4th – 16th November 2019
Join us to explore the enchantingly beautiful destination of the Kingdom of Bhutan, the sacred land of the thunder dragon, the perfect destination for an inspirational and life enriching experience.
High in the Himalayan mountains between India and Tibet, Bhutan is the only country in the world that measures its progress by Gross National Happiness. It’s hard not to be joyful in Bhutan, the kindness of it’s people, the breathtaking infinite expanse of green forests, sprawling hillsides and majestic rivers all bring a huge smile to the face and invite a deep sense of exhilaration that is intoxicating.
So be prepared to be captivated……the magic of Bhutan can not be defined with words, you have to experience and feel it for yourself. The simplicity of how the locals live and how in tune with nature they are play a big part in its beauty. The temples are charged with years and years of focused meditation and spiritual energy, creating a very real strong energy field that is palpable. Together we will explore what this beautiful country has to offer in terms of spiritual growth, adventure and joyfulness.
Our 12-day Joyful Yoga and Meditation Retreat will weave together the best of the country’s spiritual charm, it’s cultural heritage and outstanding natural beauty as we journey through mystical mountains, visit sacred temples and experience a richly preserved culture.
Each day on our “Joyful Retreat” you will have the option to immerse yourself in mindful yoga and meditation sessions. Different practices will be offered to meet the needs of the participants and to blend with whatever the day holds for us. With a focus on joyfulness our practices and time in this gentle country will also be interwoven with what the people of Bhutan offer in bucket loads – kindness.
Also be prepared for some singing, chanting and dancing and generally having a joyful time!
Joyful Tour Highlights
- Participate in the dazzling Jakar Tshechu festival in Bumthang, the cultural and spiritual heartland of Bhutan
- Watch the rare and protected black necked cranes in Gangtey (Phobjikha Valley)
- Hike up to one of the most famous Buddhist temples in Bhutan – Tiger’s Nest
- Enjoy nature walks in amazing landscapes and breathtaking scenery
- Visit the vocational school for young people less-abled supported by Emma Slade’s charity Opening Your Heart to Bhutan and be enchanted by music played by blind musicians also supported by the charity
- Practice with Buddhist Nun Emma Slade and meet some of her teachers (depending on their schedules at the time of the tour)
- A variety of optional daily Mindful Yoga & Meditation sessions for all abilities to awaken our inherent kindness and joy
Joyful Tour Itinerary
Day 1 – Arrival in Paro and receive a warmhearted welcome to Bhutan before heading off to Wangdue our first overnight destination. In the evening we will gather for our opening and grounding yoga and meditation practice
Day 2 – A day of driving through the spectacular Bhutan landscape to Bumthang the spiritual heartland of Bhutan with time for a relaxing yoga practice late afternoon.
Day 3 – Enjoy the Jakar Tshechu festival with the locals and witness religious mask dances. Meander through the tranquil Bumthang valley to explore several famous temples
Day 4 – Visit the “Burning Lake”, the Ogyencholing Palace and Pemacholing Nunnery in the remote Tang valley. Hike along enchanted trails pausing along the way for meditation and yoga practice
Day 5 – Drive 4.5 hours to the Gangtey Valley stopping off for lunch along the way and to explore the impressive Trongsa Dzong. Visit the Black Necked Crane Visitor Centre and spend time watching these rare and endangered birds.
Day 6 – Visit the Gangtey Goemba Monastery, which boasts spectacular views of the glacial Phobjikha Valley and embark on a moderate hike from Longtey, weaving your way through towering bushes of jade-hued bamboo.
Day 7 – Drive 3 hours to Punakha and then enjoy a gentle walk through rice fields towards Chimi Lhakhang, a temple dedicated to Bhutan’s popular saint Drukpa Kuenley. In the afternoon we’ll visit Wolakha nunnery and if possible take practice with Emma Slade or her teachers.
Day 8 – Take a gentle scenic hike to the top of Khamsum Yuelley Namgyal Chorten before a leisurely lunch by the riverside. Explore the beautiful Punakha Dzong that sits at the confluence of the Pho Chu and Mo Chu rivers.
Day 9 – As we make our way towards Thimphu we’ll take in the magnificence of the snowcapped Himalayas from the top of Dochu la Pass and take a meditative walk around the 108 stupas and the hidden meditation caves. In Thimphu we’ll visit the National Memorial Chorten and the huge golden seated Buddha statue and temple perched high above the city.
Day 10 – Explore the Takin Preserve in Motithang and observe this national animal of Bhutan. Receive your personal astrological life reading at Pangrizampa College of Buddhist Astrology before gentle hiking along a forested trail to the beautiful Cheri monastery.
Day 11 – Before leaving Thimphu we will visit Draktsho school supported by Opening Your Heart to Bhutan. Then onto the historical town of Paro to visit to the beautiful Kyichu Lhakhang, the oldest temple in Bhutan and Bhutan’s National Museum.
Day 12 – hike to the iconic Paro Takstang Monastery, more commonly known as Tigers Nest and one of the most striking Buddhist temples in the world. Rounding off the day with a celebratory dinner and dancing if legs allow!
Day 13 – We’ll wake up on our final day for one last cup of local tea before travelling to the airport to head home or on to your next destination…..
Each day a variety of optional daily Mindful Yoga & Meditation sessions will be offered for all abilities to awaken our inherent kindness and joy
Come ready to be curious, to be inspired, to be kind and above all to be joyful!
Joyful Tour Details
12 nights £2,750 (subject to exchange rate at time of booking)
Return flights Dehli/Paro are approx £490 and can be arranged by our tour operator – please advise at the time of booking if needed or if you have different travel plans.
- Twelve day exploration of Bhutan with an expert local English speaking guide
- Private vehicle with experienced local English speaking driver
- Government tax (Sustainable Development Fee) which is used towards free education, free healthcare, poverty alleviation, along with the building of infrastructure
- Bhutan visa and permit management
- Breakfast each morning at our hotels
- All lunches including local eateries and picnics
- All dinners in local restaurants or at our hotels
- Morning or evening yoga on most days
- Meditation practices and Dharma talks with Emma Slade and her teachers (subject to their availability at the time of the tour)
- Twelve nights accommodation in 3 star hotels or guest houses
- All entry fees for the above sights and additional activities as listed on the itinerary
- Taxes, royalties, and service charges
What’s Not Included:
- Flights to Paro – our agent can help you with booking flights from Dehli Calcutta, Kathmandu, Bankgkok and other places – see www.drukair.com.bt
- Gratuities (for your Bhutanese guide and driver)
- Items of a personal nature (phone calls, laundry, souvenirs, spa services, etc)
- Travel Insurance (required)
- Indian Visa
- Vaccination costs
- Single room supplement, £125
Bhutan Joyful Retreat Features:
12 day fully escorted tour
Learn: from our highly experienced local guide and private driver
Connect: with yourself, the locals and with nature
Rest in beauty: magical mountains, luscious landscapes
Deepen your practice: one or two daily yoga and meditation sessions
Ascend: hike up to historic temples
Explore: cities, towns and villages, temples, fortresses and farmhouses
Celebrate: Join thousands of locals in a world-renowned cultural festival
Experience: a culture of joy, kindness and beauty!