Druk Wangyel Tsechu-Bhutan - 8 Days

The Druk Wangyel Festival was established in 2011 in commemoration of His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo and the Armed Forces’ victory over Indian insurgent forces residing in southern Bhutan in 2003. The Tsechu takes place every December 13th at the Druk Wangyel Lhakhang Festival Ground located at Dochula Pass around 22km from the capital city Thimphu. The Druk Wangyel Tshechu is a unique festival in that it is performed by the Royal Bhutan Army rather than monks or laypeople. It is a tribute to the wise leadership of His Majesty Jigme Singye Wangchuck, the Fourth King of Bhutan. It also celebrates the continuous efforts of the Royal Bhutan Army in protecting the sovereignty and the stability of the country. Her Majesty the Queen Mother Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck is the founder and patron of the Druk Wangyel Festival. Druk Wangyel Lhakhang, the venue for the festival, and the 108 Khangzang Chortens at the Dochula Pass were also built by Her Majesty. Dochula Pass is located at an altitude of 3,116m, and is one of the most scenic locations in the entire kingdom, offering a stunning panoramic view of the Himalayan mountain range. The close proximity of this festival to Paro and Thimphu makes it ideal for those with limited time looking to experience a Bhutanese festival as well as the unique cultural experiences that Bhutan has to offer

Overview

The Druk Wangyel Festival was established in 2011 in commemoration of His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo and the Armed Forces’ victory over Indian insurgent forces residing in southern Bhutan in 2003. The Tsechu takes place every December 13th at the Druk Wangyel Lhakhang Festival Ground located at Dochula Pass around 22km from the capital city Thimphu. The Druk Wangyel Tshechu is a unique festival in that it is performed by the Royal Bhutan Army rather than monks or lay people. It is a tribute to the wise leadership of His Majesty Jigme Singye Wangchuck, the Fourth King of Bhutan. It also celebrates the continuous efforts of the Royal Bhutan Army in protecting the sovereignty and the stability of the country. Her Majesty the Queen Mother Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck is the founder and patron of the Druk Wangyel Festival. Druk Wangyel Lhakhang, the venue for the festival, and the 108 Khangzang Chortens at the Dochula Pass were also built by Her Majesty. Dochula Pass is located at an altitude of 3,116m, and is one of the most scenic locations in the entire kingdom, offering a stunning panoramic view of the Himalayan mountain range. The close proximity of this festival to Paro and Thimphu makes it ideal for those with limited time looking to experience a Bhutanese festival as well as the unique cultural experiences that Bhutan has to offer

Itinerary

Day 1
ARRIVE 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. Our company representative will meet you at Paro airport exit doors following customs formalities. After lunch enjoys afternoon sightseeing around Paro, including a visit to the Ta Dzong Museum housing many religious relics, works of art, and handicrafts offering a great orientation into Bhutan’s historical, cultural, and religious past. Next, visit the Rimpong 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. Afterward, drive to the capital, Thimphu (1.5 hours) following the Pachu River. Before dinner at the hotel, there will be an orientation on Bhutanese etiquette by your guide. Overnight at your hotel in Thimphu.

Day 2
THIMPHU

Once a rustic village sitting in a broad, fertile river valley, Thimphu is today the nation’s bustling capital. Enjoy a full day of sightseeing, including a visit to the stunning Buddha Dordenma Statue, made of bronze and gilded in gold, and the National Memorial Chorten depicting the Buddhist faith in the form of paintings and statues. This temple was first initiated by the Third King as a protection from the negative elements of modernization, and as a monument to world peace. The Royal Queen Mother completed it as a memorial stupa for the Third King who passed away in 1972. Continue on to 12th-century Changangkha Temple, The National Library housing the collection of Bhutanese scriptures dating back to the 8th century, and Tashichhodzong houses some ministries, His Majesty’s secretariat, and the central monk body. If your visit to Thimphu coincides with the weekend, you can walk through the Thimphu Market to see the variety of food of Bhutan, including basket upon basket of fiery chilies, fresh cheese, and a variety of fresh greens. In addition, many stalls contain Bhutanese handicrafts and household items. (This market is open only from Friday until mid-Sunday). Overnight at your hotel in Thimphu.

