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Quynh's Tour of Bhutan

Ok, I reserve the right to make many spellinng mistakes in this long blog of my tour in Bhutan.

returned from Bhutan this afternoon and how I feel now is definitely not what I felt this morning departing from Paro after my 11 days traveling through the Western and Central Bhutan. Remembering what I’ve done in the past 10 days made me feel refreshed while waiting at this crowded and noisy airport. I  am hanging around at Bangkok airport for my connecting flight to Kuala Lumpur. The flight is 4 hours late and it's well past midnight, our compensation was $3.00 for a meal in an airport where nothing is $3.00. 
I had such a good time in Bhutan, it's time for me to write more about it and hopefully inspire you to visit.  I'll be looking forward to my next trip, with Jim and on the back of a motorcycle cruising around!

Day 1: Bangkok – Paro Thimphu
Arriving in Paro and still sleepy, I was the last one who left the airplane. I took me a while to get my luggage as almost everyone on the flight, mostly Bhutanese, travelled with 3 to 10 pieces of luggage. No local - even monks, would pay that much for the flight to Bangkok without making the most out of it, shopping. A Bhutanese monk gave me way like a gentleman as I checked in while I would have to do the opposite way in my country. I started to love his country already! It must have been 80% of Bhutanese passengers. I was among very few tourists and proudly the only Vietnamese – you bet! I looked for my name as I exited. J.J – my guide and Sonam – my driver were there waiting for me. They were both in traditional costume. I did not expect it. We  left for Thimphu. The well paved road snakes through big mountains looking like lacking of rains for a long time. Prayer flags and prayer wheels set along the road made the landscape spiritual . We reached Thimphu after an hour drive or so. I stayed at a hotel on the hillside with partial view of Thimphu town. Joined me at lunch is J.J and the owner of the hotel. The owner is looking for a foreigner partner to extend the hotel as I asked why there was construction going on next to the existing hotel. I was a bit surprised as both of them speak better English than …me. The hotel staffs also speak English very well and professionally. That’s what I also found during my entire trip. I wonder how. A friend of mine told me Bhutanese food was not the best part of his trip. My first impression was opposite! I had a great lunch – might be too early to tell. We left after lunch for a little sightseeing. As approaching Thimphu downtown, on-going constructions on either side of the road was not what I were looking for. J.J explained that as Thimphu is the capital city, there has been shortage in residences. Those belong to who can afford build house and/ or shop for rent. Young people from the less developed parts of Bhutan come here looking for job opportunities. Though I did not like to see this cityscape like, I did like the local house structure. J.J explained that no matter what’s built, the local people have to follow certain regulations of land size, structure …that’s regulated by the Home and Land Management Department. I wished we had it back home! Traffic jams, hmmm, what’s going on? So apparently, Thimphu has lots of cars and traffic. Indian cars dominate, but expensive brands are also seen. We visited a memorial monument, a temple and a nunnery. Elderly people walked around in clock wise spinning the prayer wheel also clockwise in the hand. I loved watching it as it brought peace to mind. We also went to other side of the town where a huge Buddha statue was being built – great view of Thimphu and its surrounding from here.  I had diner at the hotel and I was the only guest.

Day 2: Thimphu

I had a very good night sleep and ready to spend the day in Thimphu. We head out to visit Thimphu Dzong, the oldest one in Bhutan. Dzong is built for multi-purposes – military fortress, monk organization as well as administrative office. Strong stone foundation, very thick walls, nail less wooden beams, beautiful wooden painted and carving windows and doors, strategic location usually on hilltop…Without any double, Dzong is the best example of Bhutanese architecture. J.J kept reminding me of walking around clock wise when we visited Dzong and temple. It’s considered bad luck if one does anti-clockwise. I spent time for hotel inspection as a part of my trip. I had lunch in town in a small café owned by a Singaporean lady – apparently there are few foreigners settled in Bhutan. Walking downtown, I could not take my eye off the Bhutanese traditional costume for both men called ‘Gho’ and women called ‘Kira’. I decided to get myself two pieces of Kira – just the top, jacket like . They look great on me or the other way around! Jim wanted me to get him a set of Gho, but I knew he could not bear the weight and the ‘complication’ of putting it on. After some rest and catch up with emails at the hotel, I spent a few hours walking around the downtown area. The town sits in the valley and a bit hilly. So as I walk to the higher point, the lively scene of the whole street comes to view. Car park is not free on the main street and today (Tuesday) is none-private car day from 8am – 6pm. People in town are encouraged to use public transportation or bicycle. There is also a public parking lot at the entrance of the town where people come to town to work can keep their car and use public transportation to get around town. Back to the hotel and diner was a nice surprise! My friend joined for diner and brought his wife along. She’s Viet! We both had a jar drop as we met. They planned to join me again for a day hike in Paro. I was thrilled and could not wait for it.

