Paro Tshechu is a renowned Bhutanese festival, celebrated annually in Paro. This colorful event showcases traditional mask dances, religious rituals, and the unfurling of the sacred Thongdrel. Paro Tshechu is a cultural spectacle that draws locals and tourists alike to celebrate Bhutan’s rich heritage.
Upon your arrival visit the following places at Paro:
Paro National Museum: The museum provides an excellent overview of Bhutanese history and culture. Shaped like a conch shell, it was completed in 1656. The museum holds the largest collection of artifacts, textiles, and antiques in Bhutan.
Paro Dzong: standing high over the Paro Valley, this fortress is a landmark in Bhutan. In1644 Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal initiated construction of this massive temple-fortress on the foundation of a monastery earlier built by Guru Rinpoche.
Paro Dungtse Lhakhang: Dungtse Lhakhang, the little three storied chorten-shaped temple, was built in 1421 by Thangtong Gyelpo to subdue the ogress on the top of whose head it is said to be built. It was restored in 1841 by the 25th Head Abbot of Bhutan, Sherab Gyeltshen and the names of the Paro donors can still be seen written on the wooden pillars of the ground floor. It is said that on the day of construction, the founder himself appeared in the form of five vultures, and circled the temple showering his blessings before taking flight to Tibet. One can also see the central tower (utse), the pinnacle of the temple, chained from four directions to the roof of the temple. It is believed that while the consecration was being performed the central tower moved, attempting to fly to Tibet. Thus to stop it from its flight the central tower was chained down.This temple is unique in Bhutan as its paintings show the progressive stages of Tantric Buddhist philosophy as well as the most important deities and figures of the Drukpa Kagyudpa School.
Overnight stay in Paro.
After breakfast drive to Taktsang base. Taktsang Lhakhang is Bhutan’s most iconic landmark and religious site. The name Taktsang translates to “The Tiger’s Nest”. This temple is one of the most holy sites in the kingdom and clings impossibly to a sheer cliff face 900 hundred meters above the Paro Valley. It was first built in 1692 at a cave where Guru Rimpoche meditated in the 7th century A.D. Legend states that Guru Rimpoche flew to the site atop the back of a tigress and meditated in the cave for 3 years, 3 months, 3 days and 3 hours in order to subdue evil demons residing within it. The cave has been considered a sacred site ever since and many famous saints have travelled to meditate in it.
Taktsang Lhakhang is located approximately 10 km north of Paro town at an altitude of 3.120 meters. In order to arrive at the temple visitors must trek for around 2-3 hours through beautiful, shady pine forests. No trip to Bhutan would be complete without a visit to this remarkable heritage site.
Upon return from Taktsang, visit Paro Kichu Lhakhang: Kichu Lhakhang: This temple was built in 659 by King Songtsen Gampo of Tibet. It holds down the left foot of an ogress whose body covers Bhutan and most of Eastern Tibet. This temple is one of the most spiritual places in Bhutan.
In the evening you can explore Paro town.
Overnight hotel at Paro.
The Paro Tshechu is held every spring and is one of the most colorful and significant events in Paro Dzongkhag (district).Paro Tshechu is considered a major attraction and people travel from neighboring districts to participate in the festivity. People from all walks of life and different districts of Bhutan visit Paro to witness the occasion. It is one of the most popular Tshechu in Bhutan.
Overnight in Paro.
Continue to witness Paro Tshechu.
Overnight in Paro.
After early breakfast, drive towards Punakha crossing Dochula Pass. On a clear day, from Dochula pass you will be able to get spectacular view of the great Himalayan ranges.
After reaching Punakha, beautiful hike takes one to the regal Khamsum Yuelley Namgel Chorten, which was built to remove negative forces and promote peace, stability and harmony in the changing world. The Chorten dominates the upper Punakha Valley with commanding views across the Mo Chhu and up towards the mountainous peaks of Gasa and beyond. The village of Nezigang is the starting point for our gradual ascent through cultivated fields and little hamlets to the Khamsum Yuley Namgay Chorten, a shrine recently built by the royal family. The shrine is an elaborate structure with a rainbow of Guru Rimpoche images and superb views of the Punakha Valley.
Hike back down and follow ancient riverside trails amid whitewashed farmhouses, en route visit Punakha Dzong Built strategically at the junction of Pho Chhu and Mo Chhu rivers in 1637, by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal to serve as the religious and administrative centre of the region, Punakha Dzong has played an important role in Bhutan’s history. Damaged by four catastrophic fires and an earthquake, the Dzong has been fully restored by the present King. The Dzong is open for visitors during Punakha festival and in summer months when the monk body moves to Thimphu.
Overnight at Punakha.
After early breakfast drive towards Phobjikha Valley passing Wangdi Dzongkhag.
Continuing your journey along the way, enjoy the views of the immense and remote Phobjikha valley and the black mountain ranges. You can stopover anytime to take pictures at your convenience. After reaching Phobjikha visit Gangtey Gompa (one of Bhutan’s oldest monasteries and recently extensively renovated).
You will be able to see the endangered bird, black-necked crane in Phobjikha – Every year the birds arrive on their wintering grounds between mid-October and remain until March through mid- April. Visit Phobjokha village and meet with locals and see the typical Bhutanese lifestyle. Phobjikha people take the black-necked cranes very seriously and have been peacefully coexisted for many years. Phobjikha people take great pride talk fondly of the endangered birds.
Overnight stay in Phobjikha.
