Thimphu festival tour

Thimphu Festival Tour

Trip Duration 7 Days

Grand Festivals are the key reasons to visit Bhutan, and our religious spiritual staff has short listed out the country’s premier festivals for our travelers to appreciate.

  • Reviews 5 Reviews
    5/5
  • Vacation Style Festival Tour
    Activities
  • Activity Level Easy Leisure
    2 Pax
  • Group Size Minimum
    6/10
All about the Kurjey Festival Tour

Grand Festivals are the key reasons to visit Bhutan, and our religious spiritual staff has short listed out the country’s premier festivals for our travelers to appreciate. Thimphu’s 3 day festival is where you have it all; a night of prayers, relentless chants to invoke the deities and bless the witnesses to start anew. Starting from 10th day of the 8th month of lunar calendar, this festival is held in the nearby Dzongkhang. It was first initiated by the 4th Desi Gyalse Tenzin Rabgay in 1867.

It had only a few dances being performed and that too strictly by monks. These were the Zhana chham and the Zhana Nga chham (dances of the 21 black hats), Durdag (dance of the lords of the cremation ground), and the Tungam chham (dance of the terrifying deities).

The tour package inclusions and exclusions at a glance
Whats included in this tour Items that are covered in the cost of tour price.
  • Bhutan visa
  • All transfers including airport collections in Paro
  • Twin share or double rooms at all places on the itinerary
  • All meals and mineral water included while in Bhutan
  • All tour arrangements including Bhutanese guide (English speaking trained and licensed by the Department of Tourism).
  • Private vehicle and driver
  • All entry fees to museums and sites where applicable
  • Financial protection insurance with International Passenger Protection
  • Pre departure support and advice from Bhutan Dragon Adventure by email, phone or face to face meetings in Paro. After booking with us we will send our comprehensive “Bhutan Pre Trip Information” notes
Whats not included in this tour Items that are covered in the cost of tour price.
  • International flight to/from Paro.
  • Travel insurance
  • Use of bar and beverages in hotel, laundry, telephone calls or internet and personal shopping
  • Tips to your guide and driver
  • Other items not listed in “What is included”.
  1. Day 1 ARRIVE PARO – THIMPHU

    Paro is one of the most spectacular mountain flights in the world, with a constantly changing panorama of some of the highest mountains on earth. Our representative will meet you at Paro airport exit doors following customs formalities.

    After lunch enjoy afternoon sightseeing around Paro, including a visit to the Ta Dzong Museum housing many religious relics, works of art and handicrafts offering a great orientation into Bhutan's historical, cultural, and religious past. Next, visit the Rimpong Dzong to see the painting of the great saint Milarepa, considered as the master of meditation by the Bhutanese and believed to have attained enlightenment in a lifetime. Dzongs are large monasteries and district administrative centre, which were once strategic forts. Afterwards, drive to the capital, Thimphu (1.5 hours) following the Pachu River. Before dinner at the hotel there will be an orientation on Bhutanese etiquette by your guide. Overnight at your hotel in Thimphu.

  2. Day 2 THIMPHU- THIMPHU

    After breakfast, drive to Tashichhodzong to attend the Thimphu festival. You will see locals dressed in their finest clothes who have walked from miles around to attend the festivities. They come to watch masked dances, to pray, and to feast. While the underlying purpose of the festival is spiritual, dances are more often like plays, telling stories where good triumphs over evil, or depicting significant historical events, especially surrounding the life of Bhutan's patron saint Guru Rimpoche.

    There is inevitably a great deal of socializing as well. Tashichhodzong, 'the fortress of the glorious religion'. Initially erected in 1641 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, it was rebuilt in the 1960s during the reign of Bhutan's third king in the traditional style, without plans or nails. Tashichhodzong houses some ministries, His Majesty's secretariat, and the central monk body. Overnight in Thimphu.

