Bhutan Festival Tours
Embarking on a Bhutan festival tour presents a one-of-a-kind and indelible opportunity to immerse oneself in the captivating cultural heritage of the country. Known for its vibrant festivities, Bhutan hosts an array of celebrations held throughout the year in different districts and monasteries.
During this captivating tour, visitors can witness mesmerizing traditional mask dances and various performances, actively engage in archery competitions, and relish the delectable flavors of authentic Bhutanese cuisine. Festivals serve as occasions where locals unite to celebrate their culture and spirituality, extending a warm welcome to visitors to partake in the joyful revelries.
Including prominent festivals such as the Paro Festival, Thimphu Festival, Wangdi Festival, and Punakha Festival in the Bhutan festival tour is highly recommended. While each festival boasts its distinct traditions and rituals, they collectively offer an awe-inspiring glimpse into Bhutanese culture and spiritual practices.
In essence, a Bhutan festival tours promises an extraordinary and enlightening expedition, granting visitors a window into the vast tapestry of the country’s rich cultural heritage. It serves as an ideal opportunity for those who seek to explore new cultures and venture into uncharted territories, forging unforgettable memories along the way.
Bhutan Festival Tours Package
Date: 20th to 24th April 2024
The Paro Festival, also known as the Paro Tsechu, is an annual religious festival held in Paro, Bhutan. Firstly, during the festival, locals dress up in their finest traditional attire and gather at the Paro Dzong, a stunning fortress-like monastery. Secondly, the festival commences with the unfurling of the thongdrel, a large religious scroll that is believed to bestow blessings on those who see it.
Date: 21st September 2023.
The Thimphu Festival, also known as the Thimphu Tshechu, is a vibrant annual event celebrated in Thimphu, the capital city of Bhutan. Firstly, the festival brings together locals and visitors alike, who gather at the Tashichho Dzong, an impressive fortress and monastery. Secondly, the festival features captivating masked dances and cultural performances, showcasing Bhutanese traditions and folklore.
Date: 28th Oct to 1st November 2023
Jambhay Lhakhang Dance Festival, an exhilarating cultural event, showcases lively traditional dances in the Bumthang region of Bhutan. During the festival, performers joyously participate in the vibrant dances while clad in traditional attire. The captivating dances, accompanied by rhythmic music and chanting, enthrall both locals and visitors.
Date: 16th to 18th February 2024
Punakha is the old capital of Bhutan and the yearly festival of Punakha Domchey happens at the beginning of the year. The festival is very unique as it hosts a dramatic recreation of the scene from the 17th-century battle with the Tibetan army. This is one of the oldest festivals of the district. The festival depicts how the local Bhutanese militia duped and defeated an invading Tibetan army and forced them to withdraw.
Date 20th to 24th April 2024
Ura, situated in the scenic Bumthang region, is renowned for its breathtaking valley. The annual festival holds great significance for the local community residing in the area. During this cherished event, a sacred relic is prominently exhibited, allowing people to receive blessings and divine grace.
Date: 16th June 2024 in Bumthang
Kurjey Tsechu is celebrated in the popular Kurjey Lakhang in Bumthang. People of Jakar and Kurjey villages attend the Tshechu to pay obeisance to Guru Rinpoche who brought Buddhism to Bhutan. It is a one-day festival and the chams/dances include the Guru Tshengye and Shinjay cham performed by the monks of Kurjey Lhakhang.
Date: 19th to 21st February 2024
The festival of Punakha is celebrated every year before the nomadic people of Laya depart back home. The Punakha Tshechu (or ‘festival’) takes place each February or March inside the incredible Punakha Dzong, the ancient capital of Bhutan. As well as being a really fun and exciting day out for the Bhutanese, the tshechu also provides devout Buddhists with an opportunity for pilgrimage and prayer.