For a full day hike around Phobjikha valley you can start your walk at the Dewachen hotel and walk from here to the Black-Necked Crane Information Centre, which has lots of information on the valley and its famous migrating birds. From here you can walk to Beta Village where there is a small school, which you are welcome to visit if you are interested.
Then continue your walk to Gangtey Gompa (one of Bhutan’s oldest monasteries and recently extensively renovated). You will walk past Semchubara village, through forests of blue pine trees covered with lichen (known as old man’s beard). Continue on from the end of the nature trail to Kingathang village where you can visit a temple built by the Queen Mother.
You will get to understand the rural livelihood of the villagers and it will be a lifetime opportunity for you to see the joy and hardships of rural Bhutan. If you wish, you can visit house of some locals and interact with them. Bhutanese people are very hospitable and it will be a privilege to invite you to their homes.
From Kingathang, you can walk via Yusa village back to your hotel. Total distance 12 to 13 Km (6 to 7 hrs).
Overnight at Phobjikha.
After breakfast, drive towards Thimphu valley. On the way, stopover to visit Chimmi Lhakhang – a short walk from the road point.
Chimi Lhakhang is a very popular and revered temple that lies on the periphery of the fertile valley of Lobesa, Wangdiphodrang where the borders of Thimphu, Punakha and Wangdiphodrang districts meet. Being dedicated to Lama Drukpa Kuenley, the Divine Madman, the temple is popularly considered to be a temple of fertility. Lama Drukpa Kuenley lived in Bhutan around the 1500s. He was a highly accomplished buddhist master. As a buddhist master, Drukpa Kuenley is placed among the highest levels of sainthood. But he is remembered more vividly for the outrageous nature of his teachings, which were administered in the most unexpected ways, often with a strong sexual overtones and inclinations. It was because of his peculiar styles that he is remembered with much fondness to this day by Buddhists in the Himalayas as an eccentric saint.
After reaching Thimphu visit some places of interest on Bhutanese handicrafts – visit craft Baazar and Centenary Farmers Market located below the main town, near the Wangchhu River, Thimphu’s weekend market is by far the largest domestic market for the farmers in Bhutan. Farmers come from all over the country to sell their farm products in the market. With its wide assortment of fresh, organic produce, the Farmer’s Market has become a favorite spot for tourists and a recreational place for people from all walks of life.
Nearby, across a cantilever footbridge, Kuendeyling Bazaam, to the west bank is a collection of stalls selling clothing, textiles and handicrafts. (Images of craft baazar & centenary farmers market).
Overnight in Thimphu.
After breakfast you will drive 12km north of Thimphu to hike to Tango monastery. It will take about 45 minutes to hike to the monastery. Tango Monastery is a Buddhist college, and it’s the residence of the Desi Tenzin Rabgye, a young boy who is the reincarnation of the 16th-century monk who built Tango.
It is not a tedious hike. You will encounter with langur and get to see different birds. The hike is refreshing and it will be a good treat for your eyes to see some breathtaking views.
Side view of Tango Buddhist College
Later in the evening you can talk a causal walk around the clock tower and visit local book / souvenir shops.
Overnight in Thimphu.
After breakfast, you can have the options to visit the following places in Thimphu.
Thimphu is the capital city of Bhutan. Thimphu is the commercial hub and also where all the central government agencies are located.
1. Changgangkha Monastery:
The temple is one of the oldest in Thimphu, built in the 12th century. The site was chosen by Lam Phajo Drugom Zhipo. After the death of his son Nyima, his descendants took care of the monastery. Its silhouette, perched high on a spur, is a landmark of Thimphu.The monastery houses Chenrizig (Avolokitesawara), an 11-headed, thousand-armed manifestation as the central statue. The prayer books in this monastery are larger than the usual Buddhist texts. There are large prayer wheels inside the monastery and small wheels on the walls outside the monastery. The main guardian deity is named Dom-Tshang.
2. Takin reserve to see the national animal: The national animal is the Takin (Burdorcastaxicolor) that is associated with religious history and mythology.It is a very rare mammal with a thick neck and short muscular legs. It lives in groups and is found above 4000 meters on the north-western and far north eastern parts of the country. They feed on bamboo. The adult Takin can weigh over 200 kgs.
4. Weaving center in Changzamtok
5. Traditional paper factory
6. Bhutan post (to see some unique Bhutanese stamps)
All that starts well must end well. In the morning your guide will accompany you to the Paro International Airport to see you off onto your flight and wish you Tashi Delek (Goodbye and Good luck).
FAQ related to visa
Your visa will be taken care by Bhutan Gateway Travel. You are requested to email us a clear valid passport with validity of six months or more prior to your visit to Bhutan.
Once approved, Bhutan Gateway Travel will email you the electronic visa (e-visa) approved by the Department of Immigration. You will print and hand carry a copy of the approved e-visa.
In case of emergency, based on the merit of the case, we will pursue with the relevant authority and get it extended. However, under normal circumstances, it is not possible to get the visa extended.
Three to five government working days.
FAQ related to SDF
The new SDF of US$100 per person per day will become effective from 1 September 2023.
The new SDF shall remain effective for four years until 31 August 2027.
Any guest who already paid the SDF for their upcoming visit to Bhutan is eligible for a refund of the excess SDF amounts paid.
When applying for a visa to enter Bhutan, you will need to pay the SDF. Visas can be applied for at the Department of Tourism’s website.
No, the incentives introduced in June 2023 have been revoked and are no longer applicable. However, the 24-hour SDF waiver for border towns in Bhutan remains valid.