Thimphu Festival & Paro

Thimphu Festival & Paro

Enjoy some of Bhutan’s best cultural and scenic locations on this quick tour of Thimphu and Paro. The highlight of the tour is the famous Thimphu Tshechu (festival) honouring Guru Rimpoche, the Precious Teacher. Bhutanese festivals are a riot of colour, with masked dances, known as cham, performed to bless the onlookers. Thimphu’s festival is held in the Tashichho Dzong, an impressive fortress that houses the monarch’s throne room.

This is one of the most popular festivals in Bhutan, attracting Bhutanese from miles around to receive blessings and to socialize, dressed in their finest clothes. The sunlight glinting on the vibrant silks of the dancers’ costumes as they spin and twirl makes it a spectacularly photogenic and memorable scene.

This trip works well as an extension to your Indian holiday.

6 DAYS
FROM £1445
Idea
Themes:
Activity Levels
Moderate
WHAT'S INCLUDED
  • Activities and excursions as specified
  • Entrance fees/tickets for the above
  • In-destination transfers & transport
  • Accommodation & Meals as specified
  • English speaking guides
  • 24/7 support while you travel

Explore this itinerary

Day 1: Arrival in Bhutan

On your fight into Bhutan you will have breath-taking views of the High Himalayan peaks. At Paro airport you will be greeted by our representative.

Drive east into Thimphu (2 hrs) on well maintained roads, through the beautiful Paro valley. Settle into your Thimphu hotel in time for before lunch, followed by a visit to the Weekend market. It is a colourful and interesting place, where you will find many photographic opportunities.

As time permits, visit Thimphu’s cultural sights: the Textile Museum, the Institute of Traditional Medicine, the School of Fine Arts where you can see the detailed precision that is required in painting thangkas, weaving textiles and sculpting; the paper and incense work-shops; National library with its vast collection of ancient manuscripts and the Post Office where you can purchase unique and beautiful stamps; the National Memorial Chorten.

On our way back to our hotel we will stop by Changlimithang Stadium, the national archery ground to see the Bhutanese practicing their archery skills!

Lunch, Dinner
Day 2: Thimphu & Dodema

Following breakfast, a short drive (30mins) to Dodena (2,600m).

From Dodena, a lovely walk (1.5hrs) to Cheri Goemba. There are great photography opportunities, especially the covered bridge with its prayer flags fluttering in the breeze. The monastery is used as a retreat centre for Buddhist monks and we may hear chanting of prayers or their emotive music.
Returning to Thimphu, as time permits we will continue with our cultural visits.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 3: Thimphu Tshechu (Festival)

This tshechu (festival) honours Guru Rimpoche, the Precious Teacher. Bhutanese festivals have a series of masked dances, known as cham, performed to bless the onlookers, to protect from misfortune and eradicate evil. Between dances, groups of women perform traditional folk songs.

The festival is held in the Tashichho Dzong, an impressive fortress rebuilt in the 1960s in traditional manner without nails or even an architect’s plan. It is also the center of government, the seat of Je Khenpo, the Buddhist leader in Bhutan and houses the monarch’s throne room.

This is one of the most popular festivals in Bhutan, attracting the Bhutanese from miles around to receive blessings and to socialize, dressed in their finest clothes. The sunlight glinting on the vibrant silks of the dancers’ costumes as they spin and twirl makes it a spectacularly photgenic and memorable scene.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 4: Thimpu-Paro

Before we return to Paro we will visit the newly constructed Golden Buddha, one of the world’s tallest statues at 51.5m. From this vantage point at 2,400m there are excellent views overlooking Thimphu.

Continuing to Paro, we will drive to the strategically positioned Ta Dzong or watchtower where there are incredible views along the Paro valley. Built in a circular structure helping it withstand attack; it now houses the National Museum and has many interesting antiques which help to explain Bhutan’s history. Below is Paro Rinpung Dzong, an imposing building, housing both the civil administration and the monk body of approximately 200 monks. The central tower of the fortress is considered to be one of the most beautiful in Bhutan because of its superb woodwork.

We arrive in Paro for lunch, after which there will be some free time to browse the shops that line the quaint streets before returning to our hotel for the evening.

After a busy day, this may be an opportunity to try a hot-stone bath, where mountain water is run into wooden baths and then heated by adding very hot stones that have been put onto fires for several hours.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 5: Hike up Tiger's Nest

After breakfast, put on your hiking boots as we are going to Taksang Monastery, Tiger’s Nest! This is probably the most iconic Bhutanese image. We will walk up to the cafeteria and have refreshments before continuing to the top. Should you not wish to continue to the top, you will be able to wait in this area. There are mules available if you wish to ride to the top, but you’ll have to walk down on foot.

After the specatuclar hike, we’ll drive to Drukgyel Dzong; named to commemorate a victory over the Tibetan invasion of 1644. This picturesque ruin standing on a hillside above the lovely village of Drukgyel with imposing views of Jhomolhari from the approach roads is a photographer’s dream. Finally, we hope to have time to visit one of the most important and oldest (659) religious sites: Kyichu Lhakhang. Over the years it has been added to and contains some impressive statues.

