Go East is a new series from Lighthouse that brings you countries and destinations that lie east of India and have not hit the big time yet on the travel circuit. Forget Europe, forget Australia, forget Morocco. Give a miss to South Africa, drop the trip to the US, keep New Zealand waiting. Go east with Lighthouse and we start with Bhutan.
How about a trip to the Land of the Thunder Dragon?
Bhutan is no ordinary country. It measures its success in Gross National Happiness, not Gross Domestic Product. It is a country deeply in the past and catching up with the present. It is a country where chillies are considered a vegetable and not just seasoning.
You fly into Paro, the only airport in the country, and make your acquaintance with Bhutanese architecture in Paro Dzong, the local ‘fortress’ dating back to 1646. The watchtower for the Dzong is the National Museum today housing costumes, relics, religious paintings, handicrafts, national stamps and animals in the country.
Taktsang “Tiger’s Nest ” Monastery (in the photo above) overlooks the Paro valley from a cliff around 4,000 feet high. Walk up or ride a pony – the last bit has to be done by foot – and enjoy an experience of a lifetime.
A 45 minute taxi ride from Paro takes you to Thimpu, the capital. In Thimpu do visit The National Institute of Traditional Medicine where one can get chronic ailments diagnosed and treated using herbal compounds. Tashichho Dzong is worth a look with its exquisite architecture and wall paintings. The Weekend market is an interesting place with vendors arriving from all over on Fridays and staying on till Sunday, selling local goods, handicrafts among other things.
Punakha is the old capital and now the winter home of the Bhutanese Central Monk Body. Discover its regal past and sub-tropical valley on a mountain bike tour around the region.
Does mountain biking really interest you? Well, Bhutan has six circuits that also take in most of the important places to visit in the country – two birds, one stone!
There’s also birding to be done – the Crimson Sunbird is a pretty sight while the arrival of the Black-necked Crane is celebrated with Crane Festival held every year on 12 November.
Butterfly tour? What else do you expect in a country where Ludlow’s Bhutan Swallowtail is the national butterfly?
Want to do festivals? Take your pick from Haa, Merak, Takin and even a Nomad’s festivals.
You know what? If you want to Go East to discover Bhutan call Lighthouse on (0) 9818905024 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll set up a most wonderful experience for you.