BHUTAN YOGA RETREAT • AUGUST 2017
It was the most extraordinary experience – and with the greatest people to have shared this with. Life will not be the same after Bhutan.
—Zeynep Demirbilek, London
THE HAPPINESS NATION!
AUGUST 1—11, 2017
“When I think of our Bhutan Yoga Tour, I remember bursts of color against the soothing serenity of Buddhist chants; I remember the stories that make their culture so everlasting; I remember the graciousness, kindness and beauty of the Bhutanese; and I remember the quiet joy I felt just being there. I know I’ll be back.”
EXOTIC CULTURAL IMMERSION
Prepare yourself for something entirely different from what you may have seen in Asia, or elsewhere. Located high in the Himalayan mountains between India and Tibet, Bhutan is the only country in the world that measures it’s progress by Gross National Happiness! On this 11-day Bhutan Yoga Retreat, we willjourney through mystical mountains, sacred temples and this richly preserved culture, exploring Bhutan alongside the local people, discovering their unique perspectives and enjoying the light of their inspiring spirits!
BHUTAN YOGA RETREAT ITINERARY
DAY 1 • We meet at the Bangkok airport in the morning for our 2-hour morning flight to Bhutan. Upon arrival in the beautiful mountain town of Paro, we’ll settle into our guides’ favorite family hotel that overlooks the town of Paro… a historic and characteristic old palace constructed over 100 years ago by the Bhutanese royal family. We will have a gentle unwinding yoga practice and opening circle outside under prayer flags with a view to the valley below. Dinner is at the lovely Gangtey Palace restaurant… you are in for a treat of Bhutanese food in it’s finest traditional expression!
DAY 2 • After our invigorating morning yoga practice and a delicious breakfast, we will delve into the history and culture of Bhutan with a visit to the National Museum and the historic monastery of Paro Dzong. You will have the opportunity to wander the small town of Paro, getting a feel for the local culture, looking in shops, etc. Or return to the hotel for a good siesta and a traditional Bhutanese hot stone bath or massage. Late afternoon there will be a restorative yoga and pranayama practice followed by a lovely and healthy dinner at our hotel.
DAY 3 • After morning yoga and breakfast, we depart Paro and drive 90-minutes along a sweeping valley to Bhutan’s capital, Thimphu. Our base for these next two nights at a beautiful 5-star spa resort located a few miles outside Bhutans’ largest city (with a population of less than 100,000!) Here you will have a glimpse into how present day Bhutanese people have adapted to the 21st-century. Our guide will take you to some of his favorite local sights and experiences. In the evening, enjoy great Bhutanese cuisine and an optional night out at one of Thumphu’s dance clubs renown for great electronic beats! Note that all activities are optional and you can choose to do your own thing, or just lounge and relax.
DAY 4 • Following yoga and breakfast, we embark on an exciting and challenging 2-hour trek into pine and rhododendron forests above the Thimphu valley to a monastery with sweeping views of cascading mountain ranges. Observe how resident monks live, and join in meditation and prayer.
DAY 5 • Following yoga and breakfast we will walk the hill to visit the world’s largest Bhudda, which overlooks the town of Thimphu. Great yoga photo opportunity under this magnificent golden Bhudda! We’ll then travel 4-hours along the scenic 10,300 ft pass to a small village called Punakha, arriving to our next lovely family resort, a peaceful haven amidst gardens and rice paddies.
DAY 6 • After yoga and breakfast, we’ll trek through the rice fields to arrive at Chimi Lhakhang, also known as The Temple of the Divine Madman. Built in 1499 and named after Lama Drukpa Kunley, this fertility temple is one of Bhutan’s most sacred… and funny temples, as you will see! We’ll lunch in a wonderful local restaurant, then return to our hotel for a siesta and afternoon restorative yoga and pranayama practice – enjoying full use of the lovely yoga space overlooking rice paddies and green hills!
DAY 7 • After yoga and breakfast, we’ll drive about 30 minutes to explore the most important and beautiful buildings in Bhutan: The Punakha Dzong. It was first constructed as a war fortress in the 1600’s, evolving over the years as Bhutan’s central administrative hub… but this does not begin to express the awesomeness of this architectural wonder. Next we’ll visit a small hilltop temple situated among farming fields and meditate with the resident monks. Weather-depending, we’ll have a lovely hike down a hill through forests.
DAY 8 • No yoga this morning, as we have a surprise for you… weather depending! After an adventurous morning, we’ll relax into the long ride back to Paro town, where we’ll spend our final three nights at a stunning 5-star hotel that is a model of Bhutanese art and architecture. Just to wander the hotel and grounds is an experience of pure luxury and beauty!
DAY 9 & 10 • Luxuriate at the hotel spa, an iconic blend of Bhutanese craftsmanship and modern amenities set on 11-acres of meadows and mountains! We choose this lovely haven for the last three nights of our retreat because it offers an exquisite atmosphere to relax, restore and delve more deeply into yoga. There is a lovely full-service spa, yoga studio with props, a temple to meditate, and beautiful spots, indoors and out, to relax and enjoy your retreat time exactly as you wish! You will also have a chance to shop in Paro for souvenirs and gifts.
During the last few days, after we have acclimated to the altitude of Bhutan, we will attempt (weather-depending) to hike to the famous Taksang Monastery. Nicknamed the Tiger’s Nest Monastery for its geography and history, the Taksang Monastery is renown for its cliff-side location perched 2,700 feet above the valley floor where it is said that the Rimpoche first arrived on the back of a flying tiger and meditated in a mountain cave for three months. You too can gain merit by making the 3-hour ascent and visiting the monastery seemingly glued to the barest concavity of the cliff face.
Our closing circle and yoga practice will carry us into our final dinner together, celebrating our new friends and new perspectives from this sacred time together in Bhutan!
DAY 11 • Breakfast and a leisurely transport to the airport for your flight home. With joy and gratitude, we bid farewell to Bhutan!
August 1–11, 2017
August 1–11, 2018
We visited amazingly beautiful Buddhist temples reached by climbing up the mountain side – and even got to meditate with the monks! Bhutan is an unspoiled country with friendly people, stunning architecture, and I loved the food!—Trudi, Switzerland
$6,365 – Couple Room
$6,365 – Shared Twin
$7,365 – Single Room
*Price includes airfare from Bangkok to Bhutan ($770).
I wanted to let you know how extraordinary the Bhutan retreat was. I had so many fears about the trip and my physical capacity – our guide and teachers balanced it so well and made it possible for me to fulfill the experience. For me it is not an exaggeration to say that this was life changing and personally very important and I feel grateful. The special nature of Bhutan shone through and made this truly amazing!