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One reason to visit Bhutan is to experience the brand new Bhutan Spirit Sanctuary, that just opened this month. Nestled in the Shaba Valley in the capital city of Paro, Bhutan Spirit Sanctuary features 24 luxury rooms designed to inspire ultimate comfort, reflect the restful mind and accentuate the true relaxation of the spirit of Bhutan.
A great deal of thought has gone into the positioning of Bhutan Spirit Sanctuary within the valley. It affords exceptional views, but this is not the only reason for its location. It is widely believed by the people of this valley that the bottom of the bare, rock-covered hillside is a hidden gateway to Shangri-La, an earthly paradise. Bhutan Spirit Sanctuary
Farm to Table Dining
A stay at Bhutan Spirit Sanctuary includes all meals, including breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks, minibar and drinks (excluding alcohol). Guests can meet with the chefs to design a customized menu. With Bhutan's goal of becoming 100% organic by 2020, the farm to table culinary team sources local organic ingredients, with seasonal fruits and vegetables from around the environmentally diverse nation. Herbs and vegetables come from the chef's own organic sanctuary garden and features some of the country's local produce including semi-milled japonica red rice and Fiddlehead fern fronds that inspire this unique style of cuisine.
Vegetarian cuisine is also featured during the first and fourth Buddhist holy months each year when the consumption of meat is discouraged.
Mind and Body
Bespoke well-being programs are individually designed for every guest including a consultation with a Bhutanese traditional medicine doctor to develop a personal in-house treatment journey towards a restful mind, body and soul.
The program incorporates a range of rejuvenating international and local spa treatments, yoga, and meditation alongside local monks, traditional Bhutanese hot stone baths, steam, and sauna as well as a food & beverage menu that is centered on food that is rich in nutrition, rich in flavor and rich in the culture of Bhutan.
Contributors: Debra Kelman Loew from Robertson Solutions
“Life is suffering.” That’s the first of the Four Pillars of Buddhism, which is somewhat ironic when you discover that Bhutan, in addition to being perhaps the most intensely Buddhist country on earth (prayer flags cover the Bhutan landscape from end to end, like a sort of heavenly confetti), is also one of the most content. This is the country that invented the Gross National Happiness index, and which frequently tops those “world’s happiest countries” lists.
Contributors: Patrick Smith from Ask The Pilot
Offer: Village Ways offers Villages and Valleys of Bhutan from $3,742pp sharing (or from $3,211 in a party of 3 - 6), including 12 nights' accommodation (including a mix of farmhouse, homestay, hotel and community guesthouse), all meals in the villages, transfers, and internal flights and guiding. International flights are extra. The trip is available all year round.
The highlight of this trip is spending time in a small village, witnessing first hand local customs and traditions. After transferring to Bumthang, with its collection of temples and palaces, guests head into the beautiful Ura Valley. Here, visitors stay five nights in a community guesthouse run by local youths, the only such guesthouse in the country, and ease into the rhythms of village life, spending time with the residents and enjoying short walks out into the surrounding hills. Highlights will include visiting yak herds, strolling through mushroom-carpeted forests, enjoying renditions of traditionally folk music and a highly-recommended hot stone bath, known locally as Ura Grakchu.
The holiday begins in Paro, a historic town set high up among the foothills of the Himalaya offering spectacular views. After meeting their guide and a trip to the hilltop fort of Rinpung Dzong, guests spend the second day visiting the Taktsang Monastery, a sacred site known as the Tiger's Nest. This white-walled monastery is perched on a cliff edge, and it is believed that Guru Rinpoche, founding father of the Bhutanese form of Mahayana Buddhism, arrived here on the back of a tigress for meditation. Guests require rather less bravery, making the 2-3 hour journey on foot and horseback.
After leaving the Ura Valley, guests head slowly towards Thimpu, Bhutan's captivating capital - the only capital in the world without traffic lights, their base for two nights. En route, there are stops at the Chhune Valley, home to the country's famous Yatra weaving, and Phobjikha, the winter nesting site of black necked cranes.
Contributors: Hugh Collins from Julia Spence Public Relations
The country as a whole has a philosophy of promoting Gross National Happiness. The people of Bhutan care more about treating other people well, whether they be friends or foreigners, instead of material things such as phones, radios, or computers.
Contributors: Joe Robison from My Bucket List Events
Taj Tashi in Thimphu - where you can experience this fascinating Dzong architecture alongside modern design. This hotel is armed with Taj's well-known Jiva Spas, where you can experience a Bhutanese bath along with other Eastern wellness practices.
Contributors: Courtney Curtsinger from Laura Davidson Public Relations
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