Bhutan
Thimphu Dzongkhag

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  • Day123

    A full day in Thimpu - Part 2

    November 1, 2019 in Bhutan ⋅ ⛅ 8 °C

    So off we went to the market a little reluctantly following Hem, the guide. Neither of us particularly like the usually dirty, hectic, smelly markets but this was honestly the nicest, cleanest market either of us had ever been to!! It was a joy to walk around!
    They sold every type of vegetable, rice, honey of many colours, yeast cakes ( for making alcohol), chillies and chilli powder by the tonnes and bags and bags of incense! We couldn’t believe how much we both enjoyed it.
    Then it was finally off to lunch although it was only 12.30pm.
    K saved my life when I was about to take a huge forkful of the National dish- chillies and cheese. I thought it was a type of green been in cheese sauce with some chilli... but no it was green chillies in cheese sauce- Jesus even a small amount was v v hot!!
    Next we were off to the magnificent Tashichhoedzong- a splendid fortress in the centre of the city, next to the Kings palace. It’s the meeting place of the government and the king to discuss the country’s needs, alongside a resident contingent of monks. Beautiful murals adorned the walls, the outside was surrounded by a rose garden with roses of every variety, the fortress walls gave security and peace whilst the internal monastery gave a place of spiritual worship in all its colours.
    After learning more about Buddhist teachings it was off to watch an archery competition. Sadly they weren’t using traditional bows and arrows but high powered imported hunting bows which wasn’t quite the same.
    By now it was 3.15pm and Hem reported next on the agenda was a walk through town- to this we politely asked if we could decline to return to our hotel to watch the NZ vs Wales game!! He was only to happy to comply as assured us we weren’t missing anything in town so off we went to watch the game.
    At 5.30pm we were picked up again for a traditional Bhutanese dinner which consisted of... more chilli dishes! It was nice but weird as we were the only 2 people in the whole restaurant ? Because it was a national holiday ( coronation of the king day). Home again by 7.30pm after a v full but satisfying day.
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  • Day123

    A full on day in Thimpu- Part 1

    November 1, 2019 in Bhutan ⋅ ⛅ 8 °C

    I am falling in love with Bhutan by the minute! Not only have we seen stunning scenery but what we have been learning about their culture, pride, and their Buddhist beliefs has astounded us today..... not to mention their love and use of chillies!!
    We started the morning with a visit to the 31m high Great Buddha Dordenma shining in the morning sun in a v commanding place atop one of the many hills.
    Next it was a stroll through Kuensel Phodrang Nature Park with its strings of Tibetan prayer flags and views over Thimphu Valley.
    Back down the hill we went to an animal rehabilitation sanctuary to see the Takin, the national animal of Bhutan which is a v strange looking antelope type animal.
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Takin
    They rescue endangered, orphaned or injured animals and whilst keeping some for breeding they try to release many back into the wild.
    Next it was off to a nunnery where the nuns worship the female deity, before we ( not the nuns!) were taken to the weekend market...it wasn’t even lunchtime yet!!
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  • Day122

    Bhutan we have arrived

    October 31, 2019 in Bhutan ⋅ ⛅ 9 °C

    Wow we have arrived in the Bhutan and first impressions are it’s clean, beautiful, mountainous and we are going to love it!
    There were only about 12 of us on the plane which included a breathtaking view of the peaks of the Himalayas ( hoping it was Everest but not sure it was) peaking through the clouds.
    Next we got picked up by our tour guide Hem and were driven an hour from Paro to the capital Thimphu, stopping at a 16th century swing bridge (over the clearest river) and shrine on the way.
    Our hotel is lovely, the buffet dinner was delicious and we are looking forward to exploring this stunning country over the next 11 days.
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  • Day23

    On our way to Thimpu

    November 13, 2019 in Bhutan ⋅ ⛅ 12 °C

    Our driver, Phuba and guide Tandin met us and we started the 1.5 hour drive to Thimphu; the capital of Bhutan.
    The scenery was mountainous and stunning. The road twisty, turny! The pace is slower here than we have seen anywhere else. No honking horns and not the volume of traffic we see in Nepal or India. The locals all seem to be dressed in a similar fashion and our guide is an optimistic fellow. I expected that considering this is the happiest place on earth.Read more

  • Day14

    Thimphu I

    May 10, 2019 in Bhutan ⋅ 🌬 25 °C

    Thimphu I
    After a good night’s sleep after no waking up tea we had breakfast at the hotel. We already miss the food of Nima, our cook on the trek. We are still amazed what delicious meals we got served during those 9 days. We were picked up by Tenzin to visit different museums. The first one was called ‘simply Bhutan’, it was a some houses where the bhutanese culture were explained. For example, house building is with mud, so they stamp the mud. Since they will inevitably kill insects by doing it they sing a song of forgiveness. We could taste Ara, the local wine made of rice and also butter tea. During the tea session they danced and sang for us. We were the only tourists in this big room and we felt akward. Tenzin said later he had fun watching us because we looked a bit lost. I guess we were. The dancing was lovely. We then could perform some archery, I failed particularly, Lilian was a natural. I like this kind of museums. Next was the handcrafts museum, or more showroom since there are young people learning one of the 13crafts that are existing in the buthanese culture. Quite impressive. The funniest moment was when a Indian lady stopped Lilian and me. First we thought she wanted to take us a picture of her, but no, she wanted a picture with us. That was a comical situation.
    The afternoon was lazy and full of time to spend and just wonderful.
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  • Day15

