Grand Annual Festival of PARO Tshechu and Cultural Tour of Bhutan

Grand Annual Festival of PARO Tshechu and Cultural Tour of Bhutan

Start: Paro International Airport Finish: Paro International Airport

Visiting: Gaki Lam, Tango Monastery, Phobjikha Valley, Gangtey Monastery, Taktsang Monastery


Duration: 6 Nights

Physical rating: Low, Easy

Special diets catered: Vegetarians, Vegans, Dietary needs respected

Tour code: 71355P12

Tour operator: Bhutan Acorn Tours & Travel

Group size: 1 - 10

Age range: 10+

Tour operated in: English


From: $1880 $1842

Extra tourhub saving: $38

Tour Overview

  • For the year 2021, the Paro Tshechu Festival will be held from March 24 - 28 but we are not taking any booking for 2021 because of the uncertainty posed by COVID-19 pandemic.
  • For the year 2022, we do not know the exact date as of now but the festival will take place in March or April. We will update when we have the confirmed dates.

  • This 7 nights trip will take you on an exhilarating journey through 4 western districts of Bhutan giving you the perfect opportunity to discover the pristine wilderness of the Kingdom of Bhutan, witness a dazzling annual Paro Tshechu festival and encounter fact-to-face with an ancient tradition that still flourishes alongside modern development. The festival portrays the rich cultural heritage of Bhutan and brings the whole community and people from different places together to socialize and foster harmony and happiness.

    In Phobjikha valley, you will experience a glimpse of life living in the pristine glacial valley and visit one of the historic and largest monasteries in Bhutan and meet with compassionate monks.

    Highlights

    • icon Witness fascinating annual festival of Paro Tshechu and meet local people coming to celebrate the festival, socialize and foster harmony, promote peace and happiness
    • iconHike to the 8th-century sacred site where Bhutan’s iconic landmark, 17th century Paro Taktsang or Tiger’s Nest built on the face of the 800m rock cliff.
    • icon Travel to the glacial valley of Phobjikha at an altitude of 3,000 meters, the largest winter roosting ground for endangered Black-Necked Crane and stay at a family farmhouse and experience the warm hospitality of a Bhutanese family
    • iconTravel to the ancient capital of Bhutan, hike to a serene mountain ridge and view the beautiful fertile valley below.
    • iconVisit the capital city of Bhutan and get a true glimpse of modern Bhutan with its ancient culture still vibrant. Immerse yourself into the contemporary Bhutanese lifestyle and discover happiness.

    Places You'll See

    Paro Rinpung Dzong
    Getting blessings from giant sacred applique
    Women in their best costumes sings folk songs at the festival
    Nature in the pristine valley of Phobjikha
    Khamsum Yulley Namgyel Chorten in Punakha
    Punakha valley
    Dazzling mask dances performed by skilled monks

    Itinerary

    icon Day 1 : Arrive Paro International Airport & Sightseeing In Paro (2,195m)

    Location: Paro International Airport

    Accommodation: Hotel, Khangkhu Resort or Bhutan Mandala Resort

    Meals: Lunch, Dinner

    Your guide and the driver will receive you at the Paro International Airport then go on your first adventure in the Land of the Thunder Dragon.


    • First, you will visit the National Museum of Bhutan. Located in Paro just above the Rinpung Dzong (administrative headquarter of Paro district where the festival will be taking place), the National Museum is housed in a 17th-century watchtower called Paro Ta Dzong built in 1649. It displays hundreds of ancient Bhutanese artifacts and artworks including traditional costumes, armour, weaponry and handcrafted implements for daily life. The collection at the National Museum preserves a snap-shot of the rich cultural traditions of the country.

    • Visit and auspicious Paro Kyichu Lhakhang. Located just a few minutes drive from the main town of Paro, Kyichu Lhakhang is one of the oldest monasteries in Bhutan. It is believed to have been built on a single day in 659 A.D. by King Songtsen Gampo of Tibet in his effort to build 108 such temples across the Himalayan region to subdue the spirit of a demoness who was causing obstruction to the spread of Buddhism.

    • Visit Drukgyal Dzong. Located about 14km away from Paro main town is Drukgyal Dzong (the fortress of the Victorious Drukpa). It was built in 1649 to commemorate a victory against the invasion by Tibetan-Mongol forces. The Dzong was almost completely destroyed by fire in 1951. Today, the Dzong is under reconstruction and it is expected to take few years before restoring to its former glory.


