Good-Bye Bhutan

The sun is setting on my last day here in Bhutan.  I have just finished a 5 hour uphill hike to Bhutan’s famous Tiger’s Nest viewpoint and now I recover in my hotel room – with Bhutanese wine (blah!). The room I have been given has a fantastic view of an ancient Dzong (fortress) at the foot of the mountains.  I also have a bird’s eye view of the airport… a perfect reminder that I have a 9am flight back to Delhi tomorrow. 🙂

Paro, Bhutan

Most places I have visited I have left them confident in the fact that I will visit again.  I don’t know if it will be true for all, but genuinely believing that when I board the plane makes the departure easier. “See you next time,” is always more comforting than, “good bye.”

I don’t have that same confidence as I get ready to leave Bhutan. Perhaps it is the sheer expense of visiting this place ($290 for a visa…PER DAY), perhaps it is the feeling that I have experienced what I came to see, perhaps I believe this personal pilgrimage has been enough to touch my soul for a lifetime…whatever the reason, I will be saying “good bye” to this country tomorrow.

In route to Tiger's Nest“Preserve our natural rich heritage, don’t pollute the surroundings. Remember nature is the source of all happiness.”

I loved this sign at the beginning of the hike today. SO BHUTAN!

Hiking to Tiger's NestA quarter of the way up…and still smiling.

Ugyen, my guide, told me, “The harder your effort on a pilgrimage, the better your karma.” This led to us taking the “shortcut” straight up the mountain!

Tiger's Nest

Part of the Tiger’s Nest is a monastery called Kyichu Lhakhang.  It was originally built here in 659 A.D. by a Tibetan King. It is one of 108 monasteries that were built across the Himalayans by this Tibetan king to subdue the Demoness that lay across the region.

All ages, young and old, made the pilgrimage up the mountain.  Many carried bags of rice, chips, cookies, fruit and incense to offer Lord Buddha and other deities at the top.

Valley View on the way up to Tiger's NestValley view…

Waterfall

Waterfall at the top…

"Cakes" as offeringsClay “cakes” that spotted the cliffs

These are presented as offerings to Lord Buddha and other dieties (super cute too!).

At the top, I had to check in my camera.  No pictures are allowed in temples.  This is a more recent rule set up by the Bhutanese government since it opened its doors to the world in 1974.  Since they don’t know what I will do with the pictures at home, and worry I may throw them in a corner or on the floor, which would be greatly disrespectful to Bhudda, they decided no pictures will be taken. Period.  That just means you have to go to Bhutan to see all the golden, ornate insides of the temples yourself!

Ugyen fixing the prayer flags Ugyen fixing a string of prayer flags that had fallen.

Such a good guy, my guide!

Jen near Tiger Nest! Did it!Did it!

Buffet in BhutanNow lunch…buffet of course!

At lunch, Ugyen told me a dream he has for himself is to stop working around the age of 50.  He then wants to move close to a holy site, like Tiger’s Nest, and dedicated his life to meditation.   He said, “It is important that I prepare for my next life.

Bhuddists strongly believe in reincarnation.  Compassion, knowledge and devotion all contribute to good karma.  If one leaves this world with good karma, she will be rewarded in the next life.  If one leaves with bad karma, she will return in a lesser form…possibly an animal form.

Cremation CeremonyMonks leaving a cremation ceremony.

Hope that guy left this world with good karma…or he could come back as…

Yellow Beaked Magpie…one of Bhutan’s Yellow Beaked Magpies 🙂

(Please Lord Bhudda forgive me for my bad joke)

Praying at the Temple

Driving up to a final temple for a visit, Ugyen told me, “Miss Jenny, this temple will complete your program here in Bhutan.  Choki and I are happy you visited.  We know the sun will always shine for you, and we wish you peace, prosperity and happiness.”

Just having him say that to me in this place makes me believe I will.

Prayer Wheel

I have spun my last prayer wheel for now, and my final buffet dinner awaits :).

Good bye from Bhutan.

