Bhutan: For the Love & Happiness

Tripoto
16th Feb 2018

Bhutan is a scenic, cultural, traditional and tourist friendly country. People here believe in leading simple life. The place and people radiant positive vibes which in turn make everything around merry and joyful. Bhutan is an extraordinary place and well worth the visit. Every time we browse through the trip pics our heart skip a beat and we dream of returning again someday soon.

Day 1

Limited airline operators, only Durk Air and Bhutan Airlines fly to Bhutan from Delhi and Kolkata. We took early morning flight from Delhi to Paro booked via https://www.drukair.com.bt/ . The journey offers fascinating view of snow covered Himalayan range, so keep your eyes wide open and choose a window seat.

Snow covered mountain peak !!

Photo of Paro International Airport, Paro, Bhutan by Aditi Gupta

Himalaya !!

Photo of Paro International Airport, Paro, Bhutan by Aditi Gupta

We landed around ~9:30 A.M. at Paro International Airport.As we disembarked from the aircraft gush of cool clean fresh mountain air filled our lungs. It was a small airport situated in narrow valley between high mountain peaks and one can just walk towards the luggage belt.

At the entrance gate we had a warm traditional welcome by our tourist guide. We booked our package via Bhutan Leading travel , amazing hospitality throughout the trip. We would highly recommend "Pema Tshering Tangbi and Yeshi " who accompanied us.

We commenced our trip from Thimpu, which is ~1.5 hr drive from Paro. We reached there by Noon and post lunch visited Buddha Point (Kuensel Phodrang). It holds one of the largest Buddha’s statue in the country of 169 feet , made of bronze and gilded in gold. The place was sunny and windy. We got a good view of the Thimphu valley from this point.

Photo of Thimphu, Bhutan by Aditi Gupta
Photo of Thimphu, Bhutan by Aditi Gupta

Thimpu Valley View !!

Photo of Thimphu, Bhutan by Aditi Gupta

National Memorial Chorten

This large Tibetan style Chorten is one of the most important religious place for the daily prayer of Bhutanese People. The entry fee is 300 Nu.

Photo of Bhutan: For the Love & Happiness by Aditi Gupta
Photo of Bhutan: For the Love & Happiness by Aditi Gupta

In evening we just strolled around the city. The market here close by ~7 PM.

Street of Thimpu !!

Photo of Bhutan: For the Love & Happiness by Aditi Gupta
Day 2

We started leisurely ~9:30 A.M. to Takin Zoo Preserve. Takin is a national animal in Bhutan. The animal’s body looks like a cow and the head looks like a goat. The entry fee is 100 Nu.

Takin !

Photo of Thimphu, Bhutan by Aditi Gupta
Photo of Thimphu, Bhutan by Aditi Gupta
Photo of Thimphu, Bhutan by Aditi Gupta

Trashichhoe dzong

This place was the highlight of the day. A dzong is a fortress, similar to the castles that were built in Europe. In modern times, dzongs are used as a seat of government and as a monastery. Walking around the courtyard of this dzong was incredible. It’s a beautiful spot, with a mix of visitors, tour guides, and Buddhist monks. The entry fee is 300 Nu.

Photo of Bhutan: For the Love & Happiness by Aditi Gupta

Entrance of Dzong !

Photo of Bhutan: For the Love & Happiness by Aditi Gupta

Wall Decor !

Photo of Bhutan: For the Love & Happiness by Aditi Gupta

Dzong Courtyard

Photo of Bhutan: For the Love & Happiness by Aditi Gupta
Photo of Bhutan: For the Love & Happiness by Aditi Gupta

Post Lunch we went to local vegetable and spices market. The place was well organized and had wide variety of food products. In local craft bazar and handicraft emporium, Bhutanese dress Gho (for men) and Kira (for women) were available for rent and buying. We did bought one. We witnessed the local people playing archery (Bhutan’s national game).

Some kind of Cheese !!