Day 3
Druk Wangyel Tshechu

Leave Thimphu early after Breakfast up to Dochu-La pass (3,100 meters) to attend the spectacular Druk Wangyel Festival (45 Minutes drive, 22 km). Set amidst this breathtaking backdrop of Himalayan mountains, the Druk Wangyel Tsechu is an experience unlike any other and truely exemplifies Bhutanese cultural traditions. The Druk Wangyel Lhakhang was built over a period of four years (2004-2008) under the vision and patronage of Her Majesty the Queen Mother Ashi Dorji Wangmo. The Lhakhang honors the courageous service of the Fourth King, who personally led the troops against the insurgents, as well as the regular Armed Forces of the country. The Druk Wangyel Tshechu is a unique festival performed by the Royal Bhutan Army rather than monks or laypeople. It is a tribute to the wise leadership of His Majesty Jigme Singye Wangchuck, the Fourth King of Bhutan. It also celebrates the continuous efforts of the Royal Bhutan Army in protecting the sovereignty and the stability of the country. Afterward drive towards the Royal Botanical Park at Lamperi, which is situated at an altitude range of 2,100m to 3,800m. The park (47 square kilometers), serves as the biological corridor connecting to the Jigme Dorji National Park and Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park. Continue on to Punakha where you will have the remainder of the day at leisure. Stroll around Punakha town in the evening. Overnight at a hotel in Punakha.

Day 4
PUNAKHA

Punakha was the ancient capital of Bhutan. Visit Punakha Dzong, the “Palace of Great Happiness”. 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). It is the winter headquarters of the Je Khenpo and hundreds of monks who move en masse from Thimphu to this warmer location. 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. After lunch enjoys a walk to Chimi Lhakhang, the temple of the Drukpa Kuenly who is also known as the Divine Madman. He inherited the Divine Madman title since he revolted against 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. Overnight at your hotel in Punakha/ Wangduephodrang.

Day 5
PUNAKHA – PARO

In the morning drive to Yabesa village and hike to through ricefields and up to Khamsum Yueley Namgyal Chorten, built by her majesty the queen Ashi Tshering Yangdon Wangchuk. Perched high on a hill on the bank of the river, the Chorten houses paintings belonging to Nyingmapa Traditions.
Take a picnic lunch on a picturesque riverside before exploring the Wangduephodrang Dzong. Built in 1639 the strategically located Dzong is perched on a spur at the confluence of two rivers. Drive back to Thimphu where you will have an opportunity to visit handicraft and souvenir stores. Afterward proceed to Paro, visiting Semtokha Dzong en route. The Dzong, built-in 1627, is the oldest in Bhutan. It now houses the Institute for Language and Culture studies. On arrival in Paro, check into the hotel. Overnight at your hotel in Paro.

Day 6
Paro

After breakfast hike to Taktsang Monastery. The trail is broad and the walk of approximately 2 hours uphill takes you almost a kilometer above the Paro valley floor (for those who cannot hike we will arrange a horse for transfer up to the viewing point). The view of Taktsang Monastery built on a sheer cliff face 900 meters above the valley floor is a spectacular sight. The Monastery is also an important pilgrim site for Buddhists. The great Guru Rimpoche is said to have flown here on the back of a tigress when he brought the teachings of the Buddhist Dharma to Bhutan in the 8th Century. He then mediated in a cave there for three months where the monastery was later built. Nearby there is a teahouse where you can stop for refreshments. In the afternoon drive to the ruins of the 17th Century Drukgyel Dzong, a historic monument built by the Shabdrung to commemorate his victory against invading Tibetans in 1644. In fine weather, the towering peak of the sacred Mount Jomolhari (7314m) appears as a stunning backdrop. On the return drive to Paro, visit 7th Century Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the 108 temples constructed by the Tibetan king Songtsen Gampo. Alternatively, day 6 could be spent on a day trip to the Haa Valley, one of the most picturesque districts in Bhutan. Reached via the beautiful Chelila Pass, Haa Valley is characterized by its surrounding rugged and mountainous terrain. Overnight at your hotel in Paro.

