Kingdom to Happiness in Bhutan

Paro Taksang (Tiger’s Nest) 

If you are looking for peace, calm, untouch beauty of the scenery with warm hospitality from the local, Bhutan will be an ideal destination to visit.

Anytime is a good time to visit Bhutan with different scenery due to the weather, however, December is a good time for photographing as the sky is clear and you able to capture the blue sky. If you are lucky enough, you able to capture the snowy peak of the Himalayas mountains if the weather is not too foggy.

View from airplane, landing

Paro international airport being the only one international airport in Bhutan, nested among the steep mountains of the Himalayas and is said to be the most dangerous airport by the Boeing. It is one of the shorter runway in the world and located at above sea level 2280 meter. It is now only operated by the Druk Air with only 8 qualified pilots would be able to negotiate to land. Planes will have to weave through the farms, dozens of houses across the mountain side while preparing to land. It is nerve racking and I can feel my cold feet.
City and town to visit Bhutan are mainly but not limited to Paro, Thimpu and Punadka.

Paro (Dzongkha)

Paro located in the Paro village of Bhutan, above  sea level 2280 m with a population of 15,000

Rinpung Dzong

Bhutanese wedding is more than just a wedding reception, simple exchange of vows and rings, it involves a numbers of religious ceremony with the head monk and lamas for the blessings to the couple.

Various food, drinks and offering will be served specially orange will be served as it represents united and close bond between two and both will live with grace, glory and wealth. 

In general the ceremony will take place for 3 days and the rich will have an extended period of celebration. 

Hong Kong actress Carina Lau and actor Tony Leung get wedded in this monastery.

More pictures taken from the monastry:

Taksang ( Tiger’s nest Monastery)

It is a must visit when you visit Bhutan and it is also one of the most challenging monasteries to get there. It is around 3 miles, starting elevation 8,500 feet to maximum elevation at 10,300 feet. It is advisable to have a proper hiking shoes and clothing. we start the hike around 6.40am. It is rather chill in the December morning, however as the sun rising, the weather is getting warmer. You can also hiring a mule for USD40 to bring you half way. You still have to complete the journey by foot. We took some short cut with a steeper trails where we occasionally bump into the monks and the Tibetans. It took me around 3 hours to reach the top for a non regular hiker like myself.

Taksang is the birthplace of Bhutanese Bhudisism. The legend is that the wife of a emporer transformed into a tigeress and carried the Padmasambhava from Tibet to the Tiger’s nest where he mediated. That’s why Tiger’s Nest is important among the Bhuddist here.

Death signifies re-birth or a mere passing on to a new life in Bhutan. The deceased will be cremated.   On the death anniversaries, the relatives and friends will elevate the Tibetan prayers flag.

Bhutan Currency

Bhutan use Bhutanese Nguktrum currency, however Indian Rupee and US Dollar is well accepted in most of the shops. Some shops accepted credit card, however a levy and tax will be imposed. I found 1 Nguktrum and 5 Ngukrum is the most colorful and beautiful notes with the  main Bhutan icon: Simtokha Dzong and Rinpung Dzong at the back of the currency.


It is the largest city and capital of Bhutan. The old capital city of Punakha is replaced by Thimphu. Thimphu is the third highest capital in the world.

Tashicho Dzong, half of the building is house as the office of the King and the Bhutan’s government office and the part of the building  with temples, shrines and chapels.

Tashichi Dzong (building inside)
Tashicho Dzong
Tashicho Dzong (building inside)
Street in Thimphu
Around Dordenma statue
Great Buddha Dordenma in the mountains of Bhutan
Memorial Chorten Thimphu

National game, archery

Dochula Pass

Dochula Pass is the mountain pass in the snow covered Himalayas within Bhutan from Thimpu to Punakha whereby 108 stupas known as Druk Wangyal Chortens have been built by the elder queen mother.


Punakha Dzong, night scene
Punakha Dzong

Punakha Dzong

It is located in the island at the confluence of the Pho Chhu and Mo Chhu rivers in the Wangdue valley. The local call the river with aggression flushing down stream the male river and the calm river the female river. Half of the building is used by the Administration office and the court and the other half for monastery.
Chimi Lhakhang Village

Inside the farmhouse
Fertility Village

Punakha village is famous for rice valley. You have to pass through the the fertility land or villages whereby they painted the phallus (erect penis) on the wall, door and alley. They believed that the fertility symbols will drive away the evil eye and malicious gossip. You have to walk on the muddy and dusty oathway of the rice and vegetable farm to reach the Chimi Lhakhang temple.

The Lama was known as the divine madman and also the Saint who widely used the phallus symbols as painting on walks and teaching Buddhism through singing, humor and buzzard method.

Bhutanese Cuisine

Bhutanese do not kill and therefore most of their meat is mainly imported from India or Thailand. But that does not restrict them from eating meat.

They do have cow and chicken farm, but mostly for the milk and eggs.

Their home grown rice is called red rice, as it is pink in color when cooked with nutty taste  they do import white rice and others from India mainly. They ate buckwheat pita with dish as well.

Their signaute dish is Ema Datshi which is a spicy dish made with the spicy green chilli with the chilli sauce.

I particularly like the salad that I had when I visit a village in Thimpu and have been offered to have breakfast with the family. The lady is nice and show me how it was made, it is a mixture of fresh chilli, slice onion, diced cabbage, fresh ginger and salt. Just use a grind bowl and lightly press them and mix and the salad is ready. For more flavor, can add smoke beef jerky.

She was from the eastern Bhutan, and each household is commonly fermented their own ‘ara’, rice wine. She offered me some and even gave me a bottle to bring home.

The local guide told me that when a Bhutanese offer chilies, and rice to a person, it literally means that I would like to extend the friendship with you.


One of the distinctive features of Bhutanese is their traditional outfit. Men wear Tho which is a robe with a traditional belt. Women wear Kira with a jacket and a long skirt.

The thickness and the material of the fabric differs depending on the season. Fine clothing that are colorful with beautiful patterns and made of raw silks are worn on festivals, and special events.

Bhutanese still wear long scarves when visiting government office and Dzongs.

Bhutan is a beautiful country with every picture taken like a postcard scene. The hotels that I live in are clean and the hotel staffs are friendly. I have a great local guide to answer many of my questions and I enjoy the local warm hospitality that made me feel home. I wish my stay can be prolonged to see more of the Bhutan and perhaps one day I will return.

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