We’ll return to our hotel before we enjoy a final meal together during which we can look back on the highlights of this adventure.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 6: Departure
After breakfast at the hotel, we will drive to Paro airport for your return flights and connections.
Breakfast
Day 1: Arrival in Bhutan

On your fight into Bhutan you will have breath-taking views of the High Himalayan peaks. At Paro airport you will be greeted by our representative.

Drive east into Thimphu (2 hrs) on well maintained roads, through the beautiful Paro valley. Settle into your Thimphu hotel in time for before lunch, followed by a visit to the Weekend market. It is a colourful and interesting place, where you will find many photographic opportunities.

As time permits, visit Thimphu’s cultural sights: the Textile Museum, the Institute of Traditional Medicine, the School of Fine Arts where you can see the detailed precision that is required in painting thangkas, weaving textiles and sculpting; the paper and incense work-shops; National library with its vast collection of ancient manuscripts and the Post Office where you can purchase unique and beautiful stamps; the National Memorial Chorten.

On our way back to our hotel we will stop by Changlimithang Stadium, the national archery ground to see the Bhutanese practicing their archery skills!

Lunch, Dinner
Day 2: Thimphu & Dodema

Following breakfast, a short drive (30mins) to Dodena (2,600m).

From Dodena, a lovely walk (1.5hrs) to Cheri Goemba. There are great photography opportunities, especially the covered bridge with its prayer flags fluttering in the breeze. The monastery is used as a retreat centre for Buddhist monks and we may hear chanting of prayers or their emotive music.
Returning to Thimphu, as time permits we will continue with our cultural visits.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 3: Thimphu Tshechu (Festival)

This tshechu (festival) honours Guru Rimpoche, the Precious Teacher. Bhutanese festivals have a series of masked dances, known as cham, performed to bless the onlookers, to protect from misfortune and eradicate evil. Between dances, groups of women perform traditional folk songs.

The festival is held in the Tashichho Dzong, an impressive fortress rebuilt in the 1960s in traditional manner without nails or even an architect’s plan. It is also the center of government, the seat of Je Khenpo, the Buddhist leader in Bhutan and houses the monarch’s throne room.

This is one of the most popular festivals in Bhutan, attracting the Bhutanese from miles around to receive blessings and to socialize, dressed in their finest clothes. The sunlight glinting on the vibrant silks of the dancers’ costumes as they spin and twirl makes it a spectacularly photgenic and memorable scene.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 4: Thimpu-Paro

Before we return to Paro we will visit the newly constructed Golden Buddha, one of the world’s tallest statues at 51.5m. From this vantage point at 2,400m there are excellent views overlooking Thimphu.

Continuing to Paro, we will drive to the strategically positioned Ta Dzong or watchtower where there are incredible views along the Paro valley. Built in a circular structure helping it withstand attack; it now houses the National Museum and has many interesting antiques which help to explain Bhutan’s history. Below is Paro Rinpung Dzong, an imposing building, housing both the civil administration and the monk body of approximately 200 monks. The central tower of the fortress is considered to be one of the most beautiful in Bhutan because of its superb woodwork.

We arrive in Paro for lunch, after which there will be some free time to browse the shops that line the quaint streets before returning to our hotel for the evening.

After a busy day, this may be an opportunity to try a hot-stone bath, where mountain water is run into wooden baths and then heated by adding very hot stones that have been put onto fires for several hours.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 5: Hike up Tiger's Nest

After breakfast, put on your hiking boots as we are going to Taksang Monastery, Tiger’s Nest! This is probably the most iconic Bhutanese image. We will walk up to the cafeteria and have refreshments before continuing to the top. Should you not wish to continue to the top, you will be able to wait in this area. There are mules available if you wish to ride to the top, but you’ll have to walk down on foot.

After the specatuclar hike, we’ll drive to Drukgyel Dzong; named to commemorate a victory over the Tibetan invasion of 1644. This picturesque ruin standing on a hillside above the lovely village of Drukgyel with imposing views of Jhomolhari from the approach roads is a photographer’s dream. Finally, we hope to have time to visit one of the most important and oldest (659) religious sites: Kyichu Lhakhang. Over the years it has been added to and contains some impressive statues.

We’ll return to our hotel before we enjoy a final meal together during which we can look back on the highlights of this adventure.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 6: Departure
After breakfast at the hotel, we will drive to Paro airport for your return flights and connections.
Breakfast

Interested in this itinerary? It's great as is, but we'll be happy to tailor it for you.

INCLUSIONS & EXCLUSIONS

Price Includes

  • Visa, SDF and all other government taxes
  • Experienced, English speaking Tour Guide
  • All activities as mentioned in the itinerary
  • All accommodation (3* standard hotels approved by Tourism Council)
  • All meals
  • Tea/coffee and snacks
  • Bottled water throughout the trip
  • Ground transportation
  • All necessary camping equipment’s if tour involves camping
  • All entrance fees for national parks
  • Religious Monument Entry Fee

Price Excludes

  • Travel insurance (Mandatory)
  • Laundry, phone calls and alcoholic drinks
  • Any other personal expenses
  • Charges incurred as a result of circumstances beyond our control
  • Flights
  • Gratuity/Tips

Our prices do not include international flights unless explicitly stated.

The price shown is per person, based on two people travelling and sharing a room, outside peak periods. Prices may vary depending on the time of travel, and single supplements may apply.