Posts Tagged ‘Bhutan Travel’

Bhutan – Day Two – Wonderfully Immersed in the Magnetic Charm

By Paul Largay   Sunday, February 28th, 2010
Bhutan Mountain Bike

Paul, Reenie & Kristen Enjoying a Mountain Bike Ride in Bhutan

The drama of the day built slowly as we finished our freshly cooked breakfast at Amankora, which is conveniently located in the capital of Bhutan, Thimphu.  The quality and variety of the menu items was very unexpected, but most appreciated and devoured. The anticipated day’s activities included a two hour climb to a sacred temple overlooking the valley and rushing river, followed by a mountain biking decent back into town to witness the weekly farmers market.  The market lasts for three days and is the place where all the villagers come to purchase their vegetables for the coming week.

The Bhutanese diet is based almost exclusively on vegetables and almost every recipe calls for the inclusion of red hot chili peppers.  The limited meat that the locals do consume is all imported from India, as the Buddhist religion prohibits the slaughter of any livestock.  The same is true for fish, as it is actually against the law to fish and cook anything which is caught.  After a rather difficult hike, we successfully reached the top and were rewarded with the sight of distant mountain views and a magnificent temple which we explored and were treated to an in depth history lesson in the beliefs and practices of the monks who dutifully watch over and protect the shrine.  Typically their tenure lasts for a period of three years, three months and three days.  The significance of the three is that it reminds them of the three important aspects of their existence and focus; mind,  body, and, soul.

In preparation for a sunset massage and celebratory dinner, the day’s activities were concluded by a visit to an animal preserve to view a very rare animal called a Takin, which frankly looks like a cow who has had the head of a goat grafted upon it.  This animal is rarely seen and it’s natural habitat is northern Bhutan, Tibet and the mountains of southern China.

Tomorrow we will be sad to say goodbye to the Thimphu community that has made us feel like we were long lost relatives but we have been assured by our guides that there’s more where that came from in the next valley in the Kingdom of Bhutan.

Ever onward…

Bhutan – Day Three – Wondering how the day could possibly compete with the last two days….

By Paul Largay   Saturday, February 27th, 2010
Bhutan Discovery

Kristen, Peter, Reenie & Paul Hiking in Bhutan

Our day started off with yet ANOTHER fabulous breakfast and early morning four hour hike to a sacred temple overlooking the village of Thimphu.  The weather was divine and was only exceeded by the views we had earned as a result of our assent. 

After a gourmet picnic lunch on the summit, we all gleefully headed into town to purchase a personal Bhutanese ‘dress’ to wear at what we knew were some very special upcoming events.  The madness and mayhem that ensued during the purchase at the store could have provided for some exceptional late night comedy or conversely, resulted in a life sentence in one of the local lockups….can you say Midnight Express sequel!  The locals/ merchants were obviously as happy to see us arrive as they were to see us depart. 

Peter & Paul shopping for some local wears

Peter & Paul Shopping in Town

From the store we headed out on what had to be one of the most, unique drives/transfers of my life.  To reach the next Aman property we climbed/ traversed three dramatic mountain passes for five hours which afforded us panoramic views of the snow covered Himalayas bordering both Tibet and China.  How cool!

Throughout the course of the drive, I don’t think I have EVER felt so connected and so unexpectedly at peace to such a remote, yet mysteriously inviting locale.  Upon arriving in Gadgety we celebrated our patience with a glass of fine red wine and a tour around the eith room property.  The most amazing aspect was that aside from the generator, which provided light and electricity to our hotel, the entire community and town had no electricity or running water.  We couldn’t help but think about how incredible and enhanced the star gazing would be after dinner.