Day 3: Thimphu – Dochu La Pass – Phunakha
We took off early today only because of the construction going on near Dochu La Pass. We had to show our travel document at a check point near a Tibetan settlement. Fruits and dry cheeses are set for sales along the road side. I bought some great looking apples. It was very foggy as we went up the mountains. So I missed the opportunity to enjoy the magnificent view over the snowcapped mountains, but the scene of 108 Stupas at Dochu La Pass, 3150 meters above sea level was great. Road cleared, we kept heading toward Phunakha. Approaching the turn, a vast pine tree forested mountain area was totally burned down due to a recent fire the region. Such a pity as I could still see the beautiful landscape. We stopped a local market on the roadside. Fresh fruit and vegetable were sold with large variety from tropical (from the southern Bhutan) to temperate (in Northern region). Chili pepper is very important in Bhutanese cuisine, people buy it per...kilograms! Usually, there is only weekend market where local gather to buy and sell. For daily consumption, people have to go small stores in town or buy enough for the entire week. In the countryside, there are wooden chalet set up along roadside where local residents can sell what they have. Meat and fish is not usually sold at the market but at specific stores. I was in Bhutan during an auspicious month, so no meat was sold at all for the entire month. Hotels and restaurants do have their own stock for tourists like me. Before the lunch stop, we made our way through lush rice paddy field scattered around a local village in the valley to the ‘Mad Monk Temple’ also called ‘fertility temple’, located on a hilltop. Great view from here! People around the country believe that married couples who have difficulty having baby, can come here. Fact proven, as we left, a young couple brought their newborn baby to the temple to make offering! I had a nice simple lunch at a local restaurant overlooking the valley. With the importation of new technology and machinery, rice is planted either by hand or planting machine. Tractors are also widely used and I heard there are tractors imported from Vietnam! Apparently, locals have to pay twice as much for the very same tractor we have in Vietnam. Bhutan is a landlocked country by Tibet and India, so shipping from oversea is always a huge cost. We continue to Phunakha Dzong. The dzong has an exception location. It was built on the river bank where the ‘male’ and ‘female’ rivers meet. To reach the dzong, the beautiful wooden covered bridge was also built. It’s just beautiful like in a postcard. An important local festival is held annually inside the dzong. J.J took me to a nunnery for a visit before sunset. I was a bit hesitant, but quickly found worthy! I understand how important Buddhism is in the Bhutanese daily life, but seeing many young nuns still blown my mind. It’s not easy for me to understand how those little girls came to decision to devote their life to Buddha at such young age. Bhutanese consider fortunate to have a family member being nun or monk – I guess that’s the reason. My parents would bust to tears if I suddenly tell them I want to be a nun, even though we consider ourselves Buddhist (loosely). Needless to say, the nunnery has a magnificent view. I felt surreal seeing the nuns sitting on the hillside chanting in the mountain backdrop and beautiful valley below. Fortunately, the nunnery survived the fire I mentioned earlier! At one of the hotels we inspected, I met a childhood friend of J.J. They told me about their difficult school time with their Indian and Canadian teachers. They were at school when Bhutan first set up formal education system some 40 years ago. All Bhutanese receive free education and healthcare. We made the final leg drive for today to the farm stay. I loved the ride sneaking all the way through the pine tree forest. A quick look at a Vietnamese tractor on the roadside, the local farmers were happy to know I am from Vietnam and the first Vietnamese they ever met. I felt homely in the middle of nowhere! We arrived at our farm stay. Out host is a local family, a parent and a young daughter. We had tea and some local snack on the balcony while she was preparing diner. I insisted the family to have dinner with us. She kept excusing for not having meat for me for diner. I mentioned earlier no meat is sold this month. I had no problem with it and nothing better than a home cooked meal when I travel. I loved the lentil soup she made. We chatted a while longer and went to bed early.

