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The Masked Dance Festivals of Bhutan

Bhutan's masked dance festivals, called tsechus in the local language of Dzongka, date back three and a half centuries. At that time the monks were both the civil and religious authorities, and the dances were used to educate an illiterate populace about their history and religion. The dances have been handed down from one generation to the next, and remain virtually unchanged from their origins.

Each district hosts a festival once a year, on dates determined by the lunar calendar. The festivals last from three to five days, and are attended by hundreds or thousands of locals (depending on the festival). The major festivals of Thimphu and Paro presently get as many as a thousand foreign visitors as well, so we'll be organizing our trips to coincide with some of the less visited tsechus where the atmosphere is more traditional. Before and after the festival you'll visit many of the important sites of interest in the Dragon Kingdom.

Paro's watchtower and national museum.
Black hat dancer
Watching the Tsechu in Thimphu from the best seats in the house!
Tsechu dancers
The black hat dancers of the Paro Tsechu
Golden Buddha.
Looking out at Thimphu Dzong at night
Touring the Masked Dance Festivals of Bhutan: Itinerary at a Glance

Day 1: Depart USA | Day 2: Bangkok overnight | Day 3: Fly Bangkok-Paro, drive to Thimphu | Day 4: Thimphu | Day 5: Drive to Punakha | Days 6-7: Explore the Festival | Day 8: Drive Paro | Day 9: Paro | Day 10: Depart | Day 11: Arrive home

(*Please Note this itinerary will vary according to the festival & its location.)

Attending A Festival

There is something about celebrations that we can all relate to. Celebrating traditions with family and friends make hearts open a bit more and it is easier to be joyful, thankful and interested in one another, which why a festival is a great time to visit Bhutan. Feel free to be in touch with us with your availability and we're more than happy to put together a custom itinerary including a festival for you!

Exploring some of the more rural festival of the Dragon Kingdom is like being a part of the beautiful pageantry and theatre of the Buddhist beliefs of the past.


  • Bhutan's greatest pageant
  • Maximum cultural interaction
  • Leisurely touring

Check Out the Other Sample Bhutan Itineraries:

  • Gangkar Punsum: The World's Tallest Unclimbed Peak

    • Our answer to the Chomolhari Trek! Why go all the way to Bhutan to do a trek that is over-crowded by any standards? This trek offers great views, few (if any) other trekkers on the trail, a chance to step foot on the base camp of the worlds tallest unclimbed peak and a wonderful chance to get into the heart of Bhutan.

  • Trekking Laya & Lunana

    • Ass-Kicking Strenuous. This is one of the hardest treks in the Himalaya and offers amazing off-the-beaten path access to rarely seen valleys and corners of this kingdom.

Check Out Our Other Destinations Too!