Sustainable Development fee additional incentives for the tourist

The Royal Government of Bhutan is pleased to announce additional incentives and policy measures to boost the tourism sector. This is in view of the important role of the tourism sector in generating employment; earning foreign exchange; realizing the potential for spillover benefits for ancillary industries; and in boosting overall economic growth.

The incentives and measures shall consist of the following:

  1. A fifty percent discount shall be granted on the prevailing SDF of USD 200 for US Dollar paying tourists visiting Bhutan. The effective SDF with the discount shall be USD 100 per person per day for US Dollar paying tourists.
  2. In addition, a fifty percent discount on the SDF shall be granted on the rates applied to children aged between 6 to 12 years for US Dollar paying children visiting as tourists.
  3. The 24-hour SDF waiver for tourists staying in the border towns shall continue.
    The above incentives will come into effect from 1 September 2023 and shall remain effective for four years till 31 August 2027.
  4. The Royal Government shall conduct periodic assessments of the domestic and international tourism scenarios and may discontinue the above incentives to uphold and promote the High-Value Low Volume Tourism Policy of Bhutan after 31 August 2027.

Note:- We will be updated when and when the government specifies all terms and conditions clearly. 

Courtesy:  Ministry of Industry, Commerce & Employment. 

Traveling to Bhutan via Transit: Guidelines and Procedures

Traveling to Bhutan involves transit through selected Asian countries due to the absence of direct flights. To ensure a seamless journey, travelers must adhere to transit formalities set by the respective transit countries. Please note that regulations may evolve, thus consulting relevant authorities or airlines closer to your travel date is advised. Bhutan flights operate primarily from the following Asian countries only:

  1. India, City of Delhi/Calcutta/Guwahati/Bagdogra
  2. Thailand, City of Bangkok
  3. Nepal, Kathmandu
  4. Bangladesh, City of Dhaka
  5. Singapore, City of Changi

India Transit Guidelines and Procedures

If you are transiting through an Indian airport and not leaving the international transit area, you generally don’t need an Indian visa. However, if you plan to leave the airport or if your transit time is quite long, you might need a transit visa. Check with the Indian embassy or consulate in your country for the latest visa requirements. Additionally, you can get an Indian E-visa that can serve the purpose of like regular visa but is limited to certain airports & seaports only. In case, if you wish to enter or exit Bhutan via land, Indian E-visa is not accepted, and you need a multi-regular visa. Below are general guidelines for transit in India

  • Documentation: Make sure to have all your travel documents including your passport (Which is valid for more than 6 months), boarding passes for both your incoming and connecting flights, and any required visas for your destination.
  • Eligibility: Some nationalities might require a transit visa for even short layovers, while others might be exempted. Check with the Indian embassy or consulate to confirm the requirements for your nationality.
  • Application Process: The application process for an Indian transit visa might involve applying to the Indian embassy or consulate in your home country or at the nearest Indian diplomatic mission.
  • Transit Visa Fees: Transit visa fees can vary based on your nationality and the duration of your stay. Check with the Indian embassy or consulate for the most up-to-date information on visa fees.
  • Validity and Conditions: Transit visas are usually valid for the duration of your layover, and you’re generally expected to stay within the international transit area of the airport for 72 hours. If you plan to exit the airport during your layover, you might need to apply for a regular tourist visa.

 Indian E-visa:

The Indian government had initiated and introduced eVisa which can obtain online before your travel date. This eVisa can serve the purpose of a regular visa and ease the hassle of going to the Indian embassy or consulate. The visa duration starts date of issue and not on the date of entry. In case, if your eVisa gets expired you have optioned to re-apply and get new eVisa.  One cannot Switch or change visa type once issued.

e-Visa Facility for Entry into India: The Indian e-Visa is valid for entry through 24 designated airports (i.e., Ahmedabad, Amritsar, Bagdogra, Bengaluru, Calicut, Chennai, Chandigarh, Cochin, Coimbatore, Delhi, Gaya, Goa, Guwahati, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Kolkata, Lucknow, Mangalore, Mumbai, Nagpur, Pune, Tiruchirapalli, Trivandrum & Varanasi) and 3 designated seaports (i.e., Cochin, Goa, Mangalore). However, the Indian e-Visa holder can exit from any of the authorized Immigration Check Posts (ICPs) in India.

