TinTin in the Land of the Thunder Dragon

Tripoto
8th Feb 2014

Best place to Meditate

Photo of Best place to Meditate by Hameed Fazal

The Golden Guardian

Photo of The Golden Guardian by Hameed Fazal

View from Druk air

Photo of View from Druk air by Hameed Fazal

The Himalayas in all its Grandeur

Photo of The Himalayas in all its Grandeur by Hameed Fazal

Paro's Beautiful Runway

Photo of Paro's Beautiful Runway by Hameed Fazal

The airport terminal looks like a Monastery!

Photo of The airport terminal looks like a Monastery! by Hameed Fazal

Druk air's A310

Photo of Druk air's A310 by Hameed Fazal

All set for an adventure

Photo of All set for an adventure by Hameed Fazal
Photo of by Hameed Fazal

Suja Tea = Tea+salt+butter=Weird awesomeness

Photo of Suja Tea = Tea+salt+butter=Weird awesomeness by Hameed Fazal

Bhutanese cuisine is heavily Non vegetarian

Photo of Bhutanese cuisine is heavily Non vegetarian by Hameed Fazal

Peaceful Resort

Photo of Peaceful Resort by Hameed Fazal

National memorial

Photo of National memorial by Hameed Fazal

Happiness knows no age

Photo of Happiness knows no age by Hameed Fazal

Thimphu valley view

Photo of Thimphu valley view by Hameed Fazal

Calm and Quiet

Photo of Calm and Quiet by Hameed Fazal

With the Tallest buddha in the world

Photo of With the Tallest buddha in the world by Hameed Fazal

Just to let you know how big the Buddha statu

Photo of Just to let you know how big the Buddha statu by Hameed Fazal

World's Largest Book

Photo of World's Largest Book by Hameed Fazal

Only pic i could get of the Royal family

Photo of Only pic i could get of the Royal family by Hameed Fazal

National Library

Photo of National Library by Hameed Fazal

Prayers books

Photo of Prayers books by Hameed Fazal

The thunder Dragon

Photo of The thunder Dragon by Hameed Fazal

Bhutan's famous Murals

Photo of Bhutan's famous Murals by Hameed Fazal

Prayers Flags bring serenity

Photo of Prayers Flags bring serenity by Hameed Fazal

View from BBS tower point

Photo of View from BBS tower point by Hameed Fazal

Hand woven Shawls are a main trade

Photo of Hand woven Shawls are a main trade by Hameed Fazal

The national animal Takin

Photo of The national animal Takin by Hameed Fazal

The eye of the caged beast

Photo of The eye of the caged beast by Hameed Fazal
Photo of by Hameed Fazal

Do not feed the animals the Boards says

Photo of Do not feed the animals the Boards says by Hameed Fazal

Dzong

Photo of Dzong by Hameed Fazal

Buddha watches over Thimphu valley

Photo of Buddha watches over Thimphu valley by Hameed Fazal

Wodden bridges adorned with prayer flags

Photo of Wodden bridges adorned with prayer flags by Hameed Fazal

Delightful souvenirs

Photo of Delightful souvenirs by Hameed Fazal

Rice bowls

Photo of Rice bowls by Hameed Fazal

The handicraft and souvenior bazar

Photo of The handicraft and souvenior bazar by Hameed Fazal

Taj Tashi

Photo of Taj Tashi by Hameed Fazal

Mystical Dzong

Photo of Mystical Dzong by Hameed Fazal

The jewel in the city of Thimphu

Photo of The jewel in the city of Thimphu by Hameed Fazal
Photo of by Hameed Fazal
Photo of by Hameed Fazal

Conquering Phajoding

Photo of Conquering Phajoding by Hameed Fazal

Gifting my experiments with truth

Photo of Gifting my experiments with truth by Hameed Fazal

Phajoding monastery

Photo of Phajoding monastery by Hameed Fazal
Photo of by Hameed Fazal

Lunch at 13000ft and zero degrees

Photo of Lunch at 13000ft and zero degrees by Hameed Fazal

Lama Namgay Tenzin

Photo of Lama Namgay Tenzin by Hameed Fazal

Compassion is everything

Photo of Compassion is everything by Hameed Fazal
Photo of by Hameed Fazal

Time to say goodbye to Lama Namgay Tenzin

Photo of Time to say goodbye to Lama Namgay Tenzin by Hameed Fazal

Cheese and chillies food for the veggies

Photo of Cheese and chillies food for the veggies by Hameed Fazal
Photo of by Hameed Fazal