Date: 27th to 29th October 2023
Gangtey festival is very important for people living in Phobjikha. This three-day annual festival is held with the performance of various sacred mask dances that are based on Peling tradition and some unique to Gangtey valley. The festival concludes with ngedup Langwa(receiving of spiritual wisdom)which is a special blessing ritual for the people.
Date: 25th march to 8th April 2024
The Chorten Kora Festival is one of the most popular festivals in eastern Bhutan. “Kora” means circumambulation. The biggest activity of the festival is circumambulating Chorten Kora. It also attracts people from the neighboring Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh. It brings out colorful aspects of Bhutanese culture such as mask dance, a rich textile and brocade worn by the locals, and the triumphant atmosphere of the festival itself.
Date: 17th to 19th March 2024
Gasa Tshechu is the biggest event in the small district of Gasa in northwestern Bhutan. Gasa is home to highlander communities. While many mask dances are performed, the local folk dances performed are very unique and distinct adding to the festive mood of the celebration.
Date: 17th to 19th April 2024
Talo festival, renowned for its mask dances and atsara performances, features an equally popular attraction of deep religious and historical significance—the zhungdra, a Bhutanese classical dance performed by the Talo dance troupe. As the closing item on each day of the three-day Talo festival, the zhundra set consists of the three songs of Mani Sum. Samyi Sala, performed on the first day, Drukpa Dungey on the second day, and Thowachi Gangi Tselay on the final day, are the pride of the Talo people, symbolizing their cultural heritage and traditions.
Date: 15th to 16th August 2024
Prized by the Government of Japan, this fungi is native to the forest of Ura valley in Bumthang. Visitors learn to identify and harvest the wild matsutake mushroom of Bhutan during the festival. They can hike the valley’s fragrant trails and give in to the thrill of discovering their own private patch of this most coveted mushroom.
Date: 11th November 2023
The Black Necked Crane Festival is organized with the aim of raising awareness and promoting understanding about the criticality of conserving the endangered Black-Necked Cranes. This captivating festival features a variety of cultural programs, including engaging folk songs and dances, some of which revolve around the theme of black-necked cranes.
Date: 8th to 9th July 2024
The Haa Summer Festival offers a delightful opportunity to witness the beautiful flower exhibition that takes place during the event. This vibrant celebration is a captivating showcase of traditional living-culture, nomadic lifestyles, unique Bhutanese cuisine, traditional sports, and religious performances.
Date: 13th December 2023
The Druk Wangyel Tshechu, unlike traditional festivals performed by monks or laypeople, stands as a distinctive event performed by the Royal Bhutan Army. This remarkable festival serves as a tribute to the wise leadership of His Majesty Jigme Singye Wangchuck, the Fourth King of Bhutan.
Date: 22nd to 24th Sept 2023
Wangdue Tshechu is a three-day festival of mask and folk dances founded by the 4th Temporal Ruler of Bhutan, Mr. Tenzing Rabgye (1638-1696), to commemorate the birth of Guru Padmasambhava. The festival is held in wangduephodrang Dzong. The festival is Known for dance of the Ox.
Date: 20 to 23rd November 2023.
All Tshechus is followed by Mask dance and music. In Tashigang Tshechu you could see tribal people from Merak and Sakteng in their unique dresses visiting to witness the event.
Date: 8th to 10th December 2023.
This is small rural festival in the village of Nag Lhakhang in Bumthang. This festival is usuallyheld from November 21 to 23. Please reconfirm the dates for 2023.
Date: 30th December to 1st January 2024
Trongsa Tshechu is held insidethe vast Trongsa Dzong and is the oldest tshechu in bhutan. It is beleived that Tshechus in bhutan spread from Trongsa. Most of the mask dance teacher, learned in Trongsa. On the last day of the Tshechu a ginat Thongdrel is unfurled.
Date:8th to 10th October 2023
Tangsibji is a village near Ura valley in Bumthang District. Bumthang is the cultural capital of Bhutan. The festival is held in the small village temple starting in September.
