BHUTAN TOUR AGENCY

The Tourism Council of Bhutan is pleased to present the Tourism Policy of the Kingdom of Bhutan 2021.

The policy envisions to promote Bhutan as a green, sustainable, inclusive, and high-value tourism
destination guided by the policy of ‘High-value, Low volume’ tourism to contribute to the overall
socio-economic development of the country. The policy sets the agenda and direction for sustainable
tourism development in the country through key reform measures and institutional strengthening.

Please click the link below for the Tourism Policy of the Kingdom of Bhutan 2021.

Link:

National situational update on COVID-19
Data as of 13th May 2020

For more information, visit our link below:
http://www.moh.gov.bt/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov/

For Global situation update :
https://www.who.int/…/novel-coronavirus-…/situation-reports/

Definition of transmission type:

1. No cases: Countries/territories/areas with no confirmed cases (not shown in table)
2. Sporadic cases: Countries/territories/areas with one or more cases, imported or locally detected
3. Clusters of cases: Countries/territories/areas experiencing cases, clustered in time, geographic location and/or by common exposures
4. Community transmission: Countries/area/territories experiencing larger outbreaks of local transmission defined through an assessment off actors including, but not limited to:
-Large numbers of cases not link-able to transmission chains
-Large numbers of cases from sentinel lab surveillance
-Multiple unrelated clusters in several areas of the country/territory/area

Stay Informed, Stay Safe!

Prime Minister’s Office – PMO, Bhutan
Sowai Lyonpo
Dechen Wangmo

Bhutan naked festival at Jambay Lhakhang is located in Bumthang and is situated on the way to the Kurjie Lhakhang. It’s a ten minutes drive to the temple from the Chamkhar town.

Jambay Lhakhang is one of the oldest temples in the kingdom. It was founded by, Songtsen Gampo, a Tibetan King in the 7th century AD.  The king was destined to build 108 temples known as Thadhul- Yangdhul (temples on and across the border) in a day to subdue the demoness that was residing in the Himalayas. The temple is one of the two of the 108 built-in Bhutan. A second is located in Paro, the Kichu Lhakhang also built on the same day.

Legend has it that Guru Rimpoche visited the site several times and deemed it exceptionally sacred. Chakhar Gyab, the king of the Iron Castle of Bumthang renovated the temple in the 8th century AD.

The first king of Bhutan,  Gongsa Ugyen Wangchuck constructed the Dus Kyi Khorlo (Kala Chakra- Wheel of Time) inside the temple, to commemorate his victory over his rivals Phuntsho Dorji of Punakha and Alu Dorji of Thimphu after the battle of Changlimithang in 1885. Later, Ashi Wangmo, the younger sister of the second king of Bhutan, built the Chorten Lhakhang.

The main relics include the future Buddha, Jowo Jampa (Maitreya) from whose name the present name of the temple is derived. The Lhakhang also houses more than one hundred statues of the gods of Kalachakra built by the first king, in 1887.

One of the most spectacular festivals in the country, called Jambay Lhakhang Drup is hosted here. The festival lasts for five days (check with your tour operator to confirm these dates). The highlight of the festival is the fire ritual that is held in the evening where crowds gather to witness the ritualistic naked dance.

Tentative Dates:

JAMBAY LHAKHANG DRUP Jambay Lhakhang, Choekhor, BUMTHANG: 20th Oct to 23rd 2021.

One of the biggest festivals in the country is the Thimphu Tshechu. This Thimphu festival tour is held in the capital city for three days beginning on the 10th day of the 8th month of lunar calendar. This Tshechu is witnessed by thousands of people many of which travel from neighboring Dzongkhags (districts) to attend the festivities. The actual Tshechu is preceded by days and nights of prayer and rituals to invoke the gods.

When it was initiated by the 4th Desi, Gyalse Tenzin Rabgay in 1867 the Tshechu consisted of only a few dances being performed strictly by monks. These were the Zhana chham and the Zhana Nga chham (Dances of the 21 Black Hats), Durdag (Dance of the Lords of the Cremation Ground), and the Tungam chham (Dance of the Terrifying Deities).

