Let me begin by stating that everyone, and when I say everyone, I mean every single one of us living on earth deserves a break from COVID-19. There is no denying that 2020 has been one of a kind year. Everything came to a halt, everything closed off; homes became the only place where one could freely move around, and honestly, that’s quite suffocating. After having to suspend all our travel plans, almost at year-end, there is a slight hope that this may all be coming to an end. Everyone is waiting to welcome 2021 in a different light while wondering how things will be and what will travel look like post COVID. And what better idea is there than looking to wellness to rejuvenate one’s mind, body, and soul after having to spend a year locked up in your homes.
And what better place than Bhutan, 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; it’s the perfect place to be after a Pandemic for a holistic break.
I say everyone must take this one chance in 2021 to take care of yourself and your loved ones because if anything, 2020 has taught us that life can be uncertain and we must take every chance to live our lives to the fullest. So I say you get a pen and a paper and start making a list of things you would like to do in Bhutan. Here is our list of Bhutan wellness treats to help you make your post COVID wellness travel list.
Bhutan’s pristine nature and jagged mountainous landscape provide an ideal opportunity to trek across some of the most beautiful sceneries. Bhutan is a landlocked country, also recognized as one of the world’s hotspot biodiversity with a rich ecosystem and all these can be experienced by trekking in Bhutan. Trekking in Bhutan can offer a multitude of thrilling experiences such as fresh mountain air, outstanding views, and most importantly a great opportunity to immerse in the natural environment. Comparatively hiking offers a similar but less arduous option. Some of the most popular treks/hikes are the Jomolhari Trek, the Druk path Trek, and hiking to the Tiger’s nest.
Visit Phobjikha Valley
Phobjikha valley at an altitude of 2900 meters comes under the Wangdue district in Bhutan and falls on the edge of the Black Mountain National Park. The valley is home to the endangered bird species known as the black-necked cranes. These birds fly to Phobjikha from Tibet in winter and fly back in spring. The valley is also is one of the major tourist attractions in Bhutan. The visitors can engage in bird watching activities and observe the beautiful birds. The Black-necked crane information center is equipped with high power telescopes and binoculars for the best experience of bird watching. The center also educates visitors with information about the cultural history of the area. With its picturesque landscape and ever so beautiful pastures, the valley also offers the visitors to take part in nature trail hiking, village excursions, and many more activities to recharge one with energy.
Visit Chelela Pass
Chelela pass is located at an hour drive from the capital Thimphu and is also the highest motor-able road in Bhutan. An early drive to the pass can reward you with a magnificent view of the sun rising timidly from behind the mountain peaks. The whole pass is decorated with endless streams of fluttering prayer flags. You can hang up prayer flags and just enjoy the view and the amazing liveliness of the pass.
Soak Your Stress Away In A Hotspring
Bhutan is famous for hot springs and soaking in one can be very beneficial just to the body but to the mind as well. The wells of hot spring water are known for their miraculous healing properties. The hot springs are known to be beneficial for joint pains, skin diseases, and a number of other ailments. The hot springs in Bhutan are situated beautifully among a lush green environment and a tranquil ambiance. The most popular one is the Gasa Hotspring located in Gasa.
Spirituality Based Wellness
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. Many tourists come to Bhutan for meditation and retreat tours. You can engage in meditation programs for a few hours in the high hills and temples where the serenity and beauty of nature can be appreciated in undisturbed silence. This does a lot of help to the unsettling minds and the lifestyle or environment that we are usually surrounded with.
Temple Stays At Phajoding
The monastery is located above Thimphu town at some 4 hours of walk from the base at Sangaygang. Spending some time off the regular touristy destinations in a quiet place like the Phajoding monastery can be a life-changing experience. You can spend a night or two and explore the surroundings and actually experience the secluded life as a monk does. You can do meditation, attend talks on Buddhism, and engage with the monks. You can also engage in a light walk around the monastery and explore the temples at the site. There are about some ten temples at Phajoding all of which were built in the 13th century.
Accommodation Based Wellness
You can also choose to just relax at a high-end world-class property amidst lush pine woods and serene landscapes and experience their exclusive hospitality. Some of the popular hotels include Aman Resorts, Le Meridien, and the 6th sense properties all at your liking of destinations like Thimphu, Paro, Gangtey/ Phobjikha, Punakha, and Bumthang. Their selection of wellness services like spa treatment can be a real change in the game for someone looking to just relax and rejuvenate.
The best way to explore and get the authentic cultural experience is by opting to stay in one of the farmhouses which offer homestay. If you are anything like me, you would enjoy every activity that you get to do and experience at a farm stay. And moreover spending a night or two at a farmhouse offers an authentic experience of the traditional Bhutanese way of life. These farmhouse owners have gone out of their way to provide its guests with not just the Bhutanese cultural experience but also all the other modern facilities for a comfortable stay.
Though there are a variety of activities that you could do or destinations that you could visit, we are happy to offer an idea of how a wellness journey to Bhutan will look like.