Sunday, September 30, 2018

Bhutan In A Jiffy

Just returned from a wonderful solo journey exploring some of the major attractions.  My simple flexible itinerary kept my trip calm and leisurely.

It helps plenty when I was accompanied by a young and handsome guide, Pema and a jolly driver, Bajek.

Not many people knows about Bhutan, much less where it's located on planet Earth.  My boss asked me each time I reminded him of my impending holiday and he is still no wiser today.

Bhutan is a Buddhist kingdom on the Himalayas’ eastern edge known for its monasteries, fortresses (or dzongs) and dramatic landscapes that range from subtropical plains to steep mountains and valleys.

Bhutan is located in South Asia, bordered by Tibet in the North, Nepal in the West, Assam in the East with Bangladesh to its south.

Bhutan strives to retain its traditional roots in the past while modernity is knocking right at its doorsteps.  Government policies keep strict controls on foreign influences in order to preserve their unique identity, values and natural environment.  Bhutan is still roughly 60-70% covered by pristine forests.

Bhutan is the only country in the world with a negative carbon footprint. But being surrounded by highly industralised and polluting countries such China and India, how long can it withstand from the onslaught of gobal warming?

After a week moving between cities in Bhutan, was it worthy of my time and money?

I 💖 Bhutan!!

The pluses I see in Bhutan:

1.  Bhutanese are friendly and most speaks English.
2.  Bhutanese are very religious even to the very young.
3.  Young Bhutanese are very respectful of the elderly.
4.  Bhutanese are very loyal subjects to their King.
5.  Pedestrian crossing is fully respected (unlike in Malaysia).
6.  No smoking!! 
7.  The rivers are so clean and no fishing allowed without permits.
8.  Vegetables and meats are organic.
9.  The local food are palatable and filling.  Nothing fancy just meant for sustenance.
10. There is no aggression towards animals.

The not-so-pleasant:

1.  Bhutan is too rooted in the past which may be hurting its young generations.
2.  The city especially Thimphu is congested and dusty due to developments.
3.  Most outer city roads are still dusty and bumpy due under-developments.
4.  Visa is expensive.
5.  Dogs everywhere, even resting in the middle of the roads under the hot sun and they bark noisily at nights.
6.  Cows everywhere on the outskirts, wandering in the middle of the roads.
7.  Have to be careful of dog poo, cow and donkey dungs even in the city.
8.  Limited shopping.

Overall I enjoyed my solo journey to Bhutan.  Scenic, fresh mountain air and friendly faces ... not a combination you get anywhere.  If there is time and opportunity, I'd not think twice to visit again. 

Tashi Delek!!

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