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.
The Festival of Jambay Lhakhang Drub in central Bhutan is the most spectacular mid-night sacred naked dance (tercham) and draws a lot of tourists every year! So, plan your visit to Bhutan to coincide with this festival held in October/November annually. This tour gives you a real appreciation of both the Buddhist faith and the Bhutanese way of life but also included in the package are other places of interest.
Day 1: Arrive Paro
On arrival, you will be met by our representative and transferred to your hotel in Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan for two nights. We will drive a distance of 65-km for about one hour journey along to Thimphu. Spend rest of the day at leisure to allow for acclimatisation.
Day 2: Thimphu Sightseeing
Today you’ll explore a fascinating full day tour to see the best of Thimphu city at an altitude of 2,350 m. First stop is at the National Memorial Chorten, built in memory of the third King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk. Next, visit the Changgangkha Monastery, the Folk Heritage Museum, a showcase of the Bhutanese artefacts used in rural households, the National Library, which houses ancient manuscripts or the Painting School. This afternoon, head out of town to explore the Simtokha Dzong, which is the oldest fortress in Bhutan, built in 1629 or visit the National Textile Musuem. Overnight in Thimphu.
Day 3: Thimphu – Punakha
After breakfast, you’ll travel to Punakha for a distance of 77-km for about 3 hours journey and stop at Dochula Pass at an altitude of 3,050 m. On a clear day, 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. 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. Now the dzong serves as the administrative centre of Punakha district and the central monastic body. Overnight in Punakha.
Day 4: Punakha – Gangtey (Phobjikha)
After breakfast we drive a distance of 13-km for about 45-minutes to Wangdue Phodrang. En route visit the 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. We then continue a scenic drive for a distance of further 65-km for about 3 hours to Gangtey in the beautiful glacial valley of Phobjikha at an altitude of 3,000 m. 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 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. Along the highway, you’ll photo stops as there are loads of breathtaking views during the journey. Overnight in Gangtey.
Day 5: Gangtey – Trongsa
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. After lunch 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. The evening is at leisure to relax, enjoy and explore the Trongsa town at an altitude of 2,200 m. Spend the night in Trongsa.
Day 6: Trongsa – Bumthang
Today morning you’ll visit the Trongsa Dzong, the ancestral home of the present Royal Family where the first two Kings ruled from this dzong and also visit the Ta Dzong (ancient watch tower). After lunch, you’ll continue the journey for a distance of 68-km for about 2 hours to Bumthang, 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. The evening is at leisure to relax, enjoy & explore the delightful surroundings of Bumthang valley at an altitude of 2,600 m. Overnight in Bumthang.
Day 7: Jambay Lhakhang Drub Festival
Attend Jambay Lhakhang Drub (festival) for a full day. The temple is one of the 108 Buddhist temples built in the 8th century by the Tibetan King, Songtsen Gampo. Revered as one of the oldest landmarks of the arrival of Buddhism in Bhutan, this temple holds a unique tshechu (festival). The main highlight of this festival is the most spectacular mid-night sacred naked dance (tercham) and draws a lot of tourists every year! Overnight in Bumthang.
Day 8: Bumthang – Ura
This morning 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. In the afternoon, enjoy some sightseeing and visit a temple in the Ura valley and drive back to Bumthang for the overnight stay.
Day 9: Bumthang – Paro
Today is a day-long journey heading back to Paro via Trongsa and Wangdue Phodrang. The journey passes through the awe-inspiring mountains and lush vegetation along the highway and will photo stops during the journey. Enjoy some leisure time in Paro town in the evening, one of the beautiful valleys in Bhutan and home to the famous Paro Taktshang (also known as Tiger’s Nest), National Museum and Drukair (Royal Bhutan Airlines). Spend the night in Paro.
Day 10: Hike to Paro Taktshang
This morning you’ll take a 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 900 m 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 1647 to commemorate the victory over the Tibetan invaders or visit the Kichu Lhakhang, which is one of the oldest temples in Bhutan (7th century). Your overnight is in Paro.
Day 11: End of Tour
Your tour concludes this morning. You will be transferred to Paro Airport to connect with your onward flight. Good luck and goodbye!
Please note that one or more extra days during the festival can be arranged upon request. An extra payment of $15 will incur for the extension of visa.
[18th to 22nd October 2012: Jambay Lhakhang Drub Festival]
[It’s always advisable to contact us 2 or 3 months in advance. You decide dates depending on your plan of travel, however, time your arrival to coincide the festival dates indicated above]
Disclaimer: Pins in map may not be accurate if Google Maps cannot find the exact address. In this case an approximation is made.
• Transfers to and from the airport
• Twin-sharing accommodation in 3-star hotels
• Upgrades to 5-star luxury accommodation available on request
• Camping equipment and haulage for trekking tours
• All meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner)
• Baggage handling at all hotels and camps
• Licensed Bhutanese English-speaking guided tours
• All entrance fees to museums and other attractions
• Comfortable transport within Bhutan
• All applicable internal taxes and service fees (including royalty)
• Mineral water
• Visa fees
Services Not Included
• International airfare (round-trip from hometown departure gateway to destination)
• Travel insurance
• Gratuities to guides and driver (we provide suggested guidelines)
• Single room supplement
• Beverages with included meals
• Other personal expenses
Peak Season [March, April, May, September, October & November]
• Solo Traveller: US$ 2890
• Group of two: US$ 2790 per person
• Group of three or more: US$ 2490 per person
Single Room Supplement [Not Included]
Peak Season [March, April, May, September, October & November]
• From US$ 40 – 50 per person per night