  3. Day 3 THIMPHU – THIMPHU

    Enjoy a morning of sightseeing, including a visit to 12th century Changangkha Temple, and the National Memorial Chorten depicting the Buddhist faith in the form of paintings and statues. This temple was first initiated by the Third King as a protection from the negative elements of modernization, and as a monument to world peace. The Royal Queen Mother completed it as a memorial chorten for the Third King who passed away in 1972.Afternoon return to Tashichhodzong to further experience the colorful events of the Thimphu festival. Overnight in Thimphu

  4. Day 4 THIMPHU – PUNAKHA

    Drive over the Dochu-La pass (3,100 meters), which on a clear day offers an incredible view of Himalayan peaks before descending into balmy Punakha valley (about 3 hrs total driving time). The drive through the countryside affords a glimpse of everyday life in this most remote of Himalayan kingdom's. In the Dochu-La area there are vast Rhododendron forests that grow to tree size and bloom in late April/early May covering the mountains in a riot of glorious spring colour.

    Punakha was the ancient capital of Bhutan. On arrival, visit Punakha Dzong, the "Palace of Great Happiness" built in 1637 by the Shabdrung, the 'Unifier of Bhutan'. It is situated at the confluence of the Mo Chu and Pho Chu (Mother and Father Rivers) and is the winter headquarters of the Je Khenpo and hundreds of monks who move en masse from Thimphu to this warmer location. The three story main temple of the Punakha Dzong is a breathtaking example of traditional architecture with four intricately embossed entrance pillars crafted from cypress and decorated in gold and silver. It was here in 1907 that Bhutan's first king was crowned.

    After lunch, enjoy a walk to Chime Lhakhang, temple of the Drukpa Kuenly who is also known as the Divine Madman. He inherited the Divine Madman title since he revolted against the orthodox Buddhism in his time. He taught the people that religion is an inner feeling and it's not necessary that one should be an ordained monk. He is also considered a symbol of fertility and most childless couples go to his temple for blessing. Overnight in Punakha.

  5. Day 5 PUNAKHA – THIMPHU – PARO

    In morning hike to through rice fields and up to Khamsum Yueley Namgyal Chorten, built by her majesty the queen Ashi Tshering Yangdon Wangchuk. Perched high on a hill on the bank of the river, the Chorten houses paintings belonging to Nyingmapa Traditions.

    Drive back to Thimphu where you will visit The National Library housing the collection of Bhutanese scriptures dating back to the 8th century and a fascinating replica of a medieval farmhouse at the Folk Heritage Museum. You will also have an opportunity to visit handicraft and souvenir stores. If your visit to Thimphu coincides with the weekend, you can walk through the Thimphu Market to see the variety of food of Bhutan, including basket upon basket of fiery chilies, fresh cheese and a variety of fresh greens.

    In addition, many stalls contain Bhutanese handicrafts and household items. Afterwards proceed to Paro, on arrival in Paro, check into the hotel. Overnight in Paro.

  6. Day 6 PARO

    After breakfast hike to Taktsang Monastery. The trail is broad and the walk of approximately 2 hours uphill takes you almost a kilometre above the Paro valley floor (for those who cannot hike we will arrange a horse for transfer up to the viewing point). The view of Taktsang Monastery built on a sheer cliff face 900m above the valley floor is a spectacular sight. The Monastery is also an important pilgrim site for the Buddhists. The great Guru Rimpoche is said to have flown here on the back of a tigress when he brought the teachings of the Buddhist Dharma to Bhutan in the 8th Century. He then mediated in a cave there for three months where the monastery was later built. Nearby there is a teahouse where you can stop for refreshments.

    In the afternoon drive to the ruins of the 17th Century Drukgyel Dzong, and historic monument built by the Shabdrung to commemorate his victory against invading Tibetans in 1644. In fine weather the towering peak of the sacred Mount Jomolhari (7314m) appears as a stunning backdrop. On the return drive to Paro, visit 7th Century Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the 108 temples constructed by the Tibetan king Songtsen Gampo.

    Make day excursion drive to Haa Valley, one of the most picturesque districts in Bhutan. Reached via the beautiful Chelila Pass, Haa Valley is characterised by its surrounding rugged and mountainous terrain. Overnight at your hotel in Paro.

