Bhutan

6-Day Paro Tshechu Festival Experience

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Tour type

Tour Level: High level

Tour Comfort: Standard

Tour Period: 6 Days

Tour Highlight

  • View sacred dances and rituals performed by monks and laymen in elaborate costumes
  • Join locals in a special occasion of celebration, blessings and socialising
  • Witness the unfurling ceremony of the sacred ‘thongdroel’ scroll at daybreak
  • Hike up to the famous Taktsang Monastery, perched on a cliff 900 metres above the valley floor
  • Gaze upon incredible artefacts, religious items and scriptures at museums

tour details

The Paro Tshechu Festival Tour allows intrepid travellers to experiemce one of Bhutan’s most popular traditoinal religious holidays. Join locals in a colourful Buddhist celebration of Bhutanese culture and faith. This 6-day Bhutan tour also explores the cultural western and historical central valleys of the country where you can marvel at some of the most precious artefacts, religious scriptures, thangkas and works of art.

Upon arriving at the Paro International Airport, receive a welcoming ‘khadar’ greeting scarf from your guide and then commence your sightseeing tour. First, visit Rinpung Dzong, an administration centre and a modern school for monks. Built in 1645, it was once used to defend the valley against Tibetan invaders. Next, visit the Ugyen Pelri Palace, which is one of the most beautiful examples of Bhutanese architecture. Continue onward to one of the finest natural history museums in South Asia, the National Museum, which has a collection of precious works of art and fantastic costumes, armour and other handcrafted, culturally significant objects. There is also a gallery dedicated to exquisite pieces of thangkas. Afterwards, drive to Thimphu, the only capital in the world with no traffic lights. Take in the city’s traditional Bhutanese architecture, which seamlessly blends into the idyllic countryside.

Check into your hotel and enjoy lunch before walking around the Memorial Chorten, one of the most visible religious structures in Thimphu. Then, visit the Takin Preserve to see the national animal. Take in the gorgeous views of the Thimphu Valley at the BBS Tower and then visit Changangkha Temple, which contains ancient scriptures and thankas. In the evening, visit the 13th-century Tashichho Dzong, which houses His Majesty’s Throne Room and is the summer home to the Monastic Body.

End your full first day with dinner and accommodation at a hotel in Thimphu.
In the morning prior to driving to Punakha, visit the treasure trove of priceless Buddhist manuscripts at the National Library of Bhutan. Continue to the National Folk Heritage Museum to get a glimpse of the lifestyle, items and artefacts of Bhutanese villages and rural households. In addition to the displays, the museum also organises demonstrations of rural traditions, skills, habits and customs. Next, visit the traditional art and crafts Institute for Zorig Chusum or the 'Painting School’. One can often see students learning the various skills taught whilst visiting the school. Afterwards, visit Kuensel Phodrang, which has one of the biggest statues of Buddha in the world (160 feet tall) and depicts the present Buddha, Buddha Sakya Muni (Sha cha Thupa). From here, enjoy a beautiful view of the capital city of Thimphu.

Later in the day, drive to Punakha Valley via Dochula Pass. On a clear day, Dochula offers a stunning view of the snowcapped Himalayas. There is a powerful binocular telescope in the cafeteria from where several peaks including Zongophu Gang (7,100 metres) and Gangkhar Puensum (7,541 metres), can be viewed. Lastly, visit the 108 memorial 'Druk Wangyal Chortens', a new landmark for travellers as they cross Dochula.

On the way, go on a 20-minute walk through the village of Sopsokha to visit Chimi Lhakhang, located on a hillock in the centre of the valley below Metshina. Known as the 'Fertility Temple', this holy site has been welcoming childless couples seeking its blessing since the 15th century. Lastly, tour Punakha Dzong, one of the most beautiful dzongs of Bhutan. It guards Bhutan’s most treasured possession, the Rangjung Kharsapani, as well as a holy book of the Drukpa Kagyu lineage written in gold.

Dinner and accommodation at a hotel in Punakha.
The day in Punakha Valley begins with a drive through the town of Khuruthang and continues along the banks of the Mo Chu River, passing the Phuntsho Pelri Palace and several other winter homes of the Royal Family. At the upper end of the valley, a hike across a footbridge through terraces of rice, chillies and cabbage. Then take a 50-minute walk to Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten, a 3-storey chorten that stands on a beautiful hillock called Ngezergang roughly six miles from Punakha. It presents incredibly complex images and symbols that belongto the Nyingmapa tradition.

Afterwards, drive back to Paro, check into the hotel, and in the evening visit a farmhouse to see firsthand how rural Bhutanese live. These traditional 3-storey homes are very decorative and painted in a classical style. Whilst there, relax in a hot stone bath, known as a ‘dotsho’. This hydrotherapy is an important part of Bhutanese family life and has been used to treat various diseases for centuries. Its healing properties for the body, mind and soul are highly valued by the Bhutanese people.

Dinner and accommodations at a hotel in Punakha.
Today after breakfast, take part in witnessing and celebrating Paro Tshechu for the entire day. Paro Tshechu is a religious festival honouring Guru Padmasambhava, the 'one who was born from a lotus flower'. This Indian saint contributes enormously to the diffusion of Tantric Buddhism in Himalayan regions of Tibet, Nepal and Bhutan. During Paro Tshechu, monks and laymen perform colourful traditional dances and attendees gain merit. It is also an annual event where the people, dressed in all their finery, come together to rejoice.

Dinner and accommodation at a hotel in Paro.
After an early breakfast, take a short drive from Paro to the trailhead, where the hike begins at the famous Taktsang Monastery, one of the most recognised Buddhist monuments in the Himalayas. Also known as Tiger's Nest, it is dangerously perched on a cliffside 900 metres (2,600 feet) above the Paro Valley. The climb to the viewpoint will take approximately three hours. Lunch will be served during the return hike back to the road point.

The sightseeing tour continues with a visit Drukgyal Dzong. Now in ruins, it was once strategically built over the only passage into Paro Valley. It helped to prevent numerous invasions throughout the course of Bhutanese history, beginning in 1646. In fine weather, gaze upon the towering peak of Mount Jumolhari, which marks the frontier with Tibet and is believed to be the dwelling place of the goddess Jomo. In the afternoon we will again witness the Paro Festival. The evening has been kept free for a leisurely visit to the town of Paro.

Dinner and accommodation at a hotel in Paro.
After breakfast, your guide will accommodate you to the airport and bid you "Tashi delek!" for your onward flight.

Includes

  •  All private transfers, Hotel accomodation and transportation inclusive of taxes during the entire tour
  • Meals as stated in the programme B= Breakfast, L= Lunch & D= Dinner
  • Transfers and tours with English-speaking guides in private air conditioned vehicles
  • All entrance fees as mentioned in the programme
  • Mineral water available in the vehicles
  • Visa fees at US$40 per person

Excludes

  • Domestic airfare (quoted separately, if requested)
  • International airfare to / from Lao (quoted separately, if requested)
  • Optional tours
  • Surcharges for other language guides
  • Surcharges for Lao Pimai (New Year)
  • Personal travel insurance
  • Personal expenditures, such as drinks, souvenirs, laundry, camera fees, communications, postage, gratuities, etc.
  • Meals and services other than mentioned in the programme
  • Drinks with meals
  • Compulsory gala dinners during festive seasons and peak season surcharges which will be advised at the time of booking or when available
  • Early check-in and late check-out at hotels, if not mentioned in the programme

Notes

Upon request, a licensed French, German, Spanish or other language-speaking guide can accompany participants for the whole duration of the trip at an additional cost.

Tour code: PTFE06

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