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Asia » Bhutan » Paro January 17th 2020

Friday, 17th January 2020 My last day in Bhutan was spent ascending up Tiger’s Nest or Taktsang Monastery. Separating us at the valley floor where we begun our journey to the summit is about 2000 feet or 610m. The climb involved lots of determination to complete especially in the high-altitude environment where W and I were clearly gasping for oxygen along the way. Eventually, we managed to make the hike in about 5 hours (including rest-stops and temple tour) which was quite efficient according to our guide who accompanied us throughout the trek. This was definitely one of the highlights of my Bhutan experience even though my favourite was still the nature hike in Phobjikha Valley. The icing in the cake at Tiger's Nest was that we were greeted by light snow when we approached the ... read more
My guide and driver for the trip

Asia » Bhutan » Paro January 16th 2020

Thursday, 16th January 2020 The drive back to Paro City was long and winding. I had mixed feelings about leaving Gangtey given that this is probably one of the most beautiful places in Bhutan. However, my minor brush with altitude sickness meant that I could only get better when we headed down to the lower elevation. Along the way, we made a couple pit-stops to complete the long journey. By noon, we were back at the beautiful Dochula Pass for lunch before continuing our drive to Paro via Thimphu. It was early evening when we reached downtown Paro where there was some free time for shopping and light snacks. Over coffee at one of the cafes, I had a good chat with my guide and driver who had accompanied me over the last couple of days. ... read more
Lunch at Dochula Pass
Downtown Paro City
My huge bed at Tashi Namgay Resort

Asia » Bhutan » Gangtey January 15th 2020

Wednesday, 15th January 2020 We baded goodbye to Punakha today and made our way to the Gangtey Region, about 75km (3 hours) away. Before commencing on our drive proper, we caught a final glimpse of the Punakha Tzong from the easterly direction for some photo memories of the place. The Gantey Region is located some 3,000m above sea level (keep your pain-killers handy). Right at the heart of it lies the Phobjikha Valley where we would be spending a night at the iconic Dewachen Hotel. This is probably one of the most beautiful valleys in Bhutan. It is also in Phobjikha where the sacred Black-necked Cranes roam during the winter months to escape from the harsh weather conditions in the Tibetan Plateau. On the 11th November of every year, the annual Black-necked Crane Festival is held ... read more
Beautiful Phobjikha Valley
Dewachen Hotel

Asia » Bhutan » Punakha January 14th 2020

Tuesday, 14th January 2020 Food did not leave a deep impression for me at the Zhingkham Resort. After a rather uninspiring buffet dinner the night before, I woke up to another mediocre breakfast experience in the morning. The saving grace was the amazing view of the Punakha Valley from my breakfast table as the sun slowly made its way up from the surrounding hills. My guide, Ugyen and the driver came by after 9am this morning. The itinerary for today was rather relaxed as our sightseeing plans would be confined within the Punakha Region. First up this morning was a visit to the Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Choten, reachable after a 30-minute stroll across the rice fields of Yepaisa Village. This Choten is a relatively new addition to the Punakha scene having completed in 2004 by the ... read more
Overlooking the Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten
The Punakha Dzong
A peaceful lunch by the river

Asia » Bhutan » Thimphu January 13th 2020

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 ... read more
Bhutanese Lunch at Simply Bhutan
National Memorial Chorten, Thimphu
Buddha Point, Thimphu

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 » Thimphu January 12th 2020

Sunday, 12th January 2020 From the time I first touch-based with Druk Asia on 8th November 2019 to the time I set foot to Bhutan took slightly more than two months. Travelling to Bhutan required engaging a travel agent who would take care of all the logistics on my behalf - air tickets, visa, accommodation, meals, a guide, a driver and admission fees. This was a fuss-free experience dealing with Druk Asia who would arrange all that. Two months on, I was ready at Changi Airport Terminal 1 to begin my six-hour flight to Paro, where the country's sole international airport is located. Given the limited seat capacity on my A319 flight, the air tickets did not come in cheap even after the 25 percent off-peak discount considering that I would be able to snatch a ... read more
My room
Osel Hotel Thimphu

Asia » Bhutan » Paro October 27th 2019

Toen ik vanochtend wakker werd, zag ik Karen op de zetel staan voor ons raam. We hadden namelijk zicht op de luchthaven. Het was enorm schattig hoe enthousiast ze werd bij het opstijgen van een vliegtuig. Niet veel later stond ze buiten met de camera foto's te nemen van opstijgende vliegtuigen. Daarna gingen we eten. We waren best laat. We zijn er ondertussen echt uit dat Indiërs de meest irritante vakantiegangers zijn. Onbeleefd, luid en ze vinden dat ze het middelpunt van de aandacht zijn. Tegen 10u30 werden we opgepikt door onze gids. De eerste stop was de oudste tempel van Bhutan. Gebouwd in de 7e eeuw. Op zich was er verder niet veel speciaals aan. Alleen dat het één van de 108 tempels zou zijn dat een of andere master buddhist op 1 dag gebouwd ... read more
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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 » Paro October 26th 2019

Na een avondmaaltijd om nooit te vergeten (om 2 redenen: 1- we hebben het ondertussen al heel veel gegeten, 2- diner aan de rivier was echt wel onvergetelijk) en na het zicht vanuit onze kamer op een prachtige vallei, kwamen we aan bij het ontbijt. "FRIETJES!!!" riep Karen naast mij. Ze is al enkele dagen aan het zeggen dat ze goesting had in frietjes. En jawel, als ontbijt! We moeten hier natuurlijk ons toch wat aanpassen aan de cultuur hé! We stopten nog even aan de plek waar we gedineerd hadden om enkele mooie foto's te nemen. (en te zien hoe mooi het er eigenlijk echt was) Daarna reden we een beetje verder en stapten we door de velden en de dorpjes naar de tempel van de Divine Madman. onderweg kwamen we ongelooflijk veel piemels tegen. ... read more
2019-10-26 08.08.20
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