Yoga and Hiking in Incredible Bhutan,
the Land of Happiness
Bhutan has been described as one of the finest places on Earth. The Land of Happiness is so pristine. Our Bhutan yoga retreat weaves together the best of the country’s culture and nature as you explore ancient fortresses and temples, mingle with monks and hang prayer flags, ride the rapids and discover the significance (and crazy mish-mash look) of the native takin.
By limiting the number of tourist visas issued each year, Bhutan is one of the few countries able to sustain their endemic culture while welcoming in the wider world. The result is a moving feast of culture, nature and local infectious smiles.
Bring your sense of wonderment and humour as we travel alongside the inspiring locals who measure their life and success by their Gross National Happiness and call the awe-inspiring Land of the Thunder Dragon home.
Paro International Airport
Day One, Thimphu
After an unforgettable flight with its characteristic adrenaline rush as you see views of Mount Everest, Kanchenjunga and other famous Himalayan peaks, including the sacred Jomolhari and Mount Jichu Drake, you will land at Paro International Airport. This landing at Paro, considered one of the most challenging will also be an enthralling experience. Our company’s representatives will receive you at the airport and escort you in the 4-wheel drive along the sweeping valley to land in Bhutan’s capital, Thimphu, just in time for a sunset yoga practice.
Day Two, Thimphu
Thimphu is Bhutan's capital and largest city which provides a glimpse into how the present day Bhutanese people have adapted to the 21st century. After a morning yoga session, visit the National Memorial Chorten, Changangkha Monastery, Takin zoo, Tashi Chodzong.
Day Three, Punakha
Start early morning with a yoga session and a 2-hour trek into pine and rhododendron forests above the Thimphu valley to the Cheri Monastery. Built in 1750, the monastery maintains spectacular views of the cascading mountain ranges. Retreat inward with a guided meditation led by resident monks. Return to Thimphu for lunch, followed by a drive over the 10,300-foot pass with panoramic views of the Himalayas, enroute to Punakha, arriving at the next stage of our journey.
Day Four, Punakha
Get ready to explore one of the most architecturally and aesthetically beautiful dzongs, Punakha Dzong. The Punakha Dzong was first constructed as a war fortress in the early 1600s evolving over the years to become Bhutan’s capital and finally, an administrative hub. Enjoy traversing the scenic trails for an afternoon hike to Chimi Lhakhang also known as The Temple of the Divine Madman, built in 1499. Named after Lama Drukpa Kunley also known as the “Divine Madam” it is one of the most revered temples in Bhutan.
Day Five, Punakha
After a serene morning walk and yoga practice you will head out for a mid-day hike above Punakha to the Nalanda Monastery which is situated among the farming fields. Visit and meditate with the resident monks, partaking in their Bhuddhist teachings as you assist them with their conversational English.
Day Six, Thimphu
Yoga and meditation at Khuru Resort/Hotel Lobeysa before departing for Thimphu to arrive in time for lunch. With a sense of the city’s geography, the afternoon and evening are all yours to indulge in your personal exploration of Thimphu. You can get a good night’s sleep or join our guides for a happening night on the town!
Day Seven, Thimphu
Enjoy a full day of site seeing throughout the artistic venues of the capital. Visit the Buddha Statue, School of the Traditional Arts and studios of local artists. Glean insight into Bhutan’s history, rich with artistry, and appreciate how modern artists continue to express cultural histories. Continue with an afternoon yoga practice at a local venue, and return to the hotel for a final evening in Thimphu
Day Eight, Paro
Get up to a final yoga and meditation practice, then breakfast in Thimphu, departing late morning for the beautiful mountain town of Paro. The afternoon is yours to define: explore Paro and the National Museum, relax with a massage at the hotel’s spa or meditate at the serene teahouse or temple.
Day Nine, Paro
After breakfast, take a short 10-minute drive to the base of the mountain home of the Taksang Monastery, also known as the Tiger’s Nest Monastery for its geography and history. The Taksang Monastery is renowned for its cliff-side location perched 2,700 feet above the valley floor where it is said that the Rinpoche first arrived on the back of a flying tiger in 746 CE and meditated in a mountain cave there for 3 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. After your descent, look forward to lunch at the hotel, followed by a nice siesta or other relaxation perhaps in the form of massage or Bhutanese Hot Stone bath. This evening will be your closing dinner together.
Day Ten, Paro
After Breakfast, drive towards ‘Dra-Karpo Cave’ meaning ‘white stone’, which is 8 kms away from Paro. After an hour’s hike from Shaba village, you reach the cave in which the Guru meditated in the 8th century and which today is considered one of the most secret places. Here after an hour’s circumambulation, meditate inside the cave, and then take a vegetarian lunch in and around the temple.
Later in the afternoon, drive back to Paro town for your last shopping from the Kingdom of Bhutan.
Transfer to the airport for your departure towards onward journey, or home.
End of Services
Most flights are from New Delhi, which is your best option.
Travel throughout the year, but flights may be cancelled in December-January because of heavy fog.
Minimum travelling: 2. Maximum: 6
Fees (all quotes in US dollars):
Twin share: $3300 per person
Single room: $4620
• Airport-hotel-airport transfers
• Twin-share accommodation in Three Star Hotel, certified by Tourism Council of Bhutan.
• Ten days in Bhutan with an expert, local, English speaking guide
• Bhutan visa and permit management
• Breakfast each morning at our hotels
• All lunches including local eateries and picnic(s)
• All dinners in a local restaurant or at our hotels
• Morning and evening yoga on most days (please see the full itinerary for yoga schedule)
• Full day excursion and hike to the iconic Tiger’s Nest Monastery
• Nature encounter with Bhutan’s national animal, the takin, at the Motithang Takin Preserve
• Hike to the Cheri Goempa Monastery
• Visit with Buddhist monks and individual blessing (if desired)
• Opportunity to hang your own prayer flag
• Explore Pangri Zampa Monastery
• Up close and personal with one of the world’s largest Buddha statue, the Buddha Dodernma
• Explore Chimi Lhakhang, the temple of the “Divine Madman”
• Drive through and time to explore the Chelala Pass’s vibrant flora and views of Mt. Jomolhari
• Day trip to Haa
• Visit to Lhakhang Karpo (the White Temple) and Lhakhang Narpo (the Black Chapel)
• All entry fees for the above sights and additional activities as listed on the itinerary
• Flights Tickets both International and domestic
• Any video or still camera fees assessed by the monuments or places of interest
• Gratuities (for your Bhutanese guide – all other gratuities are covered)
• Personal expenses (phone calls, souvenirs, spa services, laundry, tipping etc)
• Travel Insurance (required)
Shanti Gowans is the globally recognised author and founder of Shanti Yoga™, Meditation and Ayurveda for the self, family and community.
Shantiji has brought the concepts and practices of a healthy body and a still mind to thousands of Australians through her Yoga and Meditation programs on national television... Read more about Shantiji's biography
Travel with Shanti & Peter Gowans this November for a trip of a lifetime.