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Bhutan Spiritual Journey

Theme
Spiritual
Trip Duration
12 Days
Grading
Activity Level
Easy
Ascent & Descent
 1,395 m
Max Elevation
3,179 m
INR701,690.00
INR
Per Person
Double Occupancy
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Summary

Immerse yourself in a unique journey of spiritualism and of mindfulness across Bhutan, enjoying select day hikes along the Trans Bhutan Trail along the way. Enjoy time for meditation, learning about Buddhism, and self-discovery alongside visits to important spiritual and cultural landmarks across the west and center of the country. Round up your visit with a hike to the incredible Tiger’s Nest Monastery.


What's Included

  • Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily (11 breakfast, 11 lunch, 11 dinner)
  • Water during meals and treks
  • Private tour guide daily
  • Transportation 
  • Airport transfer
  • Accommodation
  • Bhutan Sustainable Development Fee
  • Bhutan tourist visa 
  • Activities as indicated in itinerary and description 
  • Support, packing tips and constant communication prior to departure
  • Trans Bhutan Trail passport
  • A Year’s Free Trans Bhutan Trail Membership

What's Not Included

  • Cancellation protection
  • Airfare to and from Paro airport
  • Accommodation or transportation upgrades 
  • Travel insurance 
  • Additional excursions
  • Beverages other than water
  • Laundry

Accommodation

This trip has a mixture of accommodation including four nights at the 5* Bhutan Spirit Sanctuary hotel and other nights spent in guesthouses, locally-owned hotels and at our signature campsites. 

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Itinerary

On arrival at Paro International Airport today, you will be met by your guide for the short transfer to your accommodation. A charming town which is ideal for exploration on foot, Paro lies on the banks of the Paro River, overlooked by its imposing Dzong (fortress). After check in, enjoy an optional walk around Paro’s Rinpung Dzong (fortress), meaning ‘Fortress on a Heap of Jewels’. The original construction of this dzong is believed to have been completed in 1458 and it was restored to its present glory by His Majesty the Third of Bhutan, King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, to mark his royal wedding in 1951.

The remainder of the afternoon will be at leisure to enjoy the facilities and activities at your retreat, including yoga, meditation and massage. The Bhutan Spirit Sanctuary is the only 5* hotel in Bhutan that is inclusive of spa facilities so perhaps you would like to relax in the jacuzzi or take a refreshing swim. 

In the evening, enjoy dinner at your hotel 

Included Activities:

  • Spa facilities 

Accommodation: Bhutan Spirit Sanctuary or similar (5*)

Meals Included: Dinner

This morning, enjoy yoga and breakfast before being transferred by private vehicle to the community of Upper Dopshari, where you will join the Trans Bhutan Trail for a leisurely 7 kilometre (4.35 mile) hike back down into the Paro Valley, enjoying panoramic views all the way down. 

Enjoy a picnic lunch near the Wangchhu River and time for reflection, before heading back to your accommodation for dinner and overnight.

Included Activities:

  • Yoga class
  • Hike on the Trans Bhutan Trail

Accommodation: Bhutan Spirit Sanctuary or similar (5*)

Meals Included: Breakfast, , Dinner

After breakfast this morning, head to the airport for a spectacularly scenic domestic flight eastwards to Bumthang.

After checking into your hotel, the remainder of the day will be spent visiting some of Bumthang’s most significant cultural sites, including the majestic Jakar Dzong (fortress), also known as the ‘Castle of the White Bird’. This huge structure dominates the Chamkar Valley and the town below it. It was built in 1549 by the Tibetan Lam Nagi Wangchuk and was Eastern Bhutan’s main defensive stronghold. Later, it became the seat of the First King of Bhutan. Unique features include its 50 metre utse (tower) and a sheltered passage with two parallel walls, interconnected by fortified towers, which guaranteed the fortress’s inhabitants access to water during a siege.

During your visits, you will also receive a detailed introduction to Bhutanese Buddhist ceremony and astrology. Astrology in Bhutan is an ancient and highly respected science and locals will often consult the stars before making major life decisions such as getting married or changing jobs.

Enjoy dinner this evening with your guide in a local restaurant.

Included Activities:

  • Visit Jakar Dzong
  • Introduction to Bhutanese Buddhist ceremonies 
  • Introduction to astrology 

Accommodation: Swiss Guest House or similar (3*)

Meals Included: Breakfast, , Dinner

After breakfast at your hotel, follow the Trans Bhutan Trail up out of Bumthang and back down into the Tang Valley. Your hike for the day will end at the Pema Choling Nunnery. Women and girls who enrol here follow a nine-year course in the Nyingma Peling Buddhist tradition and are known for a particular drum ceremony known as “chod”.

After visiting the nunnery, head further south on the trail towards the sacred Mebartsho (Burning Lake), where, in the 15th century, the great treasure hunter Pema Lingpa is said to have discovered several of Guru Rinpoche’s hidden treasures. Lingpa had a dream in which he was summoned to this particular location on the Tang River and, when he arrived, he saw at the bottom of the river a temple with many doors, one of which was open. He then swam down into a large cave where he was handed a treasure chest by a one-eyed woman. He would later repeat the feat in the presence of the local people and whilst holding a lit butter lamp which did not go out underwater – and it is because of that that this pool was named “burning lake”.

