Why Bhutan? Called the Land of the Thunder Dragon, the Kingdom of Bhutan is the last in tact, completely Buddhist nation in the Himalayas. Sunday, January 13, 2013 in a New York Times article called “The 46 Places to go in 2013”, Bhutan was featured as #5: Titled “A pristine Buddhist enclave opens, with care”.
A pristine and serene land known for its profound Bhutanese hospitality and unique architecture, Bhutan only opened up to television and to the internet, in 1999. Most Bhutanese speak four languages, including English, and so there is an ease, visiting and conversing with the locals, in markets, monasteries, and in the villages.
Three of Bhutan’s most important contributions for outsiders to experience, are:
- Their Gross National Happiness (GNH) concept and initiatives, launched forty years ago, which are now being pollinated and embraced in the world;
- Bhutan’s very special and gentle ‘secular Buddhism’ and approach to compassion, which has vast wisdom and applications for us Westerners.
- Their stunning landscapes (three zones: alpine; temperate; and sub-tropical) and national parks, are populated with lush, broad-leaf forests, cloud forests, 300 species of medicinal plants, 46 species of rhododendrons, a great variety of birds, with 670 bird species recorded, and an abundance of protected mammals, including Bengal tigers, snow leopards, Himalayan Black bears, pandas, many varieties of primates, blue sheep, musk deer, water buffaloes, and yak.
How Much does it cost? The 15-day Tour-Symposium cost $3,695.00 per person, with double occupancy. The Symposium, “Falling Awake with the Buddha” will have presentations and Dharma talks by three American Dharma teachers and seven Bhutanese monks, lamas, and renowned scholars, sharing their profound thoughts.
American presenters Susan Bauer-Wu, Merle Lefkoff, and Tucker Peck, will be journeying with us throughout Bhutan… and so there will also be many informal opportunities to dialog with them about compassion, coping with illness and resiliency, gratitude, meditation, intuition, therapy and spirituality, activism and transformation on a personal and societal level, and also to bring in to focus, your own ideas about relationships.
Pricing is driven by the official Bhutan visitor tariff of $200.00 a day, during June, which is considered their ‘low season’. This includes all meals and lodging, 35% government tax, Tourist Visa Fee, English speaking Bhutanese guides, three nights in Bangkok, the gateway city, a one-way flight in-country (Paro-Bumthang), all in-country ground transportation, all workshops, Symposium, museum and temple entry fees, stipends for the ten presenters, lamas, monks, and scholars.
Single occupancy add $495.00 The price does not include airfare from the U.S. to Bangkok roundtrip. Currently pricing L.A. to Bangkok airfare is approximately $1,150.00
The price does not include airfare from Bangkok to Bhutan (Paro, Bhutan airport). Currently group discounted airfares are being negotiated with the exclusive Bhutanese airline that flied into Bhutan: Druk Air. Currently the published roundtrip fare is $859.00 We plan to have all group participants fly Bangkok-Par-Bangkok together.
Passports. Anyone considering this Tour must have a valid passport, and their passport should be valid for at least six months after date of return. All tour participants must provide a copy of their trip cancellation insurance. This insurance, though very rarely needed or used, is for in the event a traveller becomes ill during a tour and has not purchased insurance, all hospital and medical expenses are the traveller’s responsibility.
Bhutan Tourist Visa will be applied for after final trip payment has been received, along with 2 passport photos as well as a scanned copy of your passport details information page.
Payment Schedule. To reserve your place, a deposit of $800.00 is required, per person, double occupancy. For Single Occupancy, a deposit of $950.00 is required, to reserve your place. Final payment of $2,895.00 (insert: for Double Occupancy and final payment of $3,240.00 for Single Occupancy must be made by April1, 2013. The Bhutanese air tickets (Druk Air) and travel documents will be issued 30-60 days prior to departure.
For any reason, tour payments will be 100% refundable between 65 days and 31 days prior to departure. Less than 31 days prior to departure payments are 100% non-refundable. Please note.
Clothing, Currency, and Special Needs. We recommend packing layered clothing, for being comfortable while walking, touring, and hiking. We will be in various temperature zones in June. The Bhutanese currency is keyed to the Indian Rupee, since India is their major trading partner. There are a few ATM’s in-country and also dollars can be sold and bought at the Paro airport.
At the beginning of 2013, the dollar (USD) purchased 54.45 Indian Rupees (INR).
Regarding special needs, we shall provide a detailed list and narrative, as well as an elaborate bibliography and recommended reading list of Bhutanese and Himalayan culture, Buddhism, archeology, arts, and Bhutan travel information, to each tour participant, upon receipt of their deposit.
Download attachments: Falling Awake with the Buddha (2013)