Bhutan Festivals Calendar 2018 | Travel to Bhutan | Druk Asia

Bhutan Festivals Calendar 2018

Updated on 03/October/2023
Festivals in the Land of the Thunder Dragon are rich and happy expressions of its ancient Buddhist culture. These festivals are held in all districts in honour of Guru Rinpoche, the saint who introduced Buddhism to Bhutan in the 8th century. Tsechus are held on auspicious days and months in the Bhutanese calendar, and last up to four days in which a series of highly stylised masked dance rituals are performed.
Festivals are also a big family and social occasions. People dress up in their finest clothes and most resplendent jewelry of coral and turquoise. They pack picnic lunches in their traditional bamboo baskets and stay all day at the festivals which are usually held in the dzongs (fortresses) or at monasteries.
Behind the scenes, the monks prepare themselves for weeks ahead of the festival, involved in deep prayer and meditation prior to the festival. The monks perform special masked dances that are inspirations of enlightened beings in history; and the Bhutanese believe that watching these mystical dances is essential to gain enlightenment.
 monks prepare themselves for weeks ahead of the festival
All Bhutanese try to attend a festival at least once in a lifetime, and for many, it is an important annual affair where they consider it a blessing to be able to watch the dances. Apart from the monks, community dancers also participate in the local festivals.
The tsechus are a rich form of the oral history tradition where the Bhutanese pass on values, mythology and spiritual beliefs through the dance dramas. Many of the tsechus culminate with a rare display of a giant silk applique thangkha (painting) depicting Guru Padmasambava or some other important Buddhist deity.
People’s deep faith and devotion make these festivals a special occasion. At the same time, it is also an opportunity to join hundreds, and even thousands, of Bhutanese in taking part in an important religious and social occasion that often exudes a carnival atmosphere.
bhutan festivals

Bhutan Festival by popularity

Paro and Thimphu Festivals are by far the most popular festivals in Bhutan. There are two main reasons why they are so popular. Firstly, they are located in the Western part of Bhutan, an hour drive away from the airport. So it is possible for you to do a four days visit just to attend the festival. If the festival is taking place in Eastern Bhutan, you would have to visit Bhutan for a minimum of 10 days. Secondly, Paro and Thimphu Festivals take place in spring and autumn respectively, 2 of the best seasons to visit Bhutan.
Three years ago, we would usually recommend travelers to books at least six months before their travel dates. With the growing number of hotels in Bhutan, we can usually accommodate travelers on last minute notice. However, do note that experienced guides are in high demand during this period. If you do have some flexibility with your travel schedule, we would recommend going for less popular festivals.

What if you can’t catch the festival?

Preparation for the festivals starts weeks before the festival itself. If you are in Bhutan but won’t be able to catch the festival, do visit the Dzong, and you may be able to catch the monks practicing and preparing the material for the festival. This is a great photo opportunity since the materials used for prayer are colourful. This visit can be a meaningful opportunity if you have caught the festival somewhere; you have the chance to see the faces behind the masks and spend time speaking to the monks on the origin and meaning of the festival.


Bhutan Festivals Calendar 2018

SourceTourism Council of Bhutan


Name Town Start Date End Date
Prayue Choe Zhemgang Mar 26, 2018
Daga Trashiyangtshi Tendra Tshechu Dagana Mar 26, 2018
Pantang Tshechu Zhemgang Mar 29, 2018
Karphu Lhasel Gyelephug Apr 11, 2018 Apr 13, 2018
Tashicholing Tshechu Pemagatshel Apr 23, 2018 Apr 25, 2018
Due Mang ti Tshechu Zhemgang May 10, 2018
Padseling Kuchoed Bumthang Jun 02, 2018 Jun 04, 2018
Trel Da Tshechu Mongar Jun 21, 2018 Jun 23, 2018
Annual Tshechu Kadam Goenpa, Mongar Mongar Jul 23, 2018 Jul 25, 2018
Sa Nyen Tshechu Mongar Aug 25, 2018 Aug 27, 2018
Wangzhing Rabney Lhuentse Sep 04, 2018 Sep 05, 2018
Khadro Kang sol cham Mongar Sep 06, 2018 Sep 09, 2018
Dorjitse Kuchoed Bumthang Sep 18, 2018 Sep 20, 2018
Galing Goenpa Tshechu Chukha Sep 19, 2018 Sep 20, 2018
Shingkhar Rabdhey Bumthang Oct 15, 2018 Oct 18, 2018
Goenkar Tshechu Lhuentse Oct 18, 2018 Oct 20, 2018
Prakhar Duchhoe Bumthang Oct 24, 2018 Oct 26, 2018
Sumthrang Rabney Bumthang Nov 03, 2018 Nov 07, 2018
Buli Tshechu Zhemgang Nov 21, 2018 Nov 23, 2018
Shingkhar Tshechu Zhemgang Nov 21, 2018
Shingkhar Tshechu Zhemgang Nov 21, 2018 Nov 23, 2018
Jambay Lhakang Singye Cham Bumthang Nov 23, 2018
Laya Aolay Gasa Nov 30, 2018
Sombrang Kangsol Bumthang Dec 03, 2018 Dec 05, 2018
Dechen Pelri Tshechu Pemagatshel Dec 13, 2018 Dec 22, 2018
Gelephu Rabney Dratsang Tshechu Gelephu Dec 15, 2018 Dec 17, 2018
Kidlung Choedpa Lhuentse Dec 21, 2018 Dec 22, 2018
Shinger Meto Choepda Bumthang Dec 22, 2018
Korphu Lhakhang Drub Trongsa Dec 22, 2018
Public Holiday

Planning to travel to Bhutan during a festival?

On popular dates of travel such as during festival time, flight tickets tend to get fully reserved 5 months prior. Due to limited flight and seats available, we recommend you to reserve your ticket as early as possible. You can reserve your ticket for free with us and plan your trip to Bhutan with a peace of mind knowing that you will have a spot on your flight to Bhutan.


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