Day 02: Memories of Bhutan (Thimphu) through Druk Asia (Jan 2020)

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January 13th 2020
Published: January 27th 2020
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Monday, 13th January 2020

After spending a night at Osel Hotel, it was time for me to check-out in the morning and continue with our journey to Punakha, about 85km away. By 9am, my guide U had arrived and the plan was to cover some sights in the city centre before proceeding with the long drive to Punakha in the afternoon.

Barely 10 minutes into our journey, we reached our first stopping point for the morning - the National Memorial Chorten (Stupa). This was built in memory of the Third Druk of Bhutan, Gyalpo Jigme Dorji Wangchuk in 1974. Together with my guide, we made three clockwise loops around the structure as this is the rule for any religious structures in Bhutan which I learned over the course of my stay in the country.

On our way to Buddha Point, we also found time to visit a local weaving factory as well as an artist's studio which probably showcased one of the best paintings by the local artists. I had a brief chat with one of the gentlemen and it was amazing that he remained so humble despite his accomplishments.

A visit to the Buddha Point was probably one of the highlights for this morning. Perched on top of a hill, the massive 54m outdoor Buddha structure is possibly one of the biggest in the country. It was also at the same location that I had my first encounter of the mighty Himalayas from a distance. U assured me that we had more opportunities of the views over the next couple of days. Coupled with clear blue skies this morning, this provided a perfect backdrop for photo-taking opportunities.

Next up, a visit to Simply Bhutan helped to further cement my knowledge of this beautiful country. Simply Bhutan is a small living museum that showcased the country's culture and heritage within a replica of traditional houses. I had a chance to try archery, sample traditional wine as well as watch some dance performances within the compound. A Bhutanese lunch was served with the famed chili cheese taking centre stage as one of the main dishes. It was a delicious meal.

After lunch, I had sometime to explore the city centre to take in views of the iconic Clock Tower Square as well as watching the Traffic Policemen at work. Bhutan is probably one of the few countries in the world without traffic lights. With relatively light traffic, it was the amazing work of these Policemen that helped to keep the roads safe for all users.

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