8 Nights 9 Days Paro Festival Tour
Brief background on Paro Tshechu (festival)
Paro Tsechu is held for 5 days beginning on the 10th Day of 2nd Bhutanese lunar month every year, which falls on March 27-31. The Paro Tshechu is held annually dates back from the time of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel (the founder of the state of Bhutan) and Ponpo Rigzin Nyingpowas in the 17th century.
The Paro festival offers the best opportunity to witness the Bhutanese’s rich culture and history. While you enjoy the festival, you will notice an annual social gathering dressed in their finest clothing and jewelries. The experience being surrounded by the Bhutanese people will give you an insight into the Bhutanese way of life and belief. The Tshechu is a religious festival and by attending it, it is believed one gains merits.
On the last day of Paro Tsechu, the sacred Thongdrol of Guru Rinpoche is unfurled early in the morning on the last day of Paro Tshechu. It is believed that the Thongdroel is unveiled at dawn to bring blessings to all who view it
Paro Festival Schedule: March 27-31, 2018
Paro Festival Tour Itinerary
Day 1: Arrive Paro
Your exciting expedition to the land of Drukyul begins with a flight to Paro. On arrival at Paro airport and after completing your immigration formalities, you will be received by your tour guide from Advent Bhutan Tours and Travels. Then check into the hotel. After a brief rest and refreshment, visit the following places:
A farmhouse which gives good insight into the authentic lifestyle of a Bhutanese.
The Kichu temple– It is one of the 108 temples built in the 7th century by the Tibetan King Songsten Gampo. The Jowo Temple of Kyichu is one of the oldest temples in Bhutan. To overcome a giant demon who prevented the spread of Buddhism, laid on the whole area of Tibet and the Himalayas, King Songtsen Gampo build 108 temples placed on all the points of her body.
In the evening, stroll around the Paro town.
Dinner and overnight at a hotel in Paro
Day 2: Witness Paro Tshechu
Today you will go and witness the Paro Tshechu Festival. Monks and lay people, dressed in beautifully coloured silk brocade costumes perform festive dances of good triumphing over evil to the haunting sounds of trumpets, cymbals and flutes.The Paro festival offers a best opportunity to witness the Bhutanese’s rich culture and history. During the festival, you will notice an annual social gathering dressed in their finest clothing and jewellery. The experience being surrounded by the Bhutanese people will give you an insight into the Bhutanese way of life and belief. The Tshechu is a religious festival and by attending it, it is believed one gains merits. You will witness many religious dances performed today like Lords of the Cremation Grounds, Terrifying Deities, Heroes, Novel Man, Ladies Lenham, Stag and Hounds. The dances are accompanied by historical folk songs.
Amid the ongoing festival, we will visit the interior of Rinpung Dzong, a Buddhist monastery and fortress which houses the district Monastic Body and government administrative offices of Paro Dzongkhag, a fine example of Bhutanese historic architecture. It was built in 1645 to defend the valley against Tibetan invaders. From the Dzong, march further down to Nyamai Zampa, a traditional cantilever bridge which lies below the sheer walls of Rinpung Dzong. Stroll through Rimpung Bridge (The oldest bridge in Bhutan).
Dinner and overnight in Paro.
Day 3: Paro Excursion to Taktsang (3hours 30 minutes Walk)
Drive to Satsam Chorten and then hike to the Taktshang, the Tiger’s Nest. Normally it takes about three and half hours to complete the hike but might take longer depending on your fitness. Paro Taktsang, also known as the Tiger’s Nest, is an important Buddhist sacred site which clings to the rock face, 900 metres above the valley floor. To the rear of the Taktsang lies Senge Samdup cave where Guru Rinpoche is said to have meditated for three years, three months, three weeks, three days and three hours in the 8th century. Today, Paro Taktsang is popularly known for the thirteen Taktsang or “tiger lair” caves in which he meditated..it is believed that Padmasambhava (Guru Rinpoche) flew to Taktshang from Tibet on the back of a tigress from Khenpajong. This place was consecrated to tame the Tiger demon.
Refreshment will be served at View Point Cafeteria en route. After visiting the monastery, descend back to viewpoint cafeteria for lunch and then further descend downhill to the base. Then drive back to the hotel.
Night halt in Paro
Day 4: Paro Tshechu and Paro-Thimphu ( 2Hours-55Km)
Early morning before the dawn of the day, attend the Thongdrel to receive a blessing. The huge banner (thangka), called Thongdrel (liberation and blessings at the sight), is unfurled for public reverence. It is believed that it brings blessings to all who view it. It is the most important and auspicious day of the festivities. You will witness the religious dances and religious songs of the hero, Ging and Tsholing, Eight Manifestations and the Sixteen Fairies.
