Bhutan - A Country with Great Culture, Unmatchable Traditions, and Growing Happiness



“I am going to sit in the monastery the whole day along with the monks and trust me, I am going to come back India bald!” That’s what I had in my mind when I started my journey to Bhutan.

“I am going to sit in the monastery the whole day along with the monks and trust me, I am going to come back India bald!” That’s what I had in my mind when I started my journey to Bhutan.  

As you fly across the Great Himalayas, you can see big giant bean bags of clouds hanging out right next to you. Watching those clouds, you’re going to feel mesmerized. They’re not the normal size clouds you usually see flying across the country, they are the size of a Hummer. After some time, you realise you aren’t flying anymore. you’re sailing. Paro is the only International Airport in Bhutan. Your plane would land between a band of mountains. As you walk down the staircase, you can watch ‘hummer-clouds’ right above your head. That’s the time to stretch your arms and take a deep breath.

As you fly across the Great Himalayas, you can see big giant bean bags of clouds hanging out right next to you. Watching those clouds, you’re going to feel mesmerized. They’re not the normal size clouds you usually see flying across the country, they are the size of a Hummer. After some time, you realise you aren’t flying anymore. you’re sailing. Paro is the only International Airport in Bhutan. Your plane would land between a band of mountains. As you walk down the staircase, you can watch ‘hummer-clouds’ right above your head. That’s the time to stretch your arms and take a deep breath.    


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I jumped into the front seat of the car and hung my head outside the window like a dog. My head and well, my tongue. I wanted to taste the fresh air. Which, by the way, tasted like hot chocolate fondue. I was excited about how my skin felt letting all the fresh air sink inside. I felt soft. Within the first 20 minutes of being in Bhutan atmosphere, I was alive.

I jumped into the front seat of the car and hung my head outside the window like a dog. My head and well, my tongue. I wanted to taste the fresh air. Which, by the way, tasted like hot chocolate fondue. I was excited about how my skin felt letting all the fresh air sink inside. I felt soft. Within the first 20 minutes of being in Bhutan atmosphere, I was alive.  

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Bhutan has a distinct colour. Unlike India, it’s either of the two shades- gold due to the sunshine or gloomy blue due to the absence of sunshine. To my surprise, Bhutanese roads and people’s sense of roads are both very well structured and sharp. In my ten days’ trip, I didn’t hear anybody blow the horns even once. There is a sort of silence on the streets, inside the houses and even by the construction sites in this dragon country. You want to experience Bhutan for what it is, go far far away from the well-known monasteries and cafes.

Bhutan has a distinct colour. Unlike India, it’s either of the two shades- gold due to the sunshine or gloomy blue due to the absence of sunshine. To my surprise, Bhutanese roads and people’s sense of roads are both very well structured and sharp. In my ten days’ trip, I didn’t hear anybody blow the horns even once. There is a sort of silence on the streets, inside the houses and even by the construction sites in this dragon country. You want to experience Bhutan for what it is, go far far away from the well-known monasteries and cafes. 

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My first day in Bhutan was in Thimphu. It’s about 45 minutes from the city of Paro. Thimphu is the capital city, so it is more commercialized than the rest of Bhutan. But, like the rest of Bhutan, all you hear around the city is the sound of the flowing river and prayer bells at different corners of the city. On my right was the giant prayer bell across the main street and on my left was the river flowing undisturbed by the flowing traffic. I had found my peace.

My first day in Bhutan was in Thimphu. It’s about 45 minutes from the city of Paro. Thimphu is the capital city, so it is more commercialized than the rest of Bhutan. But, like the rest of Bhutan, all you hear around the city is the sound of the flowing river and prayer bells at different corners of the city. On my right was the giant prayer bell across the main street and on my left was the river flowing undisturbed by the flowing traffic. I had found my peace.  

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 I had my first Bhutanese meal at a village house. First, I was served with the Bhutanese tea, also known as butter tea, the first sip of the hot cuppa of tea made me realize how mistaken these Bhutanese people were. What they think as tea for so hundreds of years, and still counting, was actually ‘soup’. It was the tastiest soup-tea I have ever had. I had already planned taking the tea and the tea maker back home with me. Until I had the rest of my meal. Bhutanese people eat red rice (similar to Oosna Chawal) and mirchi baked cooked in cheese for their meal.