  7. Day 7 DEPART PARO

    After breakfast in the hotel, and then drive to the airport for flight to your onward destination.

ACCOMMODATION IN BHUTAN
Tourist accommodation in Bhutan is comfortable but can be fairly basic especially as you travel further east. Most hotels in the main tourist destinations have rooms with private bathrooms, hot water (at least at some stage during the day), telephone and electricity. Plumbing is not always up to the standard you may be used to and there are no hotels with central heating although heaters of some sort will generally be provided.

Tourist hotels tend to provide meals buffet-style which gives you the opportunity to try a variety of Bhutanese dishes. In the larger hotels a la carte service is also available, although they do not always have everything on the menu. Thimphu has a pizza restaurant (the Seasons) and there is a good café in the centre of Thimphu (near the Swiss bakery) called the Art Café which serves sandwiches, cake and filter coffee.

Please note that there is currently a shortage of hotel accommodation in Bhutan especially during festivals or the peak trekking season of October. We reserve rooms at all hotels in advance but the bookings are never certain until the group check in on the day. Bearing this in mind we will reserve rooms in the following hotels:

Paro: Olathang
Thimphu: Peaceful Resort, Hotel Pedling or Hotel Wangchuk.
Punakha: Meriphuensum Resort or Damchen Resort
Bumthang: Swiss Guesthouse, Hotel Mipham, Garden Hotel or River Lodge
Phobjikha: Dewachen Hotel.

The tour package inclusions and exclusions at a glance
Shared Rooms included in teh Price Items that are covered in the cost of tour price.
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Individual Rooms not included in the Price Items that are covered in the cost of tour price.
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Footwear:
Comfortable shoes i.e trail shoes or trainers.
Flip flops or sandals.

Travel clothes. You will need clothing as follows:
Lightweight waterproof jacket.
Casual long sleeved shirt with collar (for visits to Dzongs).
T shirts.
Lightweight trousers.
Micro fleece.
Socks and underwear etc.
Swimwear.
Please carefully read Ethics and Etiquette paragraph for dress code when visiting Dzongs.

Headwear:
Sun hat.
Bandana or face mask
Sunglasses.

Personal Equipment:
Toiletry bag include toilet paper, soap, towel, toothbrush, etc.
Headtorch. Useful during power cuts.
Backpack for day trips. Recommended size is 15 to 20 litres.

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DRESS CODE AND CULTURAL CONSIDERATIONS FOR ENTERING DZONGS & MONASTERIES

Depending on whom you talk to the exact dress code for dzongs, monasteries and lhakhangs can differ. Use the details below to assist with your planning and we recommend you discuss each days visits with your guide to reconfirm appropriate attire.
Go for smart casual look such as long sleeved shirt with collar i.e no T shirts or short sleeved shirts.
Full length trousers or long skirts (ankles must be covered) i.e no shorts, ¾ length trousers or short skirts.
Shoes with socks covering ankles i.e no sandals or slippers.
No hats and umbrellas allowed.
Photographs are only allowed to be taken in the courtyard of most monasteries.
Walking around Buddhist temples or stupas is traditionally done clockwise.
Turn off your mobile/ cell phone and talk in a quiet tone.
It is customary to give a small donation when visiting a monastery.

The Royal Government of Bhutan has a strict policy to preserve its cultural and traditional values.

All lakes in Bhutan are believed to be inhabited by spirits therefore no fishing, swimming or throwing stones is permitted.
Do not disturb or feed wildlife or do anything to destroy their natural habitat.
Do not use detergent in or near rivers, for personal washing use biodegradable soap at least 50m from any watercourse.
Do not give sweets, pens or gifts to children or distribute medicine to villagers (there is a network of Basic Health Units operated by Bhutan Government throughout the country).
Do not purchase local household items or religious artefacts from villagers, please note that antiques may not be taken out of the country.
Please respect the culture and traditions of local people (trek crew, villagers or pack animal owners).

