a rocky ledge with a sheer drop of nearly 900m. It is said that in the second half of the 8th century, Guru Padma Sambhava, the saint who converted Bhutan to Buddhism, alighted here on the back of a tigress. Here we enjoy snacks and tea at the cafeteria with magnificent views across the valley.
Zhiwa Ling – B, (Local Restaurant – L, D)
Day 3 & 4 – Transfer & Explore
Bumthang We fly to Jakar and travel by road to Bumthang, the sacred heartland of Bhutan and a revered birthplace of many saints to whom the Bhutanese royalty trace their lineage. It comprises of four spectacular valleys with many temples and holy sites.
In Bumthang, visit the Wangdichhoeling, home to the royal family and the grand Kurjey Lhakhang, once the resting place of the Buddhist saint Padmasambhava, popularly known as ‘Guru Rimpoche’. Then visit Jambay Lhakhang, one of 108 Buddhist temples built in the 8th century by the Tibetan king, Songtsen Gampo, where the early winter festivals draw thousands of Bhutanese for their annual blessings.
At various times throughout the year, annual festivals known as ‘tsechus’ take place around the country, extolling the great deeds of the Buddhist of the ‘Guru Rimpoche’. It is believed that all of his great deeds were performed on the 10th day of the month, which is the meaning of the word ‘tsechu’.
Amankora Bhumthang (B, L, D)
Day 5 – Explore
Tang Valley Today you will explore the stunningly beautiful Tang Valley. This seldom visited valley offers a treat in revealing some off the beaten track lhakhangs and monasteries, and the amazing museum at Ugen Chhoeling Palace.
Amankora Bhumthang (B, L, D)
Day 6 – Explore
Punakha Continue to Punakha, the ancient winter capital, situated in a sub-tropical valley with warm summers and pleasant winters. Visit the beautifully located Punakha Dzong, built on the confluence of Pho chhu (male river) and Mo chhu (female river). Drive to the nearby Wangdue Phodrang, a small township with clusters of shops tightly packed together. Enjoy a peaceful walk through rural farm villages, receive a blessing from a monk or opt to hike up a mountain for beautiful panoramic views of the valley.
Uma Hotel – B, (Local Restaurant – L, D)
Day 7 & 8 – Explore
Thimphu In the morning visit the beautifully located Punakha Dzong then enjoy a peaceful walk through paddy fields and hike up to Khamsum Yulley temple perched on a hill top. The temple has a panoramic view overlooking the Mo Chu valley. Proceed to Thimphu in the afternoon.
Take a comprehensive tour of Thimphu with your private guide and driver to see the highlights, including the Trashi Chhoe Dzong, the seat of Bhutan’s government, the Pangri Zampa, two 16th century buildings, and a short hike to Cheri Gompa, the monastery where the first monastic body was established in the Kingdom.
Taj Tashi Hotel – B, (Local Restaurant – L, D)
Day 9 – Transfer & Explore
Paro Driving back to Paro is equally interesting, catching the Himalayan views that you may have missed on your way in. In the evening, travel to Drukgyal Dzong (fortress) now in ruins, which was built by Shabdrung to commemorate his victory over the Tibetan invaders, led by the Mongolian warlord Gushri Khan. Historically and strategically, this dzong has captivated Westerners since it was featured in the National Geographic magazine in 1914.
Zhiwa Ling Hotel – B, (Local Restaurant – L, D)
Day 10 – Airport Transfer
Depart Paro Transfer to the airport for your onward flight.
Make this your holiday
Getting There Flights are available to Bangkok or New Delhi from major UK cities on a variety of carriers. From there flights are with Druk Air. We will arrange your flight tickets and visa clearance details and forward them to the Druk office at the airport from which the flight originates.
Getting Around: Transfers from Paro airport in Bhutan for this tour will be arranged by AwimAway. On your arrival our representative will be waiting for you at the airport with your private car and driver. The car willbe available to you for sightseeing excursions or shopping trips at your convenience, and can be used to travel throughout Bhutan by road.
When to go Winter in Bhutan is from mid-November till mid-March, and at this time of the year the climate is dry and sunny for the most part, temperatures peaking at around 15c. in the daytime and falling below zero at night. During the spring months of March, April and May, Bhutan offers warm days and cool nights. It is a great time for treks and to watch the flora and the many birds of Bhutan.
By the middle of June, clouds begin to build up for the monsoon that arrives in July. By mid-September the monsoon clouds have all but dried and the skies begin to clear. The two-month window between October and November offers clear skies but it can be cold in the night. It is also a good time for trekking deep into the Himalayas, sitting around a camp fire and seeing the high Himalayas in the morning and evening golden light.
Passport/ Visa Land entry: AwimAway.com representatives will meet you at Bagdogra airport in West Bengal to escort you to the land border at Phuentsholing and handle entry formalities for you.
Air entry: If you are coming by air, we will forward your flight tickets and visa clearance details to the Druk Air station at which the flight originates. Please have ready at hand any documentation we have sent you concerning this, or your tour. Kindly be at the check-in counter two hours before the expected departure time for your flight.
Passport & visa arrangements: Your passport should be valid for at least a month after your planned date of departure from Bhutan. Passports are stamped when you arrive, and the visa is valid for two weeks, but can easily be extended in Thimphu if your stay in our country is longer.