Thimphu Festival - 8 days

Thimphu Festival - 8 days

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8 Days From

$3295

$3204

Thimphu Festival - 8 days

8 Days Starting and ending in Paro

Visiting: Paro, Punakha, Thimphu

Tour operator:

On The Go Tours

Guide Type:

Fully Guided

Group size:

2 - 16

Physical rating:

Low

Age range:

18 years or 16 years with an adult

Special diets catered:

Please advise requests

Tour operated in:

English

Trip Styles:

Small Group

From: $3295 $3204 Mid-Year Mayhem Discount: -$91

NB: Prices correct on 16-Jul-2024 but subject to change.

This tour is no longer available, please see similar tours below or send an enquiry

Tour Overview

Take your place at the famed mask dance performances at the Thimphu Tshechu Festival, whilst discovering the best of Bhutan. Hike to Tiger's Nest Monastery, see the world's biggest Buddha Dordenma statue and explore the Punakha Valley before sitting back to watch the unique and colourful displays of traditional culture performed at the city's most popular event.

Highlights

  • Thimphu Tshechu Festival - see the colourful masked dance performances and other cultural displays at the city's most popular event

  • Paro - Enjoy a guided tour of the city, including the National Museum and Rinphung Dzong

  • Picturesque villages of Talo or Nobgang - where we explore the ancestral home of the Queen Mothers of Bhutan

  • Punakha Valley - Hike up to ChimiLhakhand Temple (the temple of Divine Madman) and camp next to scenic Mo Chu River

  • Dochula Pass - Himalayan peaks - Masagang, Tsendagang, Terigang, Jejegangphugang, Gangkar Punsum

  • Thimphu - Explore Bhutan’s capital city including, the Memorial Chorten, Kuenselphodrang, a handmade paperfactory and Drubthob Nunnery

  • Handicraft Emporium - Browse through beautiful hand-woven and crafted products in Thimphu

  • Tiger’s Nest Monastery - Hike up to this famous Buddhist monastery, perched on a cliff face

Itinerary

Expand All

Day 1 : Paro

Location: Paro

Accommodation: Hotel

Meals Included: Lunch, Dinner

Thursday 21 September 2023. Welcome to Bhutan! Upon arrival to Paro Airport you'll be met and transferred to our hotel. The remainder of today is free for you to independently explore.

Day 2 : Punakha, Chimi Lhakhang Temple &Amp; Camp By The Mo Chu River

Location: Punakha

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Paro – Punakha. It's an early start as we travel the road to Punakha, climbing up through pine, oak and rhododendron forest to reach Dochu La Pass (3050m). After a short break we continue onto the spectacular Punakha Valley, where we enjoy a scenic 1.5 - 2 hour walk up to Chimi Lhakhang Temple - dedicated to Lama Drukpa Kunley (also known as the Divine Mad Monk).

After, we visit the impressive Punakha Dzong an exemplary masterpiece of Bhutanese architecture built at the confluence of the Pho Chu and Mo Chu Rivers. Later this afternoon we head to our campsite on the banks of the Mo Chu River, where there's free time to relax and explore the natural surrounds. In the early evening you can opt for a hot stone bath served with local drinks, followed by dinner.

Day 3 : Punakha Valley

Location: Punakha, Thimphu

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Punakha Valley – Thimphu. After an early breakfast, we drive along the shores of the Mo Chu River and hike (approximately 2 - 2.5 hours) up through rice fields to the Khamsum Yuelley Namgyal Chorten, a stunning temple located on a hill with impressive views of the valley below. After exploring the area, we drive to the picturesque villages of Talo scattered along a ridge above the Punakha Valley.

This afternoon, we stop for a picnic lunch before visiting Sangchen Dorji Lhendrup Nunnery, perched on a ridge with spectacular views of the Punakha and Wangdue Valleys. In addition to religious training, the nuns are also taught skills such as embroidery, tailoring and statue making. After our visit to the nunnery we drive to Thimphu.

Day 4 : Masked Dances Of The Thimphu Tshechu (Festival)

Location: Thimphu

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

The Tshechu Festival of Thimphu is a 3 day religious event which marks the tenth day of the lunar calendar and honours the birthday of Guru Rimpoche Padmasambhava, an Indian Saint who spread Buddhism in the country in the 8th century. Tshechus are grand occasions where entire communities come together to witness religious mask dances, receive blessings and socialise. It is said that anyone who attends a Tshechu and witnesses the colourful masked dances is profusely blessed. Every mask dance performed has a special meaning or a story behind it and many are based on stories of the life of the Guru.

Today, we drive to Tendrelthang at Tashichho Dzong and mingle with the residents of Thimphu and nearby districts of Paro, Punakha, whom are dressed in their best attire to witness the unique spectacle that is - the famed masked dances, and other colourful and exciting displays of traditional culture performed on this very special day.

