• Festivals of Bhutan

    Insider access to Bhutan's spectacular festivals, including the Tsechu Festival

    Follow the insiders at MTS to a little slice of heaven on earth—Bhutan is a virtually untouched world where spirituality is the way of life, where time moves at a slow and peaceful rhythm, and nature is bestowed the respect it deserves. You will explore the fascinating Bhutanese culture, including the Tsechu Festival, and visit numerous monasteries, sacred temples and monuments.

    best times to go: March - April, October

    departures: 3 scheduled datesview departures

    pricing: from $3,395 see detailed pricing

    The Himalaya

    Easy to Moderate
Also great as a private trip. Call for details

Insider access to Bhutan's spectacular festivals, including the Tsechu Festival

In this cultural odyssey, you'll take a step back in time for a glimpse of traditions and customs fast disappearing from the rest of the Himalayan world. Hidden in the eastern Himalaya, the small kingdom of Bhutan is so traditional, so ancient, and so completely culturally intact that it can seem almost unreal. Here you’ll find an independent people who have not rejected their spiritual heritage for modern ways. They live in a gentle land of winding country roads, forests of juniper, whitewashed farmhouses, and verdant valleys dominated by thriving fortress-monasteries.

And you can appreciate the beauty of this rare land without having to trek! Our adventure includes the Shangri-La setting of the Paro Valley, the remote Wangdi Valley, and the capital city of Thimphu.

The rare beauty of this land is reflected in the spirit of the people, as you’ll discover at every turn, and especially at the popular Tsechu religious festival, a highlight of the trip. This exuberant and earthy affair features fancifully costumed dancers performing masked dance-dramas celebrating events in the life of Guru Rinpoche, who introduced Buddhism in its Tantric form to Bhutan in the eighth century. The festival (held in Paro and Thimphu on different dates) is supported and attended by the local people from each district, who come attired in their finest clothing and jewelry. Mingling with the locals in this joyous celebration—a highlight of their social calendar—is a unique honor, bestowed to only a limited number of visitors each year. Our April departure will visit the festival in Paro and the October departure will visit the festival in Thimpu.

Mountain Travel Sobek has a long history in Bhutan, with an understanding and knowledge of the country far superior to most other tour companies. When Bhutan opened its doors to restricted tourism in 1974, we immediately seized the opportunity to offer trips there. And when trekking was allowed a few years later, we became the first company to offer treks in the “Land of the Thunder Dragon.” Our years of experience and well-established contacts throughout the country ensure the most comprehensive and culturally interesting experience available.

Activities

Easy to moderate touring, optional moderate day hikes, some long drives on narrow, winding roads (max. elev. 11,234'—on drive)

TRIP HIGHLIGHTS

  • Explores the vibrant towns of Paro, Thimpu, and Punakha
  • Witness the lively Tsechu festival—a kaleidoscope of whirling dancers in colorful costumes
  • Explore the serene Punakha Valley, winter seat of the highest lama in Bhutan until the 1950s
  • Take a step back in time for a glimpse of traditions and customs that are quickly disappearing from the rest of the Himalaya

Duration: 9 days Start Location: Bangkok End Location: Bangkok

Download Detailed Itinerary
Itinerary
  • Day 1 : Arrive in Bangkok

    NOTE: Itinerary varies slightly for each departure, depending on the location of the Tsechu which is held in various districts throughout Bhutan at different times of year.

    Arrive in Bangkok, Thailand.

  • Day 2 : Thimphu (7,600')

    Fly to Paro, Bhutan, scenically situated in a pretty terraced valley. Drive to Thimphu, capital of Wang Chu Valley.

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    Day 3 : Thimphu (7,600')

    Attend the Tsechu Festival along with locals who come attired in their finest clothing and jewelry. Hike to Cheri Monastery.

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    Day 4 : Punakha (4,100')

    Drive across Dochu La pass 10,000 feet.

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    Day 5 : Punakha (4,100')

    Long drive day over Pelela Pass. Views of Chomolhari, Bhutan's sacred mountain.

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    Day 6 : Paro (7,500')

    We’ll spend the morning exploring Wangdue Phodrang. After lunch, we return to Paro.

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    Day 7 : Paro (7,500')

    Optional 2-hour hike to a teahouse with an incredible view of Taktsang Monastery. Visit National Museum.

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    Day 8 : Bangkok

    Return to Bangkok. The remainder of the day is yours to explore Bangkok.

  • Day 9 : Fly home

    Depart Bangkok or join one of our extensions to Vietnam or Cambodia.

Download Detailed Itinerary

DATES: Best time to go: March - April, October Departures: Oct 3 - 11, 2014 This trip visits the Thimphu Festival Mar 29, 2015 - Apr 6, 2015 This trip visits the Paro Festival Oct 22 - 30, 2015 This trip visits the Thimphu Festival

PRICING:

2014 Prices

$3,395 (4-15 members)

$940 internal airfare – Bangkok/Paro/Bangkok - subject to change
$700 single supplement

2015 Prices

$3,495 (4-15 members)

$940 internal airfare – Bangkok/Paro/Bangkok - subject to change
$800 single supplement

  • Novotel Suvarnabhumi Airport Hotel
    Bangkok

    The Novotel Suvarnabhumi Airport is a 4 star hotel located 10 min walk from Suvarnabhumi International Airport in Bangkok. Boasting 612 comfortable and contemporary rooms, the hotel also offers 2 bars and 4 restaurants. With a 24 hr airport shuttle every 10 min from Gate 4 Level 2 and parking available, there is no better place to stay.

