Bhutan, The Dragonland

#Peace #Harmony #GoodFood These are the 3 words that come to my mind when I think of Bhutan. 4 of us went for a Bhutan trip in December 2016, mostly because other countries turned out to be too expensive around new year. When we were leaving the country, we had a pact to visit again!

Day 1: Unlike Western countries where I felt poor during my visits due to the currency conversion rates, I felt RICH in Bhutan ūüėČ For example, on our first day in¬†Phuntshelong, we had full plate meals with extra curries & drinks for 4 people for total of just Rs. 490 (!)

Day 2: It took 4.5 hours to get permit in Phuntshelong (Mondays are always busier – try to avoid Mondays for permit if you are time constrained)
Then we were on a 6 hour drive to Thimphu with Tamang ji, a driver referred by friend. We were having hot momos, noodles, butter tea at various mini hotels in the middle of no-where on the hills. Thanks to the curvy elevated roads throughout, the sight from windows was a perpetual postcard. Our driver told us so many amazing facts about Bhutan during this trip
Hotel Norbuling in Thimphu was just amazing and I highly recommend this. We were freezing at 4 degree celsius temperature outside when we reached Thimphu. They gave us complimentary coffee, warm towels, their green-pea soup is just out of this world!

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Day 3: In the morning we started from Norbuling, got a permit to Punakha and started our trip. We went to visit this Buddha statue on top of the hill in Thimphu, it is surrounded by mountains all around and was¬†work in progress. This statue could be seen from any point in the town and it so so peaceful. From here, we started for Punakaha, and it was just….OMG.

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There is a beautiful monastery on the bank of a river. The wall art is nothing like I have ever seen on any monastery before! And the surroundings…I could hear was the gushing of the breeze, flowing of the river, rustling of the leaves from trees aged hundreds of years and chirping of the birds.
We reached Paro by evening for an overnight stay

Day 4: Now this an exciting day, the day of Tiger’s Nest. It involved full day trek to top of mountain on a rough path. Fun fact: They have an option of horses to carry you till half way up for a fee. It was a great trek – peaceful surroundings, physically challenging & with a good company.

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In the evening, we went for a stroll in the Paro main streets, went to restaurant called “All Seasons” that Tamang ji recommended. He was so caring & professional, so at the end of the meal we¬†set up a Facebook page to promote his business.

Day 5: Our last day in Bhutan, we were going to Sikkim for a few more days and we will miss this country forever

Random facts:

Food:

– They have an yummy and healthy curry called Datschi which is a must try even though their butter tea did not spark my taste bids
– Their food habits are really healthy – they don’t have the concept of snacks, fast food chains, etc. You also don’t see any road side eateries and fast food shops. They eat rice, with an option of 4-5 curries, pork, beef and chicken.

People:

– People here are warm and simple
РTheir king is an awesome man, he led the country from a monarchy to democracy. The more I read about him, the bigger my admiration was. There is a photo of fifth dragon king & his family in almost every household & commercial property we visited Рand I can understand why
– Around a few years, when the road from the capital city Thimphu to Phuntshelong was not good, apparently the king invited 1 person from every family to come & contribute to the work for 3 months and the road was finished
– We saw so many houses perched on top of hill, without nothing around. When we asked if it wouldn’t be inconvenient, the driver mentioned that they go to city once in 2 weeks and get the stuff they want. They have farm lands around the house they are happy living there. What a simple life!
– A few people we spoke to said they did not want to come to India to do their current business despite having the chances to get much more money because they think India is chaos. Hmmm!

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