Day 7
DEPART PARO

Breakfast in the hotel, then drives to the airport for a flight to your onward destination. Tashi Delek!

The Trip Cost Includes

  • Visa Fee
  • Hotel Accommodation
  • only including 3 stars above
  • Tour Guide
  • All meals inclusive
  • All transportation in the destination location
  • Taxes, surcharges, the government contribution, Tourism Development Fund.
  • Mineral water for the duration of the stay

The Trip Cost Excludes

  • Guide Service Fee
  • Driver Service Fee
  • Any Private Expenses
  • Room Service Fees
  • Travel Insurance

Frequently asked Questions

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Where is Bhutan ?

Bhutan is a small, landlocked nation located in the eastern Himalayas between India and China. Its landscape ranges from subtropical plains and forests in the South to subalpine forests and snowy mountains in the North. Bhutan is a predominantly Buddhist country and is known as the last stronghold of Mahayana Buddhism.

Do I need to use a tour operator to book my travel ?

It is a government regulation that you must use a licensed Bhutanese tour operator to book your travel to Bhutan or one of their international partners.

Do I need a visa to enter Bhutan ?

All International tourists wishing to enter Bhutan require a visa which must be pre-arranged through a licensed Bhutanese Tour Operator or one of their international partners. Visa clearance must be obtained through your tour operator prior to travel. For Indian passport (or VIC) holders, Bangladeshi nationals and persons from the Maldives may obtain a visa on entry.

How much does the visa cost ?

For International tourist visas, a cost of USD 40 is applicable. This can be paid in advance to your tour operator or travel agent. For Indian passport (or VIC) holders, Bangladeshi nationals, and persons from the Maldives, there is no cost incurred.

How do I get to Bhutan ?

There are a number of airports where you can fly into Bhutan from (Bangkok, Delhi, Kolkata, Bagdogra, Bodh Gaya, Dhaka, Kathmandu, Guwahati, Singapore and Mumbai.). At present two carriers operate to Bhutan, Drukair and Bhutan Airlines. Also, there are three land border crossings which you can travel into the kingdom overland. All crossings are along the Indian border only – Phuentsholing, Gelephu, and Samdrup Jongkhar. All travel arrangements to Bhutan must be made through a local tour operator. A list of tour companies operating in Bhutan is available on this website. Your selected tour operator will make all the necessary arrangements.

What does the $200/$250 per day minimum daily package include?

The $200 per day (January, February, June, July, August) and $250 per day (March, April, May, September, October, November) package includes a minimum of 3-star accommodations, costs for food, an experienced guide, and transportation within the country. Also included in the price is a $65 per day Sustainable Development Fee that goes towards free education, free healthcare, and poverty alleviation. All of these services will be arranged by your tour operator.

What currency is used in Bhutan ?

Bhutanese currency is known as the Ngultrum. Its value is tied to the Indian Rupee which is widely accepted in the country.

Is there a limit on the number of tourists that can enter Bhutan each year ?

There is no limit on the number of tourists allowed to visit in a year. In order to protect our culture, traditions, and natural environment, the government has adopted a unique policy of “High Value, Low Impact ”. This policy is aimed at attracting discerning tourists that will respect the unique culture and values of the Bhutanese people while also providing the visitors with an unforgettable one-of-a-kind experience.

What’s the food like in Bhutan ?

The most distinctive characteristic of Bhutanese cuisine is its spiciness. Chilies are an essential part of nearly every dish and are considered so important that most Bhutanese people would not enjoy a meal that is not spicy.

Rice forms a staple Bhutanese diet. It is accompanied by one or two side dishes consisting of meat or vegetables. Pork, beef, and chicken are consumed most often. A wide selection of western and Indian food is also available in many of the restaurants around the country.

You can send your enquiry via the form below.

Druk Wangyel Tsechu-Bhutan

Trip Facts

  • 1-32 people
  • HOTEL DRUK THIMPHU, Norkhil Boutique Hotel & Spa
  • Paro International Air Port
  • Moderate