Festivals

Festivals 2016-11-11T21:10:01+00:00

Bhutan Festival Tours

Experience the tradition, colour, music, dance and drama of a Bhutanese Tsechu.

A Tsechu draws hundreds of Bhutanese people together in a spirit of reverence, festivity and celebration, and is one of the best ways to discover the rich cultural heritage of Bhutan.

Bhutan festival tours are one of the best ways to experience the ancient living culture of Bhutan. A Tsechu is a Buddhist festival in honour of Guru Rimpoche, the saint who brought Buddhism to the country. Most Tsechus date back to medieval times and involve sacred rituals, music, masks, flamboyant costumes and dances that tell age-old stories. Some, like the Thimphu and Paro festivals, are grand occasions that attract locals from miles around, as well as tourists. The popular Paro Tsechu is most famous for its unique unfurling of the world’s largest Thangka (Buddhist painting on silk).

We can easily organise tours incorporating these festivals; however we recommend smaller Tsechus as this ensures a more genuine experience without huge crowds. The wonderful Jambay Lhakhang Drup Festival takes place at one of Bhutan’s oldest temples and involves fire rituals and an unusual naked dance.

Another interesting festival is the Black-necked Crane festival in November with masked and costumed crane-inspired dances alongside colourful markets in the Phobjikha Valley to celebrate the arrival of these magnificent birds.

To find out more about our range of recommended Bhutan festival tours, please download pages below or click here to download the full Bhutan festival tours section of our Bhutan e-brochure.

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Bhutan Festival Tour Highlights

Bhutan festival tours masked dancers

Enjoy the colourful pageantry of the masked dances

Almost all Tsechus involve colourful costume, lively masked dances and elaborate rituals performed by monks or local villagers.

The dancers are accompanied by music played on traditional instruments. Each dance usually tells a story about important events in the life of Guru Rimpoche during the 8th century, and brings blessings to onlookers, while instructing them about the Buddhist Dharma.
Bhutan festival tours ceremonies

View ancient rituals and blessing ceremonies

Although colourful and energetic, Tsechus are very spiritual occasions held in temples, monasteries and dzongs across the country.

In Bhutan, it is believed that everyone must attend a Tsechu and witness its mask dances at least once in order to be blessed and cleansed of their sins. People come from all over the country to receive blessings from monks in these special ceremonies. Festivals take place throughout the year in almost every district.
Bhutan festival atmosphere

Immerse yourself in the festive atmosphere of villages

Villages come alive during Tsechus with local people congregating in town to join in a great celebration of faith.

Villagers congregate in town to enjoy the pomp and pageantry of ceremonies, share traditional foods and drink local rice wine called ‘Ara’. Although deeply religious, festivals are full of noise and colour – a chance for locals to show off their best clothes and take a break from the daily grind. It is also an opportunity for foreigners to experience Bhutan’s unique living culture first hand.
Bhutan festival chants

Listen to ancient Buddhist chants and music

Step inside Bhutan’s monasteries and dzongs during a festival to hear age-old traditional chants and music.

It is a privilege to hear these performces by monks in ceremonial masks and colourful costumes. This is a rare opportunity to experience the mysticism, customs and religious ceremonies of Bhutan’s living culture unchanged for centuries. The deep drone of horns, thud of ancient drums, ringing of bells and resonant chanting can often be heard across the valley from where the Tsechu is taking place.

Bhutan Festival Tours Sample Itineraries

We have a unique selection of suggested Bhutan festival tours designed to help you discover the unique spirit of this Himalayan kingdom. All of our tours are completely tailor made featuring a range of accommodation styles customised to suit our clients interests, budget, and timeframe. To find out more about the type of Bhutan tour we can put together for you, please download pages below. If these departure dates do not suit you, please contact us as festivals are held through the year in almost every district of Bhutan.

Punakha Tsechu

Paro Tsechu

Experience the festive atmosphere of the Paro Tsechu whilst exploring Bhutan’s rich cultural and scenic western valleys. View the fascinating masked religious and cultural dances of this popular Tsechu and visit famous Taktsang Monastery.

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Bumthang Festivals

Bumthang Festivals

Enjoy two intimate Tsechu experiences in the Bumthang Valley, Bhutan’s spiritual heartland. Attend the unique Jambay Lhakhang Drup with its opening night fire ceremony as well as the more remote Prakar Tsechu.

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Bhutan Festival Tour Overview

Why Bhutan: Bhutan is one of the most unique travel destinations on earth. Discover ancient Buddhist monasteries, temples, dzongs and chortens as well as local foods, traditions and dramatic scenery. Accommodation is of a high standard, and all tourism is strictly regulated by the government.

Culture: Bhutan is a deeply devout Buddhist country and religion plays a big part in everyday life. Local devotion is evident in the many ceremonies performed by red-robed monks in ancient monasteries throughout the land to the prayer flags which flutter across hills and villages.

When to Go: The best time to go is from March to May or from September to November. Festival dates are determined by the lunar calendar. We strongly recommend you book 3-6 months in advance for travel during festivals to secure accommodation and flights.

Combine With: Festival tour itineraries usually include other cultural and scenic highlights in the country. You can combine these tours with trekking, or with a holiday in neighbouring India or Nepal.

Getting There: Most of our tours include the return airfare from Bangkok, Thailand to Paro in Bhutan. Alternatively you can also fly from Singapore, Nepal, and various cities within India.

Bhutan Brochure

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All of our tours are tailor made.

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