Sacred Festivals of Bhutan

  • Gain an insider's perspective on Bhutanese culture and religion
  • Monasteries, dzong, temples, and other architectural treasures
  • Choose a spring, summer, fall, or winter departure and its corresponding festival
Trip Type: Scheduled Departure & Sample Itinerary
Trip Length: 7–9 Days
Activity type(s): Cultural Tour
Trip Extensions: Angkor Extension
Laos Extension

Bhutan’s festivals are joyous expressions of its Buddhist culture. Françoise Pommaret, describing their Chaucerian atmosphere, writes that “the festivals offer Bhutanese an opportunity to become immersed in the meaning of their religion [but] they are also occasions for seeing people and being seen. People bring their finest clothes, their most beautiful jewels; they take out picnics rich with meat and alcohol. Men and women joke and flirt. An atmosphere of convivial, slightly ribald good humor prevails.”

In the spring and summer Sacred Festivals, we attend the Punakha serda, the grand Paro tshechu, or the intimate Gangtey kurim. In the fall, we visit Thimphu’s equally exuberant tshechu. And once again we’re pleased to offer festival trips to the central Bhutanese village of Trongsa over the winter holidays. We join hundreds of villagers as they enjoy a rollicking carnival and watch mystical masked dances. All trips visit the important villages and historic sites of western Bhutan, such as Paro, Thimphu, and Punakha. (Note that Sacred Festivals is a great trip to extend to or from. Angkor beckons, and so do a host of easily accessed Asian destinations.)


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Itinerary at a Glance

  • 7-Day Trip:
  • Day 1: arrive in Paro
  • Day 2: drive to Punakha
  • Day 3: explore Punakha
  • Day 4: drive to Thimphu
  • Day 5: morning in Thimphu, return to Paro
  • Day 6: explore Paro
  • Day 7: fly to Bangkok.

  • 9-Day Trip:
  • Day 1: arrive in Paro
  • Day 2: drive to Wangdi via Chimi Lhakhang
  • Day 3: to Trongsa via Chendibji Chorten
  • Day 4: Trongsa festival
  • Day 5: to Punakha, visit dzong
  • Day 6: to Thimphu, explore
  • Day 7: to Paro, Paro Dzong and Ugyen Pelri
  • Day 8: hike to Taktsang Lhakhang
  • Day 9: fly to Bangkok.