Date: 23rd to 24th October 2023
Royal Highlander Festival is being celebrated to convey the message to the world about climate change. The highlander people from Laya participate in this festival
Date: 14th to 16 April 2024
Bhutan is a country of Flowers. Almost 30 different species of Rhododendrons is discovered in Bhutan. Rhododendron Festival draws hundreds of visitors from all over the region and features the Rhododendron Festival Pageant, the Craft Fair with food and dances.
Date: 14th to 15th October 2023
The beautiful Jomolhari Mountain is held every year on the base camp of Jomolhari mountain. Jomolhari Mountain Festival & Trek combines the Jomolhari Trek with an exquisitely themed two-day event celebrated at the base of Mt. Jomolhari.
Date: 17th to 19 March 2024
Zhemgang is a remote district in the Country but it is the birding paradise of Bhutan. Enjoy the festival with Birds.
Tentative Bhutan Festival Tours Date for 2023/2024
Bhutan Festival Tours in Western Part
- Domkhar Festival: From 30th April to 2nd May 2023 in Bumthang.
- Ura Yakchoea festival: From 2nd May to 6th May 2023 in Bumthang.
- Nimalung Festival: 26th to 28th June 2023 in Bumthang.
- Kurjey Festival: From 28th July in Bumthang Kurjey Temple.
- Mushroom Festival: 15th to 16th August 2023 in genekha Thimphu.
- Tour of The dragon(Bicycle Race) on 2nd September 2023 from Bumthang to Thimphu.
- Tamshing Phala Choepa Festival: 24th to 26th September 2023 in Bumthang.
- Thangbi Mani festival: From 24th to 30th September 2023 in Bumthang.
- Jumolhari Mountain festival: From 14th to 15th October 2023 on the base of Mt. Jumolhari.
- Jakar Festival: 22nd to 24th October 2023 in Bumthang.
- Chukha Festival:22nd to 24th October 2023 in Chukha.
- Dechenphu festival: 24th October 2023 at Dechenphu Temple.
- Jambhay Lhakhang Festival: 28th to 1st November 2023 in Jambhay Lhakhang.
- Prakhar Ducchoed festival: 29th to 31st October in Bumthang.
- Black-Necked Crane Festival: 11th November in Phobjikha.
- Jambay Lhakhang Singye Cham: From 27th November 2023 at Bumthang.
- Nalakar Tshechu: From 27th to 29th November 2023 in Bumthang.
- Druk wangyel Tshechu: From 13th December 2023 at Dochula Pass.
- Trongsa Festival: 20th to 22nd December to 2023.
Easter Bhutan Festival Tours Date 2023
Western Bhutan Festival Tours Date 2023
- Rhododendron Festival: From 14th to 16th April 2023 in Thimphu.
- Haa Summer Festival: 8th to 9th July 2023 at Haa.
- Thimphu Drubchen: 21st September 2023 in Thimphu Trashichhodzong.
- Wangdi Festival: 22nd to 24th September 2023 in Wangdi Dzong.
- Popular Thimphu Festival from 24th to 26th September 2023 in Thimphu.
- Gangtey Festival: 27th to 29th September 2023 in Gangtey.
FAQs about Bhutan Festival?
Bhutan Festival tours are cultural experiences that allow you to witness and immerse yourself in the vibrant and traditional festivals of Bhutan. These festivals, known as “Tsechus,” celebrate Buddhist teachings through mask dances, religious rituals, and community gatherings.
Bhutanese festivals, or Tsechus, occur throughout the year, following the lunar calendar. The dates vary from year to year, so it’s important to check the festival schedule in advance.
Festival tours typically last for a few days to a week, depending on the specific festival you’re attending and your chosen itinerary. These tours often include additional cultural and sightseeing activities as well.
Bhutan Festivals are a blend of religious significance, cultural performances, and communal celebrations. You can expect to see elaborate mask dances performed by monks and locals, along with traditional music, colorful costumes, and a festive atmosphere.