    Leisure time in Paro town.

    icon Day 2 : Full Day Witnessing The Grand Annual Festival of Paro Tshechu / Transfer To Thimphu (2334m)

    Location: Gaki Lam

    Accommodation: Hotel, Kuenphen Rabten Resort or Amodhara

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    Today after breakfast, you will visit the 17th-century Paro Rinpung Dzong and witness one of the largest festivals in Bhutan, the annual Tshechu of Paro. Later you will be transferred to Thimphu and visit an auspicious and one of the largest Buddha statue



    Paro Rinpung Dzong was built by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel in 1646 and established as the administrative and monastic centre of the western region. The annual event of Paro Tshechu is held here. Tshechus are grand events where entire communities come together to witness sacred mask dances, receive blessings and socialize. In addition to the mask dances, Tsechus also include colorful Bhutanese folk dances and other forms of entertainment. After watching the Paro Tsechu, take a short walk to the traditional wooden cantilever bridge called Nemey Zampa, where your driver will be waiting for you. The roofed wooden cantilever bridge is built in traditional style and this type of bridge is called Bazam.



    You will then be transferred to Thimphu, the capital city of Bhutan. The road distance is 55km and takes about 1.5-hours.



    On arrival in Thimphu, visit the gigantic Buddha statue. The marvelous 169ft tall bronze statue of Lord Buddha is located on a hilltop, Kuensel Phodrang, overlooking the Thimphu valley. The giant Buddha statue houses more than 100,000 8-inch tall Buddha statues of the same type.



    Leisure time in Thimphu town


    icon Day 3 : Hike To The 12th Century Tango Monastery / Transfer To Punakha Valley (1200m)

    Location: Tango Monastery

    Accommodation: Hotel, Lobesa or Meri Puensum Resort

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    After breakfast at the hotel, you will hike to one of the important religious centers in Bhutan. Later after lunch, transfer to Punakha valley via the sacred mountain pass called Dochula.



    Tango is located on the mountainside north of Thimphu. There is also a monastery called Cheri located on a mountainside in the neighbourhood. Hiking to Tango is much easier as most part of the footpath is paved and the uphill ascent is not as steep. It is roughly 14km from the main Thimphu town. Following the trail through the forests, the walk uphill takes about 1.5 hour in slow pace. A traditional lunch will be served in one of the traditional restaurants.



    After lunch, visit the National Institute of Zorig Chusum (Zorig Chusum means 13 Traditional Arts & Crafts) was established to promote and preserve the thirteen traditional arts and crafts of Bhutan and to facilitate increased access in learning skills by Bhutanese youths. Closed on weekends and government holidays.



    Transfer to Punakha valley. En route stop briefly at Dochu La Pass (3,150m/10,335ft from where you can see, on a clear day, some of the highest peaks of Bhutan.



    Just about 11km before arriving Punakha town, visit Chimi Lhakhang popularly known as "The Temple of Fertility" located on a gentle hilltop near the village of Sopsokha. To reach the temple, you have to walk 20 – 30 minutes through beautiful terraced paddy fields and traditional farmhouses.



    You will explore the nearby village and interact with the local people.



    Driving time from Thimphu to Punakha: 2.5-hours

    icon Day 4 : Sightseeing In Punakha Valley / Transfer To Phobjikha Valley (3,000m)

    Location: Phobjikha Valley

    Accommodation: Hotel, Yue-Loki Guest House or at a village homestay to get insights into a typical village life in Bhutan

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    On Day 4 of your trip, you will do a short hike to a picturesque temple on a peaceful hilltop and after lunch, transfer to the pristine Phobjikha valley where you will visit an important landmark not only in the valley but also in the region.


    • After early breakfast, you will be going for a 2-hour return hike to Khamsum Yuelley Namgyel Chorten. Normally it takes just under one hour to reach the serene site of the marvelous chorten. The view below is stunning with glacial fed Mochu river snaking through the fertile valley of Punakha. After the hike, drive back to Punakha town and visit the most beautiful fortress in Bhutan, 17th century Punakha Dzong.

    • After the hike, drive to visit the 17th century Punakha Dzong considered as the masterpiece of Bhutanese architecture. You will spend some time appreciating the ornately carved wooden pillars and sacred wall paintings.

    • From there walk to the longest suspension bridge in Bhutan that runs over Phochu (male) river.

    • After lunch, transfer to Phobjikha valley and visit the 17th-th century Gangtey Monastery where you can spend some time praying and interesting with the monks studying Buddhist philosophy.


