Hello readers! Hope my previous post was helpful to many of you. Thank you for taking time out and reading it.
Excited and motivated with the response, I am now sharing with you my second post!!
My obsession with the number ‘6’ continues. Another reason for this obsession is the fact that I like being an average human. That doesn’t however mean I am not ambitious :-). When I was in school, my mom used to tell me that if I studied a bit more, I had the potential to secure the first/second position in class. But purposely (and I am being very honest here), I used to make sure that I secured the 4th or 5th (position). This is because I did not want to take on the pressure of excelling each time. I was happy being an average student then. With time, I guess I’ve changed and become a part of the rat race ;-).
Now coming back to Bhutan…I really think that you should include the following in your itinerary. Please note that I visited Punakha-Thimphu-Paro only and the post is therefore based on my experiences in these places.
- Do visit the Thimphu central post office – You must be wondering why would someone suggest a visit to a post office!!! Yes, I am a little crazy otherwise but let me explain why. This is because you can get your customized stamps made at the Thimphu central post office. Select a picture and share it with the staff there and the next thing you see is your personalized stamps!! Now how cool is that?? I find the idea of receiving a post card (a handwritten letter) that too with a personalized stamp quite ‘nostalgic’. We actually used those stamps to send postcards to our family.
- Do visit the Punakha Dzong – it was love at first sight (literally) for me. The drive from Thimphu to Punakha is around 3 hours (with a break for lunch). I remember I was feeling miserable during and after the drive because of the hilly terrain (read motion sickness). So ideally, I should have rested that evening. But we decided to step out and I’m glad we took that decision. Our super sweet driver took us to the Dzong and what a view it was (I have posted a picture in my previous article). We couldn’t take our eyes off from that magnificent structure. Over the next two days during our stay in Punakha we tried clicking pictures of the Dzong from all possible angles (and I am not kidding ;-)).
- Do try river rafting in Punakha – This was not a part of our itinerary initially but I’m glad we did it. While gazing at the beautiful Mo Chhu river we saw a couple of rafts coming our way. Hence, we enquired and cracked a deal for the next day. So, the next day after our visit to the nunnery and the Dzong we went for river rafting with a few local people. It was fun interacting with them while braving the rapids. It was not as adventurous as the Rishikesh rafting but it’s a must do for first-timers, senior citizens and people who are generally scared about the idea of rafting.
- Do try ‘phaksha paa’ at the Damchen resort – People in Bhutan mostly eat red rice (locally grown there) and cheese-based dishes to go along with it. ‘Ema Datshi’ (prepared with just cheese and chilies) is a very common dish there. What I really loved was the ‘phaksha paa’ served at the Damchen resort. We were not staying there but would have loved to as it’s located near the river. ‘Phaksha’ means pork and ‘Paa’ is the recipe. If you don’t like pork, there is a chicken variant too for you. I like experimenting a lot when it comes to food (I also experiment quite a bit with by hair) so this dish I thought is worth mentioning here.
- Do go for the Tiger’s Nest trek – This particular activity deserves a separate post which I will eventually write. This is definitely a must-do for all people traveling to Bhutan. I don’t think travellers should care about the time taken to complete the entire trek but it is definitely a good idea to complete the trek! Trust me on this, the feeling of exultation after you complete this trek is beyond description! I have never ever trekked in my entire life and if I could complete it, I think anyone can. More details in my next post.
- If shopping is in your agenda do shop at Paro – While Thimphu has many shops for touristy shopping, I would recommend you save your money for Paro as you will get lot more options there. There is a single lane with quaint shops all around. You may wish to bargain a bit. Some shops offer you a discount too. You can look out for baby yak stoles, beautiful masks, souvenirs (I personally like collecting fridge magnets). Happy shopping!!
And just to let you guys know…I am not getting any commission from the Bhutan King 😉