While in Bhutan, don’t miss out on a Village Festival, if one is happening. Unlike the popular festivals at Thimphu and Paro which are organised on a huge scale and geared up for tourists, the village festivals of Bhutan are much smaller, simpler, unorganised and happen in remote locations. And that’s where the charm lies. Quite your one love, one world vibe. They are authentic. I experienced 2 village festivals in Tang and Nalakhar in Central Bhutan. But be aware, most of these village festivals are a bumpy ride away, the locals refer to them as Farm Roads. And if your clients are travelling in a group they may have to walk from the road-head, since larger vehicles may not be suitable to go right up to the festival site. Dances performed by the monks and locals is one of the main highlights of these village festivals and makes for superb photo opportunities. It is believed in Bhutan that those who watch a Cham (Mask Dance) are released from the cycle of suffering. Performed only on auspicious occasions such as these village festivals, masks used in a Cham are carved out of wood and painted. Dances apart, these village festivals are an amazing insight into how the locals celebrate. There is gambling and archery. Be happy to go local and participate. You will also find villagers putting up handmade craft for sale, such as bags, shawls and much more. It costs twice as less than a handicraft shop in Thimphu or Paro and the money goes directly to the artisans. There are food stalls selling Bhutanese snacks, cold beverages and beer. You don’t have to eat here, but it’s wonderful to sit down in these stalls, buy a bottle of soft drink and relax a bit when you want some respite from the sun. It is polite to leave behind a donation to the festival organisers while attending a village festival….whatever you feel like (the locals have no demand) because they use the money to better the festival next year. And it is perfectly all right to refuse the glass of Aara (rice wine) which is offered to the donor to say Thank You. I, of course, had two for the Rs 100 I paid and my donation was very warmly acknowledged by the organisers.