After witnessing the unveiled Thongdroel and receiving the blessing, you will return to your hotel for breakfast. After the breakfast, we will visit the National Museum, housed in the Ta Dzong (watchtower). Ta Dzong– National Museum of Bhutan is a cultural museum in the town of Paro established in 1968. Built on top of the hill above Rinpung Dzong, it was originally used to defend Rinpung Dzong and the Paro valley during times of war.
Here, an intriguing collection of finest samples of Bhutanese art, including masterpieces of bronze statues, paintings, suitable galleries are elegantly displayed on scientific lines, which collectively will lead to the wonderful introduction to the rich culture and heritage of the Kingdom.
After the visit, you will go to the festival ground to get a glimpse of the last day of Paro festival.
In the evening travel to Thimphu.
Dinner and night halt at a hotel in Thimphu
Day 5: Day-Long Thimphu Sightseeing
After breakfast, visit the following:
The Bhutan Postal Museum (recently launched) -The Bhutan Postal Museum was launched on 7 November 2015 at the General Post Office building. The postal museum portrays the story of the evolution of communication, transportation and postal services in Bhutan’s history.
The National Textile Museum – Art of traditional weaving being kept alive and preserved through exhibition and has a good collection of old textiles which are rich in colours and designs. The National Textile Museum is located near the National Library of Bhutan. It was established in 2001 and operated by the National Commission for Cultural Affairs. Ever since its establishment, the museum has gained national and international recognition and has generated an important collection of antique textile artefacts.
The Folk Heritage Museum– The museum was launched on 28 July 2001 under the initiative of founder Queen Mother Ashi Dorji Wangmo. The outdoor museum gives an insight into rural life.The museum exhibit diverse materials associated with the Bhutanese culture and way of life.The exhibition comprises of rural households’ artifacts, equipment, objects and tools
The School of Traditional Painting of Arts and Crafts – The traditional arts is known as zorigchusum (zo = the ability to make; rig = science or craft; chusum = thirteen). These traditional crafts depict hundreds of years of knowledge and ability that has been passed down through generations.The students undergo a six-year course to consummate learning the 13 traditional arts and crafts of Bhutan
The Centenary Farmers’ market – Thimphu weekend market is one of the largest domestic markets for Bhutanese farmers. Farmers sell their own produced vegetables, flour, rice, roasted rice, rice flakes, spices, fruits and livestock products (cheese and butter). And also sell wild ferns or bamboo shoots which are collected from forests. People from villages from different cities as well as from town come to this weekend market.
The Memorial Chorten– Also known as the Thimphu Chorten, was built in 1974 to honour the third Druk Gyalpo, Jigme Dorji Wangchuck (1928–1972), who is regarded as “The Father of Modern Bhutan”. Buddhist call the monument “The mind of the Buddha”. It is an honoured landmark in the city with its golden spires and bells, widely known as “the most visible religious landmark in Bhutan”.
The Tashichho Dzong – It is a Buddhist monastery and fortress of the glorious religion on the northern edge of the city of Thimphu, built in 1641 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel. It was rebuilt into the present structure by the late King, His Majesty Jigme Dorji Wangchuck in the year 1962-1969. It houses the secretariat building, the throne room and the office of the king, and the central monk body
The Takin Preserve – which houses the national animal, Takin (The national animal of Bhutan). The reason for declaring Takin as the national animal is attributed to a legend of the animal’s creation (goat’s head and cattle’s body) in Bhutan in the 15th century by Lama Drukpa Kunley. Drive further to Sangaygang to get a bird’s eye view of the beautiful Thimphu valley.
The Kuenselphodrang (commonly known as Buddha Point) – The Great Buddha Dordenma is sited amidst the ruins of Kuensel Phodrang, the palace of Sherab Wangchuck, the thirteenth Desi Druk, facing towards the Southern approach to Thimphu. It is one of the largest Buddha statues in the world, at 169 feet (52 m) and contains 100,000 8-inch-tall and 25,000 12-inch-tall gilded bronze Buddhas.
Centenary Farmers’ market – Thimphu weekend market is one of the largest domestic markets for Bhutanese farmers. Farmers sell their own produced vegetables, flour, rice, roasted rice, rice flakes, spices, fruits and livestock products (cheese and butter). And also sell wild ferns or bamboo shoots which are collected from forests. People from villages from different cities as well as from town come to this weekend market.
Then, stroll down the Handicrafts Emporium and local crafts shops, aligned neatly below Norzin Lam, opposite to Nehru Wangchuk Cultural Centre, to witness Bhutanese fine traditional arts. Here you can buy hand-woven textiles, thangka paintings, masks, ceramics, slate and wood carvings, jewelery, and other eye-catching items made from local materials.