Day 5 : Memorial Chorten & Handicrafts

Location: Thimphu

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Thimphu is the political, social and spiritual heart of the nation and although this is Bhutan's most modern city, it has retained the unique character of a Bhutanese town. Today we discover the city's sites with visits to, the Memorial Chorten - a beautiful stupa built in the memory of Bhutan’s third King, Kuenselphodrang (Buddha point) - to see the world's biggest Buddha Dordenma statue and enjoy the views of Thimphu Valley, a handmade paper factory where the age old tradition of paper making is still followed.

Day 6 : National Museum And Kichu Lhakhang

Location: Thimphu, Paro

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Thimphu - Paro. Today we drive to Paro with sightseeing en route. We'll stop at Chuzom, the confluence of Paro (Pachu) and Thimphu (Wangchu) rivers which provides incredible views of three different types of Stupas – Bhutanese, Tibetan and Nepalese. We continue, to Tachogang Iron chain bridge and Lhakhang (Temple) which was built by Thangthong Gyalpo in the fifteenth century. The temple was likely constructed in 1420. While the Tibetan master was meditating here, he had a vision of an emanation of Avalokiteshvara and decided to build a temple, as well as an iron suspension bridge at this location. A new temple at Tachogang was built in the seventeenth century by the Fourth Druk Desi (local leader) Tenzin Rabgye as the original was destroyed after it served as the main seat for the Five Groups of Lamas, a coalition of local leaders who had opposed Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel (a Buddhist teacher who unified Bhutan).

Arriving into Paro we visit the National Museum, housed within the old watch tower Ta Dzong and perched on of a hilltop, overlooking the city. We continue to the famed Rinphung Dzong, the backdrop for the Hollywood film, Little Buddha. After lunch, we tour Kichu Lhakhang - one of the oldest temples in the Kingdom built in the 7th century, and lastly Dungtse Lhakhang Temple.

Day 7 : Tiger's Nest Monastery

Location: Paro

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Tiger’s Nest Monastery, officially Taktshang Pelphung Monastery is regarded as one of the most venerated and famous of Bhutan’s monasteries. It is located on the face of a sheer 900m cliff above the floor of Paro Valley. Today, we embark on a scenic hike (approx. 4 -6 hours) to view this spectacular and unmissable sight. The monastery is only accessible by foot (you can ride a pony part of the way, but this must be arranged in advance by your guide). Once inside the Monastery, there are a temples to see and the monks that reside. After exploring the monastery we retrace our steps and return to Paro.

This evening we enjoy a traditional Bhutanese dinner at a farm house, giving you the opportunity to interact with a local family and learn about the local cuisine of Bhutan.

Day 8 : Paro

Location: Paro

Meals Included: Breakfast

Thursday 28 September 2023. Today, our holiday sadly concludes after breakfast. Bidding farewell to your fellow travellers, a departure transfer will take you to Paro airport to meet your onward flight

What's Included

  • Accommodation
    3-4 star

  • 7 breakfasts, 7 lunches and 7 dinners

  • 6 nights 3-4 star hotels and 1 night camping near the banks of scenic Mo Chu River

  • Airport arrival and departure transfer on day 1 & day 8 (only)

  • Guided sightseeing of Paro, Thimphu, Punakha and the Punakha Valley

  • Traditional Bhutanese dinner at a farm house, giving you the opportunity to interact with a local family

  • All relevant transfers and transportation in private A/C vehicles

  • Escorted by a licensed English-speaking local tour guide

  • Entrance fees to all included sightseeing

  • Bhutan Visa fee and travel Permit (excludes visa admin fee of USD$40 pp, payable upon arrival)

  • All Bhutan government royalties and taxes

What's Not Included

  • International flights, Bhutan visa administration fee payable upon arrival USD$40

  • Tipping - an entirely personal gesture

Check out our Q&As

  • What is the maximum group size?

    16

  • What is the standard of the hotels on this tour?

    3-4 star

  • What is the tipping policy?

    An entirely personal gesture.

  • Are flights included in this tour?

    nternational flights, Bhutan visa administration fee payable upon arrival USD$40 are not included.

  • Are all entrance fees included in the price?

    Yes

  • Are airport transfers included in this tour?

    Airport arrival and departure transfer on day 1 & day 8 (only) are included.

  • Are the local guides on the tour English speaking?

    Yes

  • What Ethical Travel credentials does the tour company have?

    Ensuring our footprint is light and that the benefits of travelling reach the local communities you visit is paramount to us. We’re proud to say that when travelling with us, the large majority of your holiday funds remain within the countries you visit, supporting local economies at a grass roots level.

  • How long has the tour company been trading?

    Since 1998

  • Who will be my travelling companions on the tour?

    With English-speaking tours, it's not a huge surprise that most on our travellers are from English-speaking countries or have English as their second language. Our group tours cater for everyone from 18 years old to 70+

  • Will the accommodation included meet local health and safety regulations?

    Yes

Reviews of this operator

Nicola Hodgkinson (Google Reviewer)  

Recently returned from Greece, a...