Day 4: Phunakha – Wandue Phodrang - Trongsa
I woke up in thick fog and could see as far as 2 meter from my window. Prayer flags outside blown in the wind and morning birds already started their day. After breakfast, the air cleared out as the sun came out allowing me to see the Wandue valley where we were heading to. I walked around the house for a day look. It’s simple local house with small vegetable garden and farmland nearby. They had problem with rice plantation this year due to low rain fall. This area also has problem with wild animal (monkey, wild pigs…) destroying crop. Instead of hunting the animal to protect their farm, they abandoned their farm for the animals. The family captured an injured baby wild pig left behind by its mother after destroying the farm. They cured the pig and gave it a home!  The family made the kitchen area their living room cum bed room. The main building has 4 small rooms which they converted to farm stay. I appreciated their effort to accommodate us and provide the standard amenities in such remote location.  They received the land from the government. The entire village is a retired royal army settlement. In the countryside, local residents receive wood subsidy from government to build house every 25 years. Locals don’t just go to the forest to cut tree, but inform the chief village and follow the procedures. We said goodbye to the family as the sky was clear in beautiful sunshine. Our first stop was at Wangdue Dzong. The dzong was partly under renovation after the last year earth quake. Differ to other dzongs in the country, Wangdue Zdong has it unique charm to its slate stone roof. Master carpenters were invited for the renovation. Sadly shortly after I left Bhutan, I received an email from J.J saying that the dzong was burned to the ground during the renovation. Not that hard to find out why, woods and wood chips lied all over the place and Wandue known to be the windiest valley in Bhutan! As much as I was happy to visit the Wangdue Dzong, I was very sad as I received the news. At the entrance of the dzong on opposite side of the river, there is a small Indian origin settlement. Indian workers are seen throughout Bhutan. They are the only nationality who receive free visa to Bhutan. Bhutanese student, doctors, soldiers study and train in India. Indian government also helped Bhutan to build road after the first visit on horseback of the Prime Minister Mahatma Gandhi some 40 years ago. We continue to Pele La Pass. The drive was nice passing through many dense forests. We stopped at the pass for a sip of ‘ara’ – local made rice or corn whiskey. Local believe it’s good for the body to have some ‘ara’ on the mountain pass. Cold wind at 3,390m ASL blown on thousand of prayer flags hanging around the pass made the journey truly spiritual. Breathtaking landscape forced us to stop again and again. Small farm houses high up in the mountain surrounded by white clouds, wide open valleys…Not that I had never seen it before, but it’s not the same in Bhutan! One more quick stop before arriving in Trongsa, Trongsa Dzong and the National Museum come into view. This small town always plays an important role in Bhutan’s history. I was speechless with the view from my room and the hotel is very nice too with great garden setup. What’s a nice way to end the day!

Day 5: Trongsa – Bumthang also called Jakar
We spent time visiting the beautiful Trongsa Dzong and the well done National Museum – originally a watch tower. The King who united Bhutan was the Trongsa Penlop (governor). Therefore, all the kings before being crowned have to be Trongsa Penlop. Trongsa seats between Eastern and Western Bhutan, so it’s the central point from east-west movement. Before the road was built, everyone has to go through Trongsa Dzong for registration before crossing the wooden bridge below. We took out time to get to Bumthang. The continuously change of landscape surprised me. I could not help myself stay still! We made a stop at the bottom of the valley where I bought a beautiful hand woven ship wool blanket. It was a really enjoyable drive to Bumthang. We had a later lunch at the hotel. Meal at hotel again….it’s not the same. So far, it was my favorite meal and it was prepared by the hotel owner! We took off to visit the town, the most religious place in Bhutan. We visited the oldest temple of Bhutan built in 7th century. I noticed there was preparation for a religious event. Thousand of butter lamps were ready to be lighted up. Some monks cleaned up the place, others feed dogs and wild birds in the back yard. Elder residents made their round around the temple. We went inside the main temple. J.J and Sonam showed their respect to one of the two oldest temples in the country. First, they knee then the upper body was lied on the ground in line with the lower body, three times. We visited another temple, also the residence for the King’s Grandmother. She was there, so we were allowed to visit part of the temple. Back to the hotel, I could not wait to have another meal at this hotel and surely I was not disappointed! I loved the buckwheat noodle.