To book a Bhutan Festival tour, you need to go through a registered Bhutanese tour operator. They will assist you with the necessary arrangements, including obtaining a visa, planning your itinerary, and organizing accommodation, transportation, and festival access.
Dressing in traditional Bhutanese attire is encouraged, but not mandatory. For both men and women, this attire includes the gho (robe-like outfit) for men and kira (wrap-around dress) for women. Dress modestly and respectfully to adhere to Bhutanese cultural norms. You can hire the dress or buy in one of the shops.
Yes, you can take photographs, but it’s important to respect the guidelines provided by your tour guide and the festival organizers. Some ceremonies and rituals may require you to refrain from photography out of respect for religious traditions.
Yes, there are a few customs to keep in mind. Always walk around religious sites and chortens (stupas) clockwise, remove your shoes before entering temples, and ask for permission before taking photos of individuals.
One of the most popular and widely celebrated festivals in Bhutan is the “Paro Tsechu.” The Paro Tsechu is a vibrant religious and cultural festival that takes place in the town of Paro, which is one of the most picturesque valleys in Bhutan. Here are some details about this renowned festival:
- Location: Paro Valley, Bhutan.
- Timing: The dates of the Paro Tsechu vary each year based on the Bhutanese lunar calendar. It usually takes place in the spring, typically between March and April.
- Duration: The festival typically lasts for about four to five days.
- Significance: The Paro Tsechu is held to honor Guru Rinpoche, also known as Padmasambhava, who brought Buddhism to Bhutan in the 8th century. The festival is a time for both religious observance and community celebration.
Yes, you can customise the itineraries to cater to your preferences. You can discuss your interests, the duration of your stay, and the places you want to visit with the tour operator to create a personalized experience.
Remember, a Bhutan Festival tour is not only about the festivities but also about embracing the rich culture, spirituality, and unique way of life that Bhutan has to offer. It’s an opportunity to connect with locals, witness ancient traditions, and create lasting memories.
List of Tours you can combine with Bhutan Festival Tours.
- 11 Days Druk Path Trek
- Jumolhari Base Camp Trek
- 29 Days Snowman trek
- Dagala Thousand Lake Trek
- Laya Gasa trek
- Rodungla trek.
- Nub Tshonapata Trek
- Bumthang Owl trek
- Gangtey trek
- Sinchula Trek
- Salt Trek Route.
- Dur Hot Spring trek
- Nabji Korphu Trek
- Chelela Trek
- Bumdra Trek
- Samtengang Trek
- Royal Heritage Trek
- Rigsum Goenpa Trek
- 7 Days Bhutan Cultural Tour with Home Stay.
- 3 Days Bhutan Cultural Tour with Tiger Nest.
- 5 Days Cultural Tour with Haa.
- 9 Days Classic Bhutan Tour.
- 4 Days Hidden Kingdom Tour.
- 6 Days Bhutan Visit with Gangtye Valley Excursion.
- 12 Days Himalaya Journey with Bumthang Valley.
- 8 Days Cultural Heritage Tour.
- 5 Days Best of Bhutan Tour.
- 8 Days Rafting and Hiking Tour.
- 15 Days Amazing Bhutan Tour.
Bhutan Luxury Tours
Bhutan by Months
Tour Company Licensed
We are a licensed tour company based in Thimphu approved by the Tourism Council of Bhutan. We are a sister company of Excursion to the Himalayas.
Bhutan Festival Tours and Dances
Festivals in Bhutan
Bhutan celebrates numerous festivals, encompassing both secular and religious occasions. Among them, the most popular religious festival is the Tshechu, dedicated to honoring the memory of Guru Padmasambhava. These festivals vividly portray significant episodes and remarkable achievements from the life of Guru Padmasambhava. Typically held on the 10th day of the Bhutanese calendar, the Tshechu tradition was established in the 16th century by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, and many of the dances and ceremonies performed today are attributed to him or Pema Lingpa. These Bhutanese festivals often span from 2 to 5 days and take place in various major Dzongs at different times throughout the year.