07-May-2024

Recently returned from Greece, a 5 day tour with OTG. Unfortunately, I had a negative experience on day 2 where I needed local support to get me out of a tricky situation. Thank you to Alexandra Z from Hetco Tours in Athens for helping me continue on with the trip, to the Hotel Zafolia staffing team and to Danielle and team here in the UK for supporting me with the aftermath. Your kindness will not be forgotten and I will pay it forward. I've now booked 3 trips with yourselves and will continue to go back. Thank you all. Honestly, I am SO grateful. Blessings to you all. Nicola

Calvin  

Wonderful experience

05-Jan-2023

Jamal is our tour guide. Right from the start, he created a group chat in whatsapp and if any issues to make sure we contact him. He was on the ball with every issue thrown at him. Luggage being left behind, stragglers wondered off in a different path, hotel room etc. He explains the various site along our route to give us a better understanding of the local cultures. We had a great time, thanks to Jamal.

Trustpilot
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The Land of Northern Lights tour was a triumph! My tour of Southern Iceland was absolutely wonderful. The venues chosen, the timing allotted at each venue and the variety of things to experience was nearly perfect. Our guide, "Thor", was smart, amusing, full of history and anecdotal stories as well as being incredibly hospitable and helpful. This small group experience was my first, but not my last thanks to On the Go.

Trawls (Google Reviewer)  

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05-Feb-2024

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Xtreme Floor Care (Google Reviewer)  

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30-Nov-2023

Traveled through Egypt with On the Go Tours, professional service, very informative and helpful tour guides. The choice of hotels was excellent... Definitely recommend this company

Gavin Harrigan  

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16-Sep-2021

I have just returned from my tour with On The Go and it was an amazing trip! From arriving at the airport and meeting the OTG representative, everything was well organised and hassle free.  Our tour guide was Amir. He is awesome!! From the beginning he was so friendly and enthusiastic about showing us around Egypt, giving us loads of information at each place and time to explore ourselves. Learnt so much from him about this fascinating place, and he was always happy to answer more questions.   The trip itself was amazing. There's lots of travelling on this trip, but it's really not too bad, and the sights you see when you get to where you are going are worth it. I'm not a big fan of boats, but the Felluca ride across the Nile was pretty fun too.  On the first day I also did the optional tour of Cairo with Ahmed Helal - another excellent guide from OTG. It's worth doing this add on as you don't spend much time in Cairo, and you go to three very different places.  I'm so glad that I decided to do this trip. It was just ace.  If you're thinking about it too, you should probably just book it. And hopefully you get Amir as your guide.

Paul Kelly (Google Reviewer)  

TOTALLY MOROCCO We booked a 9...

26-Feb-2023

TOTALLY MOROCCO We booked a 9 day tour of Morocco visiting many main cities and places of interest. The coach was very comfortable and we felt safe with the driver Suliman. The guide was Hicham Touraouine and he was fantastic. He spoke perfect English as well as French, Arabic and Berber. He was so kind and considerate and made a good tour great. We particularly enjoyed ‘glamming in the Sahara Desert. So much to see and do and great food and company. We would definitely use On The Go Tours again, especially if Hicham was the guide. Paul & Penny

Joyce Heitler (Google Reviewer)  

I would give this tour...

09-May-2024

I would give this tour group no stars if possible. The tour was not guaranteed but they did not inform me when I booked and they did not have enough people. Way after I booked they said I needed a doctors letter because I was over 70. Also way after booking I was informed I needed travel insurance. They knew my age when I booked. They would not refund my tour even though it was 4 months away.

Sarah Paterson (Google Reviewer)  

Terrible tour of India. For...

27-Dec-2023

Terrible tour of India. For some reason On the Go hadn't realised that my room mate had booked her own room for the first night of tour. So the hotel in Delhi had tried to put me in her room after midnight, by wheeling in an extra bed. She went Crazy!! I then had to sit in hotel reception for hours. While the tour guide said he couldn't find me a room. Throughout the tour the guide consistently ask me and my room mate for money for my room, causing more friction between us. Don't book with this company had the worst experience ever. Go with Intrepid or G Adventure

brandy hoffman (Google Reviewer)  

I had used them once...

09-Aug-2023

I had used them once before and loved them. I decided to try them again for a Baltic tour not knowing that they put me on another Tour group- Baltic vision. Loved that tour but was not impressed they marked up the cost for me over 100%. I understand taking some for yourself because of paperwork, but over double the cost everyone else paid on the tour. Just double check before you book with them that you’re not over paying.

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Tuesday - Tuesday

Sep 10, 2024 - Sep 17, 2024
$3295 $3204

Mid-Year Mayhem Discount: -$91

Sunday - Sunday

Sep 28, 2025 - Oct 05, 2025
$3465 $3370

Mid-Year Mayhem Discount: -$95

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    On The Go Tours requires a minimum deposit of 300 GBP per person or the full booking value, whichever is less, with the final balance not due until 60 days before departure.

  • Cancellation Policy

    We don't charge a cancellation fee, here is a summary of on the go tours charges.

    Up to 60 days before tour starts: Forfeit 100% of deposit.

    At 59 days before tour starts: Forfeit 50% of booking price.

    At 30 days before tour starts: Forfeit 100% of booking price.

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