Trevor’s Travel Trivia – Bhutan – PART II

Highest country in the world Bhutan is the highest country on our planet with an average altitude of 3,280m. If Tibet were a sovereign country, then it would of course easily eat Bhutan for brekkies at an absolutely incredible average elevation of 4,380m. In terms of mean elevation, Bhutan ranks #4 at 2,220m after Tajikistan (3,186m), Kyrgyzstan (2,988m), and Nepal (2,565m) and before Lesotho (#5 at 2,161m), Andorra (#6 at 1,996m), Afghanistan (#7 at 1,884m), Chile (#8 at 1,871m), and perhaps surprisingly China (#9 at 1,840m). Left picture (c) The Planet D, where uncredited either free stock photography or BSqB For comparison, the United States are at 760m, France at 375m, and the United Kingdom and India both have a mean elevation of roughly 160m. Zebra Crossings In the towns, policemen will politely but firmly remind you to use the zebra crossings, should you forget. Big game hunting? See what […]

Continue Reading

You may also like

Trevor’s Travel Trivia – Bhutan – PART I

Before we start, let me mention that the Bhutanese (very rightly so!) are extremely proud of their king and country. Much of the information below can be found on official Bhutanese websites. While some of these trivia might (and are intended) to sound strange to the average Western ear, it is very important to take them as what they are: beautiful, unique aspects of a beautiful, unique country. A country that has been completely isolated from the rest of the world until very recently. The world’s highest unclimbed mountain Gangkhar Puensum (7,570m), the country’s highest mountain, is the tallest mountain in the world that has yet to be summited. Since 1994 the mountain has been off-limits to climbers. So this might never happen. Bhutan is now banning all mountaineering activities above 6,000m to protect the sanctity attributed to these mountains and the deities thought to reside there.   Gangkhar Puensum […]

Continue Reading

You may also like

One week in Bhutan with Bhutan Norter

In early March, Ms B was invited by the brilliant people of Bhutan Norter to spend one week in Bhutan, well six days and six nights, to be precise. I joined her on a special rate. What better way to reach a destination than by flying on an airplane past Mount Everest and some of the other highest mountains in the world. This post and the related posts are intended to give you a good feel for what our trip to Bhutan was like and what yours could be like. We do not try to replicate guide books that have often been written by experts following months of research. Neither does this post include descriptions (or even only mentions) of every temple and sight we visited. We also opted for a lean schedule giving us plenty of time to soak up the atmosphere, to relax, take photos, and enjoy our […]

Continue Reading

You may also like

Punakha Festival – the mother of all festivals

After a hearty breakfast at our hotel overlooking Punakha Valley, we drove down to Punakha Dzong (1,200m ASL) for the Punakha Festival. Completed in 1638, the fortress is the second oldest (after Simtokha) and second largest one (after Trongsa) in the country. The dzong The first Bhutanese dzong-like structure was built in 1153, but Simtokha was the first to combine administrative with monastic capacities) and all of the older dzongs have had their architectural substance largely replaced over the centuries. Without any doubt Punakha Dzong is one of the country’s most magnificent buildings. Until 1955 it was the seat of the national Government, then the capital was moved to Thimphu.   Confluence of male and female river You reach the dzong via a wooden bridge over one of the two rivers that surround it. It is the Mo Chhu, the female river, which made its way all the distance from […]

Continue Reading

You may also like

Tiger’s Nest – the highlight of our trip to Bhutan

During our recent trip to Bhutan with the fabulous people from Bhutan Norter, who sponsored us, we did what every visitor to this country does: we visited Paro Taktsang (Paro is the name of this local district, district town, valley, and main river; tak means tiger, tsang means lair in Dzongkha). More commonly known in the West as Tiger’s Nest, it is Bhutan’s unchallenged top cultural icon. Much more importantly, it is an ancient sacred Buddhist site and has been an important place of pilgrimage for more than 1,000 years, long before the first temple was built. Guru Rinpoche The holy site is dedicated to Guru Padmasambhava (“He who came into being in a lotus”), who lived and meditated here in the thirteen caves about 1,250 years ago. This former Brahmin royal from India built the first Buddhist monastery in Tibet and then fled to Bhutan (on a flying tigress […]

Continue Reading

You may also like