Warm and cozy fireplace

Photo of Warm and cozy fireplace by Hameed Fazal

Bhutanese models

Photo of Bhutanese models by Hameed Fazal
Photo of by Hameed Fazal

Dochu la Pass

Photo of Dochu la Pass by Hameed Fazal
Photo of by Hameed Fazal

Chortens

Photo of Chortens by Hameed Fazal

108 chortens

Photo of 108 chortens by Hameed Fazal

Gateway to Paradise

Photo of Gateway to Paradise by Hameed Fazal

View from the top

Photo of View from the top by Hameed Fazal

Beautiful monastery beside

Photo of Beautiful monastery beside by Hameed Fazal

Golden handle to Happiness

Photo of Golden handle to Happiness by Hameed Fazal

Thunder Dragon hidden in Bhutanese culture

Photo of Thunder Dragon hidden in Bhutanese culture by Hameed Fazal

Rice fields of Punakha

Photo of Rice fields of Punakha by Hameed Fazal

Winding Roads

Photo of Winding Roads by Hameed Fazal

River +mountain +Rice field =Epic

Photo of River +mountain +Rice field =Epic by Hameed Fazal
Photo of by Hameed Fazal

Inside punakha Dzong

Photo of Inside punakha Dzong by Hameed Fazal
Photo of by Hameed Fazal
Photo of by Hameed Fazal
Photo of by Hameed Fazal

Time stand still at Punakha

Photo of Time stand still at Punakha by Hameed Fazal
Photo of by Hameed Fazal
Photo of by Hameed Fazal
Photo of by Hameed Fazal
Photo of by Hameed Fazal

Serenity at the banks of river Mochu

Photo of Serenity at the banks of river Mochu by Hameed Fazal
Photo of by Hameed Fazal

Scary stairs

Photo of Scary stairs by Hameed Fazal

Tintin on his way

Photo of Tintin on his way by Hameed Fazal

Target Spotted

Photo of Target Spotted by Hameed Fazal

Carved into a cliff

Photo of Carved into a cliff by Hameed Fazal

Batman Begins

Photo of Batman Begins by Hameed Fazal
Photo of by Hameed Fazal
Photo of by Hameed Fazal
Photo of by Hameed Fazal

Make the climb

Photo of Make the climb by Hameed Fazal

In the Lap of Nature

Photo of In the Lap of Nature by Hameed Fazal
Photo of by Hameed Fazal

Sometimes life takes us places where we least expected to go and in a manner we never imagined. Such was my journey to Bhutan, which was sparked by a call from a fellow Tripoto member Ms. Arundathi Sridhar. In times of economic recession, with the rupee hitting an all-time low and foreign currency skyrocketing it was not looking good for the backpacker Indian traveler. Arundathi had challenged me to find an international vacation spot for the budget conscious Indian traveler. Keeping in my mind her love for nature and my hatred for cumbersome Visa applications, I was able to arrive at my most ideal location. The land of happiness, Bhutan. Also called "The Land of Thunder Dragon", Bhutan was my answer to the challenge. Feeling satisfied having won the challenge, I thought why not execute it, after all I had the entire trip planned out. 

Hence, I set forth on an adventure, without any prior bookings as such, and take Bhutan for what it had to offer. The hardest, and the only difficult part is getting to Bhutan, especially for a South Indian like me. So, after finding phenomenal prices for air tickets on Bhutan's national carrier Druk air, I found a local travel agent who could get air tickets for half the fare than what the site had mentioned and off I went from Kolkata to Paro. Driving me on was the amazing story of Tigers' nest in Paro, which was supposed to be the location for Batman's training in Batman Begins.

