Meditation and Retreat Tour in Bhutan tour will give you an idea about the stronghold of Vajrayana Buddhism, meditation and retreats is a common feature especially among the Buddhist practitioners and the monks. One can come across small retreat centers and hermitages all over the country next to temples, monasteries and monastic schools. These retreat and meditation centers provide the Bhutanese with the much needed respite from the humdrum’s of normal life style and it is a common trait among the Buddhists to disappear into the mountains for days, weeks and months.
The retreats provide people and the practitioners to draw upon their inner self and visualize upon the purpose of life. Many guest from all over the world and other Buddhist countries come to Bhutan for meditation and retreat tours. Some itinerary includes serious meditation for days while some are solitary retreat for few hours in the high hills and temples where nature surrounds and silence is unbroken. Our tour can include the meditation in your itinerary if you want to try this Bhutanese way of retreat (solitary confinement). Besides, we also have hotels that provide yoga sessions, retreats and meditation facilities within the hotel premises.
Day 01: Arrive Paro by Druk-Air Arrival Paro Airport (Bhutan). You will be received at the airport by our company representative and transferred to your hotel. Afternoon at leisure.
Day 02 :Paro valley cultural sightseeing Paro valley cultural sightseeing – Morning hike or horse ride (optional) to the Legendary Paro Taktsang (the Tiger`s Nest Monastery) perched on a cliff 800 meters above Paro valley. Lunch will be served at Taktsang Cafeteria. Later after the hike visit the ruins of Drukgyel Dzong (Dzong refers to ancient castle fortress). Drukgyel Dzong was built to commemorate the victory of Bhutanese soldier over the invading Tibetan soldiers in the ancient past. It was burned down by a tragic fire accident in 1951 and today stands in ruins. Then visit the 7th century Paro Kyichu Lhakhang which was built by Tibetan King Songtsen Gampo in spread of Buddhism. Finally visit a typical Bhutanese farm house where you will be served traditional Bhutanese churned salt butter tea, traditional snacks made from maize/rice and locally brewed liquor. Evening at leisure. o/n hotel
Day 03 :Paro – Paro Morning visit the Paro National Museum which houses collection of art and art facts from all over Bhutan. The Museum is housed in the ancient watch tower of the Paro Dzong. Then visit the Paro Rinpung Dzong. A silent session of prayer could be arranged in the Dzong. After lunch drive to Thimphu. Evening session of prayer could be arranged. A high Buddhist priest can be invited to join the group for prayer and exchange program. o/n hotel.
Day 04 :Thimphu cultural sightseeing Thimphu cultural sightseeing – visit the Memorial Stupa which was built in memory of the late third king of Bhutan. Then visit the 12th century Changankha Monastery, Takins (national animal of Bhutan) zoo, Thimphu view point. From the view point take a pleasant hike to Wangdi-tse Monastery. Later visit the Zilukha Nunnery (a monastery for female monks), National Library, Folk & Heritage Museum, Traditional School for Art and Crafts, Textile Museum and the Handicraft Emporium. o/n hotel.
Day 05 :Punakha/Wangdi Morning visit the traditional medicine hospital and drive to Punakha/Wangdi valley. The drive will take you via the Dochula pass (3150 meters altitude). A wide range of the east Himalayan ranges are visible from the pass on a clear day. On the pass, you will also see the 108 Druk Wangyel Stupas and the Druk Wangyel Monastery which was built by one of the queens of Bhutan. In Punakha take a short hike to Chimi Lhakhang (a special Monastery for sterile women). Later visit the Punakha Dzong which is known for it`s rich traditional Bhutanese art and architecture. Punakha was the old winter capital of Bhutan and still today the winter residence of the Spiritual Leader of Bhutan, His Holiness the Je Khenpo. Finally visit the 13th century Wangdi Dzong. o/n hotel.
Day 06: Morning drive to Paro via Thimphu Morning drive to Paro via Thimphu. In Thimphu visit the Hand-made paper factory. Also visit the Thimphu week-end market (if the day of the tour falls between Friday & Sunday). A retreat (meditation) session will be arranged on this day in Thimphu. o/n hotel.
