Bhutan reminds a lot of westerners of Switzerland, no matter by its shape, the area, rolling mountains, green forests, pasture, chalets in the mountains...
There should at least be one more thing in common, both countries are very expensive as travel destinations.
They are both beautiful too, very well reserved. I have to say it's very smart to manage a country in such a way.
Fondest memory: You are not watched in Bhutan as you are in other countries, like Nepal. Nobody comes up to you everyday and asks "Where are you from?" Nobody follows you to try to sell you something, or cadge...
I always wonder if Bhutanese have curiosities about the world; or are they just shy?
My family and I went to Bhutan in June this year and let me tell you, the trip was amazing. we initially had problems getting information on Bhutan and especially finding a local travel agent who would'nt clean us dry. After spending weeks on the internet and through some personal friends in Asia, i managed to get in touch with Mr Rinchhen of A Middle Path to BHUTAN (http://www.middlepath2bhutan.com/) . With his help, I managed to sort things out and my trip to Bhutan became a reality. Helpful, kind, always ready to assist and above all a true gentleman, Mr Rinchhen is what travel consultants should be.
Fondest memory: Thimphu, Paro and Punakha are the main places to see in Bhutan. This country is a magical land hidden away in the Himalayas. For those who havent been to Bhutan, all i can say is a trip in a lifetime is a must. You will not regret the memories you bring back with you. Go for it - you only live once!
It is a short and hard walk (3 hours up, 1,5 down) but the place is wonderfull!
It is a perfect 1/2 trip from Paro.
Bhutan is a wonderfull country.
If you go, I strongly recomend to contact Bhutan Travel: it is a middle size agency based in Timphu with a perfect service and organisation. Ask for Mr Daza, the general manager and Mr Palden a perfect guide: www.tourbhutantravel.com
Bhutan is hidden in the Himalayas. Here is one of the most beautiful valleys called Phubjikha valley which carves itself through the mountain slopes. It makes me think of the symphonic poem "The Moldau" by Smetana.
The mountain slopes are to my surprise very gentle, probably because it's cushioned by the tall cypress. The flat land are always patches of paddy fields.
I like the mountains, tall trees, the greens, blue sky and radiant smiles of everybody.
Favorite thing: Monasteries aboud, here. Dzongs and Chortens, with shining " stupas ", elaborately carved and painted woodwork, huge prayer wheels, solemn gong of prayer bells, sweet fumes of burning incense and beautiful, delicate wax figurines and prayer lamps.
The fondest memory of Bhutan are Sonam and his family and the time we spent with them, both doing sightseeing and in their home. They were so friendly and nice people and we dont know how to thank them for all they did for us. Without their help we would never have been able to visit Bhutan. They certainly did so that we left Bhutan with a very positive attitude towards that beautiful country. THE PHOTO:
ME AND MUM WITH SONAM AND FAMILYMEMBERS.
You should take the times during the big tsechus. The hole aerea is then at the Dzongs and 1000 things will happen around you. Take the time and think about, that all this dances and music is not a tourist howabow - it is a deep religious ceremony ( ok the Bhutanese more use it as a yearly 'see-and-be-seen'. But you will feel the deep spiritual power there - if you like to feel it !
Fondest memory: It was a spontan meeting with an old monk, reading religious textes. I came in the tempel and found myself in another world. The monk just looked in my eyes for a part of a second, but I understand, that there is more than a western brain is able to understand.
bring a camera
pic from cyberia
Fondest memory: Bhutan is a nice destination, all the colors are brilliant there, in my opinion, because its closer to the sun. It was such a weird experience there, because they have this royal family and this upper class thing, which is probably something like the Royal Courts of Europe c. 1600.
At the top are all these catty, bantering philanderers with western educations and laser discs and a fridge full of king-sized beers. Additionally they each have an entire contingent of servants at their beck an call, ready to dispense aforementioned at a moments notice. Or to perform menial tasks such as sew buttons, amuse the children, receive verbal abuse, etc. If you are an unlucky servant who falls into disfavour, you will never work in Thimphu again.
Then there are the 99.9% of the population who are subsistence-level farmers, whose beasts are run down by members of the royalty in Toyota Land Cruisers on a weekly basis. There are many fine castles and fortresses, nice homes and very good food. So although the standard of living in monetary terms is low, the quality of life seems high.
