Day 05 (2-1) - Friday, November 01, 2019 - Fly to Paro, Bhutan; Overland to Thimphu; Explore on Our Own; Welcome Meeting with Tour Director
Bhutan - Hidden Kingdom Of The Himalayas
Tour Director Phuntsho Wangdi
Altitude of Paro, Bhutan: 7,218'
Altitude of Thimphu, Bhutan: 7,656'
We were able to sleep in until 6:30 this morning. Both of us are feeling much better today. As we have talked to several of our OAT seasoned travelers, many have said that they have had trouble adjusting to the time changes on this trip.
When we went down for our breakfast, the TV news channels were all flashing Air Quality Warnings. The air was not only bad in Delhi, but also in the outer areas of the region, where farmers were doing illegal stubble burning. Those fires have added much smoke to the already polluted Delhi air conditions.
The air quality index was in the extremely hazardous levels and the schools were closing. The Delhi news outlets were warning that the skies were an apocalyptic gas chamber. We are so happy that we will be flying to Paro, Bhutan where the altitude is 7,218 feet above sea level and the air should be cleaner.
Our bags needed to be outside our room at 9:00 and we left for the airport at 9:30. With traffic congestion in the city, our trip leader made sure that we have plenty of time for any issues.
We said goodbye to Balbir and thanked him for a wonderful four days in Delhi. Another gentleman took us through the check-in process and then gave us all information on how to go through customs and security.
The lines moved well, but there were thousands of people flying today so it took about 45 minutes to start our long walk to our gate. Bhutan Airlines operated our flight and the full flight actually left 18 minutes before the scheduled departure.
We were served a light lunch on the plane. Sitting on the left side of the aircraft we had great views of the towering Himalayas as we passed over Nepal. The pilot was kind enough to point out many of the snow-capped peaks. When we passed by Mount Everest, all of the passengers from the right side of the plane got up to look at this magnificent site.
We landed in Paro, the only international airport in the Kingdom, at 4:00, just in time to see the sun setting over this mountainous region. The air was clear and the sky was blue. Bhutan is truly a country that embraces a revolutionary philosophy of “Gross National Happiness.”
After going through passport control and using the restrooms, we met our new trip leader Wangdi. We boarded a 20-passenger small bus that would take us to Thimphu, the capital of the Kingdom of Bhutan. During the 2-hour journey Wangdi explained many of the recent developments in the country.
The first radio station came to the kingdom in 1973, the first TV broadcasts were in 1999, and wifi and the Internet also came in 1999. Mobile phones were not introduced until 2003.
We passed fields of red rice being harvested and followed the Paro Chhu River along narrow winding roads through the mountains. Prayer flags waved on hillsides and bridges.
Our driver stopped several times for us to take photos of the threshing of the rice, (all done by hand), and the drying chilies. We also saw a troop of grey langur monkeys.
We had a special opportunity to visit Yonten, our bus driver’s home, and learn about the early family ritual to the god of long life. We were welcomed with a white scarf as a sign of hospitality by the Buddhist monk conducting the two-day ceremonies.
Seldon, the host’s sister, an English teacher, gave us information about the family. She told us that we were the first foreign group that has ever visited their home. They were very honored by our presence and we were as thrilled to have an actual opportunity to visit a Bhutanese home.
The family offered us butter tea along with several types of fried rice, corn flakes, puffed rice, and sweet rice with raisins and cashews. It was another 20 minutes to our hotel in Thimphu.
The luggage arrived in a small van and was in our room after we had a cup of soup for dinner. We were given an orientation to the room and settled in to begin the journal and sort photos.
After our long day we were ready to take a shower and get some sleep. Another day awaits us in the Kingdom of Bhutan.
Meals included: B, L, & D
Accommodations: City Hotel Thimphu, Bhutan
To receive $100 per person off your first reservation with OAT, mention the following information when reserving your Overseas Adventure Travel Trip:
Mr. Victor Garcia Customer #673062
WOW!!! What an interesting and fully descriptive journal today!!! The pics are really pretty, as usual, and I could almost see myself riding in the streets and fighting the traffic. LOL I don't know if it would be safer to walk or drive. LOL Thanks for saving a pocket for me to travel with y'all. God Bless and love you.
What a fabulous, fascinating trip! Enjoy.
Hello you two, remember me, Morro trip, with my friend Vilma. You are doing the trip that is on top of my list right now. Looking forward to read your travel log. I have been traveling a lot too, but also without group. Spend 4 weeks in Tajikistan touring the country with 2 women, and trekking in the high Pamir for a week. Was a great adventure. wish you a wonderfull trip, Barbara
I didn't realize you were going to Bhutan. I am so excited to hear about this place. Your guide is a very handsome young man. Ask him if he has any nice single uncles for me. I was sad when you told me about the introduction of cell phones. I wish that places could be safe from what I call "trash technology".
I was just seeing some of our photos from our Bhutan pre-trip in 2013. We also had great views of the Himalayas and Everest. I'm looking forward to seeing and reading about your main trip!
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What fabulous adventures! Glad Vic is doing well. Love.
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