    Driving time from Punakha to Phobjikha valley: 3-hours

    icon Day 5 : Gangtey Nature Hike / Transfer back to Paro valley (2195)

    Location: Gangtey Monastery

    Accommodation: Hotel, Khangkhu Resort or Bhutan Mandala Resort

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    Today, you will do an exiting Gangtey Nature Hike through the pristine valley to learn about the local people living in the valley. After lunch, transfer back to Paro via the oldest fortress in Bhutan, Simtokha Dzong.



    You will go on an exhilarating Gangtey Nature Hike. The trail is about 5km and takes approximately 3 hours through the woods surrounded by splendid nature all around, wonderful meadows, beautiful traditional village houses, farmlands and crystalline streams. This short nature trail gives you a great feeling of the valley and understanding of the livelihood of the people living there. Lots of opportunities to take beautiful pictures!



    After the enriching hike and a sumptuous lunch, drive back to Paro. En route stop briefly at Simtokha Dzong, the first Dzong built in 1631 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel who founded the nation-state of Bhutan.



    Leisure time in Paro town.

    icon Day 6 : Hike To Paro Taktsang (Tiger's Nest) & Later Visit a Beautiful Farmhouse For An Authentic Home-cooked Local Cuisine

    Location: Taktsang Monastery

    Accommodation: Hotel, Khangkhu Resort or Bhutan Mandala Resort

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    After an early breakfast at the hotel, you will hike to the famous Paro Taktsang and later in the evening visit a beautiful farmhouse for an authentic home-cooked traditional Bhutanese cuisine.



    Drive to the base of the Taktsang monastery from where the hike begins. Taktsang monastery is located on a sheer 800-meter rocky cliff in Paro. It normally takes about 2 hours to reach the monastery from the nearest road point. It is the most popular tourist attraction in Bhutan. After an hour of steep uphill hiking on the ancient trails shaded by pine trees, you’will reach a nice cafeteria from where you can see the spectacular view of the Taktsang monastery. Taktsang, or the Tiger’s Lair (people prefer to call Tiger’s Nest), is regarded as one of the most important monasteries in Bhutan.



    After lunch at the Taktsang Cafeteria, retrace your footstep back to the base where the driver will be waiting.



    Towards the late afternoon, you will visit a beautiful farmhouse and enjoy delicious home-cooked local cuisine. You may participate and learn how to cook some of the popular local dishes. If you are interested for a home spa, you can soak up in a traditional hot stone bath for a fee of about US$15. Specially selected stones believed to contain minerals are heated in a wood fired fireplace and dropped into a chamber of wooden tub releasing minerals. You can lighten up with a warm cup of locally brewed liquor known as “Ara” and feast on homecooked authentic Bhutanese cuisine.



    Round trip hiking time: 4-5 hours

    icon Day 7 : Departure From Paro International Airport

    Location: Paro International Airport

    Meals: Breakfast

    After breakfast, you will be transferred to Paro International Airport for your onward journey. Our guide and driver will bid you farewell.

    What's Included

    • icon
      Fully Guided

      Experienced licensed tour guide included

    • icon
      Meals – Full Board

      Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner included.

    • icon
      All Domestic Transportation (including internal flights)

      Transport included as per itinerary for the entire duration of your stay in Bhutan

    • icon
      Entrance Fees

      All entrances fees to the museum, parks and national monuments are included in the price

    • icon
      Free Wi-Fi at Accommodation

      All hotel accommodations have wi-fi internet connections.

    • icon
      Airport Transfers at Destination

      Round trip airport transfers included in the price

    • icon
      Drinks with Meals

    • icon
      Country Entry Visas

      Visa Fee is included in the price. We will also process your visa and send you the approved e-visa letter within 3-4 business days.

    • icon
      Local Taxes

      All internal taxes are included

    • icon
      Accommodation

      Accommodation at 3star hotels mentioned in the itinerary or similar. We will arrange hotels that are certified by the Tourism Council of Bhutan.

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      Extra experience like traditional archery and dart throwing.

    • icon
      1 bottle of Mineral Water per person per day

      Bottled mineral water in the car

    What's Not Included

    • icon
      Drinks with Meals

      All drinks not included except bottled mineral water in the car

    • icon
      Any other expenditures of personal nature

    • icon
      International Travel

      International flights are not included. There are only two airlines (Drukair & Bhutan Airlines) operating in and out of Bhutan and so securing air tickets can be difficult especially during the months of high season. Currently, Bhutan is connected with these cities - Bagdogra, Bangkok, Delhi, Dhaka, Guwahati, Kathmandu, Kolkata, Singapore. We recommend you to book a few months in advance especially if you plan to visit during the high season months of March - May and September - November. If you need help in arranging flights to/from Bhutan, please let us know much in advance.

