Thimphu Tsechu

Grade 1 2 3 4 5
Grade 2 – Moderate
Tours in the foothills and the lower middle-hills going up to 10,000'/ 3,000m. Roads are generally good, but at times may involve short "off-road" stretches. Average driving is 3-5 hours a day.
Tour Difficulty Grading

Our Nepal and Bhutan tours are graded easy to moderate, involving activities such as driving, sightseeing, short walks, boating, canoe and elephant rides. They take you to the foothills of the Himalaya, well below 10,000'/ 3,000m, or further down to the lowlands. Where long overland drives are involved, we use 4WD Toyota Land Cruiser jeeps for smaller groups and Toyota Coaster minibuses for larger groups. For overland trips between Kathmandu, Pokhara, and Chitwan, we use deluxe tourist bus services. The roads may take us up a Himalayan gorge or through the open plains of the Terai. Wherever they take you to, the views are breathtaking; driving through the land offers spectacular pictures of Nepal's diverse landscapes. Tours are graded on the basis of altitude, road condition, driving hours per day, and length of trip.

Grade 1 – Easy
Tours in the foothills staying below 6,500'/ 2,000m. Roads are relatively good, and average driving is 2-3 hours a day.
Grade 2 – Moderate
Tours in the foothills and the lower middle-hills going up to 10,000'/ 3,000m. Roads are generally good, but at times may involve short "off-road" stretches. Average driving is 3-5 hours a day.
Grade 3 – Challenging
Fairly demanding tours, usually in the high Himalaya, going up to 13,000'/ 4,000m. Roads can be unpaved and bumpy, and will usually take you into uninhabited or sparsely inhabited areas. Average driving is 5-6 hours a day.
Grade 4 – Demanding
These trips require participants to be in good health. All of them take you into the high Himalaya, altitudes ranging from 9,000'/ 2,800m to often in excess of 16,500'/ 5,000m. Roads venture into sparsely populated or uninhabited high-mountain wilderness. Average driving is 6-9 hours a day.
Note on altitudes
The altitude definitions indicate elevations through the major part of the tour. Tours usually involve side-trips into elevations exceeding the altitude ranges defined for their grades. Grade 3 & 4 tour itineraries are designed to allow proper acclimatization, with acclimatization days when we take exploratory trips to higher elevations.


10 days – Thimphu festival, Paro, Punakha, and Gangtey
  • Visit the major shrines and sights of Paro, Thimphu, and Punakha
  • Three days in Thimphu to witness the entire Tsechu, visit the Cheri and Taango monasteries
  • Hike to the famous Taktsang monastery
  • Hike the Gangtey Nature Trail, visit the Black Necked Crane Observation Center and Gangtey Goenpa

The Thimphu Tsechu is Bhutan’s biggest and grandest festival: three days of dances and revelry attracting people from all over the kingdom. Our 10-day Thimphu Tsechu sojourn is designed to take in the major sights of Paro, Thimphu, Punakha, and Gangtey alongside the great festival.

Our journey begins with what must be the world’s most scenic flight from Kathmandu to Paro. We take in the sights of the Paro valley and hike to the fabled Taktstang – Tiger’s Nest – monastery. We then drive through the beautiful Haa valley to Thimphu. The next three days are spent witnessing the Thimphu festival and visiting Thimphu sights, as well as exploring nearby shrines and monasteries including Cheri and Taango.

Preceded by three days of prayer and rituals to invoke the gods, the Tsechu constitutes various dances and dance-dramas, from original performances such as the Dance of the 21 Black Hats and the Dance of the Terrifying Deities performed by monks to the relatively recently introduced Dance of the Stags and Hounds and Eight Manifestations of the Guru performed by laymen. The latter are much enjoyed being similar to stage theater. To rural Bhutanese people, the Tsechu is a break from their routine life and an occasion to revel, receive blessings, and pray for happiness and good health. The conclusion of the festival is marked by the unfurling of the Thongdrel, a giant thangka of Padmasambhava, the patron saint of Bhutan.

After witnessing this ancient living tradition, we continue over the Dochu La pass to the Gangtey valley, the winter home to a population of the endangered Black Necked cranes; here we hike and visit the Gangtey Goempa. We then trace our way back to Wangdue and proceed to Punakha, the former capital. Based here we visit the quaint villages of Talo, Nobgang, and Rinchengang, besides the Punakha Dzong and Chhime Lhakhang.

Thimphu Tsechu is a remarkable journey through the magical kingdom of Bhutan, offering a complete picture of the timeless religious and cultural heritage of the Dragon Kingdom.

thimphu-tsechu-atasara-4120x2964Trip Itinerary

Day 1  Fly Kathmandu – Paro. Afternoon visit Ta Dzong (National Museum) and Paro Rinpung Dzong. Evening stroll around Paro town.
Day 2  Morning hike to Taktsang monastery. Visit Kyichu Lhakhang on return. Late afternoon visit traditional Bhutanese farmhouse.
Day 3  Morning drive to Thimphu via Chele La pass and Haa valley. Evening visit Kuenselphodrang (Buddha Point).
Days 4 – 5  Thimphu: Witness Thimphu Tsechu festivities at Tashichho Dzong. Visit Zorig Chusum Institute (National Institute of Arts and Crafts), Memorial chorten, Handmade paper factory, and Bhutan craft bazaar. Excursion to Pangri Zampa Lhakhang, Cheri and Taango monasteries.
Day 6  Morning witness closing of Thimphu Tsechu. Drive to Lobesa valley and Gangtey across Dochu La pass.
Day 7  Morning visit Black-Necked Crane Observation Center and hike the Gangtey Nature Trail. Visit Gangtey Goempa. Afternoon drive to Punakha.
Day 8  Punakha: Excursion to Talo,  Nobgang, and Rinchengang villages.
Day 9  Morning visit Punakha Dzong and Chimme Lhakhang. Late morning drive to Paro visiting Simtokha Dzong en route. Afternoon at leisure.
Day 10  Morning transfer to airport. Fly to Kathmandu.

Dates and Pricing

Sep 27 - Oct 6, 2017

  Standard Hotels
3 or more personsUS$ 2,470
Single room supplement US$ 350
Airfare Kathmandu - Paro - KathmanduUS$ 394
Cost Information
Cost Information

The tour cost quoted is the cost per person, and includes:

  • Hotels: Accommodations on twin / triple room-sharing, full-board basis (breakfast, lunch, & dinner).
  • Tours: All sightseeing tours with a certified English-speaking guide.
  • Transfers: All land transfers by SUV (Hyundai Tucson or similar) or van (Toyota Hiace or similar).
  • Permits, Fees, & Taxes: All applicable permits, entry fees, and taxes.
  • Bhutan "FIT surcharge," applicable for groups of less than three persons.
  • Bhutan visa fee and TDF (Tourism Development Fund) fee.

Not included in the cost are:

  • Return airfare Kathmandu - Paro. Airfares indicated are subject to change without notice.
  • Personal clothing & equipment (upon confirmation you’ll receive a clothing & necessity checklist of items we recommend you bring).
  • Personal expenses, bottled / alcoholic beverages, and tips to crew.
  • Insurance: We strongly recommend that all trip participants be covered by their own personal insurance that also covers emergency evacuation.
  • Other unforeseeable expenses that may arise due to factors beyond our control, like bad weather or flight cancellations.
  • Nepal re-entry visa It is advisable to get a double- / multiple-entry visa for Nepal.


  Standard Hotels
ParoTashi Namgay Resort
ThimphuDorji Elements
GangteyDewachen Resort
PunakhaMeri Puensum Resort
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