The word “tshechu” in the Bhutanese language means literally “an annual religious Bhutanese festival” held in each district on the 10th day of a month of the Bhutanese calendar. The dates and duration of the tshechu vary from one district to another but always take place on or around the 10th day of a month. Such festivals are mostly held in the dzong (fortress) or local monastery in honour of Guru Rimpoche, one who was born from a lotus flower and brought the tantric Buddhism in Bhutan in the 8th century. By attending such festivals, it is believed that one gains merits by seeking forgiveness for their sins in life.
During the tshechu, mask and historical folk dances in colourful costumes are performed by monks and laymen including the Atsaras (Clowns), who amuse the audience with their antics. It is believed that it is very important to know the name of the dances and its significance. Tshechu is also considered as an occasion for social gatherings; to get together with families and kith & kin dressed in their finest traditional clothes and jewellery.
Gomkora Tshechu, held in early spring, is very popular festival in the eastern region of Bhutan. The biggest attraction of Gomkora is the circumambulation, where people from all over eastern Bhutan descend upon the narrow valley, dressed in their finery and jewellery to partake in the festivity. For some, traditionally, Gomkora festival is also an occasion to have a date for the people of eastern Bhutan that leads to many marriages. Do not miss to join this amazing festival to experience like no other! This tour gives you a real appreciation of both the Buddhist faith and the preservation of an age-old tradition in this far corner of the eastern Bhutan but also included in the package are other places of interest.
Day 1: Arrive Paro
On arrival in Paro you will be met by our representative and transferred to your hotel in Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan for two nights. Spend rest of the day at leisure to allow for acclimatization.
Day 2: Thimphu Sightseeing
Today we explore a fascinating full day tour to see the best of Thimphu city at an altitude of 2,300 m. First stop is at the National Memorial Chorten, built in memory of the third King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk, Next, visit the 13th century Changgangkha Temple overlooking the Thimphu town and the Folk Heritage Museum, a showcase of the Bhutanese artifacts used in rural households. Later drive up to the Sangaygang Hill (Radio Tower) or the Kuensel Phodrang (Buddha Point) offering a panoramic view of the Thimphu valley, visit the Mini Zoo of Takin, the national animal of Bhutan or the Textile Museum of Bhutan. Continue to the Centenary Farmer’s Market on the banks of the Wangchhu River selling farm produces, local arts and crafts, etc. Overnight in Thimphu.
Day 3: Thimphu – Gangtey (Phobjikha)
After breakfast, today we travel to Gangtey via Wangdue Phodrang for a distance of 135-km for about 5-6 hours journey and en route stop off at Dochula Pass at an altitude of 3,050 m. If weather is clear, you will enjoy a breathtaking view of the snow capped eastern Himalaya ranges and also a magnificent distant view of the Gasa Dzong from this spot. After lunch, visit the Wangdue Phodrang Dzong. Continue on the journey to Gangtey in Phobjikha valley. Along the highway, you’ll photo stops as there are loads of breathtaking views during the journey. The evening is at leisure to relax and enjoy, we have allowed some time for this and also to explore the delightful glacial valley of Phobjikha. Overnight in Gangtey.
Day 4: Gangtey, Phobjikha Sightseeing
The altitude of Gangtey in Phobjikha valley is 3,000 m. This morning you will visit the picturesque Gangtey Gompa (monastery). Enjoy the views of the remote Phobjikha glacial valley and the black mountain ranges. Phobjikha 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. Your overnight is in Gangtey.
Day 5: Gangtey – Bumthang
After breakfast, we travel a distance of 120-km for about 5 hours to Trongsa via Pelela pass at an altitude of 3,300 m. This pass is an important dividing range that separates western from central and eastern Bhutan. Lunch will be at Trongsa and then visit the Ta Dzong (ancient watch tower) or the impressive Trongsa Dzong. Continue the journey for a further distance of 68-km for about 2 hours to Bumthang at an altitude of 2,600m, the most beautiful valley and cultural heartland in the Kingdom. 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. Overnight in Bumthang.
Day 6: Bumthang Sightseeing
After breakfast, 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 Rimpoche who introduced the Buddhism in Bhutan, the Tamshing Lhakhang, built in 1501 which is the most important Nyingma temple in Bhutan. If time permits, visit the famous Swiss Cheese Factory and Diary Farm in Bumthang. Overnight in Bumthang.
Day 7: Bumthang – Mongar
This morning takes you through a scenic journey for a distance of 198-km for about 7-8 hours journey to Mongar at an altitude of 1,600 m. Along the journey you will cross the two villages called Ura and Sengor passing through the highest point on Bhutan’s lateral road via Thrumsingla Pass at an altitude of 3,800 m. En route stop off at Ura Shelthangla, where you will enjoy a magnificent view of the Bhutan’s highest peak, Mt Gangkar Puensum at 7,500 m. Next, stop at Sengor village and Namling where you can view the breathtaking landscapes of the cascading waterfalls and admire the diverse flora and fauna in these places. Descending down the road will take you to Lingmithang at an altitude of 700 m and cross the Kurichhu rriver, where the largest hydroelectric power in the eastern region is commissioned over the river. Spend the night in Mongar.