Transit Visa Guidelines for Thailand

One can avail Thai transit visa at the Thai Embassy or consulate office in your country and requirements may vary based on your nationality, the length of your layover, and the specific regulations in place at the time of your travel. Transit visas typically allow you to stay in Thailand for a limited period, often ranging from a few hours to a maximum of 24 to 48 hours, depending on the specific type of transit visa issued. Further, they do facilities transit visas (TVOA) on arrival for certain nationalities under specific conditions. However, these policies can change, and it’s essential to confirm the status and requirements directly from official sources. If your layover is short and you remain within the international transit area, a transit visa may not be required. However, if you plan to leave the airport for any reason, a transit visa might be necessary.

Transit Visa Application:

  • Documentation: You’ll need to provide the necessary documentation, including a valid passport, confirmed airline tickets showing your onward journey, and any other documents required by the Thai embassy or consulate.
  • Application Process: Complete the required visa application form and gather the necessary documents. Depending on the processing time, you’ll receive your transit visa if approved. When you arrive in Thailand, ensure you follow the rules and guidelines outlined by Thai immigration authorities.

Thai arrival Transit Visa:

  • Eligibility: TVOAs are typically granted to travelers who meet specific criteria, such as having confirmed onward travel within a certain time frame and holding valid visas for the destination country (Bhutan in your case). The eligibility criteria can vary based on nationality and other factors.
  • Duration: The TVOA may have a limited duration, usually allowing you to stay in Thailand for a short period, often ranging from a few hours to a maximum of 24 to 48 hours.
  • Documentation: To apply for a TVOA, you might need to provide documents such as a valid passport(Which is valid for more than 6 months), confirmed flight tickets for onward travel, and potentially a visa or other entry permit for your destination.
  • Application Process: Upon arrival at the Thai airport, you would typically proceed to the designated visa-on-arrival counter. There, you’ll need to fill out an application form, present the required documents, and pay the visa fee if applicable. After processing, you’ll receive the TVOA.
  • Fee: There might be a fee associated with obtaining a TVOA. Fees can vary based on nationality and other factors.

Nepal Transit Visa Guidelines

Nepal typically allows travelers to transit through its international airports without requiring a transit visa if they remain within the international transit area and have a confirmed onward ticket to their destination. However, if you plan to exit the airport during your layover, you might need to obtain a regular tourist visa, or any other applicable visa based on your nationality and intended activities in Nepal. Further Overtime immigration policies can change, and it’s essential to verify the current requirements with the Nepalese embassy or consulate in your country before your travel date. Here are some general guidelines regarding transit through Nepal:

Nepali Tourist Visa on arrival

Tourist visas can be obtained upon arrival at Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu for a layover.

  • Documentation: Ensure you have all required travel documents, including your passport, confirmed flight tickets for onward travel, and any visas needed for your destination.
  • Visa Fees: Visa fees can vary based on the type of visa and duration of stay. Usually, the Nepal tourist visa fee is US$ 25-30 Per person.
  • Airport Facilities: Nepal’s international airports, like Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu, provide various amenities within the transit area, such as shops, restaurants, and lounges, where you can relax during your layover.

Online Visa Application (e-Visa):

  • Nepal also introduced an online visa application system (e-Visa) for certain nationalities, making it more convenient to apply for a tourist visa in advance of your travel.
  • The e-Visa system allows you to fill out the application form, upload your photo, and make the payment online. Upon approval, you’ll receive an electronic visa that you can print and present upon arrival.

Singapore Transit Visa

Singapore offers a Transit Visa (also known as a Free Transit Pass) for eligible travelers who are transiting through Singapore’s Changi Airport and meet certain criteria. The Transit Visa is designed for travelers who have a layover in Singapore and are connecting to a third country within a specific timeframe of 4 days (96 hours). Eligibility for the Transit Visa depends on various factors, including your nationality, the length of your layover, and whether you meet certain conditions.

