Festival scheduled: 19th – 21st Sept 2018Festivals are cherished by the Bhutanese and it has a long tradition passed down through the generations. Thimphu Tshechu is one of the biggest festivals in the country hosted in the capital city. It lasts for three days beginning on 10th day of the 8th month of lunar calendar. Prayers, rituals, mask dance are performed to please the Gods.

The festival was conceived by the 4th Desi, Gyalse Tenzin Rabgay in 1867 and only a few dances were being performed strictly by monks. Dances such as Zhana chham and the Zhana Nga chham (Dances of the 21 Black Hats), Durdag (Dance of the Lords of the Cremation Ground), and the Tungam chham (Dance of the Terrifying Deities) were the principal dance performed during that time.

Over time, it underwent change without diluting the essence. In 1950s, other dances like Boed chhams (mask dances performed by lay monks), Guru Tshengye (Eight Manifestations of Guru) and Shaw Shachi (Dance of the Stags) were added. The Atsaras (clowns) entertain the crowd; facilitate the dance and also covey social messages.

DAY 01: Arrive Paro airport & drive to Punakha (3 and ½ hours)

Your exciting vacation in this land of happiness begins. After completing your immigration formalities, you will be received by Pinehill Bhutan Travels representative who will be your tour guide throughout your tour.

Drive to Punakha. On the way, travel through Dochula Pass (3140 m). In the clear spring sky, you can enjoy the panoramic view of the Himalayan Mountain ranges. Then pass by the beautiful 108 chorten (stupas). Hotel check in and after lunch visit Punakha Dzong. Night halt in Punakha.

DAY 02:  Drive to Trongsa & local sightseeing (5 and ½ hours)

Today, we proceed to Trongsa. Pass by Pele La Pass at 11,152 feet. Make a stop for tea/coffee at Chedebji Chorten (Stupa) patterned after Swayambhunath in Kathmandu. On arrival in Trongsa, check in the hotel and visit historical Trongsa Dzong. From the fortress we walk for 20 minutes up to the watch tower which houses the museum. Night halt in Trongsa.

DAY 03:  Drive to Bumthang (2 and ½ hours)

We proceed to Bumthang. On the way at Chumey valley, visit Yathra Weaving centers (a colorful wool weaving). Then drive to Bumthang valley for night halt.

DAY 04: Bumthang local sightseeing

Some exciting places to visit today are Jambay Lhakhang (7th century temple), Jakar Dzong (literally meaning castle of the white bird), Wangdichholing palace (built in 1857) and Kurjey Lhakhang (temple). Further, with a short walk, you will also visit Tamshing Goemba (monastery) which was established in 1501. Also, worth visiting in Jakar is cheese factory and microbrewery. Night halt in Bumthang.

DAY 05: Drive to Phobjikha valley (4 and ½ hours)

From Bumthang, we will ascend towards the Yotong La (3,370m). Near the pass is an area of wild cane/bamboos that is a well-known habitat for Red Panda. Lunch at Chendebji Stupa and proceed to Phobjikha where we sign off for the night.

DAY 06: Drive to Thimphu (5 hrs drive)

You will begin your journey from Phobjikha to Thimphu. On arrival, you will visit Kuensel Phodrang tallest Buddha statue), the National Memorial Chorten (stupa), Takin Preserve (which houses the national animal- Takin) and finally the Craft Bazaar. Halt in Thimphu.

DAY 07: Thimphu local sightseeing

Yet other exciting places of visit are Institute for Zorig Chusum (Arts & Crafts School), Coronation Park, the Folk Heritage Museum, Changangkha Lhakhang (temple) and finally the Weekend Market where you will check out the local farm produce.

DAY 08:  Thimphu festival

After breakfast drive to Tashi chodzong to witness the festival (Described in the introduction).

Night halt at Thimphu.

DAY 09: Drive to Paro  (1 and ½ hours)

On arrival at Paro, check into your hotel and visit the National Museum, and Paro Dzong (fortress). From the dzong, walk further down to Nyamai Zampa, an oldest traditional cantilever bridge in Bhutan. In the evening stroll through the Paro town and visit local handicraft stores. Halt in Paro

DAY 10: Paro – Hike to tiger’s nest monastery

For the second last day, an exciting excursion to Taktshang Monastery/ Tiger’s Nest (approx 5 hours round trip hike) is scheduled. It is one of the most famous of Bhutan’s monasteries, perched on the side of a cliff 900 m above the Paro valley floor. Halt in Paro.

DAY 11: Paro – Excursion to Haa valley (approx 5 hours round trip)

To sum up the tour, you will have an excursion to Haa. On the way, stop at Chelela pass (3899 m) to have a good view of the Himalayan Ranges and the valley beyond. Then continue the drive towards Haa where you will do some stroll around the town. Thereafter, drive back to Paro and sign off the trip.

DAY 12: Departure

Drive to the airport for flight to your onward destination. We hope to serve you again with our other exciting tour packages in the future.