BHUTAN LAND OF THE THUNDER DRAGON



KURJEY FESTIVAL JAKAR BUMTHANG


A quote I read while on my recent visit to Bhutan stated that ‘ Bhutan has always held a sense of mystery and mystique for those who know where they are’. For those interested in the Asian destinations they will be aware that the small land locked country is situated at the edge of the Eastern Himalaya Mountains on the border between India to the north and Tibet (China) to the South. Also known as the Land of the Thunder Dragon – Bhutan is regarded as one of the most exclusive travel destinations in the world. The Royal Government adheres strongly to its policy of high value and low volume tourism.
It is due to this philosophy that the traveller will find Bhutan one of the most laid back places you could ever wish to visit. The first thing that you glimpse upon the decent into the airport at PARO, is the steepness of the heavily treed mountain ranges. Considered to be the fourth on a list of the most difficult runways in the world, it is easy to see why accuracy is essential. We were extremely fortunate though to meet Bhutans first woman pilot.



The country is the only fully organic society in the world so it seems that they have many ‘firsts’ including striving for ecological sustainability. The recommended forest coverage stands at 60% but Bhutan has reached a coverage of 72%. Ultimately the air is amongst the purest in the world.
Our journey begins in the capital Thimphu.  We arrive at week 2 of an auspicious festival at Buddha Point. Here hundreds of Buddhist followers gather to hear the recital of the life of the great Buddha. Ominously we arrive just as the rain passes leaving a strong rainbow that seems to engulf the monks and followers making the moment one of serenity and purpose. It certainly gave us all a moment to pause and reflect on the introduction to this magical land.
From Thimphu we journeyed north to Punakha. As we wind our way through the pines and wandering rivers we feel blessed to be on such an awe inspiring journey. As we glance across the valley with the sun slowly setting –we glimpse the temple of the Divine Madman. There is much mythology surrounding Chimmi Lhakhang  – the fertility temple. They even have a book filled with photos of those who visited for a blessing to become pregnant and as a result have sent pictures of their success. One of our travelling party received the blessing so I will keep you posted on the outcome.
DOCHULA PASS


The Punakha Dzong also known as Pungtang Dewa chhenbi Phodrang, is the administrative centre of Punakha District in Bhutan. Here we try our hand a rafting through the ‘female ‘ river which is considered to be the gentler of the two converging rivers – the other being the male river – of course. A visit to the ‘Fort’ in Punakha should not be missed.
For this tour I chose a farm stay to enhance my fellow travellers experience. Here in Phobjikha Valley which can only be described as heaven transcending, one night is without a doubt and experience like no other- just be prepared for a day without a shower. Living with a local allowed us to get a true feeling in the day to day life of a Bhutanese farmer. The endangered black neck crane said to be heavenly emissaries or avatars of long lost ancestors comes here to nest. In a scooped out mountain top one can see the nests perched as if defying anyone to invade their territory. 



PUNAKHA DZONG
Paro is the resting place for those attempting to climb to the famous TIGERS NEST or Taktshang Goemba. Precariously perched in the side of a cliff, it is a challenge to complete the 14 kilometre hike to the monastery. It is however one of the most rewarding journeys we have ever made – with one exception – that of Base Camp at Mt Everest.

I could tell you so much more about the incredible journey but the best way to experience Bhutan is with me on one of my tours with ENTICING BHUTAN. The next tour will be June 2018.

www.enticingbhutan.com              TIGERS NEST



Best time to visit: March to May for the cooler months and June to August for the hot summer months. enticingbhutan.com has many great journeys to Bhutan.



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