    • icon
      Tipping and Gratuities

      Tipping is not mandatory. However, if you feel satisfied about the services we offer and guides and driver were up to your mark, you may tip them.

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    Got a question? Check out our Q&As

    Ask A Question
    What currencies are required for this tour?

    Major currencies like US Dollar, British Pound, Euro, Japanese Yen, Swiss Franc, Hong Kong Dollar, Canadian Dollar, Australian Dollar, Singapore Dollar, Danish Kroner, Norwegian Kroner, Swedish Kroner can be exchanged for local currency Ngultrum (Nu.) at the Banks. Traveller’s Checques can also be easily exchanged at the banks.

    Are children permitted to take part in the tour?

    10 years and above. Participants age 18 years and below MUST be accompanied by an adult. If you are a family of 4 or more participants, we can make this a private trip so that you have an independent family trip.

    Is free Wi-Fi available in the accommodation used?

    Yes, all of the accommodations where you will say are equipped with wi-fi internet service.

    Can you assist with pre or post tour accommodation?

    We will be pleased to help you with the extension of the tour duration. However, you will have to pay the minimum daily fee regulated by the Royal Government of Bhutan.

    What items am I not allowed to bring into Bhutan?

    Visitors are allowed to bring in free of tax and customs duty any used articles of personal effects and alcoholic beverage of one liter. Import of Pornographic materials, Antiques, Narcotics, Psychotropic drugs and substances are prohibited except prescribed medicines for personal use. Import of plants and live animals or its products, Arms and Ammunitions are strictly prohibited. Sale of tobacco products in Bhutan is banned and so is smoking in public places. However, for personal consumption tourists are allowed to import 200 pieces of cigarettes, 150 grams of pipe tobacco on payment of 200% import duty.

      Is there any free time to explore places during the tour?

      You will have some leisure time during the tour but you must follow the time schedule set by the guide.

      Is there any free time to explore places during the tour?

      You will have some leisure time during the tour but you must follow the time schedule set by the guide. At the end of the day, you can explore the places on your own in consultation with the guide.

      Are flights included in this tour?

      Flights are not included in the price. There are only two airlines (Drukair & Bhutan Airlines) operating in and out of Bhutan and so securing air tickets can be difficult especially during the months of high season. Currently, Bhutan is connected with these cities - Bagdogra, Bangkok, Delhi, Dhaka, Guwahati, Kathmandu, Kolkata, Singapore. We recommend you to book a few months in advance especially if you plan to visit during the high season months of March - May and September - November. If you need help in arranging flights to/from Bhutan, please let us know much in advance.

      Are all entrance fees included in the price?

      All entry fees are included.

      Will there be an escort accompanying this tour?

      Yes, your guide will accompany you at all times during the tour as required by the government.

      Company Instant Book

      What happens if a group doesn’t make its minimum required number of passengers?

      The tour will take place irrespective of the number of participants.

      Is the tour coach air conditioned?

      All our transports are air-conditioned.

      Are airport transfers included in this tour?

      Round trip airport transfers are included.

      Do you arrange flight tickets to Bhutan?

      Yes, we do arrange flight bookings for our clients. There are only two international airlines that operates to and from Bhutan (Paro) – www.drukair.com.bt and www.bhutanairlines.bt. The flights during high season gets fully booked months in advance and so do the hotel rooms. You can book the flights online by yourself, or allow us to handle at no extra cost by letting us know the date you plan to arrive in Bhutan, from where you'll fly into Bhutan and your next destination after Bhutan.

      Will I know the names and details of all the accommodation before I depart?

      Yes, we always inform our guests about where they will be staying at each destination prior to their arrival.

      What is the tipping policy?

      Tipping is optional but our guide and driver work hard to offer the best experience. You may tip them if you feel satisfied with their services.

      Are vaccinations required for this tour?

      When is the best season to take up this tour?

      Although you can visit Bhutan throughout the year for this tour, the best time would be from March to May and September to November.

      What is the fitness level required to do this tour?

      No particular fitness level is required to do this tour. However, you may want to get fit to enjoy this trip to the fullest as it involves some gentle hiking through the pristine natural environment. You may also opt not to go on hiking.

      Do you require a visa for this holiday?

      Except for the holders of Indian, Bangladeshi and Maldivian passport holders, all other nationals are required to have a visa to enter Bhutan in advance.

      What is the tipping policy?

      Tipping is optional but you may tip your guide and the driver if you feel that they met your expectations. Our guides and drivers will ensures you get the best experience!

