SPIRITUALITY & WELLNESS
Bhutan has many activities available for those visitors seeking a place of solace, rest and recuperation. Whether it’s a session of peaceful, contemplative meditation, a relaxing soak in a mineral hot spring bath or the all natural remedies of our traditional medicine Bhutan has just what you need to revive and rejuvenate your body and spirit.
Our many meditation and mediation retreats will provide you with places of respite from the cares and stress of everyday life. Many tourists from Thailand and other Buddhist countries come to Bhutan specifically for meditation and retreat tours. Additionally most hotels also provide yoga sessions, retreats and meditation facilities within the hotel premises.
The traditional medicine of Bhutan is known as Sowa Rigpa and dates back to the 17th century when it first spilt from it Tibetan origins. Bhutan’s natural environment, with its exceptionally rich flora has enabled the development of an unparalleled pharmacopoeia. Indigenous medicine units have been established in all 20 Dzongkhags (districts) and can provide tourists with traditional remedies for any ailments they may have.
Hot springs or Tshachus as they are locally known can be found all over the Kingdom and their medicinal properties are known to cure various ailments ranging from arthritis to body aches and even sinuses.
MEDITATION AND RETREAT
As one of the last strongholds of Vajrayana Buddhism, meditation and mediation retreats are a common practice amongst Monks and Buddhist practitioners in Bhutan. Small retreat centers and hermitages are located all over the country, usually next to temples, monasteries and monastic schools.
These retreats and meditation centers provide places of respite from the cares and stress of everyday life. Devout Buddhists often venture into the mountains for months at a time to meditate. The retreats provide practitioners with the opportunity to draw upon their inner self and meditate upon the purpose of life.
Many tourists come to Bhutan for meditation and retreat tours. Some itineraries include serious meditation programs that last for days while others offer solitary retreats for few hours in the high hills and temples where the serenity and beauty of nature can be appreciated in undisturbed silence.
Tour Operators can include meditation programs in your itinerary if you are interested in trying this Bhutanese way of retreat. Additionally most hotels also provide yoga sessions, retreats and meditation facilities within the hotel premises.
HOT SPRING THERAPY
In Bhutan, hot springs are known as Tshachus and are found all over the Kingdom. The medicinal properties of these hot springs have been used by the Bhutanese people for centuries to cure various ailments ranging from arthritis to body aches and even sinuses. It is a popular tradition among Bhutanese to visit hot springs during the winter months.
The five most well known hot springs are:
THE GASA TSHACHU
The hot springs at Gasa in Western Bhutan are situated close to the banks of the Mo Chu River. This is one of the most popular springs in the country and are frequented not only with tourists but with local people as well.
To get to the Gasa Hot Spring visitors must trek for approximately 40 minutes from the nearby road to the springs located on the valley floor. The option to travel half way by vehicle until the village of Damji were it is a beautiful six hour trek to Gasa through gorgeous hills covered in verdant forests of pine and oak.
The route also takes you through small villages, bamboo forests and across sparkling mountain streams. Along the way, trekkers will cross a mountain pass from which there is an absolutely stunning view of Gasa Dzong(fortress) seated below majestic snow covered mountains.
There are three bath houses at the Gasa Tshachu. One of the bath houses contains a large bathing pool and the remaining two each have two smaller pools. The water temperature varies in each of the pool so visitors can choose the one that they like best. Bathing facilities have also been provided to ensure that the Hot Springs remain clean and hygienic. There is also an outdoor pool close to the facilities that are frequently used by both domestic and wild animals such as Takins.
Another well known hot spring is the Chubu Tshachu in Punakha. This hot spring is located by the banks of the Pho Chu River and is within a day’s journey from Punakha town.
Dur Tshachu is located in Central Bhutan in Bumthang Dzongkhag. Situated in the village of Dur, this Hot Spring is renowned for its medicinal value and is known to cure body aches.
Then we have the Duenmang Tshachu, situated by the banks of Mangde Chu River. This Hot Spring is especially popular amongst the Khengpa (indeginous ethinic group of Bhutan) population who frequent it regularly.
In Southern Bhutan, we have the Gelephu Tshachu situated yet again next to a stream.
This Hot Spring is mainly frequented by the local residents but in winter people from all over Bhutan journey here to cure themselves of diseases.
Visitors can also try out the ancient Bhutanese tradition of ‘Menchu’ or Hot Stone Baths. In this method water is heated by submerging red-hot stones into the bath and then used it to bathe and soak. This is a popular curative method that is used throughout the country.