Bhutan: Wisdom Adventures: Exploring the Dharma

Departures: Bhutan


Join us for a very special journey to Bhutan, the Kingdom of the Thunder Dragon, with renowned spiritual teachers Joel and Michelle Levey—founders of Wisdom at Work, pioneers in the contemplative sciences and mindfulness movement and long time students and practitioners in the Tibetan Buddhist traditions. We will experience Bhutan in a profoundly meaningful and ‘enlightening’ way through Buddhist practice as we meditate in gorgeous monasteries, uncover the ancient stories in sacred Buddhist paintings and explore the roots of Bhutanese Buddhism in Bumthang.


We believe that to travel responsibly, a portion of our tour cost should benefit the communities we visit. For this trip, our donation will go to a non-profit organization we support that is having a very positive impact in Bhutan: BHUTAN NUNS FOUNDATION—whose work empowers and educates Bhutanese women.


Starting at $4390*

For more information and to get started, contact us at How to Book.


September 10 — 21, 2018

Day 1

Arrive Bangkok

Arrive Bangkok according to your flight details. After clearing customs, take the 5-minute walk to the airport hotel and check in for overnight.

Day 2


Early morning departure from Bangkok, we’ll make our way together to the airport for our flight to Paro.

Upon arrival in Paro, transfer to Thimpu, the capital city of Bhutan. Afternoon visit to the National Memorial Chorten. Built for the third King of Bhutan, this white and gold stupa is dedicated to world peace. In the evenings, many locals walk around the stupa, offering prayers and garnering good karma.

Day 3


Today, hike to Tango Monastery, considered a very auspicious site. Participate in a prayer ceremony with a lama from the monastery who will share his insights on Bhutanese Buddhism’s practices and philosophy.

Afternoon at leisure. Visit a local café, browse for spectacularly colorful Bhutanese postage stamps or outfit yourself as the locals do with a beautiful handwoven gho (for men) or kira (for women).

This evening, dine with a representative from the Center for Bhutanese Study who will talk to the group about Gross National Happiness.

Day 4


Today we explore Buddha Point and meditate at Zilukha Nunnery—the largest nunnery in Bhutan. We’ll light 108 butter lamps to bring all beings good karma, health and happiness.

Afternoon is devoted to important places illustrating Bhutanese culture and Buddhism. Walk through Taschichho Dzong – the current seat of the Bhutanese government – set along the Wangchhu river, sit in the tranquility of a temple dedicated to Tara and marvel at the oldest cypress tree in Bhutan.

Day 5


Depart for Gangtey, considered one of the most beautiful valleys in Bhutan. Along the way, stop at Dochula pass, a beautiful site that features 108 stupas. We make offerings while here, and weather permitting, take in the spectacular views of Himalayan peaks from the pass.

Day 6


Early morning transfer from Gangtey to Bumthang, passing through many small villages. Climb majestic Pele La pass and enjoy sweeping views of the valleys of Bumthang below, considered the spiritual center of Bhutan. There are many sacred relics and sites here from the times of Guru Rinpoche and other important Buddhist teachers.

Upon arrival in Jakar, we’ll explore Jampay Lhakhang and Tamshing Lhakhang, two monasteries that hold important Buddhist relics, just a 30-minute walk from each other.

Day 7


This morning, enjoy an easy, three-hour hike up the Bumthang river from Thangbi Gompa to the charming region known as Ngang Yul (‘Swan Land’). Admire the rock painting and traditional water mill as you hike towards Ngang Lhakhang, a 15th century monastery containing beautiful statues and paintings, and a chapel devoted to protector deities.

Afternoon, explore Kurjey Lhakhang, named for the body print from Guru Rinpoche that one of the temples contains. We’ll immerse ourselves in the rich legacy of Guru Rinpoche, with time for meditation and contemplation.

Day 8

BUMTHANG—Tharpaling Monastery

Today we’ll spend time at Tharpaling Monastery, located on the hillside above Bumthang. Built by the great saint Longchenpa, whose teachings have inspired Joel and Michelle for the past 40 years.

After exploring the monastery, we’ll seek out the many sacred sites and relics to be found near the monastery.

Schedule permitting – we will try to organize a visit with Chung Rinpoche who is the head lama at Tharpaling Monastery.

Day 9


This morning, we’ll make our way back to Paro by air.

Upon arrival in Paro, visit Ta Dzong, the Bhutanese National Museum, which holds a fascinating collection of Bhutanse art, including bronze statuary and paintings. We will then walk down the trail to visit Rinpung Dzong, also known as “Fortress of the Heap of Jewels” noted for its stunning architecture.

Day 10

PARO—Tiger’s Nest

This morning, depart for a half-day hike up to the iconic Tiger’s Nest monastery built in 1692 around the sacred ‘tiger’s lair’ caves where Guru Padmasambhava is said to have meditated for three years, three months, three weeks, and three hours in the 8th century. Enjoy the spectacular views from the trail up to the monastery.

Rest of the afternoon free in Paro to shop the markets, sip tea at a local café, or just relax.

Day 11

PARO—Kicchu Lhakang

This morning, visit to Kicchu Lhakang, where Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche lived. On our visit, see the famous Jowo Shakyamuni statue, complete with prostration footprints in the floorboard. Ask to see Dligo Khyentse Rinpoche’s bedroom adjoining the main shrine room and visit his former home, now a small museum.

Afternoon free to walk around Paro, do some shopping or sip tea in a café!

Learn about the Bhutanese national sport of archery this evening at the hotel, followed by a farewell dinner.

Day 12


Say goodbye to the friendly people of Bhutan. Transfer to the airport for your flight home.

Optional Extension

Extend your stay and explore Thailand with Joel and Michelle. Contact us for more details.

For pricing and hotel information, contact us at How to Book. The specifics of this itinerary are subject to change based on local conditions at the discretion of Ponte Travels.

• Rates shown are per person, double occupancy. Airfare not included.