The Thimphu Tshechu underwent a change in the 1950s, when the third King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, introduced numerous Boed chhams (mask dances performed by lay monks). These additions added color and variation to the festival without compromising its spiritual significance. Mask dances like the Guru Tshengye (Eight Manifestations of Guru), Shaw Shachi (Dance of the Stags) are enjoyed because they are similar to stage-theater.

Equally important are the Atsaras, who are more than just mere clowns. The Atsaras are the dupthobs (acharyas), who provide protection. The dances and the jesting of the Atsaras are believed to entrance evil forces and prevent them from causing harm during Tshechus. Modern Atsaras also perform short skits to disseminate health and social awareness messages.

To farmers, the Tshechu is also seen as a break from farm life. It’s an occasion to celebrate, receive blessings and pray for health and happiness.

Besides the annual three days Tshechu, Thimphu also celebrates a one-day festival known as the Thimphu Dromchoe. The day-long festival dates back to the 17th century. It was first introduced by Kuenga Gyeltshen in 1710, who was recognized as the reincarnation of Jampel Dorji, son of Zhabdrung Nawang Namgyel. The dromchoe is celebrated 3 days prior to the Thimphu Tshechu.

The Dromchoe showcases the sacred dances dedicated to the chief protective deity of Bhutan, Palden Lhamo. Legend has it, that the deity Pelden Lhamo appeared before Kuenga Gyeltshen and performed the dances while he was in meditation. Based on these dances, Kuenga Gyaltshen initiated the Dromchoe.

Tentative Dates:

THIMPHU DRUBCHEN: 12nd Sept 2021

THIMPHU TSHECHU: 16th – 20th Sept 2021

Punakha is located in the western part of Bhutan is the winter home of the Je Khenpo, the Chief Abbot of Bhutan. Punakha has been of critical importance since the time of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel in the 17th century.

Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal is known as the unifier of Bhutan as a nation state and he was the one who gave Bhutan and its people the distinct cultural identity that identified Bhutan from the rest of the world.

During 17th century Bhutan was invaded several times by Tibetan forces seeking to seize a very precious relic, the Ranjung Kharsapani.  Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal led the Bhutanese to victory over the Tibetans and to commemorate the triumph he introduced the Punakha Drubchen. Since then Punakha Drubchen (also known as Puna Drubchen) became the annual festival of Punakha Dzongkhag.

The Punakha Drubchen is a unique festival because it hosts a dramatic recreation of the scene from the  17th century battle with Tibetan army. The pazap or local militiamen, dress in traditional battle gear and reenact the ancient battle scene. This reenactment harkens back to the time when in the absence of a standing army, men from the eight Tshogchens or great village blocks of Thimphu came forward and managed to expel the invading forces from the country. Their victory ushered in a period of new-found internal peace and stability.

In 2005 another festival known as Punakha Tshechu was introduced by the 70th Je Khenpo Trulku Jigme Choedra and the then Home Minister His Excellency Lyonpo Jigme Yoedzer Thinley. The Tshechu was introduced in response to the requests made by Punakha District Administration and local people to host a Tshechu in order to better preserve Buddhist teachings and keep alive the noble deeds of Zhabdrung Rimpoche.

The best two Punakha Festival Tour not only play an important role in preserving Bhutan’s rich culture and traditions but also provide devout Buddhists with an opportunity for prayer and pilgrimage. They reflect the richness of the Bhutanese cultural heritage and are very special in the eyes and hearts of both Bhutanese and tourists who visit Bhutan.

The Paro Festival is held every spring and is one of the most colorful and significant events in Paro Dzongkhag (district).

The Tsehchu is considered a major attraction and people travel from neighboring districts to participate in the festivity. Early in the morning on the last day of the celebration, the monks display a gigantic thangkha (embroidered painting), the Guru Throngdel, inside the dzong. Thongdrols are especially impressive examples of Buddhist art and never fail to amaze viewers. They are considered so sacred that simply seeing a Thongdrol is said to cleanse the viewer of sin.

The Paro Fesatival is held every spring and is one of the most colorful and significant events in Paro Dzongkhag (district).

