Blogs from Punakha, Bhutan, Asia

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Asia » Bhutan » Punakha January 13th 2020

Monday, 13th January 2020 After concluding our sight-seeing plans for Thimphu in the earlier part of the day, it was time to embark on a somewhat winding journey to Punakha, about three hours away from the capital city. The beautiful Punakha Valley was going to be my home for the next two nights. Halfway through our journey, the driver made a pit-stop at the gorgeous Dochula Pass located some 3100m above sea level. This was where we were rewarded with great views of the Himalayas on a clear day. Next to it, stands the neat 108 Memorial Chortens perched on top of a small hill where plenty of photo-taking opportunities were possible. Before reaching the Punakha Valley, we paid a visit to the Chimi Lhakhang Temple where the deity, "Mad Saint" or the "Divine Madman" was ... read more
Paradise found - Zhingkham Resort

Asia » Bhutan » Punakha October 26th 2019

Tijd om de hoofdstad van Bhutan te verlaten en richting de oude hoofdstad te rijden. Nog geen 15 minuten onderweg en we kwamen in één van de 10 nationale parken. In dit park ligt de pas waar we over moeten om naar Punakha te rijden. Op het hoogste punt van de pas ligt de Dochu La. Deze ligt op 3100m. Onderweg rijden we door de bergen. Overal waar je kan kijken een prachtig bos met watervalletjes en verschillende kleuren loofbomen en vele naaldbomen. Hier en daar zie je een huisje, maar dat is eerder niet dan wel. Onze gids vertelt ons over de parken. De 10 parken zijn allemaal met elkaar verbonden zodat de dieren overal heen kunnen. Want ook zij wonen op deze planeet en ze hebben even goed het recht om te gaan en ... read more
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Asia » Bhutan » Punakha October 19th 2017

It seems that almost everyone wants to or already enjoys river rafting. I like to canoe, kneeling securely on the bottom of the canoe, knees touching the sides for excellent stability. I learned the finer points of canoeing at summer camp when I was in my early teen years. Kayaking runs a definite distant second place, but I have sweet memories of holding my first grandson, nine moths old, while my son, the baby's father, paddled us in his ocean-going kayak on the South China Sea in Japan. And, from years later, I have another kayak memory of trying to hold another grandson while my son paddled us on the Potomac River out to Roosevelt Island. But I have never tried river rafting before today. We had perfect weather again this morning, a little chilly at ... read more

Asia » Bhutan » Punakha May 6th 2017

Traveling the countryside of Bhutan We left Thimphu for the former capital city of Punakha and some traveling through the countryside. Before departing we enjoyed a dinner with some high school students and were dressed in the national dress, a gho for George and a kira for Marcia. It took two hotel staff to dress us, even though the kids we had dinner with claimed that by age 12 they could put on the clothes by themselves. While driving through the countryside we got a taste of the fourth pillar of 'gross national happiness', good governance. Bhutan is a monarchy, now under the rule of its fifth king. It was a state back in the 1600s, but civil wars tore it apart in the 1700s and it was only unified again near the end of the ... read more
Punakha Dzong
Yak Herder flirts with Marcia
Traditional welcome dance

Asia » Bhutan » Punakha February 12th 2016

(I published a blog a couple of days ago but for some reason it didn't send an email out so read that one first if you haven't seen it!) The morning we left Thimphu I woke with the lurgy that every traveller dreads when they're going on a long journey and actually feeling pretty rough. I didn't want to spoil the trip so said we should set off and hoped that it would settle down as a short term thing. Unfortunately it was not to be and to cut a boring traveller's tummy story short, after a visit to Punakha hospital I came away with 2 lots of antibiotics and we stayed 2 nights in Punakha while I improved a bit. H therefore has the story and pictures for Punakha so I will leave it to ... read more
Ancient pathway
Phallus painted on building
End of the ancient pathway!

Asia » Bhutan » Punakha July 21st 2013

Wednesday 31st October After about 7 hrs on the bumpiest , dustiest and windiest roads on the planet, we arrived in Punakha Valley and visited Chimi Lhakhang, a monastery built by the Divine Madman, Lama Drukpa Kuenley. It was a great walk across the paddy fields. Most of the monastarys here in Bhutan are also orphanages in disguise. There are obviously religious monks living in them, but there are also orphaned boys, and boys whose parents cant afford or aren’t able to keep their children, living in them as well. Lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time yet again, we have received a “wang” (blessing) from the resident monk. This entails being dubbed on the head by an arrow and a large wooden phallus, much to our amusement. Well mine at ... read more

Asia » Bhutan » Punakha December 21st 2012

Geo: 27.78, 89.9To get to our next destination in Bhutan, Punakha, we had to do another of those multi hour drives along twisting mountain roads that all too often leave you dangling on the edge of a steep drop because the road is just barely wide enough for one vehicle- and then of course along comes another vehicle heading in the other direction (somebody has to back up to a wider spot in the road!). We even came across a relatively serious accident and apparently in Bhutan, nothing can be moved until the police arrive which would have meant a four hour delay- not wanting to wait, our driver, based on vehicle and space measurements he took by spreading his arms wide, eased by the accident with the wheels on one side just barely holding onto ... read more
On The Way To The Blessing
Salesman
Father & Daughter

Asia » Bhutan » Punakha November 1st 2012

Thursday 1stNovember This morning we travelled to the end of the valley and hiked up to Khamsum Yulley Nmagyel Chorten. The views are spectacular and, and we met a couple of the local senior ladies of the Chorten who are very keen to feed us our fill of Guava from their trees. We’ll travel back there tomorrow to a small school so that we can drop off all the toothbrushes we have for the local kidlets. It was a public holiday today to celebrate coronation day so of course the school is closed. Shane says: Palden was asking a few cheeky kids about school tomorrow, so we could give them the toothbrushes we brought along. One little smart arse replied “schools on but I wont be there, ahahha”. Typical smart alecs are the same the world ... read more

Asia » Bhutan » Punakha September 28th 2012

When someone suggests "should we get up at 4am tomorrow", clearly this is a challenge to how robust and adventurous you are. Even though you'd rather be cocooned inside a duvet, with at least a further 4hours of sleep to still enjoy, if anyone asks you this question, there is only one accepted answer - "4am, well yes! that sounds like a grand idea! Best part of the day!" Etc... etc... Deep down you want anything to make it impossible to have to get up at such an hour. You look your guantlet layer in the eye and remark: "Really fantastic idea! Top thing to do! But.... Are you quite sure that we won't be breaking the curfew at that time tomorrow?". There is a slim chance that your slumber can be rescued. But no. The ... read more
Dawn at Dochu La
Dawn at Dochu La
Andy, Kesang and Mel

Asia » Bhutan » Punakha September 22nd 2012

We retraced our steps back to Punakha and on the way managed to catch both an archery and darts match. We clambered down a steep muddy path from the road to get a closer look. We had been wanting to see the archery (the Bhutanese national sport). There was a distinct smell of spirits in the air as the archers fired shots at the target 150m away (these are very small targets not like the ones we would know and that is twice the olympic distance) with their very expensive USA made bows and arrows. Still dressed traditionally it was strange to see these farming folk occupying the only piece of flat grass in the village using such modern technology. We wondered how they could afford it. The dress, cammeraderie and banter, general piss taking and ... read more
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