The 8 best pictures from my Bhutan trip!
Bhutan, as you must have already gathered from my previous posts, has truly been inspirational to me. Every morning during my trip, I was excited to wake up to enjoy the beautiful view from my window.
During the 7 days trip I took more than 100 pictures (couldn’t resist) 😋. All of them have a different tale to tell.
So here are the top 8 (couldn’t stick to just 6 this time as there are many good ones to choose from) pictures from my ‘Bhutan 2018’ album.
Hope you enjoy going through them and their tales 😀
Picture 1: This one was taken when we were leaving the Paro museum. There were these three little girls oblivious of the surrounding (onlookers), enjoying each others company and the games they played. The world seemed wonderful for a few minutes as I imagined myself to be one of them (a happy little girl). Those moments gave me an overwhelming sense of happiness… and I had to capture it.
Picture 2: This was taken on the last day of our Bhutan trip. Hence it is a significant one. We woke up to a scenic view after a very rainy night. We could see the beautiful clouds trying to hide the otherwise noticeable hills. A feeling of nostalgia hit us while we sipped our coffee.
Picture 3: This was taken at the base just before we started our trek to the Tiger’s nest! This view almost made me quit the trek even before we started. The trek seemed an uphill task to me. But glad I could make it to the top and come back and wave a good-bye from the same point.
Picture 4: This is the night view of the Punakha Dzong taken on the second day of our stay at Punakha. I kid you not, I must have taken more than 30 pictures of the Dzong. From all possible angles, far and near, during the day and night…I left no opportunity whatsoever to capture this beauty. We could have easily gone back to our resort after a very hectic day (read sight seeing, rafting, eating), but we decided to stay back and wait for it to get dark and glad we did so! This is certainly not a view that should be missed 🙂
Picture 5: This is a picture of the suspension bridge at Punakha. While waiting for it to get dark (for the Punakha Dzong view), we decided to try walking on the suspension bridge. I went half way through the bridge and then I looked down! I couldn’t risk going any further and let me tell you that the walk back was quite scary (I am scared of heights). And then I saw this monk confidently walking on this very shaky bridge and coming over to our side. I admired and I clicked!
Picture 6: This was taken inside the Punakha Dzong. Amid the beautiful spring blossom, I saw some visitors approaching the Dzong. Among them was this fierce lady who came walking up the stairs. She looked a little run out but definitely not somebody who was ready to give up. So I clicked to refer to it on days when I feel a little worn out.
Picture 7: This is the nunnery at Punakha. We witnessed hundreds of nuns sitting in the prayer hall and praying and chanting together. What a lovely aura it created! This picture was taken right after the prayer services when we witnessed a sudden burst of red in an otherwise scenic but pale background. This was magic for me!
Picture 8: This picture is from our first day in Bhutan (Thimphu). We walked around the streets, we also visited the weekend vegetable market and we noticed happy faces all around us. No honking on the streets, no haggling in the market…it was indeed very peaceful. And then while crossing a bridge, we came across this dog. Nobody was shooing it off, no disturbances, strangely detached…it was definitely at peace!
6 must-dos in Bhutan!
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 😉
6 times I went ‘wow’ in Bhutan!!!
Hello readers!! How are you doing?
This particular blog (my first ever) is a result of my recent trip to Bhutan. You might wonder why I have chosen ‘6’ as the figure. Even if you aren’t, let me tell you that it’s not because my birthday happens to be on 15 and the numbers add to the figure 6 (I am not into numerology). But I chose the number because I always have the tendency to give a little more than required or requested for. Just a little more, mind you!!!
Honestly, Bhutan was never in my travel list. But now that I have traveled there, I would say that one must visit it. Following are my reasons, but you may happen to find yours.
- Ease of getting into the country and staying there – Bhutan is one among 25 countries (I am not sure if that’s the exact number, read it somewhere though) where Indian travelers don’t require a visa. They would just need an entry permit at no added cost. WOW! To top this, our Indian currency is acceptable everywhere in Bhutan (though most of them prefer Rs 100 notes). So no extra preparations required for visa and currency!
- The landing and take offs from Paro airport – You need to actually experience it! The pilot from the flight deck announces the descent; I start looking around and see beautiful and green terrains. WOW! I locate a river too and I keep clicking pictures. And suddenly from nowhere between the hills the airport strip becomes visible, not giving us a chance to spot it earlier. Paro airport landings are one among the difficult ones and definitely worth experiencing!
- The beautiful blend of the hills and the ‘CHHU’– Before you judge me (but I guess you may have already done that..) CHHU in Bhutan means river. I am a ‘water person’ and I must say that the rivers blended so well with the hills. Every place we visited (read Paro, Thimphu and Punakha), we found a different river. The best view during my seven-day visit, I thought was of the Punakha Dzong (fortress) located at the confluence of the Pho Chhu and Mo Chhu rivers.
- The people and their endless warm and loving gestures – On the first day itself we met this driver who took us around Bhutan. He was very patient and responded to our endless queries and requests. I was asking him about the local drinks people have in Bhutan and the very next day he got us a big flask of homemade ‘Ara’ (it’s a warm drink made of rice, maize and eggs). I guess because of these beautiful gestures I had tears in my eyes while I was waving good-bye to him.
- The massage after the Tiger’s nest trek – I am sure a lot of people have spoken about the trek to Tiger’s Nest (I know because I had done a lot of research before visiting Bhutan). The trek was worth every bit of pain I felt during the activity and post that too. However what is worth mentioning is the lovely, healing one-hour massage. I almost thought of hugging and kissing my therapist but I behaved myself and thanked her verbally. Do take prior appointments (most of the hotels and resorts in Bhutan have a Spa section) and thank me later.
- The ‘Oh so inexpensive’ local red wine and peach wine – When in Bhutan do try out the ‘Takin’ red wine and ‘ZumZim’ peach wine. The 750 ml bottle is just for Rs 250 (WOWWW!!). And if you intend to get some home, then please get me one too.