Day 6: Bumthang and the day trip to Ura Valley
I had a coldest night of the entire trip, but well slept. The noise of music and singing woke me up. I realized that came from the archery ground across the street. I went out to take a look. All contestants dressed up and take part in the ritual singing and dancing. Back to the hotel and J.J was ready to take me to Ura Valley. I heard it’s nice but only see why as I was walking around the village. From the main road, the entire valley came to view – open grass land for cattle, traditional farm houses surrounded by white cloud capped mountains. We had a stroll around the village (I had never stepped on that much cow crap in my entire life!), but loved every minute of it. I felt like going back in time and things slow down here in this small remote village. Traditional stone houses framed with stone walls and small vegetable gardens. We stopped at the village temple and no surprise local resident thought that I am a Bhutanese pilgrim! They said I have a Bhutanese look – I felt happy. A grandpa carrying his granddaughter on his back invited us to his house. He was happy to show us around. I was a bit hesitant coming inside a local house as a tourist, but his sincerity and hospitality comforted me. Ground floor is for livestock, 1st floor is living room/kitchen/bedroom and top floor is altar room – only man or monk can sleep in this room. We seat on the floor in the living room, chatting while a younger baby was sleeping deeply in a corner. Grandma joined us. They babysit for their daughter while she works in another area. The hosts invited us local ara. Once a year, there is a local wine festival in this valley. I was told not to refuse, but drinks a little to pay gratitude. It does not matter what time a day, what day a year, ara is generously offered to guest. The grandpa offered us ara in traditional container and wooden cups. J.J was thrilled drinking the ara in a very valuable cup made of special rare wood which can cost up American dollars. It’s said that the cup could neutralize poisoned drinks. The cup is only used by man, women use cheaper one. This is the only ‘discrimination’ I experienced in Bhutan! Later on I bought two cups at the same value and the wine container to bring home – prefer to have equal right with my husband at home, not much to ask for! In fact, Bhutanese women enjoy greater deal of equality compared with other Asian women. They inherit family properties. For a Bhutanese man, a wooden cup wrapped in soft cloth and a knife to bring along as he travels is apparently essential. On the road, this can be used to hold food as it’s offered. Life can be enjoyable simple and yet meaningful if one is happy with what he/she has. I had never lived in countryside, but visit to a rural villages always make me realize how fortunate I am and appreciate more what I have. The peaceful feeling is what one can’t pay for. We said goodbye to the family. As we had time, J.J took me to another valley – special one! This last human settlement is located in the breathtaking view valley surrounded by grass land where cattle are free to roam around in pristine nature. They also receive great care – ‘doctor on call’. If an animal gets injured, the family can call a vet. The animal will be treated at home for free. The valley is the furthest one can travel by car this direction. J.J’s home town is on the other side of mountain range, so the only way he could get there is a full day walking. We went back to town visit some hotels and stopped by J.J auntie’s guesthouse. There is a new airport built on this side of town, the only domestic airport in the country. For traveler who has limited time, now can fly back to Paro from here. Bumthang receives very seasonal tourists who mostly come in the high season. Low season when I was there, most hotels are close down and only open again in the next busy season. I went for a walk in town, had a great diner again at the hotel and got ready for my journey back to Paro.

Day 7: Bumthang – Gantey Valley – Wangdue Phodrang
We had a rainy morning, but I was so excited going to Gantey valley. So the rain did not bother me that much. We stop at a small weekend market in Trongsa. People were busy sell and buy, but I got into someone’s attention – a mother and young baby! She told me she’s divorced and soon a second baby will be born. She asked me to take pictures. I showed her and received a big smile. We continued on and stopped at a small roadside village. The golden buckwheat fields brightened up the cloudy sky. After the turn, the drive to Gantey was even more beautiful – twisty road sneaking through pine tree forests covered in mosses. We arrived in Gantey around noon. I’ve been to a numbers of valleys during the trip, but none of them are the same. Gantey valley is on only glacier valley in the country. The place draws lots of attentions every late falls/early winter when black neck cranes arrive. We followed a farm road across the valley to a hotel for lunch. What a view from the hotel! J.J told me he wishes to have a farm house in this valley. So do I. I visualized in my head pictures of me working in the garden, growing flowers and Jim fixing fences, riding around on his bike….I love peaceful feelings of Bhutanese countryside. The smell of lunch woke me up. Restaurant staff must think that I was starving. They prepared me a huge lunch. As much as I hate wasting food, no way I could finish the whole lunch. I had a small walk before we continued to Wang Due. Shortly after the turn to the main road, I noticed something in the trees. We stopped and sure enough bunch of langurs hanging around. All slowly ran away, except one paused for my photos. J.J said it’s quite often to see wild animals along the roadside if travel in early morning or evening. We were in mid afternoon. The sun slowly came out as we were reaching Wangdue. We stayed at nicely done resort on a river closed to a tiny village. At this lower elevation, most plants and flowers in the garden were found back home. I had a nice and small vegetarian diner and excited about going to Paro the next day.