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Writing A Review Overall Rating 4.7/5
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J Heathcote - UK
Reviewed on 14/1/2016
4.7/5

I had high expectations of a journey to Bhutan with a focus upon the spiritual aspects of the culture. All aspects of arranging my holiday were dealt with promptly/efficiently by Karma Gyeltshen of Bhutan Dragon Adventures.

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Dr. Paul L. Jokiel - USA
Reviewed on 14/1/2016
4.7/5

“Karma Gyeltshen is a remarkable person with a strong background in all aspects of the culture, religion, history, art and natural resources of the Kingdom of Bhutan. Moreover, he is extremely knowledgeable about the travel regulations and potential pitfalls of touring this country.

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Regards Hugh - USA
Reviewed on 14/1/2016
4.7/5

Dear Karma, We did indeed enjoy our holiday in Bhutan. We were so pleased that you where able to put the trip together for us at such short notice, it is difficult to believe that it was all arranged in just 3 weeks and at no time did we feel that there was going to be any problem.

FESTIVAL PLACE DATES  
RHODODENDRON FESTIVAL
Lamperi Botanical Garden, Dochula, THIMPHU
18th – 20th April
DOMKHAR TSHECHU
Domkhar, Chummi, BUMTHANG
16th -18th April
URA YAKCHOE
Ura Lhakhang, BUMTHANG
18th -20th April
NIMALUNG TSHECHU
Nimalung Dratshang, Chummi, BUMTHANG
13th -15th June*
KURJEY TSHECHU
Kurjey Lhakhang, Choekhor, BUMTHANG
15th June
MASUTAKI MUSHROOM FESTIVAL
Ura, BUMTHANG
22nd –23rd August
TOUR OF THE DRAGON (BICYCLE RACE)
Bumthang to Thimphu
3rd September
THIMPHU DRUBCHEN
Tashi Chhodzong, THIMPHU
6th -10th October
WANGDUE TSHECHU
Tencholing Army Ground, WANGDUEPHODRANG
9th -11th October
GANGTEY TSHECHU
Gangtey Gonpa, Phobjikha, WANGDUEPHODRANG
16th -18th April
TAMSHING PHALA CHHOEPA
Tamshing Lhakhang, Choekhor, BUMTHANG
11th -13th October
THIMPHU TSHECHU
Tashi Chhodzong, THIMPHU
11th -13th October
THANGBI MANI
Tangbi Lhakhang, Choekor, BUMTHANG
15th -17th October
CHHUKHA TSHECHU
Chhukha Dzong, CHHUKHA
7th -9th November
JAKAR TSHECHU
Jakar Dzong, Choekhor, BUMTHANG
7th -9th November
PEMAGATSHEL TSHECHU
Pemagatshel Dzong, PEMAGATSHEL
12th -14th November
JAMBAY LHAKHANG DRUP
Jambay Lhakhang, Choekhor, BUMTHANG
14th – 17th November
PRAKHAR DUCHHOED
Prakar Lhakhang, Chummi, BUMTHANG
15th –17th November
BLACK NECKED CRANE FESTIVAL
Gangtey Gonpa, Phobjikha, WANGDUEPHODRANG
11th November
MONGAR TSHECHU
Mongar Dzong, MONGAR
5th -9th December
TRASHIGANG TSHECHU
Trashigang Dzong, TRASHIGANG
8th -10th December
JAMBAY LAKHANG SINGYE CHAM
Jambay Lhakhang, Choekhor, BUMTHANG
13th December
NALAKHAR TSHECHU
Ngaa Lhakhang, Choekhor, BUMTHANG
13th -15th December
DRUK WANGYEL TSHECHU
Dochula, THIMPHU
13th December
TRONGSA TSHECHU
Trongsa Dzong, TRONGSA
7th -9th January 2017
LHUENTSE TSHECHU
Lhuentse Dzong, LHUENTSE
7th -9th January 2017
NABJI LHAKHANG DRUP
Nabji Lhakhang, Nabji, TRONGSA
12th -14th January 2017
TENTATIVE FESTIVAL DATES FOR 2016
Note: All tour price are fixed by the Govt, of Bhutan