Friday, March 7, 2014

Day 54 - Bhutan: 8 Auspicious Days in Bhutan

How auspicious that I have 8 days in Bhutan in accordance with the 8 auspicious symbols of Buddhism!

Bhutan is pronounced BOO - TAN (as in the Spanish word for bread (pan) not as in how you look after a day at the beach). For those of you who are too lazy to pull up Google Maps, visualize China/Tibet and India with Bhutan landlocked between and Nepal nearby to the West.

My friends, Jill and Katie, are joining me in Bhutan to soak in the landscape and culture. For each of the 8 days, I will share my newly learned fun facts about Bhutan and photos of the day's activities.


* Population 700,000+
* Monarchy - Currently on King #5 (34), who went to school in San Francisco, is a mountain biker, down-to-earth and looks like an Asian Ken doll, but sorry ladies, he's recently married to a 23 year old.
* In 2008, the limit for tourists was 85,000 per year. The limit was removed and in 2013, 200,000 tourists visited Bhutan. For context, Angkor Wat in Cambodia gets over 2 million tourists per year.


Pilots have to be specially trained to land into Paro airport in Bhutan. With one of the shortest runways in the world and the tight quarters of landing into a wind tunneled valley between the Himalayan Mountains, Paro airport wins the award for the Top 10 scariest airports in the world. Although i think my flight on March 10 to Lukla, Nepal might take the cake for the most terrifying airport to fly into.

View from my window as we descend into Paro airport with the tree-lined mountains appearing as if they are in brushing distance to the wings:

I will out Katie and reveal that she thought the stewardess was wearing a photo button of her and her boyfriend....and that would be a no. It was the King and Queen as kindly clarified by her Butanese neighbor. We survived the flight and this time easily identified the King and Queen on a Billboard at the airport arrival. (Picture to come)

We walked along our first of many bridges covered with prayer flags, and visited our first of many temples.

In the late afternoon,  we visited Thimpu Dzong, Bhutan's Capitol Hill, which houses the King's office and Monk residence.

NEXT STOP: Day 2 in Bhutan - Religious Fun Facts

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