After visiting the lake, you will be transferred to the Ogyen Choling Palace and Museum, which will be your home for the next three nights. The Ogyen Choling Foundation seeks to contribute to the preservation and promotion of Bhutan’s historical and cultural heritage and, in so doing, also support the social and economic well-being of the local community. The history of Ogyen Choling began with the visit of the great Tibetan master of Buddhism, Longchen Rabjam (1308-63). Longchen Rabjam is the most celebrated writer and philosopher of the Nyingmapa School of Tibetan Buddhism and is regarded as the synthesizer of the doctrine and methods of Dzogchen, ‘School of Great Perfection’.

Dinner will be served at the Ogyen Choling guesthouse.

Trek Distance: 13.25 kilometres (8.23 miles)
Estimated Trek Duration: 6 hours
Elevation Gain: 800 metres (2,625 feet)
Starting Elevation: 2,574 metres (8,445 feet)
Ending Elevation: 2,600 metres (8,530 feet)
Maximum Elevation: 3,109 metres (10,201 feet)

Included Activities:

  • Hike on the Trans Bhutan Trail
  • Visit Pema Choling Nunnery
  • Visit Mebartsho (Burning Lake)

Accommodation: Ogyen Choling Guesthouse (3*)

Meals Included: Breakfast, , Dinner

Ogyen Choling is your home for the next 3 days. It is a revered sacred site located at the crossroads of several trails which have been in use for centuries. You have the option to spend time in meditation, meeting with scholars, engaging in community activities and taking walks in this beautiful remote glacial valley.

Accommodation: Ogyen Choling Guesthouse (3*)

Meals Included: Breakfast, , Dinner

This morning, after breakfast, board a private vehicle for a transfer westwards, out of the Tang Valley and towards the historic town of Trongsa. Trongsa is Bhutan’s geographical center point and is very closely linked to the Bhutanese Royal Family: the first two hereditary Kings ruled from Trongsa Dzong (fortress) and the crown prince still traditionally serves as the Penlop (Governor) of Trongsa before acceding to the throne.

In addition to enjoying the incredible scenery along this meandering journey, you will make a number of stops for short village and forest walks at Chhumey, Geytsa, and Yotongla.

On arrival in Trongsa, check into your hotel and enjoy dinner with your guide at a local restaurant.

Included Activities:

  • Hike on the Trans Bhutan Trail

Accommodation: Yangkhill Resort or similar (3*)

Meals Included: Breakfast, , Dinner

After breakfast this morning, enjoy a tour of Trongsa Dzong (fortress), which was first built by Ngagi Wangchuck as a small meditation room in 1541, after he discovered self-manifested hoof-prints belonging to the deity Pelden Lhamo on the same spot. Trongsa, which means ‘new village’ in the local dialect, soon sprung up around the site. The Dzong (fortress) was built in its present form in 1644 and then enlarged again at the end of the 17th century. It is home to some 450 district monks who spend their winters in Trongsa and their summers in Bumthang. You will visit a selection of the Dzong’s 23 lhakhangs (temples), before heading to the Trongsa Ta Dzong (watchtower), which now houses the interesting Royal Heritage Museum.

Afterwards, there will be the option to undertake a challenging hike from the West Gate of Trongsa Dzong (fortress) down into the Mangdechhu Valley and over the old cantilever bridge. The Trail then heads up the opposite valley side, with incredible views of Trongsa and its Dzong (fortress) behind you, as far as the viewpoint, where you will rejoin your vehicle.

From Trongsa, head to the village of Toeb Chandana, in the Punakha Valley. Visit the Toeb Chandana Lhakhang (temple), also known as the Chandana Lhakhang, meaning ‘where the arrow landed’. Legend has it that when the Divine Madman, Drukpa Kuenley, fired an arrow from Tibet to determine his course, it landed here in Toeb Chandana. The temple itself was built in the 15th century to ward off the evil energy of a demoness and then served as the religious seat of Ngawang Chogyal. The two hills at each end of the temple resemble knees and are said to be the knees of Ngawang Chogyal herself.

Next door to the Temple is the house of Toep Tshewang, which Drukpa Kuenley’s arrow is said to have struck when it landed. Legend has it that, dressed as a hunting beggar, Kuenley courted Tshewang’s wife and that, in a fit of jealous rage, Tshewang drew a sword which Drukpa Kuenley miraculously knotted. Realizing Kuenley’s divine power, Tshewang offered him his wife as a gift to aid him in fulfilling his prophecies. The building still houses the eleven-stepped wooden ladder that Kuenley’s arrow is said to have struck; and the descendants of Tshewang have preserved the house as a monument for fifteen generations.