Day 8: Wangdue Phodrang – Thimphu – Paro
Despite the sound of the river, I slept soundly. We bypassed Wangdue main town. Lots of houses were built for the hydro electricity project staff. Apparently, hydro electric provide some 30% of country’s income. We stopped at a botanical garden for a nice walk. We reached Thimphu in no time. We had lunch in town and continued to Paro. We took off the main road and drove along the main river of Paro valley - the river that makes Paro most cultivated valley in the country. J.J said when he has spare time, he comes here for fly fishing – catch and release. Bhutan has many nice rivers for this sport. The government bans fly fishing temporarily because they are worried the sport would harm wild fishes and rivers. Fishing in the country does need a special permit. We stopped a J.J house before the main town. Paro town is small and cozy, but the valley is quite large covering the lower and upper part. We heard music and chanting from a temple on a hill side. This temple is one of the two oldest temples in the country. I visited the 1st one in Bumthang. Lots of local gathered at the temple. They walked around clockwise. A grandpa was curious with my pictures. He stopped to take a look and walked away with a smile on his face. After a while, I walked outside and seated on a hillside. A little girl came to seat next to me like we knew each other for a long time! Before sunset, we arrived at the hotel, not very far from the temple. The valley view from my room was superb. At the sunset, I went out for a walk on a farm road running above the valley. Beautiful sky, wide open valley dotted with traditional houses, fruit orchards, rice fields and Paro River as the valley blood life. I was glad I had three nights here. I came back to the hotel. The hotel staff told me diner will be ready in a short while. As I sat down in the lobby, a monk came and asked me where I am from. I told him a bit about Vietnam and he seemed very much into the conversation. He started telling me about himself and his story to be in this valley. He hosted an event in the temple I visited earlier in the afternoon. He said as there are so many wars, conflicts going on around the world, they organized the World Peace Pray in hope of a peaceful world. I asked: “Are you happy?”. “No, not at all. Look at people around me, spending more time on their job to make money rather than taking care of their families” – he answered. He was born weak. His mother took him to a temple looking for cures. Monks told her she should stop breathe fit  the baby. She did and the baby got much better. The monks also said the baby should become a monk sooner or later. His mother sent him a temple. People later found out he was a ‘rimpoche’ - reborn Buddha. Tibetan took him away from Bhutan. Because he was recognized by Dhala Lama, Chinese government put him in jail. He was upset and questioned himself if he’s really a ‘rimpoche’, why does he have to suffer all this. He thought to himself if he a real ‘rimpoche’, he should be released from the jail in 7 days. He got released after exact 7 days, then he was more convinced himself as a ‘rimpoche’. People of Bhutan organized to get him out of Tibet. Later I found out that J.J was in that team and he was blessed having the rimpoche in his house for a few hours. I could not describe my feeling after talking to the monk. I am not that religious, but it was very strange being surrounded by extremely friendly and spiritual people. I had diner alone in an empty restaurant in a stranger country, strangely I did not feel lonely. I knew I would have some friends joining me for a day hike tomorrow.

