Sunday, January 22, 2017

Bhutan: Logistics & Beauty

Bhutan is an absolutely stunning Himalayan Kingdom nestled in between India and China. It was always on our travel radar, but logistically complicated with the visa process and such, so we opted to travel to much easier countries. That was until Escape Travels organized a trip. They are a small-group travel company that we have used a few times for shorter trip, as not having to organize and plan anything is really nice from time to time.

This truly was a "once-in-a-lifetime" trip, as the visa is $250 USD per person PER DAY. So yes, that is $500 per couple per day. The visas cost us more than the trip and airfare. Let me tell you was worth it. As in ONCE-in-a-lifetime worth it. Actually, I must applaud the country. They found a way to bring in the tourism dollar without sacrificing their country to rely on tourists, by only offering a limited number of visa per year and charging a lot for them. After being there and seeing it, I can tell you, it makes a difference, in the most wonderful of ways.

The prolonged layover in Kathmandu demanded a trip into the city for dumplings, of course. Luckily we had been to Nepal before, so there was no pressure to explore the area other than feeding Adam's dumpling obsession.

A Bhutan arrival

Monkeys roamed freely in the airport

Bhutan airport architecture

After getting organized and freshened up from the journey, we explored our hotel and then ventured into the nearby town of Paro for our first real glimpse of local life.

The steps and view from our first night in Bhutan

Our accomodations

Everything is mountains and valleys and green, and it is SO nice. It is clean. It is fresh. The air...crisp.

Surrounded by rice fields

The town of Paro. Typical Bhutanese architecture:

Prayer wheels

We explored the town until sunset, enjoying watching the local daily life come to a close. The people were gracious and welcoming, with their shy and sweet smiles, and gentle nods. Oh and how the children stared at Adam; the mystical giant.