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Bhutan and Nepal

Mindful Photography and Spiritual COmpanionship Retreat

November 1 - 12, 2019

This once-in-a-lifetime journey will take you to the heart of some of the most magical and dreamlike landscapes in the world. By combining the art of photography and the practice of mindful meditation, you'll be seeing this extraordinary part world with open eyes and an open heart.

The journey begin in Kathmandu, Nepal where you'll have a couple days to relax, settle in to the guesthouse in historic Patan, explore the markets and historic temples, and connect with your fellow journeyers. You'll have an opportunity to take a traditional cooking or crafts class for truly hands-on experience of Nepali culture. On the morning of the third day, you'll board a one-hour flight to arrive at Paro in Bhutan.


You'll marvel at the breathtaking natural beauty of Bhutan, a country rich in tradition and ritual. Enjoy the unhurried pace of the Bhutanese culture, reveling in each conversation, chance meeting, and cup of tea along the way. During the journey in Bhutan, you'll explore some of the most iconic landmarks in the Himalayas, such as Taktsang Lhakhang, also known as Tiger's Nest, a gravity-defying monastery clinging to the cliffs it was built upon in 1692. Each day will be centered around a meditation practice on a specific focus, such as compassion, self-love, and inner wisdom. Spiritual direction will offered throughout the journey. There will be ample time for photography practice and instruction, allowing you to capture deeply personal mementos of your time together.

The group will fly back to Kathmandu to spend a final evening together before embarking home. 


Because of the relative inaccessibility of the country of Bhutan, flying in from small aircraft in via Kathmandu, Nepal is the best and most cost-effective way to arrive. The time in Nepal, before and after the Bhutan trip, will be largely spent in historic Patan, but many other areas of historic and cultural interest are easily accessible by foot or transit. 

In Bhutan, the journey begins in Paro, with a scenic drive through Cheli La pass and into Haa Valley and Phobjika Valley. You'll visit Thimpu, the capital of Bhutan, then traveling on to scenic cultural sites like Semtokha Dzong, Punakha Dzong, the fertility temple at Chimi Lakhang, Gangtey Monastery, and Taktsang Lhakhang. Note: all hikes are optional. Participation in meditation and photography sessions are also at your discretion.

Included in the price:

  • 3 nights meals and  accommodations at Hira Guest House in Kathmandu, Nepal


  • 8 nights meals and accommodations in Bhutan at various guest houses. Note: all accommodations are double occupancy in Bhutan.

Not included:

  • Airfare to/from Kathmandu

  • Airfare to/from Paro

  • Meals and drinks not specified

  • Travel/Medical Insurance

  • Visa fees to/from Nepal


  • USD$4995 /person
    Note: all accommodations are double occupancy in Bhutan. Single occupancy rooms are not offered on this retreat.

  • Payment plans are available. Contact us for more information.

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Limited scholarships are available based on need.

Click here to access the application.


 Kristen Hobby, PhD, an Australian native currently residing in Singapore, serves as the Asia Pacific Coordinator for SDI. As a spiritual director, Hobby sees SDI as an opportunity to “engage people of all walks of life, faith, and cultural backgrounds to experience the significant, healing, and affirming role of spiritual direction.” Hobby holds a master of arts in spiritual direction and a PhD in the area of children’s spirituality and nature.

Jo Rankine began her career as a newspaper photographer, working for esteemed publications such as The Scotsman in Edinburgh. This led to a busy freelance photography career with both government and non-government organizations, and a teaching position at Tafe NSW in Australia. She's traveled to Bhutan numerous times, and was recently honored as a featured presenter at the Journalists Association to Bhutan. Jo currently resides in Shanghai.


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