Join our Thimphu Tshechu (Festival) tour, one of the most popular Festival Tours in Bhutan. This Festival tour is going to be held from 24-26 September 2023. Enjoy this popular 3-Day Festival in Thimphu and explore Bhutan including its beautiful cities of Paro, Thimphu, Punakha, and Wangdipodrang.
*Plan early for the Thimphu Tshechu (Festival) Tour. The festival starts from 24 September to 26 September 2023. Check out other Bhutan festivals with tentative dates.
Attending the Festival inside Thimphu Dzong
The Thimphu Tshechu (Festival) is an annual event that brings thousands of people from all over Bhutan to the city of Thimphu for three days of celebration. Initiated in 1867 by the 4th Desi Gyalse Tenzin Rabgay, the festival was later updated by the third king of Bhutan, Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, in the 1950s.
To Bhutanese farmers, the festival serves as a much-needed break from the daily routine of farm life. People dress in their finest and come together to receive blessings, pray for health and happiness, and revel in the vibrant culture of the country.
The festival is marked by a series of prayers and rituals to invoke the gods, followed by mask dances and folk dances known as cham. These dances are performed to bring blessings, teach the Buddhist Dharma, and protect onlookers from misfortune.
Furthermore, it is believed that those who attend the festival will gain merit. The last day of the festival is especially special, as the Thongdrol of Guru Rinpoche is unfurled early in the morning, bringing blessings to all who view it.
The Thimphu Tshechu (Festival) is an incredibly unique and meaningful event, drawing people from all over the country to the vibrant city of Thimphu for an unforgettable experience.
Come experience the Thimphu Tshechu (Festival) Tour with the experts from Himalayan Windows! Our knowledgeable team will ensure that you have an unforgettable and once-in-a-lifetime journey.
Fly into Paro, after completing your immigration formalities, you will be received by our representative who will be your tour guide throughout your tour. Then drive to Thimphu. On arrival at Thimphu check into your hotel and after lunch visit the following.
Bhutan Postal Museum (recently established): The museum tells the story of Bhutan’s progress and development through the evolution of communications and the postal system in the country. And also you can get personalized Bhutanese postage stamps with your photo on them. You can bring along your favorite photo to put on the stamps and put these stamps on your postcard to your family and friends.
Changzamtok Weaving center: It is to observe beautiful colorful silk and cotton textiles being woven into shawls, scarves, and traditional Bhutanese dresses.
Craft Bazaar where craftsmen and artisans from across the country display and see their handicrafts.
In the evening, free to relax or stroll around Thimphu town, do shopping, etc.
Overnight at the hotel in Thimphu
After breakfast, you will go to witness the First day of Thimphu Tshechu (Festival) which will be held at Tendrel Thang (the festival ground in front of Thimphu Tashichhodzong). Dressed in traditional finery, devotees frock to Tendrel Thang to proclaim their faith and receive blessings.
You will take off some time from the festival to visit Tashichhoe Dzong, a fortress of the glorious. It was built in 1641 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal and was reconstructed into the present structure by the late king, His Majesty Jigme Dorji Wangchuck in the year 1962-1969. It houses the secretariat building, the throne room and the office of the king, and the central monk body.
After the festival you will visit the following:
Watch Archery match– Bhutan’s national game
Kuenselphodrang, where Bhutan’s largest Buddha statue (167 feet tall) is perched on the hillock overlooking the entire Thimphu valley below, and the view from there, is magnificent.
National Memorial Chorten, Chorten literally means the seat of Buddhists often claims such monuments as the ‘Mind of Buddha’. Meet the elderly generation in circumambulation at the National Memorial Chorten.
Overnight at the hotel in Thimphu
After breakfast, visit the following:
Centenary farmers market (open from the –sun only): most of Thimphu’s population and many valley dwellers converge on the bustling weekend market, held by the side of Wangchu River. A wide range of foodstuffs and local arts and crafts are sold at the market, which runs from Friday afternoon till Sunday evening. A visit to the market provides great photo opportunities as well as the chance to mingle with local people and perhaps buy souvenirs.
Go to Tendrel Thang to get a glimpse of the 2nd Day of the Thimphu Festival and stay at the festival for about an hour or so.
National Textile Museum is a good place to see the art of traditional weaving being kept alive and preserved through exhibition and has a good collection of old textiles that are rich in colors and designs. You will also see people weaving with intricate designs.
Simply Bhutan- A living museum of rural life that provides tourists with fascinating insights into the Bhutanese material culture and way of life.