On-arrival Transit Visa

  • Eligibility: Holding a valid onward air ticket to a third country within a specific timeframe (usually within 96 hours). Possess a valid visa or long-term pass for your final destination (if required). Have a confirmed flight reservation for the next leg of your journey. Eligibility can vary based on your nationality, so make sure to check the specific criteria applicable to your situation.
  • Application Process: In most cases, the Transit Visa is obtained upon arrival at Changi Airport’s immigration checkpoints.
  • Documentation: You’ll need to provide your valid passport, confirmed onward air ticket, and any other required documentation.
  • Exceptions: If you’re from a visa-required country, but you have a valid visa for Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, or the United States, you might be eligible for the Transit Without Visa (TWOV) facility for 96 hours.
  • Application Fee: As of my last update, there was no application fee for the Transit Visa (Free Transit Pass). However, please verify this information, as policies can change.

Bangladesh Transit Visa Guidelines

The transit visa is intended for travelers who are transiting through Bangladesh and have a layover before continuing to their destination. Transit visas usually allow you to stay in Bangladesh for a short period, typically not exceeding 72 hours, and need to stay within the international transit area of the airport and not exit the airport during your layover. This duration might vary based on your nationality and specific circumstances.

  • Eligibility: To be eligible for a Bangladesh transit visa, you usually need to provide proof of an onward flight ticket to a third country within a specific timeframe (often 72 hours or less). Some nationalities might require a visa even for transit purposes, while others might be exempt. Check with the Bangladeshi embassy or consulate to confirm the requirements for your nationality.
  • Application Process: The application process for a Bangladesh transit visa might involve applying to the Bangladeshi embassy or consulate in your home country or at the nearest Bangladeshi diplomatic mission.
  • Documentation: You’ll likely need to provide documents such as a valid passport, confirmed onward flight ticket, and any other documentation required by the authorities.
  • Transit Visa Fees: Transit visa fees can vary based on your nationality and the duration of your stay.

Check with the Bangladeshi embassy or consulate for the most up-to-date information on visa fees.

Online Visa Application (e-Visa):

Bangladesh has introduced an e-Visa system for certain nationalities, which may also include the option to apply for a transit visa online before your travel. The e-Visa application process usually involves filling out an online form, uploading required documents, and making the necessary payment.

Bhutan tourist fees & Visa Policy Update

In June 2022, the National Assembly of Bhutan passed the new tourism levy bill, introducing changes to the Bhutan tourist fees and visa policy.  Tourists can now visit Bhutan without paying the minimum daily package rate (MDPR). Instead, they are required to pay sustainable development fees (SDF) of USD 200 per person, per night, regardless of the length of stay. Additionally, there is a one-time non-refundable visa fee of USD 40. Besides SDF and visa fees, tourists need to pay additional or separate charges for accommodations, transportation, and other logistical aspects of Bhutan trips. This revised policy allows tourists the option to travel without going through a travel agency. However, prior confirmation of hotel and guide services is still required to process Bhutan visas independently through the immigration website. You can check out the Bhutan Immigration weblink for more details.>>>>>>>

Documents Required for Visa Processing

To process your Bhutan visa, you will need to provide the following documents:

  1. A digital copy of a valid passport.
  2. A recent digital passport photo.
  3. Arrival and departure dates.
  4. Valid travel insurance for the duration of your trip.
  5. SDF payment details.

Typically, you can expect to receive an email copy of your Bhutan visa approximately 10 days before your intended travel date.

Incentive for Extended Stays

To encourage visitors to have a more immersive experience in Bhutan and gain a deeper understanding of its culture, the Bhutanese government has introduced a long-stay incentive. Travelers staying for more than 4 nights can benefit from a tiered discount on their SDF waiver:

4 + 4: Pay the SDF of USD 200 per person, per night, for the first four nights and receive up to four additional nights without the daily levy.

7 + 7: Pay the SDF of USD 200 per person, per night, for the first seven nights and receive up to seven additional nights without the daily levy.

12 + 18: Pay the SDF of USD 200 per person, per night, for the first twelve nights and receive up to eighteen additional nights without the daily levy.

The above calculation looks a bit complicated, and you may refer below for an easy understanding of how immigration offers a discount based on nights.