Day 8: Mongar – Trashiyangtse
After breakfast, we depart Mongar after a quick visit to the Mongar Dzong and head to Trashiyangtse for a distance of 146-km for about 5 hours journey passing via Korila Pass at an altitude of 2,450 m. Afterwards the road descends and passes through the famous turns of Yadi, and en route you will see the temple, perched on top of a steep hill above the village which is the most important monastery in eastern Bhutan. This is the place of origin of the famous Drametse Nga Chham, a masked dance with drums. Lunch will be at Trashigang. Continue into Trashiyangtse at altitude of 1,850 m, a fairly new district that was separated from Trashigang. You will spend two nights here.
Day 9: Trashiyangtse – Bumdeling
This morning you will be taken to visit Bumdeling, a wonderful plain alongside the Kholongchhu river. Bumdeling is also 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 migrate 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. Back to Trashiyangtse and lunch at your hotel. Later, visit the new Trashiyangtse Dzong. We will also visit the dazzling white Chorten Kora (stupa) on the Kholongchhu riverbank below the town and the Institute for Zorig Chusum, where students are trained in the 13 traditional arts and crafts of Bhutan. Overnight in Trashiyangtse.
Day 10: Trashiyangtse – Trashigang
Today’s return journey is a distance of 55-km for about 2 hours to Trashigang at an altitude of 1,150 m, the largest and most populated district in Bhutan. En route visit the old Trashiyangtse dzong. Later, visit the Trashigang Dzong, which serves as the civil administrative centre and the local monastic body, situated on a steep hillside above the Gamri River. The rest of the day is at leisure to relax and enjoy, we have allowed some time for this and also to explore the surroundings of Trashigang town. You will spend three nights here.
Day 11: Gomkora Tshechu (Festival)
Attend the festival of Gomkora Tshechu, which is held in early spring in a sacred religious site of Guru Rimpoche (also known as Padmasambhava) at Gomkora Lhakhang. This festival is very popular in the eastern region of Bhutan and draws people from all walks of life including the Dakpa tribe with entire families from Tawang, a neighboring state Arunachal Pradesh in India. The biggest attraction of Gomkora is the circumambulation of the people dressed in their finery and jewellery partaking in this festivity. For some, traditionally, Gomkora festival is also an occasion to have a date for the people of eastern Bhutan that leads to many marriages. Overnight in Trashigang.
Day 12: Trashigang – Rangjung
Today’s 16-km journey takes you to Rangjung to visit the renowned Rangjung Woesel Choeling & Thekchok Choden Monastery (Dudjom Tersar Education Centre) for the study of Buddha dharma founded by His Holiness Dungse Garab Dorji Rimpoche. Lunch at Rangjung and explore the exciting countryside tour towards Phongmey village. In the evening, drive back to Trashigang for dinner and spend your last night in Trashigang.
Day 13: Trashigang – Samdrup Jongkhar
After breakfast, your day begins with 180-km journey for about 7 hours to Samdrup Jongkhar at elevation of 215 m. En route you’ll see the Bhutan’s first and premier Sherubtse College in Kanglung, founded in 1978. Visit the Khaling Handloom supported by the National Woman Association of Bhutan, where you will witness the traditional style of weaving and past by the only National Institute for Visually Impaired, located below the road. Stop off at Wamrong for lunch, a 27-km drive from Khaling. After lunch, continue into Samdrup Jongkhar and then encounter a stretch of road called Melong Bra, where the road is cut through sheer cliffs before reaching Narphung. Descending the road gradually will take you to Deothang, which is the historical site of a famous 19th century battle fought during the Duar Wars. Overnight in Samdrup Jongkhar, the Eastern Bhutan Gateway to India.
Day 14: End of Tour
After breakfast, you will be transferred to Bhutan-India Gate accompanied by your guide from Bhutan Green Travel to bid farewell for your onward journey and hand over to one of the English speaking Indian drivers, who will take you through to Guwahati International Airport to connect with your onward flight. Goodbye and Good luck!
Please note that one or more extra days during the festival can be arranged upon request. An extra payment of $15 will incur for the extension of visa.
[20th to 22nd March 2013: Gomkora Festival]
[It’s always advisable to contact us 2 or 3 months in advance. You decide dates depending on your plan of travel, however, time your arrival to coincide the festival dates indicated above]
Disclaimer: Pins in map may not be accurate if Google Maps cannot find the exact address. In this case an approximation is made.
• Transfers to and from the airport
• Twin-sharing accommodation in 3-star hotels
• Upgrades to 5-star luxury accommodation available on request
• Camping equipment and haulage for trekking tours
• All meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner)
• Baggage handling at all hotels and camps
• Licensed Bhutanese English-speaking guided tours
• All entrance fees to museums and other attractions
• Comfortable transport within Bhutan
• All applicable internal taxes and service fees (including royalty)
• Mineral water
• Visa fees
Services Not Included
• International airfare (round-trip from hometown departure gateway to destination)
• Travel insurance
• Gratuities to guides and driver (we provide suggested guidelines)
• Single room supplement
• Beverages with included meals
• Other personal expenses
Peak Season [March, April, May, September, October & November]
• Solo Traveller: US$ 3663
• Group of two: US$ 3533 per person
• Group of three or more: US$ 3143 per person
Single Room Supplement [Not Included]
Peak Season [March, April, May, September, October & November]
• From US$ 40 – 50 per person per night