After lunch drives for about 30 minutes to the base camp of Tango Monastery and hikes up to the monastery. The walk up to the Monastery is through the forest filled with Rhododendron flower trees which will be in full bloom during April month. Tango monastery is the center for higher studies for monks. The view from Tango Monastery is breathtakingly beautiful. You will experience complete peace and serenity in this area. After visiting the monastery, walk back to the road and then drive back to Thimphu.
Overnight at the hotel in Thimphu
After breakfast go to Tendreal Thang (festival ground ) to witness the most spectacular last day of Thimphu Tsechu with religious dance performances mixed with folk dance and dance of Bhutanese warriors. People from all walks of life gather at the festival in their finest dresses and ornaments.
After the festival, visit the following:
Traditional Bhutanese paper making factory: the handmade paper making in Bhutan stemmed from the age-old tradition that originated in the 8th century of Bhutanese history. The handmade paper constitutes a valuable National heritage of Bhutanese cultural identity and preserved through all the ages. The traditional paper is recognized and helps hold high esteem both in-home and outside the world. Jungshi paper factory was established in November 1990 as an undertaking of the Royal Government of Bhutan. The unit now boasts of a major dealer in handmade paper and its products.
Takin Preserve houses the national animal the Takin that is only found in Bhutan. This is an extremely rare member of the goat family. Found in herds in very high altitudes (13, 125ft, and over). They live on a diet of grass and bamboo. It can weigh as much as 550 pounds.
Changankha Lhakhang (temple): This temple is situated at top of a small hound overlooking the Thimphu valley was built in the 13th century by the illustrious Lam Phajo Duaom Zhimpo. The temple is considered the spiritual home of children born in the Chang valley.
Overnight at the hotel in Thimphu.
After breakfast, travel to Punakha and Wangdue through Dochula Pass 3140m. In the clear spring sky, you can enjoy the panoramic view of the Himalayan ranges. Then pass by the beautiful 108 Chortens built on the hill by her MajestyAshi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck (Queen Mother of Bhutan) for the security and well being of His Majesty, the King of Bhutan.
You will also visit Druk Wangyal Lhakhang (monastery) which was built by Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck (the Queen Month of Bhutan) as a tribute to His Majesty the fourth King of Bhutan, Jigme Singye Wangchuck, and armed forces after His Majesty led a successful operation against Indian militants who had occupied certain areas of Bhutan. The galley of the Druk Wangyal Lhakhang has beautiful murals depicting some of the important events in the reigns of the Kings of Bhutan.
Then travel into Punakha has been inextricably linked to some of the most momentous events in Bhutanese history and deserves its reputation as one of the most beautiful and significant regions at the heart of Bhutanese culture. Punakha had served as the capital of Bhutan from 1637 till 190. The dzong is historically important and stands as the symbol for unified Bhutan.
On the way, stop by Devine Madman’s Monastery – Chhimi Lhakhang, popularly known for its fertility shrine, where one can receive a special fertility blessing.
Overnight at the hotel
After breakfast, the visit is Punakha Dzong, Built tactically at the junction of Pho Chhu and Mo Chhu rivers in 1637 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal to serve as the religious and administrative center of the region and travel through upper Punakha valley and take a hike through farmhouses to the beautiful Khamsum Yuelley Namgyal Lhakhang (temple) built by Ashi Tshering Yangdon Wangchuck (the Queen Mother of Bhutan) for peace and stability in the ever-changing world. This temple is situated on the hilltop overlooking the valley below. The leisurely walk up to the temple would take about an hour. Visit the temple and also enjoy the breathtakingly beautiful view from there.
On the way to Paro visit the following places:
Rinpung Dzong: Rinpung Dzong is built in 1645 to defend the valley against Tibetan invaders. The Dzong is now being used as an administration center and school for monks. The walk down to Rinpung Bridge (traditional Bridge), the oldest bridge in Bhutan.
Visit Farmhouse in Paro valley and a visit to a farmhouse offers a good glimpse into the lifestyles of farmers.
Overnight at the hotel in Paro
After Breakfast, hike to Tiger’s Nest (Taktsang Monastery). The hike up to the viewpoint will take about two hours and from there you will enjoy the spectacular view of the monastery clinging to the side of the cliff. You will stop here for refreshment and then hike further up to the monastery which should take you another one and half hours. The total hike to reach the Tiger’s nest would take about three and a half hours.
It was first built in 1692, around the Taktsang Senge Samdup, a cave where Guru Padmasambhava is said to have meditated for three months in the 8th century. It is believed that Guru Rinpoche (Guru Padmasambhava) flew to this location from Khenpajong, Tibet on the back of the tigress and subdued a demon. He then performed meditation in one of the caves here and emerged in eight incarnated forms (manifestations) and blessed the place. Subsequently, the place came to be known as the Tiger’s Nest. Guru Padmasambhava is known for introducing Buddhism to Bhutan. Today, Paro Taktsang is the best knowledge of the thirteen caves in which he meditated.
