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Bhutan, far eastern Himalayas

Hi Sonam,

Following 3 days hiked along the Paro river, among many of the 47 species of Rhododendron, & luckily spotting the national flower - blue poppy. Lucky with the weather, we had excellent views of Jomolhari from the base camp, then did an acclimatization hike from there up to 4800 m, & found a large herd of blue sheep and some marmots. Attempted to cross the Bonte La pass, however un-seasonal snow made it impossible for our pack animals, we waded into 1 m deep snow, then retreated the way we came in a sleet storm.

3 nights in the capital Thimphu visiting more temples, big surprise there was finding an excellent Irish coffee! Last full day hiked up to the famous tigers nest temple, scrambled down into a narrow slot within, to find some Buddhist porn.

Our guide Pema, taught me a local humorous song, which I accompanied on the ukulele, don't think most of them had seen a ukulele before. The interaction with the locals was major highlight for me. Its not a cheap destination, cost $280 a day each, lot of which goes to education etc in the country. If planning to go hiking there recommend you take your own down bag & Ther-ma-rest mattress.

We enjoyed our trip, did fill in the report & left with Pema.

As we said in it, our main regret was not taking our own Ther-ma-Rest mattresses, they would have made the camping section a lot more comfortable. As the crew were doing their best to make us comfortable, they gave us 2 blankets which we used under our own sleeping bags, as the mattresses provided were certainly inadequate. Sadly the blankets had bed bugs in them which bit Judy especially, very badly.

My recollection is we discussed us bringing our own mattresses & you stated the ones you provided were sufficient. The fold up toilet seat that Pema organised was excellent & much appreciated by us. Table needed replacing, very rickety, & impossible to clean & toilet tent zip was broken.

Les & Judy