Nights Total SDF Payable Per Person Discount
1 USD 200 USD 0
2 USD 400 USD 0
3 USD 600 USD 0
4 to 8 USD 800 USD 0 to 800
9 USD 1000 USD 800
10 USD 1200 USD 800
11 to 14 USD 1400 USD 800 to 1400
15 USD 1600 USD 1400
16 USD 1600 USD 1600
17 USD 1800 USD 1600
18 USD 2000 USD 1600
19 USD 2200 USD 1600
20 to 30 USD 2400 USD 1600 to 3600

Please note that these long-stay incentives will be valid until December 31, 2024.

2021 Bhutan Travel Update

When Will Travel To Bhutan Be A Possibility?

It is hoped that tourists will be welcomed back to Bhutan again in the second half of 2021 and maybe as early as July/August 2021.

So we’re gearing up for that possibility. Of course, it is possible that this may change and it could be a little later.

However, you can still book now as we are offering a no-deposit booking service until things have settled down and there is more certainty when travel will start up again.

Please be assured you can book your Bhutan experience with our team, at any time from January 2021 for travel dates after July 2021.

If the situation arises that Bhutan’s border opening is delayed, we will extend your journey to a later date, with no extra service fees for the changes required.

Start planning your Bhutan tour now!

And remember, please plan for travel to Bhutan after July 2021.

Horse riding in Gangtey-Are you ready?

Before the pandemic, my normal was work, work, work.  Little time for family and friends as most of my day was spent settling disagreements between staff, tour guides, and drivers.  However, the pandemic has turned my world, and all of Bhutan’s, upside down. Even though I now have plenty of leisure time to spend with my two sweet daughters, I still have to follow COVID-19 protocols issued by the government and, therefore, have little interaction with friends and colleagues.  So, when the opportunity came for me to travel to Gangtey to help map out a new horseback riding tour, I hastily agreed.

In mid-December, I packed my bags and embarked on a short journey to Gangtey with my boss and ranch manager.  To reach Gangtey, we traveled over the Dochula Pass to Punakha and then through Wangdue Phodrang.  The drive from Dochula to Punakha was fascinating, as the local public was preparing for the National Day of Bhutan celebration to be held on December 17 in the Punakha Dzong.  This date is important as it marks the coronation of Ugyen Wangchuck as the first Druk Gyalpo of modern Bhutan.  After a wonderful, pure Bhutanese lunch at Lobesa, we purchased fresh vegetables for our trip since we will be preparing our own meals each day.

Khewang Lhakhang Ground
Lawok Settlement
360 Degree View

Village Ride & 360 Degree Ride
Today, I was the last person to awaken (I am blaming it on the long drive the day before) and partake of morning tea.  After breakfast, we hurried to the field to meet the horses.  Our ranch manager/horse guide extraordinaire, Mr. Kenzang, provided a short riding lesson and then we were off on our adventure! Norbu, my chosen steed, was a perfect choice for me.

On our first day, we were lucky enough to ride near the endangered, black-necked cranes.  We were able to get pretty close to the birds, which is unusual. It was worth the day’s ride just to see the cranes up close.  If you go to the information center for the black-necked cranes, you get to look through telescopes to see them, getting up close is not an option. As we continued our ride to the Lawok village, we passed through several villages spread out along the wandering clear stream that divides the valley.  Lawok village is one of the biggest settlements in Phobjikha and is not often visited by tourists.  I believe it is one of the prettiest villages in the Phobjikha zone.  It is truly picturesque, with mountains above and the stream below going through the valley.  Flocks of sheep can be found on either side of the riding trail grazing in the flats and the villagers can be found working in the fields.

The next day, I was not the last awake this morning, we planned a riding trail that is a 360-degree ride through dwarf rhododendron and pine forests to the ridgeline above the valley.  From here you see an amazing 360-degree panoramic view of the entire Gangtey valley. It was a breathtaking view that we want to share with the world through our new tour. During the first two days of our ride, we rode at a slow leisurely pace to enjoy the scenery and to plot our future trail rides for upcoming tours.

We still covered more ground than we anticipated in the two days.  I consider myself a novice rider, so trust me, you do not need the experience to take this tour.  I really enjoyed the ride, the camaraderie, and the views of the valley are next to none.  Our horses are well-trained and steady mounts and are suitable for all levels of rider, beginner through expert. By this evening, we are about halfway through the new riding tour.

