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Many thanks to the tour guide Mr Tandin and the driver Ms Minh
Many thanks to the tour guide Mr Tandin and the driver Ms Minh.
They are very professional, helpful, friendly and accommodating to my request.
Finally I had my dream to visit Bhutan aka Land of Happiness. A small country population of 800,000 people tucked in-between 2 superpower country China and India.
Bhutan is a country full of greenery. Everywhere you go, there’s gonna be mountains of trees. After all, the country have declared as a carbon negative environment.
Bhutanese are nice and friendly people. They like to shared stories about their country, culture and Buddhist beliefs with you, probably they want you to know more from them instead of reading it from somewhere.
As we travel from Thimphu to Punakha, to Gangtey to Paro, I did not see a single advertisement billboard of Starbucks, Macdonald, KFC or any merchandises or services. The only banner in Bhutan are about health notices and pictures of the King and his family which Bhutanese pay utmost respects.
Bhutan inns, lodges, resorts and hotels are built with traditional characters and culture. You will always be reminded that you are in Bhutan. It is advisable not to travel here during winter season as rooms are not adequate equipped with heaters to keep you warm in the big room. If you are lucky, you find one with a electric heater bed that will give you a comfort sleep. Be very well prepared if you are going to Bhutan in winter. It can be very cold.
This trip was a big change to me in all my travelings because you will never get to visit huge shopping centers for cloths, bags, shoes because there are none here. This is a physical journey (trekking and hiking) through history to temples, fortress aka Dzong, monasteries, untouched ancient landscapes and rivers roaring downstream. It is a totally complete change from all the trips I’ve taken.
Traveling from town to town will take a few hours driving through the long winding road with turns and turns up and down the mountains. The roads are narrow and its 2ways thus you are not gonna see big tour buses in Bhutan. The biggest vehicle I’ve seen in Bhutan are the construction trucks and mini bus. Majority of vehicles are small size and some roads are in pretty bad conditions. My journey from Gangtey to Paro took almost 4hours without breaks and I was feeling nauseous inside the car because of the enormous winding roads.
The most challenging part of the tour is the climb up to Takshang Monastery aka Tiger Nest which is the highlight and this is normally plan on the last part of your trip before your departure the next day.
The hike up the mountain is a notorious 35-45 degrees incline and every turn, you hope to see a flat path but unfortunately it’s another incline slope upward till you reached the halfway resting point. Depending on your speed, it can take 60-90 minutes. From here, it’s another about 60 minutes hike, which are less challenging than the first half, to the viewing point directly opposite Tiger Nest Monastery. From here to reach the monastery, it’s a 825 steps down and 300 steps up challenge. Upon return, it’s 300 steps down and 825 steps up back to the viewing point. From here onwards, it’s all downhill trek all the way to the starting point. Depending on your speed, it can take up to 60 minutes trekking.
To view the Tiger Nest up close is worth every challenging effort hiking up.
Honestly, anyone can make it. It’s about how much effort and tiresome you will be. A certain level of fitness will be helpful.
For some, they can choose to hire a horse ride up to the halfway resting point and hike the rest of the way.
Bhutan infrastructures are not ready to fully open up to tourists and commercialize the place. I hope they will continue to remain in this way to restrict tourism to protect the nature environment.
You need a good, reliable tour guide to visit Bhutan as they will assist you to visit the best locations. Druk Asia Bhutan Travel Specialist is the one trusted one.