Bhutan for tradition, beauty and (sometimes) comfort!
Traveling Bhutan can be quite the treat. The amazing mixture of traditional Buddhist culture, stunning Himalayan scenery, and yummy Bhutanese food (you better like rice!), all in the safety and comfort of home style Bhutanese hospitality, is tough to beat.
Starting my trip with some great day hiking and a great hotel in Bumthang, we ventured to Phobjikha to see the home of the storied and threatened black-neck crane. While it was early for the arrival of flocks, the beautiful valley, info center (with a recovering crane) and hotel (along with a local festival), highlighted the day. The addition of a traditional meal at one of the local family homes added a diverse edge to the night.
Moving on to Thimphu to see city life in Bhutan, enjoy night views of the Dzong, and stay in a warm and centrally located 3 star hotel was a nice contrast. Sampling local restaurants, music and again traditional home cooked Bhutanese food gave me a closeup view of modern Bhutanese culture.
To swing the other direction we then went to the beautiful and unique Haa Valley. Up close near Tibet and Sikkim. The Haa valley is a mix of pastures and green hills and small towns. A simple but comfortable Homestay not only filled me up with more rice dishes, but allowed me to see Bhutanese pastoral/agrarian life in person to draw direct contrast to city life. It did, however, accentuate the similarities in culture and spirituality of different regions.
Spending 4 days at Nalanda Monastery allowed me to experience monastic lifestyle at my own pace with the studying monks, while they prepared and performed their Puja. Seeing them and hearing them in the morning and night and being able to sometimes hike with them to nearby villages and temples was a casual and rewarding benefit of sleeping at the monastery.
Before departing Paro, we spent time at a small local religious site, Drak Karpo where Guru Rimpoche is supposed to have meditated and see locals hike around to experience and remember their deep historical connection to Buddhism. We then embarked on a steep overnight to BumDrag when we stayed in a camp that had nice queen beds in tents and good food in warmed dinner tents. A sunrise hike to 4100 meters and a late morning descent through the famed Tiger’s Nest capped an amazing few weeks in Bhutan.
Knowing that Seldon has the skill and relationships in place to create your version of comfort, rustic-travel, outdoor activity, traditional culture and level of adventure, will allow you to have the confidence that any custom travel with them in Bhutan will meet or exceed your expectations.
Enjoy and TashiDelek!
Bellingham, Watshington State, USA
Bob traveled with Bhutan Molay’s team in Oct- Nov 2017.