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.
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
|3 or more persons||US$ 2,470|
|Single room supplement||US$ 350|
|Airfare Kathmandu - Paro - Kathmandu||US$ 394|
|Paro||Tashi Namgay Resort|
|Punakha||Meri Puensum Resort|