Haa Sumer Festival
From the Paro International Airport, Haa valley is a two-hour drive through lush coniferous vegetation. The ride takes you past Chelela, the highest road pass in Bhutan, from where it’s an easy half an hour downhill drive.
Haa valley appears as if carved out of the surrounding mountains that stand tall, silently watching over the valley – a serene, peaceful sight.
The geographical terrain of Haa is perfect for bikers and hikers. During spring and summer, the valley turns into a garden of white poppies that grow to about one to 1.5 m. The flower is endemic to Haa and is also one of the major attractions during the Haa Summer Festival, especially for nature lovers.
Spread over two days, the summer festival has a lot to offer. It is unique in its own sense. Showcasing the traditional culture of Haaps (people of Haa), nomadic lifestyles and unique Haap cuisines, the festival is usually held in July. The dates differ at times, depending on the organisers.
Local traditional sports competition, religious performances and interacting with the nomadic community of Haa, the festival brings together locals and visitors from all over. School children and the local community also perform various traditional songs and dances. Various local arts and crafts are also displayed during the two-day event that visitors can choose from.
Considered one of the least visited places in Western Bhutan, Haa valley brims to life and activities during the two-day summer festival with the presence of huge gatherings. The Haa summer festival that was initiated in 2011 in an effort towards promotion of Bhutan as a year-round tourist destination is popular among visitors from far and near. This is evident from the increase in visitors for the festival every year.
A major highlight of the festival is the bike marathon from from Changlimthang, Thimphu to Haa via bondey, Paro and Chèlèla covering a distance of about 104 kms. The marathon is open to Bhutanese and international participants including women.
The Haa summer festival was organised by the Tourism Council of Bhutan in collaboration with Bhutan Olympic Committee and Haa dzongkhag.