Royal Highland Festival

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Important Travel Tips


Laya is at an altitude of 3800m and the festival venue at 4000m. It can be fairly cold in October, with daytime temperatures ranging between 1-12 C, and nighttime temperatures dipping below 0 C. The walk to Laya from Gasa can be challenging depending on the weather is wet. Extra wear, wind/rain proof clothes and good walking shoes are advised.

Longtey Hike


The Royal Highland festival (RHF) is a unique festival held 4000 metres above sea level in beautiful Laya. It’s a celebration of age-old culture and tradition of the highlanders, showcasing the beauty and wonders of Laya through their distinctive culture, language and attire.

The Royal Highlander festival was first introduced on 16th Of October in 2016 to mark the celebration of the birth of HRH the Gyalsey; 400 years of Shabdrung Rimpoche and the Rabjung (60 years cycle) birth year of Guru Rimpoche.

During the festival, visitors can witness the traditional offering of Buelwa, a gift offering accompanied by Auley, a recitation of traditional epic poems and songs that originated during Zhabdrung Rinpoche’s reign to show loyalty and respect for successive monarchs’ dynamic and visionary leadership. Layaps also perform a variety of cultural programs, including traditional songs and dances, and competitions will be held for highland animals such as yaks, horses, and mastiffs.

The festival also features a range of stalls showcasing local yak products, highland technology, highland agricultural technology, medicinal herbs and plants, and more.


Upon arrival in Paro International Airport, please have your visa ready with your passport. After immigration and customs, exit the airport and you will be greeted by your guide and driver.

We will take approximately an hour drive to the Capital, Thimphu. On the way we will pause to cross the beautiful Paro Chhu (Paro river) on a very old but sturdy iron chain bridge near Tachog Lhakhang. 

 Today journey eastwards takes us to the Gasa valley over the most beautiful Dochula pass and as we ascend the mountain of pine forests, we will reach 3,050m above sea level. This is where we will find 108 memorial chortens also known as the Druk Wangyal Chortens. On a clear day, the entire eastern Himalayan range is laid before us. From here, we will continue our drive for 1.5 hours and arrive in Punakha valley.

Take 3 hours drive to Gasa following Mo Chhu River thru Goen Dambji.

Gasa, The northern most District in the country adjoining the districts of Punakha, Thimphu and Wangdue Phodrang and with Tibet to its North.

The region has extremely long and hard winters and short but beautiful summers elevations ranging from 1500 to 4,500m.

Overnight – Camp

After breakfast, drive for about 2 hrs drive,

Let your adventurous spirit take you to Laya, Situated at an altitude of 3800 m, this village will mesmerize you with their unique culture. Laya is located in the boarder region to Tibet and is home to the Layap people. This trek takes you walk, through wooded forests, waterfalls, streams and down along the river valley of Mo Chhu affording breath-taking views of the crashing river, feeder streams and waterfalls. Lots of ups and downs will lead you to Kohi Labtsa(Pass)3,300m Trail further takes us Bhutan Army Camp and further into remote and isolated high country, introducing you to the unusual culture of the Layap community.

Overnight – Camp

1st Day of The Royal Highland Festival is an annual event held in the town of Laya, which is located in the Gasa district of Bhutan. The festival is a celebration of the unique culture, beauty and wonders of Gasa Dzongkhag and the life of Highlanders in Bhutan. The festival showcases the natural beauty, rich history, and traditional culture of Gasa Dzongkhag, promoting its vision of “Good to Great Gasa” and sharing the authenticity and simplicity of highland life with guests.

Laya Exploration: Explore around Laya village. You can go and visit any of the houses around. Even to a perfect stranger, traditional Bhutanese hospitality is extended and a cup of tea and Chang (local wine) is always offered. The people in this valley are very interesting especially the women. They wear conical bamboo hats decorated with turquoise and silver ornaments.

Overnight – Camp

The trail winds up and down along the river valley of Mo Chhu avoiding natural obstacles and affording breath-taking views of the raging river, feeder streams and waterfalls. Lots of ups and downs will lead you to Kohi Lapcha at 3.300 m. The trek then drops down to the large stream of Koina Chhu, where you will find the campsite of Koina. From Koina we drive is around 2 hrs back to Gasa.

Overnight – Camp

Journey same way back passing by the various villages and settlements on the way. The drive is beautiful through idyllic countryside past agricultural fields and sub tropical forest with waterfalls on the way into Punakha valley.

Overnight Hotel

 Morning: Hike up to Khamsum Yulluey Namgyal Chorten, through a scenic trail that winds through rice fields and past traditional bhutanese farmhouses. The hike takes approximately 45 minutes to an hour, depending on one’s pace. Along the way, visitors can enjoy breathtaking views of the Punakha Valley and the surrounding mountains. The four-story temple that sits on a hill overlooking the Punakha Valley. It is adorned with intricate carvings and paintings that depict various Buddhist deities and symbols. The temple is also home to a large prayer

wheel, which visitors can spin for good luck and blessings. Punakha Dzong: After lunch, we visit the majestic fortress situated at the confluence of two rivers, the Pho Chhu (male river) and Mo Chhu (female river), which adds to its scenic beauty. Punakha Dzong is one of the most iconic landmarks in Bhutan and serves as the administrative center of Punakha district.  The Dzong was built in 1637 on a strategic location to protect Bhutan from Tibetan invasions and served as the seat of government until the mid-20th century under the leadership of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, the founder of Bhutan. Today, it is a popular tourist destination and a living example of Bhutanese architecture and culture.

our journey back west to Paro.  The valley also boasts the most charming town, which is adjacent to the famous Paro Dzong (also known as Rinpung Dzong), where some scenes of the film, Little Buddha, were filmed. The journey will take about 4 hours in total with a couple of stops to punctuate the long journey.

The drive continues westwards for about an hour until we arrive at Dochula for a second chance to see the impressive eastern Himalayan range. From here, we descend for around 45 minutes back into Thimphu.

After lunch, we will visit Buddha Dordenma Statue at Buddha Point, one of the largest and tallest Sitting Buddha statues in the world, at 169 feet, located on the remains of Kuensel Phodrang Palace, the 13th Druk Desi’s palace, overlooking the capital city Thimphu.

If time permits, we can also visit the Paper Factory that uses the traditional method of making papers using the daphne Plant.

we will continue for an hour drive to Paro and take a stroll through Paro Town.

With early start this morning, we will drive to the starting point and begin our hike by 07:00hrs. to the Monastery, one of the Bhutan’s most revered monuments. The legend states that Guru Rinpoche flew to the place on a mythical tigress and meditated in a cave before bringing Buddhism to Bhutan. The Taktsang Goemba is built around the cave, which is opened to the public once a year at the 30th of the 5th month of the Bhutanese calendar. The monastery hangs at 900m on the side of a cliff and the hike takes about 4–5 hours roundtrip.

After descending, a typical farm house lunch awaits.

Breakfast at your lodge.
We will drive for about 20 minutes to the airport for your flight to Singapore.

Includes & Excludes


Black Necked Crane Festival

The festival is an occasion for the locals to rejoice and celebrate the arrival of Black-necked Cranes, revered as the heavenly birds. The festival is organized to generate awareness, provide economic incentives for local communities and form an avenue for the locals to renew their commitment to conserve the cranes.

Jampa Lakhang Drup

The festival is well known globally for ‘the scared naked dance known as Ter Cham and Mewang-the fire blessing’. Besides joyfully attending the colorful festival, you can indulge in natural beauty in the country. Enjoy this beautiful in the Kingdom of Bhutan.
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