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Bhutan: The Land of the Thunder Dragon.  This country is most famous for three things:  1)  Being the last Shangri-la, 2)Tracking their citizens Gross National Happiness (GNH) instead of the standard Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and 3) Severely restricting the amount of tourists that are allowed to enter.  We expected the daily tariff to be high…and it was… but at least it includes a car, driver, hotel, and all food.  Basically you just can’t go to this country on your own unless you are Indian.

We flew on Druk Air (the only allowed airline in Bhutan) from Bangkok to Paro which is said to have the scariest airport landing in the world because pilots have to fly so low through the Himalayas. We got a brief glimpse of Everest on the way.

After being in the tropical heat and humidity for so long it was such a relief to step off the plane and feel the cool mountain air.  We were greeted by Kinlay and Wongchen, our guide and driver.  We had a nice, spotless SUV with pillows on the seats.  It was quite a change of transport from all our tuk-tuk rides!

They took us to Metta Resort to check in. We were mesmerized the whole ride – enjoying the landscape and unique Bhutanese architecture.  All of the houses and buildings looked similar to pictures I had seen of the Potala Palace in Tibet where the Dalai Lama lived.  All of the hotels in Paro are situated a bit out of the main town because I guess there are dogs that bark all night in the main town.

We relaxed a bit at the hotel and then went to downtown Paro for lunch where we had our first taste of the local staple.  A lot of Asian countries use chills to season their food, but in Bhutan they take it to whole new level.  The national dish is a bowl of chili peppers, mixed with a small amount of cheese.  Extremely spicy and really good!  There is usually some other dish with cheese too, to help put out the mouth fire.

We went and visited the National Museum and Paro Dzong (fortress/temple/city hall), with sweeping views over Paro valley.  I was walking along a path with my tripod to take a picture and a little kid smiled and gave me a popsicle.  Gross National Hapiness indeed.  We headed back to Metta where we had dinner – and of course more chilies and cheese!  We also had some of the local beer – Drunk 1000.

During our first day and night in Bhutan it was hard to pick our jaws up off the floor.  The mountains, temples, food and culture were so different from anywhere we had ever been and they were all so beautifu

  • Our room in Paro
  • View outside the room
  • The room at the hotel
  • View Over Paro Valley
  • Bhutanese Houses in Paro
  • The River Valley in Paro
  • Old National Museum
  • View Over Paro Valley
  • Paro Dzong
  • Wheel of Reincarnation
  • Paro Valley
  • Monk and Worker
  • Lone Monk in Paro
  • Lone Monk in Paro
  • Monk with Flowing Robes
  • Lone Monk in Paro
  • Contemplating Monk in Window
  • Child Monk
  • Crazy Bull Man
  • Paro Dzong
  • Dirty Dog
  • Old Man and Giant Prayer Wheel
  • Little Kid and Huge Prayer Wheel
  • Downtown Paro

Posted: July 2, 2012

Author: Adam and Amanda

Category: Asia, Bhutan, Blog, Continents


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