Dinner and overnight at a hotel in Thimphu.
Day 6: Thimphu Short Trekking to Tango Monastery (45Minutes from the base)
After breakfast, drive to the base camp of Tango Monastery and hike up to the Monastery. Tango is the highest centre of Buddhist learning for monks in the country. It is believed that almost every Je Khenpo (religious head of Bhutan) accomplished the 9-year program there. After completing that program, monks traditionally spend years meditating at the nearby Cheri Goemba retreat, built in 1619 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal(unifier of Bhutan).
The climb aloft will take approximately about 45 minutes. The view from Tango Monastery is breathtaking, which shall rejuvenate your soul surrounded by the calm ambience.
Drive back to Thimphu. In evening, you can relax /stroll around Thimphu town.
Overnight at hotel in Thimphu.
Day 7: Thimphu-Punakha-Wangdue (3Hours -76Km)
In the morning, travel to Punakha via the Dochula pass. The Dochula Pass (3,088m/10,130ft) is a mountain pass, with the breathtaking view of 108 memorial stupas known as “Druk Wangyal Chortens” built under the initiative of Royal Queen Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuk( the eldest Queen Mother), built in honour of the fourth Druk Gyalpo (head of the state of Bhutan), Jigme Singye Wangchuck.
Journey to Punakha, the old capital of Bhutan and presently the winter residence of the central monk body. It is also known as Pungtang Dewa chhenbi Phodrang (meaning “the palace of great happiness or bliss). It is the second oldest and largest dzong built in 1637 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal (Unifier of Bhutan) to serve as the religious and administrative seat of the region.
After lunch, drive to Metshina Village and take 15 minutes walk through the rice fields to the Devine Madman’s Monastery-Chhimi Lhakhang, famously known for its fertility shrine, where it is believed, one can receive special fertility blessings.
Afterwards, a drive to Wangdue (25 Minutes journey from Punakha). Visit Wangdue Dzong. It was founded by the Zhabdrung in 1638. In the 17th century, Wangdue played a critical role in unifying Shar Chog Khorlo Tsebgay (the western, central and southern regions of the country). It is one of the largest dzongkhags (districts) in the country covering 4,308 sq km and ranges from 800-5800 m in altitude. On 24 June 2012, the dzong caught fire and was burnt down.The renovation is still ongoing and is expected to continue until 2021.
In the evening you may visit Sangchhen Dorji Lhuendup Lhakhang Nunnery and enjoy the beautiful view of Punakha and Wangdue valleys.
Dinner and overnight at a hotel in Punakha/Wangdue.
Day 8: Punakha-Paro (3Hours-71Km)
After breakfast, drive through upper Punakha valley and take a hike through farmhouses to the beautiful Khamsum Yuelley Namgyal Chorten(stupa),(also known as Nyizergang Chöten and Punakha Zangdopelri). It was built in 2004 by the Queen Mother Ashi Tshering Yangdon Wangchuck. The establishment of the stupa is to bring peace and firmness in the world. Enjoy the amazing view of Punakha and Wangdue valleys from there.
Then travel to Paro with lunch en route. On arrival at Paro, drive 18km up to the Drukgyel Dzong.The Dzong was built by Tenzin Drukdra in 1649 at the directive of Zhabdrung Rinpoche, to honour victory over an invasion from Tibet.
Dinner and overnight at hotel in Paro.
Day 9: Paro – Departure
Advent Bhutan Tours & Travels (your local Bhutan travel agent) will see you off at the Paro International Airport for your onward destinations.
End of Tour Program
Bhutan Trip Cost for this 8 Night 9 Day Bhutan Tour Package Price
|Travel Time||1 pax||2 pax||3 pax & above|
|High Season: April 2017||US$2320/person||US$2240/person||US$2000/person|
The above Bhutan tour package prices includes the following:
- Bhutan Government Royalty of US$ 65/person/night
- FIT surcharges of US$40/person/night for a single traveler and US$30/person/night for a double
- Twin sharing hotel rooms at 3 star hotels
- All meals ( breakfast, lunch, dinner & light refreshments) with standard menu at 3 star hotels
- English speaking tour guide service
- All transfers and excursions by private vehicles
- All entrance fees to museums and monuments
- All internal taxes and fees
- Mineral drinking water
The above tour prices do not include the following:
- Fee of US$20/person for Mules/horse ride to Tiger’s Nest Monastery (Optional)
- Single room supplement of US$ 50/room/night (optional)
- Bhutanese Visa fee of US$40/person (must be paid in advance with tour cost)
- Airfares (optional)
- Travel insurance (recommended)
- 4 star and 5 star accommodations and meals (optional)
- Other personal expenses like overseas calls, laundry,etc
***Thank you & Tashi Delek***