Photo of Bhutan: For the Love & Happiness by Aditi Gupta

Glimpse of local market !

Photo of Bhutan: For the Love & Happiness by Aditi Gupta

Yaiyee , Bought the Kira !!! Hold it tight !!

Photo of Bhutan: For the Love & Happiness by Aditi Gupta

Sport's Ground !!

Photo of Bhutan: For the Love & Happiness by Aditi Gupta

Archery !!

Photo of Bhutan: For the Love & Happiness by Aditi Gupta

We came back to hotel by 5:00 PM and spent rest of the evening relaxing in hotel.

Day 3

We started ~9:00 AM for Punakha. The distance between Thimphu and Punakha is not long, only about 85 km. However, since we will be driving up and over a mountain pass on incredibly windy roads, this journey can take a long time. Also one suffer from motion sickness, please take anti-nausea tablet.

The Dochu La Pass is a high mountain pass on the road between Thimphu and Punakha. At 3,150 meters (10,330 ft), we had excellent views out to the Himalayas. It has 108 Sputas and a cafe nearby to enjoy coffee with a view. Feel the winter chills at this altitude.

Distant View of Dochu la Pass

Photo of Punakha, Bhutan by Aditi Gupta

108 Stupas !!

Photo of Punakha, Bhutan by Aditi Gupta

Cold Wind !!

Photo of Punakha, Bhutan by Aditi Gupta

Hot Stones available in Cafe for comfort !!

Photo of Punakha, Bhutan by Aditi Gupta

Druk Wangyal Lhakhang temple

Photo of Punakha, Bhutan by Aditi Gupta

Chimi Lhakhang

It is the Temple of the Divine Madman, a Buddhist monk who loved alcohol and women. Chimi Lhakhang is considered as temple of fertility and people from all across the country come to the temple to pray for children. The couples visiting the temple are sanctified with a wooden phallus. It was ~1 hour walk from Lobesa Metsina via green paddy field. As we walk from the town to the temple, we saw buildings adorned with giant phalluses and shops selling phallic souvenirs.

Photo of Bhutan: For the Love & Happiness by Aditi Gupta
Photo of Bhutan: For the Love & Happiness by Aditi Gupta
Photo of Bhutan: For the Love & Happiness by Aditi Gupta

Green Paddy Field !!!

Photo of Bhutan: For the Love & Happiness by Aditi Gupta

Prayer Flag !!

Photo of Bhutan: For the Love & Happiness by Aditi Gupta

Punakha Dzong

Post lunch, our next stop was the Punakha Dzong. What a site to see!! The Dzong is surrounded by the splendid natural beauty with lush green hills and clear blue sky as a backdrop. It is located at the confluence of rivers of Pho Chhu and Mo Chhu in Punakha. Crossed the wooden bridge to the fortress and spent some time wandering the courtyard, admiring the complex architecture, colorful woodwork, and got another lesson on Bhutan history and culture from our guide.

Photo of Bhutan: For the Love & Happiness by Aditi Gupta

Cross this wooden bridge to reach the fortress entrance !

Photo of Bhutan: For the Love & Happiness by Aditi Gupta

Entrance !!

Photo of Bhutan: For the Love & Happiness by Aditi Gupta
Photo of Bhutan: For the Love & Happiness by Aditi Gupta
Photo of Bhutan: For the Love & Happiness by Aditi Gupta
Photo of Bhutan: For the Love & Happiness by Aditi Gupta
Day 4

Khamsum Yuelley Namgel Chorten

A beautiful scenic hike through the rice field takes one to the Khamsum Yuelley Namgel Chorten (approx 2 hours round trip walk), which was built to remove negative forces and promote peace, stability and harmony in the changing world. The Chorten dominates the upper Punakha Valley with commanding views across the Mo Chhu and up towards the mountainous peaks of Gasa and beyond. From here, the view over the valley and the river is amazing.

Photo of Punakha, Bhutan by Aditi Gupta
Photo of Punakha, Bhutan by Aditi Gupta

Entrance !!