Ride to Gogona & Khotokha Valley.
The next morning, we ride towards Gogona and the Khotokha Valley.  Today we picked up the pace a bit and I learned what “Are you ready?” means.  Let me tell you. When your guide says, “Are you ready?” it means that you better hold on a little tighter as we will be trotting or galloping.  I found it most convenient to hold one hand on the reins and the other on the saddle to help with balance while galloping.

Our ride begins from the ranch as we follow the trail beneath Gangtey Monastery towards the black-necked crane information center. It was really interesting trotting along an ancient trail through the pine forest to the Tsele La (3430m) pass. As we made our ascent, the view of Phobjikha Valley was spectacular. The area is a corridor for conservation such as Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Park, Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park, and Wangchuck Centennial National Park. After the pass, we begin our descent through juniper trees to the Chubja settlement and the Gogona temple and village.  The Gogona village is spread out over several meadows and most families living here make a living through farming. Tonight, we stayed in a local farmhouse, an experience that I highly recommend for those that want to truly experience all that Bhutan has to offer.

The next morning, we visited the Gogona community milk processing unit, which was fascinating. It was initiated in 1986 under Swiss assistance.  Once we remounted our trusty steeds, we left the village following an ancient trail through thick hemlock trees to the Shobe La pass (3475m). From this mountain pass, there is a long and wonderful descent through mystical rhododendron woodlands that transform into pine timberland with amazing undergrowth. At the end of the ride, we reached the Khothokha Village where we had a picnic lunch before returning to the Gogona village for our overnight stay. With all the hours of riding and trotting and galloping, I now feel that I am a much-advanced rider and the answer to the question “Are you ready?” is always Yes

Kuenzang on Trot
Tsela Pass-3430m
Gogona Milk Processing Unit


On waking the next morning, I received word from my dearest wife of rumors of an eminent lockdown in Thimphu due to COVID-19.  We felt it prudent to cut our trip short and return to Thimphu.  Rather than riding back, we drove over 2 hours to Gangtey and then straight away to Thimphu. Even though the car ride was long, I returned to Thimphu feeling rejuvenated, as I was able to connect with nature and enjoy the beauty that is always part of Bhutan’s countryside.  Upon our return to Thimphu, we discovered that the rumor of a lockdown was, in truth, a fact.  For the first time Bhutan has experienced community spread from COVID-19 and, in an attempt to slow the spread of the virus, conduct contact tracing and testing, the people of Bhutan were asked to endure another, more serious lockdown.  At present, we are expected to remain in total lockdown until early January 2021.  However, we are hopeful that vaccines will prove successful and we can, once again, welcome travelers to Bhutan in 2021.

If you are interested in knowing more about riding in Gangtey, please visit our prepared itinerary for trail riding in Gangtey.  If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to us, we will respond as soon as we can

Most Popular Festival of Bhutan

The Bhutanese Tsehechu festival is associated with religious ceremonies that are centuries old and are intended to transmit dharma. Festivals are primarily organized for people to pay their respects to the creator/founder and they are a time for people to supplicate for good health and to gain merit for the next life. Festivals are held annually in most of the dzongs and monasteries in Bhutan.

Historically the Tschechu was introduced in Bhutan by the 2nd Buddha, Padmasambhava in the 8th century.  To subdue a local deity, Shelgin Karpo, in Bumthang, Padmasambhava performed eight manifestation dances (Guru Tsegay) which helped him subdue the deity and also restored the life force of the dying king.  The practice of Tschechu has been performed ever since and has been encouraged by various Buddhist masters including, Terton Dorji Lingpa (1346-1405) and Terton Pemalingpa (1450-1521) who played a major role in Bhutanese history as the founder of various dances.

During a festival, all ritual dances are performed by Monks and lay people.  They wear different masks and costumes which depict gods, goddesses, and other deities that have been seen in the pure visions of accomplished Buddhist masters. Today Tshechu is observed as a reminder to all people: how they should live their lives, how to conduct themselves as an individual member of society, and how to work together for the benefit of all beings.

Most festivals in Bhutan take place in autumn and spring, with only a few occurring during winter. Typically, you see similar mask dances at each festival.  However, most dzongs have one or two unique mask dances that originate in their region. Each dance has a particular meaning and importance to the people of Bhutan.

