In the Footsteps of Yangchenma: A musical tour through Bhutan with Jigme Drukpa

Bhutanese music mirrors Bhutanese culture and generally transmits social values. This tour is themed around the role of music in different spheres of life in the small kingdom. You will get to know various types of music and instruments in different contexts, from religious rituals- and festivals to everyday village life and hospitality. You will meet performing artists and have the chance to try out music instruments. If you are a musician yourself enjoy a music jam session with local musicians.

DATES: August 10-26, 2020
DAYS IN BHUTAN: 16 nights / 17 days
FESTIVAL
: no festivals scheduled during this time
GROUP SIZE: 3-6 persons
GUIDE: Jigme Drukpa (specialist) & English speaking local cultural guide
ACCOMMODATION: 
Hotels & homestays
NOTE: For guests interested in music, cultural immersion and hiking who can handle occasionally simple accommodation in farmstays.

  • Exploring music in Bhutan with Jigme Drukpa
  • Throughout the tour talks on the role of Music in Bhutanese culture & introduction to various  instruments and types of music
  • Aa-Yang, the travelling music school: music classes to try out some instruments
  • Visit Royal Institute of Performing Arts (RAPA, meet instrument builders, dancers and singers (take classes!)
  • Performances by Jigme Drukpa at farmstays and important sites (e.g. mountain passes, temples and monasteries)
  • Festivals and music
  • Visit many important sites e.g. Taktsang monastery

DAY 1: Arrival at Paro & Thimphu
Drive to Thimphu, light sightseeing and meeting with Jigme Drukpa, introduction.

DAY 2: Thimphu
Thimphu sightseeing, Aa-Yang Music school staff and Royal Academy of Performing Arts

DAY 3: Flight to Chokhor, Bumthang
Visit some temples and evening performance

DAY 4: Chokhor
Hike to a monastery with music on the way

DAY 5: From Chokhor to Tang
Drive to Tang, sightseeing and evening performance with villagers

DAY 6: Tang
Hike, Ogyen Choling palace and museum, village homes

DAY 7: From Tang to Ura
Drive to Ura, sightseeing on the way and evening music

DAY 8: Ura
Meditative morning in altar room, sightseeing in Ura valley, music in religious domain

DAY 9: From Ura to Chumey
Drive to Chumey, nature and village excursion, yathra weavers

DAY 10: Chumey
Hike/drive to Tharpaling monastery, music in religious domain

DAY 11: From Chumey to Phobjikha
Drive to Phobjikha, Trongsa Dzong and Tadzong on the way, relaxed evening

DAY 12: Phobjikha
Valley hike and music in daily life (archery, house construction, etc.)

DAY 13: From Phobjikha to Punakha
Hike or drive to Punakha, relaxed evening

DAY 14: Punakha
Punakha Dzong and other sightseeing

DAY 15: From Punakha to Paro
Dochula pass and Lungchutse hike on the way

DAY 16: Paro Tatshang
Hike to Paro Taktshang and experience spiritual music at this holy site

DAY 17: Departure
Transfer to Paro airport

For reasons of originality we refrain from detailing our programme here. For more information or if you want to book this tour individually please send us an email      

Book this tour with our Swiss partner Marina Beck Photography-Forestry-Travel.

Marina Beck can also be contacted at marina@bhutanhomestay.com

Specialist Guide

The tour will be guided by Jigme Drukpa, one of the most popular Bhutanese folk musician who is also widely known outside of the kingdom. Jigme performed in over 30 countries and connected to music and musicians all over the world. In his youth he studied ethno-musicology in Norway where he also completed a master’s degree in music therapy in 2017. In 2010, Jigme founded Aa-Yang, the travelling music school, to keep Bhutanese musical traditions and knowledge alive. His aim is not only to inspire the youth’s interest in traditional and modern music but also to explore ways of applying music therapeutically. Jigme combines music with story telling, singing and dancing.

The Tour

Jigme Drukpa is very popular with the village folks in Bhutan,- everybody knows him. When he arrives in a village home, people will gather to hear him singing and joking. Some might even participate and sing a local song or two themselves. There is nothing more pleasurable than touring the country with a “traveling and storytelling musician” such as Jigme Drukpa. You will gain invaluable insights into everyday Bhutanese village life with its ups and downs reflected in the songs and music. You will also visit some of the most important temples and monasteries and hear about the role of music in the spiritual context. Be prepared to listen to fantastic stories about mythical creatures and contemplative songs about the cycle of karma in Buddhism. This will be a treat for everyone who wants to immerse in Bhutanese musical culture and get closer to the people!

  • Activities: Music, village life, hikes, Jigme Drukpa, farmstays