 I had my first Bhutanese meal at a village house. First, I was served with the Bhutanese tea, also known as butter tea, the first sip of the hot cuppa of tea made me realize how mistaken these Bhutanese people were. What they think as tea for so hundreds of years, and still counting, was actually ‘soup’. It was the tastiest soup-tea I have ever had. I had already planned taking the tea and the tea maker back home with me. Until I had the rest of my meal. Bhutanese people eat red rice (similar to Oosna Chawal) and mirchi baked cooked in cheese for their meal. 

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Punakha is different from Thimphu. It’s 14 degrees Celsius in summers. Forget talking about winters. As I entered my hotel here, I was greeted by my future-friends Kencho and Dorjee. They are 21 years old, married for 2.5 years with a 3-year-old Rika. Not one day in this hotel did I eat my food alone. Kencho, Dorjee, Rika and my driver Rajesh were always there. We were like family.

Punakha is different from Thimphu. It’s 14 degrees Celsius in summers. Forget talking about winters. As I entered my hotel here, I was greeted by my future-friends Kencho and Dorjee. They are 21 years old, married for 2.5 years with a 3-year-old Rika. Not one day in this hotel did I eat my food alone. Kencho, Dorjee, Rika and my driver Rajesh were always there. We were like family.  

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As we drove towards Phobika, I watched flat mountains and cold springs driving along with us throughout the way. At Phobika, I went to the valley of black-necked cranes. Black-necked cranes are a unique kind of travellers. They walk all the way from China to Bhutan during winters to spend some time chewing on wild strawberries on the valleys of Phobika and return back to China during summers.

As we drove towards Phobika, I watched flat mountains and cold springs driving along with us throughout the way. At Phobika, I went to the valley of black-necked cranes. Black-necked cranes are a unique kind of travellers. They walk all the way from China to Bhutan during winters to spend some time chewing on wild strawberries on the valleys of Phobika and return back to China during summers. 

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As I sat by the river in the valley, we witnessed a tribe of horses running from behind us to come and drink cold water near the riverside. They were lean, muscular and greedy for grass and water. I was zipped by the scene. That’s when I remembered the thought I had set off my journey with, monasteries, monks, getting bald. That had all taken a backseat. In Bhutan, Buddhism isn’t a way of life for most, Buddhism is a religion, simply putting, a way of earning money and setting a few people higher than the rest. I had found the truth. Happiness is an illusion. Happiness doesn’t exist. What exists in reality and we can either be grateful for it or curse it.

As I sat by the river in the valley, we witnessed a tribe of horses running from behind us to come and drink cold water near the riverside. They were lean, muscular and greedy for grass and water. I was zipped by the scene. That’s when I remembered the thought I had set off my journey with, monasteries, monks, getting bald. That had all taken a backseat. In Bhutan, Buddhism isn’t a way of life for most, Buddhism is a religion, simply putting, a way of earning money and setting a few people higher than the rest. I had found the truth. Happiness is an illusion. Happiness doesn’t exist. What exists in reality and we can either be grateful for it or curse it.  

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I got up early that morning, ate my breakfast and left to explore human less parts of Paro city. As I dipped my toe to test the water temperature, shivering in my bare body, I realised the water was cold like ice. It felt like water molecules rushed together and grabbed to toe to take quick bites on it. I decided to become a part of the chilling water and flowing wind and let them spare me the terror. I was grateful to them but I wanted to survive Bhutan’s mighty nature and return to my family.

I got up early that morning, ate my breakfast and left to explore human less parts of Paro city. As I dipped my toe to test the water temperature, shivering in my bare body, I realised the water was cold like ice. It felt like water molecules rushed together and grabbed to toe to take quick bites on it. I decided to become a part of the chilling water and flowing wind and let them spare me the terror. I was grateful to them but I wanted to survive Bhutan’s mighty nature and return to my family.