    Thimphu II

    May 11, 2019 in Bhutan ⋅ 🌬 25 °C

    Today we first visited the memorial stupa that was a dream of the third king, but he passed away before fulfilling that. So his wife did it two years after his death in 1974. A wonderful stupa, we could even go inside and see the figures. As in all holy sites you are not allowed to take pictures and you have to take off your shoes. After that we went up to see the big buddha overseeing the town. It was built and sponsored by the Chinese and honestly, it didn’t feel like being in Bhutan visiting that place. Nevertheless impressing sight. Then Tenzin made us see the oldest Dzong constructed in 1626 a bit further out of the city. Beautiful building with so much detailed paintings and woodcraft. The highlight of the day for me were the Tarkins. We went up to the reserve that was a zoo before. They didn’t like the idea of having animals in captivity so they closed to zoo. Since the Tarkin stayed around they decided to do a reserve. There are also other animals in the park but just few of them. The Tarkin is a very unique animal. In their belief one of the guru (I’ll tell more about that particular guru later on) after a meal took the head of a goat and the body of a pig and made the Tarkin. It is the national animal and it really looks funny. We went then for lunch, had a chat with another Swiss couple on tour with the same treking company as we were and visited the weekend market. That one was in the old days only open on weekends, since the demands grew higher it is closed now only on monday and tuesday. Bhutan banned plastic bags so you get everything in a stoff-bag. We could do that in Switzerland, too. After the market we were again free. We went for a last shopping trip, a coffee and a little walk. It is the last evening of Lilian since she is flying back tomorrow. I have another five days in that amazing country. I will have to take my own picture now since Lilian did the job for me. I am a very lazy photographer as Tenzin pointing it out very accurately. After diner we had a cocktail at our favorite spot in Thimphu.Read more

  • Day24

    National Memorial Chhorten

    November 14, 2019 in Bhutan ⋅ ☀️ 24 °C

    Things are slow to change in Bhutan. That was evident when we went to the Bank of Bhutan to exchange some money. I saw deposit slips and withdrawal slips all to be hand written for the said purpose. Getting our money changed was all hand recorded in a ledger. The style of buildings hasn’t changed and the height of buildings is limited by the constitution of the country.

    That being said, when they erected the Memorial Chorten in 1974 to honour the late King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk, they didn’t try to stretch the boundaries much. As you can see, it looks a lot like some of the other Stupas we have documented.
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  • Day24

    Arts & Crafts school

    November 14, 2019 in Bhutan ⋅ ☀️ 24 °C

    Not my cup of tea, but I think DIanne liked it here. The sewing machines still have a pedal, but have been upgraded with power motors. There are many talented kids here. These were actual classes we visited. Sewing the first, metal works, painting, embroidery and sculpting.

  • Day26

    We did it!

    November 16, 2019 in Bhutan ⋅ ☀️ 16 °C

    Descending the mountain is more dangerous, but less tiring than the climb. Even so, it is hot now and my quads are aching. We all rented some poles for the journey this morning and they do come in handy but as poles go, these are not much better than a stick you find on the trail. Sounds like the lament of a Prima Donna.Read more

  • Day26

    Country Luncheon

    November 16, 2019 in Bhutan ⋅ ☀️ 16 °C

    We have planned a tradition Bhutanese lunch today around a farm close to Paro. The farm seems prosperous considering the size of the farm house. We are led into a windowless room that is decorated with water carrying skins and a hide satchel, all from yesteryear. I think this could be interesting because I know DIanne is not as adventurous as I am when it comes to food and Liz and Alan eve less than she is. However, they are all polite. Should be fun.
    First on the menu is butter tea. They didn’t say what kind of butter; I immediately think Yak. The tea is strong and flavourful. For more enjoyment we add home made Rice Krispies to the tea. Its good, but you need a spoon to finish it. The food comes out all at once. Pumpkin soup, cooked radishes, steamed cabbage, pork belly, cheese chilli, (the national dish), beef with rice noodles and red rice. There was was way more food than we could eat. The most fun dish was the cheese chilli. It looked inviting and tame. Dianne got a little rice and a couple of forks full of it in her mouth before she realizes the heat that was generated by the chillies. Her eyes were watering as she pushed the rest of hers on to my plate.
    Everyone did great. We tried everything and ate our fill. There was a milk tea for cooling your mouth if needed. We were all hungry after our morning hike and this was the perfect meal.
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Thimphu Dzongkhag

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