Royal Highlander Festival

The Royal Highlander Festival is an annual event in Bhutan that celebrates the culture, traditions, and way of life of the highlanders, particularly those living in the mountainous regions of the country. It is organized by the Royal Government of Bhutan and is usually held in the scenic district of Laya, situated in the remote and rugged terrain of northern Bhutan.

The festival serves as a platform to showcase the unique customs, practices, and skills of the highland communities, including the Layap people. It offers visitors an opportunity to immerse themselves in the rich cultural heritage of Bhutan's highlands and gain insights into the traditional livelihoods, folklore, cuisine, and arts of these communities.

During the Royal Highlander Festival, attendees can witness a variety of cultural performances, including traditional dances, songs, and rituals. There are also exhibitions and demonstrations of traditional crafts such as weaving, pottery, and wood carving, allowing visitors to interact with artisans and learn about their craftsmanship.

One of the highlights of the festival is the display of traditional sports and games, which may include archery, horse riding, yak and horse racing, and traditional forms of martial arts unique to the highland regions.

In addition to the cultural festivities, the Royal Highlander Festival often incorporates educational and environmental initiatives aimed at promoting sustainable development and conservation efforts in the highlands.

Attending the Royal Highlander Festival offers visitors a rare opportunity to experience the authentic lifestyle and cultural richness of Bhutan's highland communities, while also supporting the preservation of their traditions and heritage. It is a truly memorable event that celebrates the resilience, spirit, and identity of Bhutan's highlanders.

Climate at Laya:

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. Light drizzles and snowfall may be also expected. Afternoons are windy, with an average relative humidity of 48%. The walk to Laya from Gasa can be challenging especially if the weather is wet. Extra war, wind/rain proof clothes and good walking shoes are advised.


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location: Jitshiphu new Drukgyel high school.

Opening time: 9:00 - 17:00