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.
Paro Tsechu is another popular festival and also a major tourist attraction from around the world. The highlight of this tshechu is that the monks of the Paro dzong display a giant applique thangkha, the Guru Throngdel, in the early morning inside the dzong on the final day. So, plan your visit to Bhutan to coincide with this festival held in March/April. 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 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: Excursion 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 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 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 Tshechu (Festival)
Paro Tshechu is one of the biggest festivals in Bhutan and is held in honour of Guru Rimpoche, one who was born from a lotus flower and spread the tantric form of Buddhism in Bhutan in the 8th century. Monks and laymen perform masked dances and dramas dressed in elaborate silk brocade costumes, dancers depict the triumph of good over evil and the power of compassion to the haunting sounds of trumpets, cymbals and flutes that resounds the air. Devotees dressed in traditional finery and jewellery flock to the Paro Dzong to celebrate the festival and seek divine blessing during these holy days. The main highlight of this festival is the display of a large and beautifully appliquéd ‘Thangka’ scroll known as the ‘Guru Thongdel’ at the start of dawn on the final day. It is believed that by seeing the mere sight of the Thongdel, one gain merits in life. Overnight in Paro.
Day 4: Thimphu Sightseeing
We depart Paro this morning and drive a distance of 65-km for about one hour journey to Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan. 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, drive up to the Kuensel Phodrang (Buddha Point) offering a panoramic view overlooking the Thimphu valley and 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 Painting School to discover a glimpse of novices learning 13 traditional arts and crafts of Bhutan. Continue to the Tashichhodzong, which houses some ministries, the office and throne room of His Majesty the King and the central monk body and then head 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 5: Hike to Tango Monastery, Thimphu
This morning drive to the end of the road before climbing into the beautiful pine forest, where an incredible Tango Monastery/Tango Buddhist College stands to the farthest north of Thimphu, which is about 14-km away. The Buddhist College is an institution for the higher studies of Buddhist philosophy, metaphysics, poetry and mathematics. The present day monastery was built in 1689 by Lama Gyalwa Lhanampa and was later renovated in 1977 by Her Majesty the Queen Mother Ashi Kesang Choden Wangchuck. Enjoy the spectacular views of the valleys and mountains from this spot. Then we head back to Thimphu and en route visit the Pangri Zampa Monastery. Overnight in Thimphu.
Day 6: Thimphu – Punakha
After breakfast, today you’ll travel to Punakha for a distance of 77-km for about 3 hours journey and stop off 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. Later, 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 7: Punakha – Wangdue Phodrang
After breakfast, we drive a 13-km journey to Wangdue Phodrang at an altitude of 1,300 m. En route visit the Chimi Lhakhang, which is dedicated to the legendary Lama Drukpa Kinley (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. Later, visit the Wangdue Phodrang Dzong. The dzong was built in 1639, which is perched on a ridge overlooking the Punatshangchhu and Dangchhu Rivers. Overnight in Punakha or Wangdue Phodrang.
Day 8: Wangdue Phodrang – Thimphu
This morning we drive a distance of 70-km for about 3 hours journey to Thimphu for a final overnight stay. The rest of the day is yours to relax or go for shopping to buy souvenir items for your loved ones back home.
Day 9: End of Tour
Early morning transfer to Paro Airport for your onward journey accompanied by your guide from Bhutan Green Travel. Goodbye and Good luck!
Please note that one or more extra days during the festival can be arranged upon request. An extra payment of $15 will incur for the extension of visa.
[23rd to 27th March 2013: Paro Festival]
[It’s always advisable to contact us 2 or 3 months in advance. You decide dates depending on your plan of travel, however, time your arrival to coincide the festival dates indicated above]
Disclaimer: Pins in map may not be accurate if Google Maps cannot find the exact address. In this case an approximation is made.
• Transfers to and from the airport
• Twin-sharing accommodation in 3-star hotels
• Upgrades to 5-star luxury accommodation available on request
• Camping equipment and haulage for trekking tours
• All meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner)
• Baggage handling at all hotels and camps
• Licensed Bhutanese English-speaking guided tours
• All entrance fees to museums and other attractions
• Comfortable transport within Bhutan
• All applicable internal taxes and service fees (including royalty)
• Mineral water
• Visa fees
Services Not Included
• International airfare (round-trip from hometown departure gateway to destination)
• Travel insurance
• Gratuities to guides and driver (we provide suggested guidelines)
• Single room supplement
• Beverages with included meals
• Other personal expenses
Peak Season [March, April, May, September, October & November]
• Solo Traveller: US$ 2375
• Group of two: US$ 2295 per person
• Group of three or more: US$ 2055 per person
Single Room Supplement [Not Included]
Peak Season [March, April, May, September, October & November]
• From US$ 40 – 50 per person per night