Beautiful Bhutanese Face

 

  13 comments for “Good-Bye Bhutan

  1. Wavatar
    Lydia
    January 17, 2014 at 6:59 pm

    Hi there Jenny. I’m planning on a solo trip this summer to Nepal, Tibet(hopefully), Bhutan and Vietnam. I know how to travel to each place except for Bhutan! I came across your blog and thought “thank god”! Would there be any chance you could give me some information on the safety of travelling there as a woman alone, information on your guide and how to get the visa etc. I know it’s a lot to ask. I’d really appreciate it though as I feel this country is calling me! 🙂

    • Wavatar
      jenjedda
      January 18, 2014 at 3:43 am

      Hi Lydia! So happy you found my blog…and what an exciting trip you have planned! Bhutan for me was a very easy place to visit as I hired my tour company who took care of all of the details (including visa) for me (which is standard from what I understand about visiting Bhutan…they are quite careful to take care of their visiting guests from the minute you land to the minute you leave). As you probably know already, Bhutan is the most expensive country in the world to visit as the visa per day is around $175…but that includes all your food and lodging (you can do standard lodging…or stay at more luxurious places as well…I did standard 3 star accommodations which were lovely!). Safety was not an issue for me as well as I was always with my guide and driver…I did go out once on my own in Thimpu, but did as I would in any city…kept my valuable close, only was out at during the daytime and was aware of my surroundings). Here is a link to the tour company I used which was excellent: http://www.bhutantourpackage.com

      Please let me know how your trip goes! I am very interested!

      • Wavatar
        Charlotte
        January 4, 2016 at 5:19 pm

        Hi Jen! I visited the website of the tour company you mencioned, could you please tell me wich tour did you selected? Thank you!

        • Wavatar
          jenjedda
          January 4, 2016 at 8:03 pm

          Hi Charlotte! Happy New Year! Did you visit this site: https://www.bhutantourpackage.com . That is the company I used, but I think they have changed their name, and seem a bit “fancier” in all their packages. I didn’t select a package when I went. We sorted a seven day itinerary before I arrived. I believe Bhutan has refined the tourist experience since I have been there…so now you have all these beautiful options. I hit the first time highlights…but would love to go back and experience a festival!! let me know what you decide to do!! xoxo

    • Wavatar
      February 13, 2014 at 4:46 pm

      Can you please contact WORLD TOUR PLAN, as they will guide you the best, as they are authorized travel company based in Bhutan: For information on locations visited, please CONTACT US AT : WORLD TOUR PLAN , THIMPHU BHUTAN, info@worldtourplan.com | http://www.worldtourplan.com | FOR CUSTOMIZED PACKAGE CLICK HERE : http://www.worldtourplan.com/form.php

    • Wavatar
      March 31, 2014 at 4:26 pm

      Hello Jen ,
      I am Kinga from Bhutan. As a Bhutanese I am very happy that you are planning to visit Bhutan. I hope you have a good stay. I am very sure that you wont have any problem travelling alone. Please check out, http://www.merekma.com for tour packages in Bhutan. We are happy to answer all you questions and arrange your stay:)
      regards,
      Kinga

      • Wavatar
        jenjedda
        March 31, 2014 at 7:40 pm

        Thanks, Kinga, for offering you services. I had a wonderful experience with my tour company, but it is nice to know of other options. Hope you are well in Bhutan. 🙂

    • Wavatar
      Ehsan
      December 21, 2015 at 6:27 am

      i AM also a solo tourer,,,,would like to join u on trip to Bhutan and Tibet,,,,,3 weeks only….

      • Wavatar
        jenjedda
        December 24, 2015 at 7:31 pm

        Perhaps we can do that someday :)! Thanks for finding my blog! xoxo j

  2. Wavatar
    traveler
    April 4, 2016 at 7:59 pm

    wooow! thanks for this share, great!!

    • Wavatar
      jenjedda
      April 5, 2016 at 9:06 pm

      Love that you enjoyed this! xoxo

  3. Wavatar
    August 5, 2016 at 7:59 am

    Hello Jenjedda, How are you? Thanks for your wonderful Bhutan travel blog and I am very happy to learned that you enjoyed your tour with us.

    This is to let you know I had changed our Bhutan Tour Operator name to Bokar Tours. Bokar is my place where I bought up, it is small village of Yalang at hilltop in Tsahiyangtse. Bokar is temple name meaning White Vulture https://www.bhutantourpackage.com/travel-agency. The temple and place is named Bokar after white Vulture appear circumambulation in the place where present day temple located.

    We are the same operation team form previous tour operator when you visited Bhutan and same website http://www.bhutantourpackage.com just name changed only.

    Karma Chime
    Bokar Tours – for the Ultimate Bhutan Adventure!

  4. Wavatar
    August 5, 2016 at 8:05 am

    This Bhutan Travel infographic may help to plan for people who wish to visit Bhutan for Tours. https://www.bhutantourpackage.com/travelling-to-bhutan.html. This Bhutan tour infographic tell :
    1. Why to visit Bhutan?
    2. How to get in Bhutan?
    3. Sightseeing and activities in Bhutan
    4. Food to try
    5. When to visit Bhutan or best season to visit Bhutan
    6. Do’s and Don’t when you are in Bhutan.

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