      Do you require a visa for this holiday?

      Except for the citizens of India, Bangladesh and Maldives, all other nationals are required to have a visa to enter Bhutan in advance.

      What is the maximum group size?

      The maximum group size is 10 pax. However, we can arrange a private trip for your group on a case by case basis.

      Are all the relevant entry visa’s included in the price of the tour?

      Visa fee is included and we process the visa for you. You will receive an approved e-visa letter in PDF format within 3-4 days.

      What are the documents required for obtaining visa to Bhutan?

      A clear passport copy of all the passengers are required for the purpose of obtaining the visa. A whole biodata page including machine-readable zone must be seen clearly. It can be either scanned or just a mobile photo shot as long as it is clear and legible. Passports should have a validity of at least SIX MONTHS from the day you depart from Bhutan. We will send you an email requesting this document after the booking is confirmed.

      What is the standard of the hotels on this tour?

      All accommodations will be at 3-star rated hotels certified by the Tourism Council of Bhutan.

      Is free Wi-Fi available in the accommodation used?

      Yes

      Are the local guides on the tour English speaking?

      All our guides are English-speaking and licensed by the Tourism Council of Bhutan.

      Is there a supplement for solo travellers?

      There will be single supplement for a solo traveller.

      How long has the tour company been trading?

      We have been in the business since the beginning of 2016.

      Can I join the tour once it has departed?

      No, you may not join the tour that has already departed. In case you have booked that particular tour, you may join but you will not receive any refund for the portion you have missed. You also have to pay the airport pickup charges because separate transport has to be arranged.

      What happens if I need to change my holiday date once I’ve booked?

      You can always change the date of the confirmed booking. We highly recommend you to let us know at least a month before the original date of arrival to ensure the flights and hotels are available on the new dates. A trip once booked can be postponed up to a period of 1 calendar year.

      What documents will I receive before I travel?

      You'll receive a copy of your BHUTAN e-Visa and an outline of the itinerary with the list of hotels where you will stay before you travel. We always let our guests know in advance the hotels they will stay in. No surprises and disappointments! If you are coming for a trekking adventure, we will send you a suggested packing list.

    Reviews

    Bhutan Acorn Tours & Travel sets the highest standard in Professionalism and Service
    Bhutan Acorn Tours & Travel created an intimate Tour & Travel experience for 10-days to West-Central Bhutan. When I booked the trip the interaction was professional, responded promptly, informative of ....more Bhutan Acorn Tours & Travel created an intimate Tour & Travel experience for 10-days to West-Central Bhutan.

    When I booked the trip the interaction was professional, responded promptly, informative of the process, and personal.

    Booking a trip to a rare country to visit that seems expensive per day rate but its actually very reasonable considering: hotel stay arranged, tour guide, driver with car, gas and bottled water, parking fees, temples and parks fees, and three meals a day are all inclusive.

    No out of pocket expenses is required unless you want a beer, soda, shopping or provide a tip.

    An average bhutanese citizen makes less than a dollar a day so the gesture of a tip can be life changing.

    I was fortunate to have Bhutan Acorn.

    Traveling alone, I was lucky to be the only one on the tour where other tours had a groups.

    My experience was a cultural immersion through culture, history and even attire, men's traditional gho.

    The itinerary is well planned and a jammed packed experience from visiting 8th century Temples, The Infamous Tigers Nest Temple in the Mountains, breathtaking landscapes, to enjoying a European beer and cuisine at the Swiss Guesthouse.

    I was lucky to attend the Tschechu Festival, an Annual Festival in Punakha where I got the chance to see the 5th King and Former Prime Minister, sightings of the Rare Black Necked Crane, a picture with a Buddhist Grand Master Teacher, and the experience of a 2-day homestay in Phobjikha.

    My tour guide, Millan Rai, is highly educated, spoke perfect English and provided a professional as well as personal experience that was life changing for me.

    The culture and religion in Bhutan is so rich and traditional for centuries that it helped me put life into perspective from the influences of fast-paced modern society and overwhelming technology.

    Bhutan Acorn Tours & Travel will be my only company I choose for my next trip to Bhutan.

    I highly recommend this company as the highest level of standard in Professionalism, Service and Life-changing Experience.

    Enjoy the Journey!; ....less
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    Sean Anthony, USA

    28-Apr-2019

    Dates & Availability

    Apr 12, 2022

    Tuesday

    From

    $1842

    Apr 18, 2022

    Monday

    16 +

    Places Available

    Apr 18, 2022

    Monday

    16 +

    Places Available

    From

    $1842


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