Photo of Punakha, Bhutan by Aditi Gupta

Punakha Suspension Bridge

The Punakha valley offers a mesmerizing view of natural beauty to the beholder. Amidst this natural setting lies the second longest suspension bridge of the country. Built high on the river Po Chu, this arched wooden bridge connects the Punakha Dzong with Punakha City and the smaller villages scattered in the valley. A visit to this Bridge is must if you are seeking a bit of thrill and adrenaline pump in your body while surrounding amidst natural beauty.

Photo of Bhutan: For the Love & Happiness by Aditi Gupta

Sangchhen Dorji Lhuendrup nunnery

This was another major stop on the religious Punakha tourism map. Mostly deserted, the place . This nunnery — one of the few in Bhutan — is on a hilltop and had lovely view and serenity of a Buddhist place of worship. It’s not a great historical monument, but is beautifully maintained. The multi-purpose hall is just lovely, with wall paintings, victory banners and altars all in perfect condition.

Photo of Bhutan: For the Love & Happiness by Aditi Gupta
Photo of Bhutan: For the Love & Happiness by Aditi Gupta
Day 5

Phobjkha valley is famous for black necked crane. We trekked for ~3km in valley. The place has limited property and Dwachen hotel is one of the best. This valley was coldest and room has fireplace to keep it warm and cozy.

Photo of Phobjikha Valley, Wangdue Phodrang, Bhutan by Aditi Gupta
Photo of Phobjikha Valley, Wangdue Phodrang, Bhutan by Aditi Gupta
Photo of Phobjikha Valley, Wangdue Phodrang, Bhutan by Aditi Gupta
Photo of Phobjikha Valley, Wangdue Phodrang, Bhutan by Aditi Gupta

Hotel Dewachen

Photo of Phobjikha Valley, Wangdue Phodrang, Bhutan by Aditi Gupta

Traditional Angeethi !!

Photo of Phobjikha Valley, Wangdue Phodrang, Bhutan by Aditi Gupta
Day 6

We started from Phobjika Valley at 9:30 AM for Paro. It was quite a long drive ~5-6 hours. However the route was stunningly beautiful with shallow river flowing on one side and hills on the other side. We reached by ~3:00 PM and spent the evening touring and shopping in main market.

Paro international Airport Viewpoint !!

Photo of Paro, Bhutan by Aditi Gupta

Time to Shop for Souvenir !

Photo of Paro, Bhutan by Aditi Gupta

The grand finale to our trip is a climb up to the Tiger’s Nest Monastery (Takstang Monastery). This monastery is one of Bhutan’s icons and a visit to Bhutan would be incomplete without seeing this with your own eyes. The only way to get to the Tiger’s Nest is by hiking, ~5-6 hour hike. At the starting point one can buy a walking stick for 50 Nu. There is a cafeteria at mid-way where one can rest and freshen up. At the very top nearly 1200 stairs need to be climbed up and down. It was an extraordinary experience. After trekking we went for stone bath, perfect way to relax and wind down after a long day of uphill trekking. The entry fee is 500 Nu.

Excursion Begin !!!

Photo of Bhutan: For the Love & Happiness by Aditi Gupta

Mid-Way, Cafeteria Entrance !!!

Photo of Bhutan: For the Love & Happiness by Aditi Gupta

Cafeteria !!!

Photo of Bhutan: For the Love & Happiness by Aditi Gupta
Photo of Bhutan: For the Love & Happiness by Aditi Gupta

Hot-Stone in Making !!

Photo of Bhutan: For the Love & Happiness by Aditi Gupta

Hot Stone Bath Setup !!!

Photo of Bhutan: For the Love & Happiness by Aditi Gupta

People who made this trip memorable, informative and comfortable !!!

Photo of Bhutan: For the Love & Happiness by Aditi Gupta
Day 8

India Calling !!

Photo of Indira Gandhi International Airport (DEL), New Delhi, Delhi, India by Aditi Gupta
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