  • Druk Hotel
    Thimphu, Bhutan

    Experience the unique and legendary hospitality of the Bhutanese people at this fine accommodation in the midst of the Himalayas. Located in the heart of the capital city, the hotel is close to shopping, culture, and the bubbling Thimphu River.Thim

  • Damchen Resort Hotel
    Punakha, Bhutan

    This charming hotel on the banks of the Punakha River offers a pleasant stay in a serene atmosphere. Spacious rooms combine modern design with traditional Bhutanese architecture. Surrounded by pine forests but a mere 5-minute walk from town, the Damchen Resort is a convenient oasis.

  • Zhiwa Ling Hotel
    Paro, Bhutan

    The Zhiwa Ling combines the sensibilities of a fine Bhutanese guesthouse with the best of modern comforts. Guests can enjoy a traditional outdoor hot-stone bath, a Tea House, a Meditation House, and two restaurants specializing in both contemporary international and classic Bhutanese cuisine.

Properties shown are representative of the accommodations we use on this trip, may not be inclusive of all accommodations we use, and are subject to change.

Expert leadership is the key to an exciting, unforgettable experience. Our trips feature gifted leaders for whom leading trips is a true vocation. Besides showing you wonders you’d never find on your own, they make sure everything runs smoothly and safely without a hitch. They are knowledgeable about all aspects of your trip, and take great pleasure in sharing their insights with you. More than just guides, they positively elevate your experience by being teachers, companions, and the best of friends. You’ll be in good hands with them every step of the way.

  • Tandin Nidup

    Tandin is a graduate of Bangkok University, Thailand, majoring in Tourism and Hospitality Management. He has been leading treks and cultural tours in Bhutan since 2000. Tandin also worked for a few months as the Human Resource Manager at The Zhiwaling Hotel in Paro. Last year, he had the opportunity to work as an Interpreter for the EU Election Observers for a period of one month in Eastern Bhutan and got a very positive evaluation from them. He is very knowledgeable of the cultures, religions, and traditions of his country and enjoys sharing his experiences with you. Tandin speaks English, Nepali, Hindi and passable Thai in addition to his native Bhutanese.

  • Sanjay Nepal

    Sanjay Nepal has been working as a tour guide & trip leader since September 1999 in Nepal, India, Bhutan & Tibet & uses a lot of unusual anecdotes, humor & patience while working. He holds a Master’s Degree in English Literature from Tribhuvan University in Kathmandu & has EMBA (Executive MBA) in General Management from University of Ljubljana, Slovenia apart from Senior Diploma in French from French Cultural Center in Kathmandu. He has a sound knowledge on religion and culture of the sub-continent as he himself practiced it for 12 long years (1985-1997) during which he associated with several high profile lamas & religious personalities. He speaks Nepali, Hindi, Urdu, English and French fluently. He has traveled extensively in Europe (Slovenia, Austria, Germany, France, Switzerland, Italy, Czech Republic) for seminars and lecture tours on Buddhism & Hinduism as well as Palmistry & Chinese Face Reading. He has been practicing it professionally since 1991 and has given consultations to several hundreds of people since then. He has also published several articles in English journals in Nepal. His other passion is poetry which can be sampled at www.poetry.com. Beside that his other interests include music, movies, driving, books & traveling.

  • Namgay Dorji

    Namgay Dorji, the senior manager of our Bhutan office, has been leading treks and tours for the past nine years. He is very knowledge about the history, culture, and religion of Bhutan, has many relatives in the monk body, and looks forward to sharing his experience with you. Namgay speaks seven languages: English, Japanese, German, Spanish, Hindi, Nepalese, and Urdu; is a graduate of Bissau College, Meghalaya, India; and received his diploma in Tourism and Travel Management from the Institute of Tourism and Hotel Management in Salzburg, Austria. His many personal interests include bird watching, rock climbing, trekking, and archery.

photo credits: ©SIME/eStockPhoto, MTS Photo File



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Activity Ratings

Easy

Many activities are optional and involve fairly easy travel. Trips may include short hikes of two to three hours or optional walks at low elevations. Includes less demanding sea kayaking and river rafting trips with Class I-II rapids.

Moderate

More active trips involving hiking over moderate terrain, usually - but not always - with vehicle support and at elevations less than 10,000 feet, or trips with long hiking days, multiple sea kayaking days, wilderness camping, or other invigorating activity. On many trips, you can elect to skip a day's activity, depending on logistics. Includes more demanding sea kayaking trips and river rafting trips with Class III rapids.

Strenuous

Hiking and trekking over steeper or more rugged terrain or where elevations may exceed 10,000 feet - often several days in a row. Includes more demanding sea kayaking trips (4-5 hours paddling a day) and river rafting trips with Class IV-V rapids.

Ultimate Challenge!

Our most demanding trips: trekking over steep, rugged terrain at high elevations (no vehicle support) or with substantial altitude gains and losses; trips to remote, extreme wilderness; mountaineering trips. Includes our most demanding sea kayaking (5-7 hours paddling a day) and river rafting trips with Class IV-V rapids.

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Departure Dates

Oct 3 - 11, 2014 This trip visits the Thimphu Festival Mar 29, 2015 - Apr 6, 2015 This trip visits the Paro Festival Oct 22 - 30, 2015 This trip visits the Thimphu Festival
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Toll Free:1-888-831-7526