BHUTAN – The Royal Highland Festival Bhutan, an annual celebration set against the snow-covered Himalayan mountains in Laya, is an invitation from Fit Tour to immerse yourself in the rich culture, traditions, and natural beauty of the highland communities in Bhutan.
The Royal Highland Festival Bhutan in 2024 is scheduled to take place from October 23 to October 24, 2024.
Immersing in Life at 4,000m Altitude
The Royal Highland Festival Bhutan, held at an altitude of 4,000 meters, is a testament to Bhutan’s commitment to honor, promote, and preserve the unique life and culture of the highland nomadic people.
The festival serves as a platform to support the local economy, showcase the beauty of the highlands, and celebrate the resilience of the highland communities.
Highlights of the Royal Highland Festival Bhutan
Spectacular Landscapes and Sounds
Participants will enjoy the inspiring landscapes and sounds of the high Himalayas. Witness games, parades, and competitions featuring highland animals such as Tibetan yaks, horses, and mountain dogs.
Some animals are adorned with vibrant fabric, colorful fur, and bells, creating a visually stunning spectacle.
The festival offers numerous cultural programs presented by Layaps, the indigenous people of Laya. Songs, dances, poetic recitations, and traditional gift-giving provide a glimpse into their rich heritage.
Layaps affectionately refer to their homeland as Be-yul, meaning “hidden land.”
Highland Agriculture and Local Delicacies
Explore booths displaying local products, highland agriculture technology, medicinal plants, and herbs. The festival becomes a gathering place, attracting communities from all over Bhutan to showcase their unique offerings.
Indulge in local delicacies such as dried yak cheese, butter, and authentic alcoholic beverages.
Learn more about: Delicious Bhutanese Cuisine.
Gasa: Enchanting Land of Nature
Located in the northwest of Bhutan, the Gasa district boasts some of the highest peaks in the country. With over a hundred glacial lakes, this district provides water for major rivers such as Phochu and Mochu.
With elevations ranging from 1,500 to 4,500 meters above sea level, Gasa is a haven for diverse bird and animal species, including Bhutan’s national bird, the raven, and the blue sheep.
Adventure to Laya: A Worthwhile Journey
The journey to the festival location in Laya itself is an adventure. It takes a 6-hour drive from Thimphu to the Tongshida base camp, followed by a 4-hour trek along the turquoise glacier-fed river.
For those seeking convenience, helicopter services with limited seating are available, and advance booking is essential.
Highlights of the Festival: Laya Run and Cultural Integration
One of the highlights of the festival is the 25 km Laya Run, starting from Ponjothang and running along the Mochu River to the festival area. It offers a unique experience showcasing the breathtaking landscapes of the region.
Travelers have the opportunity to stay with Layap families, don traditional attire, enjoy highland cuisine, and witness the festival through the eyes of the local people. Hiking in the surrounding mountains will uncover pristine glacial lakes, enhancing the enchanting experience.