Here are some of the more popular Tschechu in Bhutan. Among others, I will be discussing a popular festival celebrated in Bhutan and how it is different from other festivals.

Paro Festival 

The Paro Festival (Paro Tshechu) is one of the biggest and most popular festivals in Bhutan. The Tshechu holds religious significance and is held to commemorate the birth anniversary of Guru Rimpoche, the patron saint of Bhutan who introduced Tantric Buddhism in Bhutan. The majority of the festival is held in the magnificent Ringpung Dzong courtyard and includes colorful mask dances and traditional folk songs.  The event is attended by even more colorfully dressed Bhutanese people. As per the Lunar calendar, the Paro Festival falls during the Spring.  The 2021 festival is scheduled from March 24-28 which corresponds to the 2nd month in the Bhutanese calendar.

The first day of the Paro festival is normally held inside Ringpung Dzong to offer prayers to invoke local deities. The rest of the event is typically held on the open ground next to Ringpung Dzong.  As a stunning finale, the festival concludes with the unfurling of a giant Thongdrol, the largest form of thangka painting, in the early hours before sunrise, which is then folded back, and Wang or blessings are provided to the public.

The mask dances are colorful and stunning.  Many of the dances are the same as at other festivals in Bhutan, but the sequences vary.  Between mask dances, there is often folk singing and dancing to entertain the general public.  You will also be introduced to the Atsara, an agent of mirth and merriment, the red-faced comical characters are generally thought of as clowns, wielding phalluses at tshechu festivals.

The Paro festival or Tshechu has become an annual event after Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel and Ponpo Rigzin Nyingpo the consecration of the Paro Dzong in 1646.
For inquiries check out our pre-published itinerary Paro festival.

Contact District admin-+975 08 271770
Starting Date: 24 March 2024
End Date: 28 March 2024

Destination: Paro

Venue: Paro Dzong Festival ground

Thongdrol, Paro

Jambay Lhakhang Drup 

The Jambay Lhakhang Drup, in Bumthang, is one of the interesting festivals in the country. The fire ritual and the naked dances are the festival’s highlights and a renowned exhibition among the spectators. The five-day annual event was first instituted as a consecration ceremony by Terchen Dorje Lingpa some seven hundred years ago after he renovated the Jambay Lhakhang. Currently, the descendants of Chakhar Lam and neighboring villages of the monastery carry out the 14th-century tradition.

Annually thousands gather at the monastery to witness the dance. Before the Mewang, several mask dances are performed within the monastery’s campus. A ritual (Gegtrey) to purify the place and cleanse the spectators of their misdeeds is also conducted. Next is the much-anticipated fire ritual. It is performed in a nearby agricultural field. A gate-like structure covered with leaves is set on fire as monks start conducting the ritual. Spectators run through the burning gate which is said to relieve them of their sins and evil.

At the Jambay Lhakhang Drub, rituals such as Mewang, Jyensig, and Torjab are performed to ensure peace and harmony in the country. The fire ritual is then followed by several mask dances in the monastery’s courtyard. The last event is the Tercham or the naked dance. A group of about fifteen men whose faces are wrapped in white clothing, but otherwise stark-naked, take center stage.

For inquiries check out our pre-published itinerary, the Jambay Lhakhang festival.

Contact District admin-+975 03 631539

Starting Date: 28 Oct 2023

End Date: 31 Oct 2023

Destination: Bumthang

Venue: Jambay Lhakhang Courtyard

Jambay Lhakhang drup dance
Fire Blessing during festival, Jambay lhakhang, Bumthang

Punakha Festival 

The Punakha festival (Punakha Tshechu) is held in the beautiful Punakha Dzong’s courtyard. Until 2005 only Drupchen, a meditation retreat was celebrated as the annual festival. District residents requested that the Central Monk body institute Tshechu.  So now, the festival lasts for 6 days, 3 days of Drupchen and 3 days of Tshechu.  The 2021 festival is scheduled for February 19-24.

Drupchen showcased to honor a brief history of the construction of Punakha Dzong, the internal conflict and external invasion during the construction of the fortress by the Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel in 1637, and the victory of Drukpa.  The battle scenes are performed by the local militiamen (pazaps) dressed in the battle gear of those ancient times.  The Tshechu is celebrated from the 4th day and includes various mask dances that are performed to entertain the public. The unfurling of the thongdrol (a large tapestry) of Guru Rinpoche is the main attraction of the Tshechu. Whereby masses come to watch, enjoy and pay their respects. In addition to being a fun and exciting day for the Bhutanese, the tshechu also provides devout Buddhists with an opportunity for pilgrimage and prayer.