The Druk Air (Bhutan's national carrier) flight, is the only way to fly into Bhutan from Kolkata, Bagdogra, New Delhi, Gaya, Guwahati and Mumbai. The flight rates quoted on the site are way too expensive for such short distances. Find a local travel agent and you'll get it for half the price. Another, much cheaper, option via road into Bhutan was through Phuentsholing in Bhutan, either via bus from Kolkata (18 hours) or from the Hasimara Railway Station (1hr). But since I was informed about the spectacular view of the Himalayas and the location of Paro's airport between the mountains, I decided to take the aerial route landing into one of the most difficult airports to fly into. With the plane zig-zagging through the peaks like a fighter craft, the flight itself was an experience. Another option available to fly in private owned airline called Tashi Airline or Bhutan airways.
Photo of Druk Air Corporation Limited, Kolkata, West Bengal, India by Hameed Fazal
Photo of Druk Air Corporation Limited, Kolkata, West Bengal, India by Hameed Fazal
Photo of Druk Air Corporation Limited, Kolkata, West Bengal, India by Hameed Fazal
Photo of Druk Air Corporation Limited, Kolkata, West Bengal, India by Hameed Fazal
Photo of Druk Air Corporation Limited, Kolkata, West Bengal, India by Hameed Fazal
Photo of Druk Air Corporation Limited, Kolkata, West Bengal, India by Hameed Fazal
Thimphu, the capital city of the Kingdom of Bhutan, is an hour and half drive from Paro Airport. Thimphu serves as the first stop in your journey to Bhutan, whether it is obtaining special permits to restricted areas, initial sightseeing, the Takin Zoo, Buddha point (world's tallest Buddha statue, taller than the Statue of Liberty), souvenir shopping, indulging in local culture and soaking in Bhutan's serenity.
Photo of Thimphu, Bhutan by Hameed Fazal
Photo of Thimphu, Bhutan by Hameed Fazal
Photo of Thimphu, Bhutan by Hameed Fazal
Photo of Thimphu, Bhutan by Hameed Fazal
Photo of Thimphu, Bhutan by Hameed Fazal
Photo of Thimphu, Bhutan by Hameed Fazal
Photo of Thimphu, Bhutan by Hameed Fazal
Photo of Thimphu, Bhutan by Hameed Fazal
Photo of Thimphu, Bhutan by Hameed Fazal
Photo of Thimphu, Bhutan by Hameed Fazal
Photo of Thimphu, Bhutan by Hameed Fazal
Photo of Thimphu, Bhutan by Hameed Fazal
Photo of Thimphu, Bhutan by Hameed Fazal
Photo of Thimphu, Bhutan by Hameed Fazal
Photo of Thimphu, Bhutan by Hameed Fazal
Photo of Thimphu, Bhutan by Hameed Fazal
Photo of Thimphu, Bhutan by Hameed Fazal
Photo of Thimphu, Bhutan by Hameed Fazal
Photo of Thimphu, Bhutan by Hameed Fazal
Photo of Thimphu, Bhutan by Hameed Fazal
Photo of Thimphu, Bhutan by Hameed Fazal
Photo of Thimphu, Bhutan by Hameed Fazal
Photo of Thimphu, Bhutan by Hameed Fazal
Photo of Thimphu, Bhutan by Hameed Fazal
Photo of Thimphu, Bhutan by Hameed Fazal
Getting to Phajoding Monastery, located at a height 3500 meters, is one of the best day hikes you can undertake while in Thimphu. The monastery serves as a school and orphanage for young Buddhist monks. I was lucky enough to climb the harsh, muddy and narrow trail leading up to the monastery in the clouds. Truly worth a climb as I had an interesting conversation about life, Buddhist principles and gifted my copy of Mahatma Gandhi's Book "My Experiments With truth" to Lama Namgay Tenzin.
Photo of Phajodhing, Paro, Bhutan by Hameed Fazal
Photo of Phajodhing, Paro, Bhutan by Hameed Fazal
Photo of Phajodhing, Paro, Bhutan by Hameed Fazal
Photo of Phajodhing, Paro, Bhutan by Hameed Fazal
Photo of Phajodhing, Paro, Bhutan by Hameed Fazal
Photo of Phajodhing, Paro, Bhutan by Hameed Fazal
Photo of Phajodhing, Paro, Bhutan by Hameed Fazal
Photo of Phajodhing, Paro, Bhutan by Hameed Fazal
Photo of Phajodhing, Paro, Bhutan by Hameed Fazal
Photo of Phajodhing, Paro, Bhutan by Hameed Fazal
Photo of Phajodhing, Paro, Bhutan by Hameed Fazal
The Dochu La pass remains one of the must-see sights in the Thimphu Region, with 108 chortens located at 10000 feet, with a breathtaking view of Punakha. Dochu la pass and cafe is indeed a recommended stopover on your way to Punakha.
