November saw our two week trip to Bhutan ‘the land of thunder dragons’, the country where Gross National Happiness is more important that Gross National Product. It’s perhaps the most diverse and mysterious of all the Himalayan kingdoms, where the traditional Buddhist culture has thrived in isolation from the rest of the world, but carefully embraces global developments. The landscape in Bhutan is one of contrasts, with lush forested valleys, sacred snow capped mountains and fortress like monasteries . It’s an extremely secluded country with few cars, no cinemas or television and a Royal decree to ensure that all new buildings should follow traditional architecture. By law at least 60% of the country must remain forested for all future generations and its botanical riches and unique mammals and birds are protected in several national parks. Whilst the country is rich in tradition and heritage, the Bhutanese are well educated, fun loving and vibrant.
Our tour started in the rice growing area of Paro set in an alpine valley with its historic monument remains, then on to the buzzing capital Thimpu with its temples. From there it was on to Punakha to enjoy rhododendron blooms and incredible views, and then to the valleys of Bumthang to soak up the landscape and history.
The tour provided some fantastic photographic opportunities, together with the chance to learn and improve skills and make new friends.
We will definitely be returning to Bhutan but with some tweaks to the itinerary, as we understand that the travelling element of the tour was somewhat laborious.
Many thanks to Phil and Clive who led this tour and we hope you enjoy some of their images…..