For inquiries check out our pre-published itinerary, the Punakha festival.

Contact District admin-+975 02 584110

Starting Date: 16 Feb 2024

End Date: 21 Feb 2024

Destination: Punakha

Venue: Punakha Dzong Courtyard

Punakha Tshechu
Monk in form of Zhabdrung, Punakha

Thimphu Festival 

The Thimphu Dromche and Thimphu Tshechu are one of the biggest events in the country. The Festival was first initiated by the 4th Desi, Gyalse Tenzin Rabgay in 1867. At the time, the Tshechu consisted of only a few dances performed strictly by monks. Later, in the 1950s, the Third King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck introduced several mask dances performed by lay monks that added color and variation to the festival without compromising its spiritual significance. The Thimphu Drubchen is held 3 days before the Tshechu in the Tashichho Dzong courtyard. Thousands of people travel to the capital city and offer prayers and rituals to invoke the gods, primarily the country’s protective deity Pelden Lhamo. During Tshechu, various mask dances (Cham) are performed by monks as well as members of the Royal Performing Arts. The mask dances include the Guru Tshengye (Eight Manifestations of Guru), and Shaw Shachi (Dance of the Stags). These two dances are particularly popular because they resemble stage theater. Short skits are also performed to spread health and social awareness messages to the general public.

For inquiries check out our pre-published itinerary, the Thimphu festival.

Contact District admin-+975 02 336278

Starting Date: 24 Sept 2023

End Date: 26 Sept 2023

Destination: Thimphu

Venue: Thimphu Dzong Tendrel Thang

Blackhead dance, Thimphu

Dochula Festival 

The Druk Wangyel Lhakhang festival (Dochula Tshechu) is located at Dochula Pass (3100m) opposite the 108 Dochula stupa. The stupa was built in 2004 to pay respects to the 4th King for his victory against the Indian separatist who had settled on Bhutanese soil in 2003.  Later, the temple was constructed under the patronage of Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck, the eldest queen’s mother, for a memorial to celebrate the 100 years of monarchy in Bhutan.  It was completed in 2008.  Subsequently, the festival began in 2011 under the guidance of Dasho Karma Ura.  This festival is unique because it is an exciting repertoire of mask dances that includes military and religious themes.  All dances are performed by the Royal Bhutan Army rather than monks or laypeople, as 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. This one-of-a-kind tshechu is performed against the backdrop of the magnificent Himalayan mountain range.

This one-day Tshechu is held annually on December 13 and showcases numerous Buddhist mask dances and folk dances. Among other dances, public attractions are the dance of Gadpo and Ganmo, Milarepa and Tsheringchednga, and the dance of the Heroes. This is the only winter festival held in Bhutan.

For inquiries check out our pre-published itinerary, the Dochula Festival.

Contact District admin-+975 02 336278

Starting Date: 13 Dec 2023

End Date: 13 Dec 2023

Destination: Thimphu

Venue: Dochula

Dochula festival dance
Jigtsen Milarepa & Five Deities, Dochula

For locals, Tsechu is a time to socialize, entertain, receive blessings, and wash away their sins. Bhutanese believe they accumulate merit simply by attending and witnessing the sacred mask dances at the Tsechus, and that their misfortunes will be removed by the power and blessings that the masked dances bring.  The dances re-enact significant spiritual events from the past and are mostly performed by monks in brilliant costumes. They take the roles of wrathful and compassionate deities, heroes, demons, and animals and are accompanied by blaring horns, booming drums, and clashing cymbals as they whirl and leap around the temple courtyard. Filled with color and symbolism, these events are incredible opportunities to become part of the local community. If one watches with sincere faith, devotion, and pure perception, it is believed that your temporary and ultimate illnesses, negative influences, and obstacles will be appeased and that you will enjoy good health, long life, and the fulfillment of your wishes and aims.

For other festivals dates, you may check out the Bhutan festival schedule:- >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

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