The many Buddhist devotees across the land seem to enjoy schlepping provisions up to the Buddhist monks in their 4000 meter high Buddhist temples as an act of charity. Everyone seems to believe in reincarnation too, so any misfortune or injury is easily attributable to a misdeed in a former life. Also, if you are a member of the royal family, your children will be found to be reincarnations of great figures from the past.
My friend's sister was divorced from her Bhutanese husband about three years ago, and moved with her two children (both reincarnation of wisemen) back to New Hampshire. Many people in the top circles are neurotic or have gone completely insane.
Favorite thing: Bhutan is one of the safest place on earth. Perfectly safe, even if you are a single female. There is a lot of ignorance among people about Bhutan, probably because not much is publicized in the press for Bhutan. The only issue is that you have to visit this place in groups. You cannot visit this place alone, unless you are an Indian or Nepalese.
Hi, I just visited this festival this year, 30 Oct 2012. I would say this festival is rather special and not the usual masked dances festivals you will attend in any part of the world.
My first trip to Bhutan was in March 2011 for the Paro festival. I fell in love with this country because of its cultural, friendly people and beautiful sceneries. Because of this, I decided to visit Bhutan again this year to visit this Jambay Lhakhang Festival in Bumthang.
During the day, you will witness the masked dances festival at the Jambay Lhakhang. The highlight is the midnight dance with 16 naked man around the bonfire. In the 8th century, in order to subdue evils which prevented the construction of this temple, the villagers danced nakedly in front of the evils to distract them. The great treasure discoverer, Tertoen Dorji Lingpa, managed to subdue the demons. Today, all the local bhutanese believe by attending the festival, the naked dance will blessed them with good luck.
This festival is very interesting to me. The local and foreigners enjoyed the festival by sharing laughters and comments on the dancers. But one thing to take note. In autumn, Bumthang is very cold during the night. The temperature can drop down to minus 2/3 degree celsius. You need to wear warm enough to endure the cold weather for at least one hour. Personally, I enjoyed it but not the cold. I didn't wear warm enough. Hence, I didn't finish watching the festival.
I would strongly recommend you to visit Bhutan and this festival. However, you need to book the tour at least 4/5 months before the festival as hotels and flights are very hard to reserve during the festivals.
The festival dates are tentatively from 18 Oct 2013 to 22 Oct 2013 from Tourism Council of Bhutan. Website : http://www.tourism.gov.bt/what-to-do/tshechu-and-festival. The dates might change. Hence, I would suggest you to confirm you trip about 4/5 months before October, in case there might be changes.
Although the festival is about 5 days, the program is the same everyday. You need only 12 days tour just to visit Western and Central Bhutan, including this festival. If you want a complete tour of Bhutan, you need at least 16 days tour, flying in via Paro Aiport, exit via Samdrup Jongkhar to Guwahati Aiport in India. If not, a minimium 18 days tour is necessary if you want to fly in via Paro Airport and leave via Paro Airport.
Not sure whether are you going through your local agency or directly from local bhutanese agency. For my second trip, I booked my tour via with the local bhutanese agency. I believe it might be slightly cheaper than booking through your local agency.
If you have intentions to book directly with a local bhutanese agency, you can try Legendary Bhutan Tours & Treks (website : http://www.legendarybhutan.bt/). My guide and driver gave us very good services and this add to good experience with Bhutan.
Hope this is useful to you.
Fondest memory: For my 2 trips to Bhutan, I hiked Taktsang Monastery (also known as Tiger’s Nest) which is built on on this precipitous cliff at 3,120 metres above Paro Valley. According to legends, it is believed that Guru Padmasambhava landed at this site on the back of a tigress where he mediated for 3 months in the 8th century.
This place is very scared in Himalayan Buddhism. The temple was burnt down twice but the statue of Guru Padmasambhava was not harmed at all. Hence, this status is very scared and a miracle to bhutanese.
The hike took me at least 2 hours to reach the temple. But I feel very peaceful when I visited the temple.
Favorite thing: English is surprisingly widely used in Bhutan. All the signs in the cities are in both Drongka and English. And many people can speak good English as English is taught in primary schools.
Favorite thing: People make offerings on the altars. Most of the time, they offer only water, not oil. It's so plain and simple and easily afford by everybody. It means pure faith.
go to the Paro Tsechu or one of the many festivals in the Spring or fall.
Fondest memory: Staying with friends and family
Near Kuenga Chhoeling Palace Upper Motithang, Thimphu, Bhutan
Good for: Couples
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