8 Days Spiritual Retreat
Day 1 (Paro, Thimphu)
Upon arrival you will be greeted by your BBT guide and driver and transferred to Bhutan’s capital Thimphu, travelling through the spectacular countryside en-route. All the houses and buildings in the Kingdom are painted and constructed in traditional Bhutanese style. You will visit the National Museum in Paro which has recently added a very good introductory audio-visual presentation and an invaluable tool for visitors on their arrival into the Kingdom.
On arrival into Thimphu check-in to your hotel and proceed for lunch. Enjoy the day exploring Thimphu, with an option to visit the Golden Buddha, which also offers a sensational valley views; the National Memorial Stupa; the celebrated new National Textile Museum, and the Takin Preserve.
Overnight hotel in Thimphu
Day 2 (Thimphu)
This morning travel north up the Thimphu valley take a slow walk through the forest to either Cheri or Tango Goemba. En route view the majestic Trashichhoe Dzong, the seat of Bhutan’s government and royal offices and, time permits, pay a view to Pangri Zampa – two 16th century building that now house a monastic training school for astrologers.
Other recommended places to visit are Zorig Chusum – the Institute of the 13 Arts & Crafts of Bhutan (sometimes closed for visitors); the National Library, which holds a vast collection of ancient Buddhist manuscripts; the hand-made paper making factory, the Folk Heritage Museum & the weekend market (Fri-Sun) where everyone goes to buy an array of fresh fruits and vegetables and many colourful local items such as yak tail duster, cups of butter tea, turquoise from Tibet, and musical instruments etc.
After take a leisurely stroll along Thimphu’s main street, Norzin Lam. Your guide will advise you the best options. Overnight hotel in Thimphu.
Day 3 (Thimphu, Punakha)
After breakfast we will proceed to Punakha Valley. En-route you will visit Semtokha Dzong built in 1629 the oldest fortress of its kind that guarded the Thimphu valley, which today is a Theological university. Continue ascending to Dochu La (pass) to view 108 Stupas, commissioned by a former Queen as a memorial to those who lost their lives during a low intensity conflict in late 2002 when Bhutan evicted Indian rebels camped in the jungle on the Bhutan – Indian border. On a clear day you will witness a breathtaking view of the eastern Himalaya.
On arrival into the Punakha, you will visit Chimi Lhakhang, a monastery built by Lama Drukpa Kuenley (also known as the Divine Madman or Mad Monk) who has a very colourful history, and which is an, easy 20 minute walk across paddy fields. It is believed that childless women who visit the temple will conceive after receiving a “wang” (blessing) from the resident monk.
After lunch enjoy an orientation tour of the valley including the nunnery and the small village of Talo, original home to the 4 Queens (all sisters) of the previous 4th King. Talk a leisure walk on the serene grounds of beautiful gardens of the monastery. Overnight hotel in Punakha.
Day 4 (Bhey Langdrap)
After breakfast we will start our drive to the land of hidden treasures, Bhey Langdrag valley. Upon arrival in valley, visit the some of scared sites like Guru Kurjee (body imprint left by Guru Rinpoche); Khandro Sangphug (a cave where million dakinis made offerings to Guru Rinpoche); Khandro Bum Gee zhabjay (footprint left by million Dakinis on the rock); and the monastery of Terton Dorji Lingpa. In evening, if time permits, we will have brief stroll around the Bhey Langdrag village and farmhouses. The dinner and overnight will be arranged in camping site or in local farmhouse.
Day 5 (Landrap)
After having breakfast, we will start the spiritual hike to main monastery, which is more than 2 hours uphill hike from our campsite. Upon reaching the main monastery, we will light the butter lamps and make prayers for the world peace and prosperity. The main spiritual attractions are the hidden treasures site with seal, the miracle signs and prints left on rock by Guru Rinpoche. The lunch will be arranged and by late afternoon, we will hike back to our campsite. In evening, hoist some of the prayer flags and make prayers. The dinner and overnight will be arranged in the camping tent or in local farmhouse.
Day 6 (Bhey Langdrap, Paro)
After breakfast, we will start driving to Paro, which is more than 5 hours driving. The lunch will be served on the way. When we arrive in Paro valley, we will visit Paro Dzong. The dinner will be at the restaurant in Paro town. Evening will be at leisure exploring Paro Town. Overnight at Paro Hotel.
Day 7 (Tiger's Nest)
Taktsang Monastery (aka as Tigers Nest) is one of the most scared and revered monasteries in the Kingdom and all Bhutanese Buddhists desire to make a pilgrimage visit to Taktsang at least once in their lives. Each step taken towards the monastery gains merit points towards their future. This morning you too will have the opportunity and good fortune to take a pilgrimage hike to the Taktsang Monastery (Tigers Nest). Choose between a 2 hour round trip hike to the monastery viewpoint or a longer 5 hour hike into the Monastery itself. Tigers Nest clings impossibly to a cliff of rock at over 1000 metres above the valley floor and where Guru Rinpoche flew on the back of a tigress to subdue the local demons followed by 3 months meditation in a cave still visible in the monastery. In 1998 the monastery was seriously damaged by fire and has since been painstakingly reconstructed to its original condition and consecrated by the 4th King in 2005.
After if time permits, we will visit Kyichu Lhakhang – one of Bhutan’s oldest and most beautiful temples boasting an orange tree that perpetually bears fruit followed by a visit to the old ruined fortress of the Drugyel Dzong (14km from Paro). This is the historical site of the Fort of Drukpa Victory, from which the Bhutanese used to repel the Tibetan invaders again and again. On a clear day views of the 7314 metre snow domed peak of sacred Mt Chomolhari can be seen. Overnight hotel in Paro.