The Dochula Druk Wangyel Festival takes place on 13th December annually at the Druk Wangyel Lhakhang’s Festival ground. The venue is related to important national landmarks while the date commemorates the commencement of the military expedition of 2003. Her Majesty the Queen Mother Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck is the founder and patron of the Dochula Druk Wangyel Festival. Druk Wangyel Lhakhang (2004-2008), the venue for the festival, and the 108 Khangzang Chortens (2003-2004) at the Dochula Pass at an altitude of 3,116m, were also built by Her Majesty. The Dochula Pass is one of the most spectacular passes in Bhutan and is about 45 minutes’ drive (22-km) from the capital city of Thimphu. The average temperatures in mid-December at Dochula are about 5°C to 6°C with the maximum of 8°C and minimum of 2°C. This itinerary also includes the must-see sights of the country and takes in the very best of Bhutan where you’ll experience the unique culture and tradition, breathtaking views of the natural scenery, spiritual places and charming villages in western Bhutan.
Day 1: Arrive Paro
On arrival, you will be met by our representative and transferred to your hotel in Paro for two nights. Afterwards, visit the Ta Dzong (ancient watch tower) which now houses the National Museum of Bhutan and continue to the Paro Dzong (also known as the Rinpung Dzong), built in 1644 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal. The evening is at leisure to relax – so why not stroll in the Paro town?
Day 2: Hike to Paro Taktshang
Today you will take a short hike to Paro Taktshang Monastery (Tiger’s Nest). No visit to Bhutan would be complete without a trip to Taktshang. The monastery is perched on the edge of a steep cliff, about 900m above the Paro valley and takes about a 2-hour climb on a well-maintained trail through beautiful pine forest, trees festooned with Spanish Moss and fluttering prayer flags. Legend has it that Guru Rimpoche flew to Paro Taktshang cliff in the form of Guru Dorji Drolo, mounted on a flaming tigress in the 8th century. Afterwards, there may also be time to visit the ruined Drugyal Dzong (fortress), built in 1649 to commemorate the victory over the Tibetan invaders or the Kichu Lhakhang, which is one of the oldest temples in Bhutan (7th century). Overnight in Paro.
Day 3: Paro – Punakha
After breakfast, begin the day travelling to Punakha through the Dochula Pass at an altitude of 3,050m. Punakha, at an altitude of 1,300 m, was once the old capital of Bhutan and the seat of government until 1955. Lunch at Punakha and then visit the Punakha Dzong (also known as the Pungthang Dechen Phodrang Dzong) built in 1637, which is strategically located at the confluence of the Phochhu (male) and Mochhu (female) Rivers. En route visit Metsina village and take a 20-minute walk through the paddy fields to Chimi Lhakhang, which is dedicated to the legendary Lama Drukpa Kinley (also known as the Divine Madman). The monastery is also revered as a sanctum of fertility. Legend has it that the couples wishing to have a baby from across Bhutan and occasionally from overseas are blessed with a child after visiting the temple – Japanese and several American couples visited this temple and were blessed miraculously with children. Overnight in Punakha.
Day 4: Punakha – Bumthang
After breakfast, we head to Bumthang for a distance of 212-km for about 7-8 hours journey via Wangdue Phodrang and Trongsa. En route we will stop for a quick visit to the Yathra Weaving Centre at Chumey, where they use yak and sheep wools for yathra products with patterns unique to Bumthang. Admire the diverse flora and fauna and will photo stops along the highway. Overnight in Bumthang
Day 5: Bumthang Sightseeing
Today we set out for a full day sightseeing to experience more of this spiritual heartland of Bhutan. You will visit the following legendary monasteries, temples and dzong: the Jakar Dzong, the Jambay Lhakhang, built in the 7th century by the King Songsen Gampo of Tibet, the Kurjey Lhakhang, built in 1652 and named after the body imprint of Guru Rinpoche who introduced the Buddhism in Bhutan, the Tamshing Lhakhang, built in 1501 awhich is the most important Nyingma temple in Bhutan. If time permits, you’ll visit the Mebar Tsho (flaming lake) located along the way to Tang village, where the renowned treasure reveller, Terton Pema Lingpa, discovered treasures from the lake in the late 15th century. Overnight in Bumthang.
