I am so excited to pen down this post and tell you guys about my recent holiday in Bhutan. Bhutan is this magical country that is totally shrouded in Buddhism! It is beautiful, mesmerizing and mystical! Memories of this holiday in Bhutan are always going to stay fresh in a corner of my heart.
The three of us (me, my brother and sister) ventured on this beautiful vacation by taking a flight via Bhutan Airlines. You won’t believe but the magic of Bhutan starts mid -air itself, when the pilot announces the names of different Himalayan mountain peaks that you can see through the plane window. There is Mt. Everest, Mt. Kanchenjunga and Mt. Jomolhari, amongst others. The views are breathtaking! We landed on the cutest airport of all times. The Paro airport is small and traditional, with loads of colorful wooden carvings. Nestled in the middle of mighty mountains, the airport itself is a part of sightseeing.
We were soon greeted by our guide- Raj who took us to our hotel – “Naksel Boutique Hotel and Spa”. I am so glad I chose this place for our holiday in Bhutan. The property itself is so picturesque and royal, that you wouldn’t want to venture outside at all. The cobblestone path lit by lanterns, the beautiful waterfalls and the cute cottage style rooms, made me fall in love with Naksel at first glance. The resort also houses an amazing Spa, a cozy himalayan cafe with a fireplace, a library and a restaurant that dishes out some amazing food. I was so moved by their hospitality and service – I felt so special and loved! Just next to the reception, there is this huge quote on the wall – “A Time for Everything”. As I read through it, I felt humbled and warm inside. I knew, this holiday in Bhutan was the best way to end 2017.
Our vacation included sightseeing in Paro and Thimphu. I loved Paro over Thimphu for it’s laid back vibes and beautiful views!
Sightseeing in Paro
As we entered the Rinpung or Paro Dzong, we were amazed by the stunning architecture of the monastery. The Dzong houses a justice court, the main temple and several rooms for Monks that stay here and attain the various teachings of Buddhism. From this Dzong, you can get a beautiful view of the entire city including the beautiful Paro Chhu river.
The Kyichu Temple is also very beautiful with huge prayer wheels and orange trees in the courtyard.
But the best part about Paro has to be the Trek to Tiger’s Nest. The Taktsang or Tiger’s Nest Monastery is the most sacred Buddhist Monastery. It is believed that Guru Rinpoche meditated here and thereafter brought Buddhism in Bhutan. The Monastery can be accessed after a long and arduous trek through beautiful pine forests. To be honest, I found the hike to be really difficult and the only thing that kept me going was the glimpse of the beautiful Monastery every now and then.
Ponies are available to help you with the hike, but only half way up. We didn’t take any. Also, there is only one cafetaria midway – The Taktsang Cafeteria. We had hot coffee and biscuits here to fuel us up! The rocky muddy uphill road was followed by a fleet of downward stairs – which finally brought us to the foot of the Monastery! The atmosphere up there is mystic and mesmerizing. The Monastery houses several beautiful temples. The Tiger’s Nest was the highlight of our trip. It took us about 6 hours to complete the whole trek (going up and coming down). Once we came down, we had a quick lunch and toured the local town market.
Shopping in Paro
The Paro market is small and can be easily covered in half a day! You will find lots of jewellery made with precious stones here. If you must buy, I recommend picking up a Pashmina or Yak wool shawl. Apart from these we picked up incense sticks, local noodles and small souvenirs. I also brought their local wine for experimenting in my kitchen.
Eat in Paro
The Olive restaurant at Naksel took care of most of our meals. And we were delighted with the food there. Apart from that, my favorites would be the Mountain Cafe and Champaca Cafe. Both are next to each other in the city market. People in Bhutan use a lot of cheese and butter in their cooking. Red rice is the local rice here. After trying it out at one of the cafes, I picked up a few packets to take back home with me.
Sightseeing in Thimphu
Thimphu is the capital city of Bhutan. The city is populated as compared to Paro and has more of a town vibe.
First we went to the Buddha Point that houses the biggest Buddha statue in the country. The view of the valley is magnificent from here. Next, we went to the Memorial Chorten which was built like a huge white Stupa. We also visited the National Textile Museum and the local bazaar.
My favorite part from our visit to Thimphu, was a trip to the Central Post Office, where we got our picture printed on stamps. It was so much fun! If you go here, definitely get these custom stamps and try the amazing coffee from Lavazza.
Eat in Thimphu
We had pizza and a grilled vegetable platter for lunch at The Seasons Restaurant, Pizzeria. The food was decent. The outdoor seating and ambience of the cafe was lovely.
Post lunch, we headed to the dainty Art Cafe for dessert and coffee. The brownie, peanut butter slice and Vietnamese coffee were amazing. The sweet decor of the cafe added to it’s vintage vibe and went paired perfectly with the wholesome food.
The Seasons Restaurant, Pizzeria
In short, I would highly recommend a holiday in Bhutan once in your lifetime. Infact, I plan to travel there again to visit it’s other popular cities – Punakha and Bumthang.
Did you enjoy reading about my amazing time in Bhutan? Or did I go overboard and bored you with a long post? :P.
Also, a very Happy New Year guys!! Have a blessed year full of love and happiness :).