The Tsehchu is considered a major attraction and people travel from neighboring districts to participate in the festivity. Early in the morning on the last day of the celebration the monks display a gigantic thangkha (embroidered painting) , the Guru Throngdel, inside the dzong. Thongdrols are especially impressive examples of Buddhist art and never fail to amaze viewers. They are considered so sacred that simply seeing a Thongdrol is said to cleanse the viewer of sin.

Attentive Dates:

PARO TSHECHU  7th – 11th April, 2017.

 

SAARC Countries to improve regional tourism

The lack of connectivity and information sharing among the countries of South Asia, which hinders the development of tourism sector in the region, will be addressed by encouraging regional tourism among the countries. Lack of connectivity makes travelling difficult for tourists, which affects the tourism sector in South Asia region. President with South Asian Association Regional Corporation Chamber for Commerce and Industry (SAARC CCI), Suraj Vaidya, said that South Asia is the least connected region in the world and the focus of the meeting has been to make travelling easier in the region.

“The aim is to make visa much easier for the south Asia region and make connections in different areas,” he added. It was pointed out that dis-connectivity in the region has resulted due to lack of cooperation between private sectors and government, and the political situations in the region.

It was discussed that to improve tourism sector in South Asia inter-regional tourism needs to improve which could be done by improving visa availability.

Afghanistan’s deputy minister of information and culture, Sayed Muzghan Mustafavi, said that there is an initiative to start e-visa in the SAARC nations. “We hope that in a year’s time, the religious visa will come through which is now under process,” he added.

It was recommended that to improve the relation in the region, tour packages such as Buddhist tour package aiming at multiple countries in the region could be started.

“We also have ‘Unleashing South Asia’ and 20 other projects which plans to make South Asia a tourist destination within and outside the region,” Suraj Vaidya said.

Chairperson of Pacific Asia Travel Association, Sarah Mathews, said that the region suffers from minimal information which limits the development. She added that the countries need to understand their target tourists and work towards it with proper resources such as visa and infrastructure. Spokesperson of Tourism Council of Bhutan, Damcho Rinzin, said that the recommendations made will be discussed. “The meeting has a huge potential. With the tourism connectivity, the countries will benefit with joint marketing space and exposure,” he added.

In South Asia, the tourism sector contributes 8.9 percent to the GDP. Consultant with United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, Joseph George, said that the countries in the region have developed individually but the region as a whole still remains behind. He added that South Asia can improve by working together which will help the employment sector in large.

The 70th executive committee meeting of SAARC CCI discussed issues related to young entrepreneurs. It also aimed at making South Asia region one of the most preferred tourist destinations in the world among others.

The meeting began on July 23 and ended yesterday in Thimphu.

Phurpa Lhamo : http://www.kuenselonline.com/saarc-to-improve-regional-tourism/

BHUTAN-AUSTRALIA FRIENDSHIP OFFER

The year 2017 is a special occasion for the Kingdom of Bhutan and Australia as it marks 15 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

To commemorate this happy occasion, the Royal Government of Bhutan is pleased to present the “Bhutan – Australia Friendship Offer” to welcome all nationals of Australia to visit Bhutan in 2018.

What is the Bhutan – Australia Friendship Offer?

It is a one-time special package that is being offered to all nationals of Australia visiting Bhutan in June, July and August, 2018. The offer includes the following:

  1. Visitors may choose not to pay the all-inclusive mandatory minimum daily package rate of US$ 200 per person per night. Instead, they will pay only the government Sustainable Development Fee of US$ 65 per person per night.
  2. Visitors can avail discounted fare on Airlines.
  3. Visitors can avail up to 50 % discounts in partnering Hotels (See the list of hotels attached separately below).
  4. Visitors have flexibility / choice of services.
  5. Visitors do not have to pay the surcharge of US$ 40 per person per night and US$ 30 each for two persons.
  6. Special airport reception on arrival of the 1st Group

Terms and conditions:

  1. The offer is valid from 1st June 2018 to 31st August 2018.
  2. The offer is for the nationals of Australia only.
  3. Visitors should book their trip through a licensed Bhutanese tour operator.
  4. A one time visa fee of US$ 40 is applicable.

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