After visiting the monastery, walk back downhill to the road with lunch at the viewpoint cafeteria. Then drive back to your hotel after visiting Kichu Lhakhang on the way back. Kichu Lhakhang, one of the 108 temples built in the 7th century by the Tibetan King Songsten Gampo. The story goes that a giant demon lay across the whole area of Tibet and the Himalayas and was preventing the spread of Buddhism. To overcome her, King Songtsen Gampo decided to build 108 temples, which would be placed on all the points of her body. Of these 108 temples, 12 were built in accordance with precise plans. Thus, it happened that in about the year 638AD the temple of Jokhang in Lhasa was built over the very heart of the demon.
In the evening relax in the traditional hot stone bath after a tiring day.
Overnight at the hotel in Paro.
After breakfast, your tour guide from Himalayan Windows Tours will drive you to the Paro International airport and bid your farewell.
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Payment: A deposit of 30% of the total tour cost is required to book the tour with Himalayan Windows (HW). The remaining balance is to be paid three days prior to the departure date. Payment can be made via Wire Transfer or Credit Card. All credit card payments are securely processed and a bank fee applies.
Cancellation: For cancellations more than 30 days before the Tour Start Date, there will be no cancellation fee. If the cancellation happens within 29-4 days prior to the Tour Start Date, a charge of 30% of the total invoice amount will be applied. Cancellations occurring within 3 days or less of the start date or in the case of a no-show, 100% of the total invoice amount will be charged. Learn more about Terms and Conditions.
Accommodation: Accommodation is typically provided in twin rooms in cities, though a single supplement can be requested for an additional fee. During peak season, it can be difficult to find single or twin rooms in the mountains, so our lodges usually offer dormitory-style accommodation. Our priority is always to provide clean and safe rooms for our guests.
Meals: Our packages in Bhutan include full board meals, with breakfast, lunch, and dinner included. For treks, all meals are provided, but you will need to pay extra for drinking water and snacks.
Nepal Visa: If you are planning a trip to Nepal, you must have a valid passport and Nepal Visa. Depending on your country of origin, you may need to obtain a Nepal Tourist Visa before your arrival. To be eligible, your passport should be valid for a minimum of six months from your Tour Start Date. If you are planning on traveling to multiple countries on your trip, make sure to get a multi-entries Nepal Visa.
Bhutan Visa Clearance: All visitors to Bhutan must have a valid Bhutan Visa Clearance before their trip. To obtain it, you must submit a color-scanned copy of your passport, which must be valid for at least 6 months from the start date of your tour. Your tour operator will send you a Visa Clearance prior to your departure, which you must present at the Druk Air/Bhutan Airlines counter during check-in. Once you arrive at Paro Airport, your passport will be stamped with the original visa.
Tibet Group Visa (TGV): All travelers from any nation intending to go to Tibet from Nepal must obtain a Tibet Group Visa (TGV) in Kathmandu with the help of a tour operator. To ensure the successful application of the TGV, you should plan to arrive in Kathmandu 3-4 working days before your travel date. If you are coming from China, you will not require a TGV; instead, you will need a Chinese Visa and Permit. To find out more about the process of entering Tibet, please look into the Tibet entry procedure.
Nepal & Bhutan: Visiting Nepal and Bhutan at the same time is ideal as they share a similar climate. From high mountains to low land sub-tropical plains and jungles, the two countries have similar weather. The best time to visit is from March to April (spring) and October to December (autumn and early winter). During these months, the air is clean and fresh with sunny skies. January and February are colder months, while June, July, and August (summer) are typically monsoon seasons.
Tibet: It is best to visit Tibet between April and October when the weather is warm and the skies are clear. However, from November to March, it is still possible to explore certain areas like Namtso, Everest Base Camp, and Mount Kailash, as long as the roads are not blocked by snow. Temperatures during this time may be quite cold.
HimalayanWindows strongly recommends that anyone planning to travel in the Himalayas purchase Travel Insurance. This policy will provide coverage in the case of medical emergencies, evacuation, theft, loss of belongings, and last-minute tour/ticket cancellations. Having this protection in place will help ensure that your trip is safe and enjoyable.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about the Bhutan tour Where is Bhutan? Bhutan is a small, landlocked country situated in the eastern Himalayas between China and India. Its landscape ranges from Subtropical plains and forests in the south to subalpine forests and the snowy Himalayas in the North. Bhutan is a principally Buddhist country, and it is recognized as the last stronghold of Mahayana Buddhism. Do I need to use a… Read More »