Day 6: Bumthang – Gangtey
This morning we will travel a distance of 188-km for about 5-6 hours to Gangtey via Trongsa passing through the Yotongla Pass at an altitude of 3,400m. Upon reaching Trongsa, visit the Ta Dzong (ancient watch tower) or the Trongsa Dzong, which is the most impressive dzong (fortress) in Bhutan. Continue into Gangtey in Phobjikha valley via Pelela Pass at an altitude of 3,300m. The valley is one of the winter roosting grounds of the rare Black-necked Cranes, where they come in hundreds after spending their summer in Tibet and then migrates to the Himalayas of Bhutan to spend their winter – they arrive in the months of September and October and fly back to Tibet between February and March. The evening is at leisure to relax and enjoy, we have allowed some time for this and also to explore the delightful surroundings of Gangtey. Your overnight is in Gangtey.
Day 7: Gangtey – Thimphu
Today morning enjoy a visit to the picturesque Gangtey Gonpa (monastery). Leave Gangtey this afternoon; enjoy a fabulous journey to Thimphu travelling through the awe-inspiring mountains and lush vegetation along the highway and will photo stops during the journey. Welcome to Thimphu, the capital city of Bhutan still without the traffic light in this 21st century. Overnight in Thimphu.
Day 8: Dochula Tsechu (Festival)
We leave Thimphu after breakfast to attend the spectacular Dochula Druk Wangyel Festival, which is about 45 minutes’ drive (22-km) from the capital city of Thimphu. Later, the tour continues to the Royal Botanical Park at Lamperi, which is situated at an altitude range of 2,100m to 3,800m. The park is located under the Thimphu and Punakha districts, which covers an area of 47 sq. km having a rich biodiversity of high conservation value. It is a great learning destination for the students, researchers and nature lovers. The park features a variety of forest types: alpine, cool temperate broadleaf forest, old growth of broad leaf and conifer forests, etc. Free to relax in the evening to explore the sights of the capital city, go shopping or enjoy the atmosphere of Thimphu city. Overnight in Thimphu.
Day 9: Thimphu Sightseeing
Today you’ll explore a fascinating full day tour to see the best of Thimphu city at an altitude of 2,300m. First stop is at the National Memorial Chorten, built in memory of the third King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk. Next, drive up to the Kuensel Phodrang (Buddha Point) offering a panoramic view overlooking the Thimphu valley and visit the Mini Zoo for Takin, the national animal of Bhutan. After lunch, visit the Folk Heritage Museum, a showcase of the Bhutanese artefacts used in rural households and the Tashichhodzong, which houses some ministries, the office and throne room of His Majesty the King and the central monk. Other highlights include stops at the Centenary Farmer’s Market on the banks of the Wangchhu River selling farm produces, local arts and crafts, etc. Overnight in Thimphu.
Day 10: End of Tour
Your tour ends in Bhutan with a departure transfer to the Paro International Airport for your onward journey. A representative from Bhutan Green Travel will see you off. Goodbye and Good luck (Tashi Delek)!
Please note that one or more extra days during the festival can be arranged upon request. An extra payment of $15 will incur for the extension of visa.
[13th December annually: Dochula Festival]
[It’s always advisable to contact us 2 or 3 months in advance. You decide dates depending on your plan of travel, however, time your arrival to coincide the festival dates indicated above]
Disclaimer: Pins in map may not be accurate if Google Maps cannot find the exact address. In this case an approximation is made.
• Transfers to and from the airport
• Twin-sharing accommodation in 3-star hotels
• Upgrades to 5-star luxury accommodation available on request
• Camping equipment and haulage for trekking tours
• All meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner)
• Baggage handling at all hotels and camps
• Licensed Bhutanese English-speaking guided tours
• All entrance fees to museums and other attractions
• Comfortable transport within Bhutan
• All applicable internal taxes and service fees (including royalty)
• Mineral water
• Visa fees
Services Not Included
• International airfare (round-trip from hometown departure gateway to destination)
• Travel insurance
• Gratuities to guides and driver (we provide suggested guidelines)
• Single room supplement
• Beverages with included meals
• Other personal expenses
Low Season [January, February, June, July, August & December]
• Solo Traveller: US$ 2188
• Group of two: US$ 2098 per person
• Group of three or more: US$ 1828 per person
Single Room Supplement [Not Included]
Low Season [January, February, June, July, August & December]
• From US$ 25 – 40 per person per night