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My visit to Bhutan has exceeded my expectations




Kuzuzangpo Sangay!

My visit to Bhutan met all of my expectations and exceeded them in many respects. By far the best thing about Bhutan is your ability to maintain your cultural independence in the face of globalisation. By that I mean the fact that Bhutan remains truly different from anywhere else I've been in the world (and I've been to 67 countries) and true to your culture and religion. Your kings have been wise in their approach to what should be introduced from outside and what should be retained so that Bhutan is independent in the best sense of the word. The stories of Bhutanese Buddhism are not purely religious, but also record the history of the country and the battles between warlords up to its unification under your first king. I loved it!

I also really liked the hotels. They were not the nondescript high polished stone and brass of the big hotels in Singapore - each had its own character and warmth added to immeasurably by the friendly staff. Here's a photo I took one morning from the window of my hotel room of the rays of sunlight through the morning mist.

This was two women by the side of the road

And these are the apple trees in the central courtyard in my hotel in Bumthang. My room is at the back

I love dogs - so do Bhutanese apparently!

One thing I would do is to advise in your notes that certain dress standards are expected in temples. In particular, men must wear long trousers and either long sleeved shirts or shirts with collars - no hats or shoes. My son and I brought a number of pairs of shorts so I ended up wearing one pair of long trousers for most of the trip. That wasn't an issue, but I would have been better prepared if I'd known.