Paro Tsechu

Tour Highlights:

The Paro Tsechu Festival is a fabulous time to visit Bhutan and experience its ancient culture. Among all sacred rituals, dances and music, the Paro Tsechu features a silk Thangka, unfurled to the size of a face of a building, as the most sacred blessing of Bhutan. The Thangka, or ‘thongdroel', is a religious picture scroll exhibited only for a few hours at daybreak on the final day of the festival for people to receive its blessing. This holy scroll "confers liberation by the mere sight of it" (the meaning of the word ‘thongdroel' in Bhutanese).

Routes & Distances at Glance:

Day 1: Paro - Thimphu: 65km/1hour drive
Day 2: Thimphu Festival:
Day 3: Thimphu Excursion:
Day 4:Thimphu-Punakha: 78km/3 hours drive
Day 5: Punakha-Gangtey: 78km/3 hours drive
Day 6: Gangtey-Paro: 185km/7 hours drive
Day 7: Taktsang Monastery Hike (6 hours roundtrip)
Day 8: Departure
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Detailed Itinerary:

Day 1: Paro - Thimphu
The flight to Paro is one of the most spectacular mountain flights in the world, with a constantly changing panorama of some of the highest mountains on earth. After visa formality, you will meet the guide of White Umbrella tours at Paro airport exit doors. We drive to Thimphu and after a short refreshment in hotel, we visit Kings' Memorial Stupa in the evening and spend some time there where aged religious locals are busy with making circumambulation around the stupa.
Day 2: Thimphu
Our excursion start from Kunsel Phodrang (Buddha point) to have a ‘Birds Eye View' of Thimphu valley followed up by Arts and Craft School. This is a vocational training institute where the art of painting, woodcraft and sculpturing are taught to students with the objective of preserving the rich and pristine heritage. Later, drive to and visit the zoo to see the national animal ‘Takin'. Later, visit Tashicho Dzong, the main secretariat which houses the summer residence of the central monk body and main seat of government. Its majestic architecture in finely balanced proportions is complemented by artistic decorations and paintings. Leisure time and visit Handicraft shops in the city.
Day 3:Thimphu - Punakha
Drive over the Dochu-La pass (3,100 meters), which on a clear day offers an incredible view of Himalayan peaks before descending into balmy Punakha valley (about 3 hrs total driving time).
The drive through the countryside affords a glimpse of everyday life in this most remote of Himalayan kingdom.
In the Dochu-La area there are vast Rhododendron forests that grow to tree size and bloom in late April/early May covering the mountains in a riot of glorious spring color. Punakha was the ancient capital of Bhutan. On arrival, drive to PunakhaDzong, the ‘Palace of Great Happiness'. It was built in 1637 by the Shabdrung, the ‘Unifier of Bhutan'. Punakha Dzong is situated at the confluence of the Mo Chu and Pho Chu (Mother and Father Rivers). The three-story main temple of the Punakha Dzong is a breathtaking example of traditional architecture with four intricately embossed entrance pillars crafted from cypress and decorated in gold and silver. It was here in 1907 that Bhutan's first king was crowned. Hike to Chimi Lhakhang, temple of the Drukpa Kuenly who is also known as the Divine Madman. He inherited the Divine Madman title since he revolted against the orthodox Buddhism in his time. He taught the people that religion is an inner feeling and it's not necessary that one should be an ordained monk. He is also considered a symbol of fertility and most childless couples go to his temple for blessing.

Afterwards, drive 30 minutes towards northern part of Punakha valley and hike to Khumsum chorten. It's about less than 2 hours hike, worth to do hike as when you approach on hill, you will have splendor view of valley.

Day 4:Punakha - Gangtey
Drive to Wangduephodrang and visit the Dzong which is perched on a spur at the confluence of two rivers. The position of the Dzong is remarkable as it completely covers the spur and commands an impressive view both up and down the valley.

Then drive up a winding mountain road through oak and rhododendron forest, and over a high pass down into the Phobjikha valley, surely one of the loveliest high altitude valleys in Bhutan.
Phobjikha is one of Bhutan's few glacial valleys, and chosen winter home of black necked cranes, migrating from the Tibetan plateau. Explore Phobjikha valley and also visit Gangtey Gompa (Monastery), the only Nyingmapa monastery in western Bhutan.
Altitude at Gangtey: 3000m
Overnight: Farm house
Day 5: Gangtey - Paro
Drive to Paro from balmy Punakha valley, then begins a long climb back up to the Dochu La, where a stunning field of white chortens and colorful prayer flags send blessings up to the Himalayan sky; snow peaks line the horizon.
Today enjoy sightseeing around Paro, including a visit to the National Museum, Ta Dzong. This museum houses many religious relics, works of art and handicrafts offering a great orientation into Bhutan's historical and cultural past.
Next, visit the Rinpong Dzong to see the painting of the great saint Milarepa, considered as the master of meditation by the Bhutanese and believed to have attained enlightenment in a lifetime. Dzong's are large monasteries and district administrative centers, which were once strategic forts. Afterwards walk to the beautiful cantilever wooden bridge still in use.
Altitude at Paro: 2300 m

Day 6: Paro festival
Today we will participate the Paro Tsechu or festival almost a whole day. The festival is not only a performance of religious dance but including numerous folk and traditional dances by lay people. There are always some entertainment performed by the Bhutanese Clown known as "Atsra" during the performance break. You will see the difference between Bhutanese festival and others. Here, it is kind of socio-family as well as religious gathering where whole family come together and enjoy the sacred performance with a delicious picnic lunch. All children looks happy as they can wear the best cloths and get some pocket money from the parents on that day where they can eat whatever they like from the food stalls of them. In the evening, we go for a walking excursion in the city.

Day 7:Taktsang Monastery Hike
One could attend the last day of celebration (depending on your travel date) where in the early, the monks display a gigantic thangkha (embroidered painting of Padmasambhava) inside the dzong. Thongdrols are especially impressive examples of Buddhist art and never fail to amaze viewers. It is so sacred that simply by seeing it one's entire sins may cleansed.

After breakfast, we hike to Taktsang Monastery. It is a strenuous hike as you have to climb up and down more than 500 steps to pass one gorge to reach the monastery at the end. But rest of the trail itself is an enjoyable for many hikers since climbs through beautiful pine forest and an occasional grove of fluttering prayer flags. You can have different angles panoramic view of Paro valley. One can hire horse and enjoy on the back of a horse till half way if you like horse riding.
This monastic retreat is built into a sheer cliff face high above the Paro valley. Legend says that the Indian Buddhist Saint Padmasambhava flew across the Himalayas on the back of a tigress and landed here and mediated in one cave. He was also a religious hero for almost whole Bhutanese people as he brought Buddhism to Bhutan in early 8th-century.
On the way back to Paro, we visit 7th-century Kyichu Lhakhang which is believed to be one of the 108 temples constructed in one day at the behest of the Tibetan king Songtsen Gampo.

Altitude at Paro: 2300 m

Day 8: Departure
Transfer to the airport and see you off.

Tour date

By request
(8 days / 7 nights)

Group size & price

from 4-10 pax:
1.910,- € per person

Price includes

  • 3* hotels double occupancy
  • Full board
  • private vehicle
  • all entrance fees
  • English speaking Bhutanese guide (other languages upon request)
  • Visa fee

Supplementary fee

  • Single individual
    80 USD per night
  • Group of 2 persons
    30 USD per person per night
  • single occupancy
    40 USD per night

* Any individual tours and services can be upgraded according to your time and interest on request.
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