Day 07: Departure from Paro airport Morning departure from Paro airport.
- Receive and Transfer to Airport
- Double/Twin in 3 Star Hotel
- 3 Meals every day with Evening Tea
- Toyota SUV for FIT & Toyota Bus for Group with Driver English Speaking Guide
- All Sightseeing Museum Fees
- Bhutan Visa, All Permits
- Bottled Mineral Water / Walks and Hikes
Cost Does Not Include:
- Donations to Monasteries
- Alcohol & Beverages Tips for Guide, Driver & Hotel Staff
- Gifts & Souvenirs International Telephone Calls
- Round Trip Air fare
- Inbound Airfare
Accommodations and facilities: There are limited choices of accommodations in Bhutan. With a few exceptions of highly over priced international chain properties, hotels in Bhutan are small with 15 to 20 rooms. The hotels have been categorized by local authorities as Star 1, 2 and 3, with 3 Star being on the top level 1Star at the bottom and naturally we have pick the 3 Star category hotels and resorts which are local architecture with Bhutanese décor, well maintained and staffed with the friendly locals. There is disparity in the rooms in most of the hotels and travelers of the same group may end up in two different types of rooms although you have paid the same amount. You will have private bathroom with 24 hour running cold and hot water. They provide some fundamental toiletry supplies but hair dryers, iron and ironing board etc may not be available. Hotels in Paro and Thimphu do have internet access in office or reception areas. There are some new deluxe properties and international chain resorts which are above the traditional classification criteria and in the higher side in terms of price and can be booked with supplemental cost. Hotel listed on the itinerary are suggestions only and during peak season and tours timed with festival, we may not get the same hotels and in that case, we will book you in the similar property or upgrade you to the higher level.
Guide and Escorts Our Tour Guides are local individuals with college degree, government certification, experienced and with knowledge on the destination, history, culture and religion and most importantly they are easy going, detailed oriented, patient and high level of customer service skills. They will uncover the wonders of the destinations for you which you would never find on your own. They ensure that everything goes well with your tour without a hitch.
Vehicle: We use good condition Toyota SUV and Toyota Coaches for all transfers and tours. Driver and guide is not the same person. Driver may speak little or no English but they know the road and are skillful to fix the problem in case of mechanical breakdowns. Depending on group size, we will use Japanese made Sedan cars, SUVs or minivan for entire transfers and tours.
International and Internal Flights: All internal flights are part of travel plan and are locally booked by us. You will be emailed eticket receipts once the reservation is booked and tickets issued. But you have liberty to book your international airfare on your own. We can certainly help you book international flight if that originates from the city that you live in. Once you receive itinerary, it’s your responsibility to verify the itinerary and reconfirm the schedules.
Visa and Permits: Passport should be valid for 6 months or more at the time of travel. We will take care of Bhutan Visa and permits. Bhutan Visa Fees of USD 40 which will be collected with the Tour Payment in advance. You will need to provide a copy of your passport which should be sent to us by email for Bhutan Visa Processing. Bhutan visa is preprocessed by us and we will provide you a copy the Visa Approval Letter before your trip which you will need to present at Druk Air counter at the time you check in for flight to Bhutan. You will get actual visa seal on your passport upon arrival at Paro airport. Trip Activity Level: This trip is basically motor vehicle based sightseeing with some short hikes and village visits and suitable for all travelers with regular health conditions. When we are driving from one city to another, we will be driving from 3-6 hours with occasional stops for photography and for refreshments. Roads are narrow and some portions may be rough and damaged. The itinerary allows enough acclimatization for you and it’s advisable that you should keep physically fit and start mild exercises like jogging, swimming, cycling or practice some aerobics about 2-3 months ahead of the trip. It’s your responsibility to determine that you are fit for this trip and if you have any health conditions, please consult with your physician before you sign up for this trip. Note on Itinerary: We do our best to adhere to the itinerary but it should be taken as a generic guideline in terms of what you expect to do or see during the tour and may differ in the practical ground from exact sequence or order of the sights to the overnight places depending on the local conditions.