Day 9: Paro and the day hike at Cheli La Pass
A lovely morning and the sun shines over the valley. I did not know what to expect along the hike ahead. My friends drove from Thimphu and waited for me at the hotel lobby. Two Vietnamese ladies and four Bhutanese men – we were all busy talking in our own language! We headed toward Cheli La Pass said to be the highest motor-passable road in the country – a beautiful drive through dense pine tree forests. Our first stop was to spot out a rare flower only bloomed this time of the year at the same spot. Surely enough, they were there! We continued to the top of the pass, iris flowers scattered along the road ride – one of my favorite. The sun slowly disappeared. Wins blow white clouds and thousand of prayer flags on top of the pass. We left the car and followed a small path along Juniper Trail. My friend is also a botanical guide and I was told that this time of year it’s one of the best for botanical tour, so I had a feast! I told him I am a slow walker and I would be at my slowest on this trail. There were so many different plants and flowers that I have not seen before. I could not wait to see the National Flower of Bhutan – the Blue Poppy. And there is it! At one point, we were told to be quiet as we expected to see wild animals. Shortly we saw female Himalayan pheasant and after a fort while a male one. They were not together as it was breeding season. Male tends to stay away from female and chicks to avoid attacks by eagles due to the attractive color of the male – nature instinct of protection. We also saw wild goat and serow. After climbing a stiff cliff and narrow ridge, we reached the 4000m peak. A small celebration was held at the peak! I had not been this high. We got ara and snacks. The view was simply speechless. We had 360 degree view of numerous mountain peaks, the Tiger Nest – where I were going on my last day in Bhutan, and Haa valley. The valley was recently open to tourists. It was closed before due to its short distance to Tibet border. We made our way down on a gentle slope carpeted by purple rhodorendom. I have not been to heaven, but thought it might look just like that! Our Bhutanese gentlemen always made sure that the two ladies were not left behind. As we were closed to the pass, I took a little time for myself, stopped by hundred of prayer flag tied to wooden pole, took a deep breath, let the win blow cold win to my face…I had not a single worry in my head! We continued a bit further down toward Haa Valley for a picnic lunch. We found a perfect spot overlooking the valley. The lunch was more than an usual picnic lunch. It was warm and delicious – I could not ask for more after a hike. My favorite picnic so far. We headed back to town. My Vietnamese friend and myself, we decided to cook for the gentlemen. It was hard to cook a Vietnamese meal with limited ingredients as the market is not at its best on the week day. No meat for sales anywhere in town as it was an auspicious month. We got some frozen chicken at the restaurant. We managed to get what we needed for a simple diners. We borrow a friend’s restaurant. We had it for ourselves as it was empty. We made cucumber salad, minced chicken wrapped in cabbage leaf and slow cooked in tomato sauce served with steam rice. I knew it was very different to Bhutanese diet, but everyone seemed to enjoy it with additional chili! I had my Bhutanese cookbook in Thimphu, so don’t mind to show Jim why I liked the food here so much. My friend drove back to Thimphu after diner. I was back at the hotel. I had a wonderful day.

Day 10: Paro and the day hike to Tiger Nest
Enjoy my coffee on the balcony in a beautiful warm and sunny morning. I was ready for my last day in Bhutan. We drove toward upper valley where we began our hike to the Tiger Nest – the symbol of Bhutanese culture. J.J said it usually takes 2 hours up and about 1.5 hour down. It took me roughly 6 hours – as I said I am a slow walker!  For those who are not strong hiker…like me, have option to take a horse ride. The hike was quite stiff, but the view was rewarding. We had magnificent view of the Tiger Nest at different elevation and angle. We finally arrived at the temple. The temple was built in the vision of a well-known Rimpoche in the ancient day.  He flew to the mountain on the back of a tiger and meditated here for 3 months. We visited the main hall, the meditation cave and the tiger cave where the rimpoche kept his tiger during his meditation. The rimpoche and his tiger were long gone, but his spirit remains strongly. Every Bhutanese would try to at least come to the Tiger Nest once in their life time. Of cause, I did not expect to see the tiger, but as I turned my back toward the cave, a smaller version of tiger came toward me. Perhaps, the tiger was reborn in the form of this kitty cat – a much relaxing life! I am pretty sure that the fur ball could sense that I am a cat lover, so he let me rub his neck and belly. I was repeatedly told about ‘before and after life’ belief in Bhutan. I never had a strong sense about it, but could tell how strong the belief was in this kingdom. For generations, the people here do their best and live their best in their life time in hope of being reborn as a human. We made our half way down for a vegetarian lunch at a cafeteria. During lunch, a Japanese tour leader told me he took his group to Bhutan for the first time. They were all from Fukuoka (the main city of Kyushu Island). I told him I was there last year on my 3 islands trip with my husband. He told his group, so they all gave me a warm smile as they walked by. We were back to the parking area and drove back to town. We made a quick stop at a small factory where flies for fly fishing were made locally to export. Detailed works with hundreds of different designs made those flies become almost like art. I had some errands to run and here came my last night in Bhutan.

Day 11: Paro – Bangkok for the next adventure with my life companion!    
I had a safe journey and ready to leave , but in the back of my mind I knew I would make my way back. J.J and Sonam waited for me at the lobby to take me back to the airport. I thanked them for my journey and told Sonam that I never felt safer on the twisty mountain roads like I did in his car. His calmness comforted me no matter what road we were on. I was on the airplane. As it took off and gained elevation, I was leaving the kingdom and it was slowly disappearing behind its clouds and mountains.