Photo of Dochula, Thimphu, Bhutan by Hameed Fazal
Photo of Dochula, Thimphu, Bhutan by Hameed Fazal
Photo of Dochula, Thimphu, Bhutan by Hameed Fazal
Photo of Dochula, Thimphu, Bhutan by Hameed Fazal
Photo of Dochula, Thimphu, Bhutan by Hameed Fazal
Photo of Dochula, Thimphu, Bhutan by Hameed Fazal
Photo of Dochula, Thimphu, Bhutan by Hameed Fazal
Photo of Dochula, Thimphu, Bhutan by Hameed Fazal
Photo of Dochula, Thimphu, Bhutan by Hameed Fazal
Photo of Dochula, Thimphu, Bhutan by Hameed Fazal
Located at a distance 77kms from Thimphu, a cool 3-hour drive takes you to the beautiful rice fields of Punakha. The Punakha Dzong, which serves as a sight, administrative house, courts and an amazing picnic spot is the highlight of Punakha. Located on the banks of the two meeting rivers Pochu and Mochu, this is an amazing spot to unwind and relax on the banks of the river. *Note: Your visa on arrival does not cover Punakha, Wangade or any of the other interior places. You must obtain a permit from the Ministry of Tourism and Cultural Affairs.
Photo of Punakha, Bhutan by Hameed Fazal
Photo of Punakha, Bhutan by Hameed Fazal
Photo of Punakha, Bhutan by Hameed Fazal
Photo of Punakha, Bhutan by Hameed Fazal
Photo of Punakha, Bhutan by Hameed Fazal
Photo of Punakha, Bhutan by Hameed Fazal
Photo of Punakha, Bhutan by Hameed Fazal
Photo of Punakha, Bhutan by Hameed Fazal
Photo of Punakha, Bhutan by Hameed Fazal
Photo of Punakha, Bhutan by Hameed Fazal
Photo of Punakha, Bhutan by Hameed Fazal
Photo of Punakha, Bhutan by Hameed Fazal
Photo of Punakha, Bhutan by Hameed Fazal
Photo of Punakha, Bhutan by Hameed Fazal
My final stop was the one structure that is synonymous with Bhutan, The Tiger's Nest or Taktsang Monastery. Located at 12000 feet, a climb which takes you on a spiritual trail with amazing views and a sense of greatness. What kept me going despite an injured knee was the fact that the monastery was a training spot for Bruce Wayne in Batman Begins. My journey was complete with strong winds and a slight drizzle of snow, to give me a perspective of life like never before. A must visit. The first proper view of the monastery from the opposite edge of the cliff equals the first glimpse I had of Petra in Jordan. I still wonder why this is not considered a wonder.
Photo of Tiger's Lair Temple, Paro, Bhutan by Hameed Fazal
Photo of Tiger's Lair Temple, Paro, Bhutan by Hameed Fazal
Photo of Tiger's Lair Temple, Paro, Bhutan by Hameed Fazal
Photo of Tiger's Lair Temple, Paro, Bhutan by Hameed Fazal
Photo of Tiger's Lair Temple, Paro, Bhutan by Hameed Fazal
Photo of Tiger's Lair Temple, Paro, Bhutan by Hameed Fazal
Photo of Tiger's Lair Temple, Paro, Bhutan by Hameed Fazal
Photo of Tiger's Lair Temple, Paro, Bhutan by Hameed Fazal
Photo of Tiger's Lair Temple, Paro, Bhutan by Hameed Fazal
Photo of Tiger's Lair Temple, Paro, Bhutan by Hameed Fazal
Photo of Tiger's Lair Temple, Paro, Bhutan by Hameed Fazal
Photo of Tiger's Lair Temple, Paro, Bhutan by Hameed Fazal
4 Comment(s)
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Photo of Dhrupad Mathur
Dhrupad Mathur
hi hameed bhai,, hope u had a memorable trip and the photographs says it all,,, nice write up,, me too planning for the same ,, would you plz provide me a vague idea about the anticipated expenses to be met while travelling bhutan,,, like how much would a 4 day trip costs 2 people including transportation ,, fooding and lodging,,,warm wishes
Sun 03 29 15, 11:58 · Reply · Edit · Delete ·
Photo of Dhrupad Mathur
Dhrupad Mathur
hi hameed bhai,, hope u had a memorable trip and the photographs says it all,,, nice write up,, me too planning for the same ,, would you plz provide me a vague idea about the anticipated expenses to be met while travelling bhutan,,, like how much would a 4 day trip costs 2 people including transportation ,, fooding and lodging,,,warm wishes
Sun 03 29 15, 11:58 · Reply · Edit · Delete ·
Photo of Dev Arbikshe
Dev Arbikshe
Dochu La Pass looks heavenly.
Mon 03 03 14, 21:36 · Reply · Edit · Delete ·
Photo of Dev Arbikshe
Dev Arbikshe
Dochu La Pass looks heavenly.
Mon 03 03 14, 21:36 · Reply · Edit · Delete ·