Related post - How to reach Gangtok and main things to do in Sikkim

On my way back from Bhutan to India, I didn’t fight for the window seat. I was content. I didn’t need to see more. I had to just be. I was as vibrant and gloomy as the two colours of Bhutan. I was as majestic as the mountains and as excited as the river. I was as consistent as the prayer bells and as alert as the chillies from Bhutan.

On my way back from Bhutan to India, I didn’t fight for the window seat. I was content. I didn’t need to see more. I had to just be. I was as vibrant and gloomy as the two colours of Bhutan. I was as majestic as the mountains and as excited as the river. I was as consistent as the prayer bells and as alert as the chillies from Bhutan. 

As you fly across the Great Himalayas, you can see big giant bean bags of clouds hanging out right next to you. Watching those clouds, you’re going to feel mesmerized. They’re not the normal size clouds you usually see flying across the country, they are the size of a Hummer. After some time, you realise you aren’t flying anymore. you’re sailing. Paro is the only International Airport in Bhutan. Your plane would land between a band of mountains. As you walk down the staircase, you can watch ‘hummer-clouds’ right above your head. That’s the time to stretch your arms and take a deep breath.


As you fly across the Great Himalayas, you can see big giant bean bags of clouds hanging out right next to you. Watching those clouds, you’re going to feel mesmerized. They’re not the normal size clouds you usually see flying across the country, they are the size of a Hummer. After some time, you realise you aren’t flying anymore. you’re sailing. Paro is the only International Airport in Bhutan. Your plane would land between a band of mountains. As you walk down the staircase, you can watch ‘hummer-clouds’ right above your head. That’s the time to stretch your arms and take a deep breath.

As you fly across the Great Himalayas, you can see big giant bean bags of clouds hanging out right next to you. Watching those clouds, you’re going to feel mesmerized. They’re not the normal size clouds you usually see flying across the country, they are the size of a Hummer. After some time, you realise you aren’t flying anymore. you’re sailing. Paro is the only International Airport in Bhutan. Your plane would land between a band of mountains. As you walk down the staircase, you can watch ‘hummer-clouds’ right above your head. That’s the time to stretch your arms and take a deep breath.



As you fly across the Great Himalayas, you can see big giant bean bags of clouds hanging out right next to you. Watching those clouds, you’re going to feel mesmerized. They’re not the normal size clouds you usually see flying across the country, they are the size of a Hummer. After some time, you realise you aren’t flying anymore. you’re sailing. Paro is the only International Airport in Bhutan. Your plane would land between a band of mountains. As you walk down the staircase, you can watch ‘hummer-clouds’ right above your head. That’s the time to stretch your arms and take a deep breath.

As you fly across the Great Himalayas, you can see big giant bean bags of clouds hanging out right next to you. Watching those clouds, you’re going to feel mesmerized. They’re not the normal size clouds you usually see flying across the country, they are the size of a Hummer. After some time, you realise you aren’t flying anymore. you’re sailing. Paro is the only International Airport in Bhutan. Your plane would land between a band of mountains. As you walk down the staircase, you can watch ‘hummer-clouds’ right above your head. That’s the time to stretch your arms and take a deep breath.


If you liked this post and found it helpful, I would request you to follow these things when traveling -

  1. Manage your waste well and don’t litter
  2. Use dustbins. Tell us if you went to a place and found it hard to locate a dustbin.
  3. Avoid bottle waters in hills. Usually you get clean water in hills and water bottles create lot of mess in our ecosystem.
  4. Say big no to plastic and avoid those unhealthy snacks packed in plastic bags. Rather buy fruits.
  5. Don't play loud blaring music in forests of jungle camps. You are a guest in that ecosystem and disturbing the locals (humans and animals) is not polite

Comments

interesting traditional travel diary thanks for sharing
arjun singh said…
nice post...
Thanks for sharing..
Ohh Wow. Bhutan !

The place where I want to go for many years now and hopefully your post will push me to plan it soon. Such a beautiful place it is and you have shared the essence of place so well. I felt like, I was travelling with you when you describe about your journey. Wish you many such trips and would expect more inspiring stuff from you going forward.

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