Trek Distance: 4.6 kilometres (2.86 miles)
Estimated Trek Duration: 3 hours
Elevation Gain: 350 metres (1,148 feet)
Starting Elevation: 2,078 metres (6,818 feet)
Ending Elevation: 2,125 metres (6,972 feet)
Maximum Elevation: 2,125 metres (6,972 feet)

Included Activities: 

  • Visit Trongsa Dzong
  • Hike on the Trans Bhutan Trail
  • Visit Toeb Chandana Lhakhang
  • Visit Toep Tshewang

Accommodation: Signature Trans Bhutan Trail Camping

Meals Included: Breakfast, , Dinner

After breakfast at camp, board your vehicle for a transfer to the Dochula Pass at 3,100 metres (10,200 feet) above sea level. Mountain passes are some of the most sacred places in Bhutan and so it is customary to burn incense as an offering in places such as this. You may also wish to join locals in hanging colourful prayer flags as a sign of respect to the Gods.

While at Dochula you may visit the Druk Wangyal Lhakhang (temple), built in honour of His Majesty the Fourth King Gyalpo Jigme Singye Wangchuck and to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Bhutanese Monarchy. The paintings in this temple are unique insofar as they combine modern flourishes with century-old techniques. The Temple hosts a yearly tshechu (festival) which pays tribute to the wise leadership of His Majesty the King and the ongoing efforts of the Royal Bhutanese Army in protecting Bhutan’s sovereignty. You should also visit the Druk Wangyal Chorten (stupa), also known as the ‘108 Chortens’, and its nearby meditation caves.

From Dochula, enjoy a scenic and pleasant walk across meadows and through dense rhododendron forest towards the village of Yusipang, where you will rejoin your vehicle.

Your next stop will be Buddha Point, home to Thimphu’s most recognized landmark, the Buddha Dordenma. Guarding the entry to the Thimphu valley, this 51 metre (167 feet) gilded bronze statue is filled with 125,000 miniature statues and sits atop a three-storey base housing a chapel and thousands of donated statuettes. The statue was commissioned to mark His Majesty the Fourth King of Bhutan, Jigme Singye Wangchuck’s 60th birthday and was originally made in China before being transported to Thimphu in pieces.

Continue to Paro, where you will return to your hotel to enjoy the spa and wellness facilities on offer. 

Trek Distance: 8.5 kilometres (5.28 miles)
Estimated Trek Duration: 4 hours
Elevation Gain: 175 metres (3,835 feet)
Starting Elevation: 3,110 metres (10,203 feet)
Ending Elevation: 2,659 metres (8,724 feet)
Maximum Elevation: 3,179 metres (10,430 feet)

Included Activities:

  • Visit Druk Wangyal Lhakhang
  • Visit Dru Wangyal Chorten
  • Hike on the Trans Bhutan Trail
  • Visit Buddha Dordenma

Accommodation: Bhutan Spirit Sanctuary or similar (5*)

Meals Included: Breakfast, , Dinner

After breakfast this morning, head northwest out of Paro by private vehicle for a visit to the iconic Taktshang Goemba, more commonly known as the ‘Tiger’s Nest Monastery’. Precariously perched on a sheer cliff face 900 metres (2,950 feet) above the Paro Valley floor, the Tiger’s Nest is undoubtedly Bhutan’s most famous religious building. It is built on the site where Guru Rinpoche is said to have arrived on the back of a tigress when he came to subdue the local demon, Singye Samdrup. After subduing the demon, Guru Rinpoche is said to have meditated in a cave here for three whole months.

The Monastery is only accessible by foot via an hour and a half to two hour hike up the valley side. The trek offers spectacular views from the ridge and passes a small chorten, a basic monastery, and a waterfall on its way.

Once you have reached the Tiger’s Nest, you will have a chance to visit the cave where Guru Rinpoche meditated, as well as the extensive network of Lhakhangs (chapels) which house images, murals, chortens, and a holy spring. You may also wish to make a diversion to the attractive Machig-phu Lhakhang (temple) on the way back down to the access road.

After the visit, you will head back to your hotel in Paro, where you will be able to relax for the remainder of the day or do some last-minute shopping for souvenirs.

In the evening, enjoy a farewell dinner with your guide at a nearby restaurant.

Included Activities:

  • Visit Tiger's Nest

Accommodation: Bhutan Spirit Sanctuary or similar (5*)

Meals Included: Breakfast, , Dinner

After breakfast this morning, you will be transferred to the airport for your international departure flight.

Meals Included: Breakfast

Additional Activities

Looking for something more? These activities are examples of excursions or activities that are available to travellers that are not included in this trip fee. These activities can be subject to availability. Contact us with any questions regarding these additional activities.
Ara Ceremony

Ara Ceremony

Mountain Biking

Mountain Biking

Map

Dates & Prices

Can't find a date to suit you?

The below dates are for scheduled, group departures where you will be travelling with like-minded people. If you would like to do this trip either privately, on a different date or with additional activities please get in touch.

TAILORMADE ENQUIRY

March 13 2023 - March 24 2023

INR701,690pp

12 Available Spaces

November 06 2023 - November 17 2023

INR701,690pp

12 Available Spaces
Total: INR701,690.00 INR
Cancellation Protection (Optional - 4%) - INR28,067.60 INR