On the final day of the festival, people gather as early as 3 am in the morning to witness the Thongdrel, a large religious scroll. Some Tshechu festivals include the custom of “wang,” which involves the high priest delivering collective verbal blessings, followed by the distribution of colored threads. Devotees then tie these threads around their necks as a tangible symbol of the bestowed blessings. Furthermore, Bhutan offers a plethora of other fascinating tours and festivals that visitors can witness and enjoy.
Check the best time to travel to Bhutan
How Bhutan Festival ends and what does it depict?
They are actually treated with great respect as they are believed to be the representative of the ancient Acharyas-the Sanskrit word for teachers. During the interval between Chhams women in gorgeous traditional attire sing and perform classical dances. Most of the Festival ends with unfurling with great Thangka depicting Guru Padmasambhava and his eight manifestations. Such a thangka which is worshipped is called Thongdrel(Liberation on sight) and it is believed that simply by seeing it some are delivered from the cycle of reincarnation or their sins of this lifetime are washed away.
Why Tshechu is Important for Bhutanese People?
The Tshechu is a religious festival and it is believed that by attending it a person gains merit. It also serves as the largest annual social gathering for the area with people decked up in all their finery coming to join in the celebration of good over evil, hoping all their unanswered wishes and prayers would be considered. Besides the dancers and musicians, the key character is the Atsara (Joker with big Phallus) who wears a dramatically expressive mask with a big bulging nose. The irreverent joke provides comic relief when the audience gets restive and only they are allowed to confront the monk and mock the religion(without any malicious intent).
The religious dances are called Chhams and are performed by monks as well as laypeople, with the dances remaining the same but the order of performance varying from place to place. Chhams are the core event of the monastic festival. These highly choreographed sacred dance dramas are performed by masked lamas to the accompaniment of the monastic orchestra. The central theme is inevitably the depiction of the triumph of good over evil.
What the Festival attire means during Celebration
The lamas are dressed in rich brocade robes but it is mask they wear that makes the festival unique. Some dances wear fierce and terrifying whereas some are benign and pleasant. They represent various divinities from the Buddhist pantheon. The fearsome mask is actually the bodhisattvas in their wrathful, tantric form. Some of the Important dances are The Dance of the Four Stags, The Dance of the Heroes, The Dance of the Stag and Hounds, Dance of the Drums from Dremetse, Dance of the Black Hats, Dance of the twenty-one Black Hats and Drums, Dance of the Lord of the Cremation Ground, Dance of the Judgement of the Dead and Dance of the eight manifestations of Guru Padmasambhava. Each dance has a deep meaning of its own.
9 Different Dance during the Festival in Bhutan
- The dance of Stags is a protective dance that marks the subduing of the God of the Winds.
- Dance of the heroes proclaims the glory of Buddhism and depicts Pema Lingpa’s arrival in Guru heaven.
- Dance of the Stag and Hound represents the conversion of Hunter into Buddhism by Milarepa.
- The dance of the Drums from Dremetse was composed by a saint from the east and depicts the dance of heaven and victory over evil.
- Dance of the Black Hat is the powerful purification rite.
- Dance of the twenty-one Black hat with drums represents the triumph of Buddhism and religion is represented by the beating of the drums.
- Dance of the Lord of the Cremation carries tantric symbolism with skull clad dancers guarding the eight cremation grounds located at the edge of a cosmic diagram.
- Dance of the Judgement of the dead represnts the judgemt after the dead.
- Dance of the eight manifestation of Guru is a glory dance that shows the eight aspects under which the ripoche manifested.
Planning to Travel Bhutan During Festival
On Popular Bhutan festival Tours like Paro Festival, Thimphu Festival, seats to flights to Bhutan tend to get fully booked and for this reason, we would advise you to book the tickets with us as early as 5months prior to your travel date. Bhutan has only two local flights operating in Bhutan and there is no other International airline operating in Bhutan. We don’t charge anything for ticket booking.