Monasteries & High Passes
Flying into Bhutan, we journey eastwards along mountain roads, past small villages and rhododendron-clad slopes to cross the prayer flag strewn Dochu La (3050m). On a clear day there are incredible views of the Bhutan Himalaya. Punakha's dzong (monastic fortress) is the winter retreat of Bhutan's chief Abbott. We also visit the temple of the Mad Monk, a revered saint who subdued the demoness of the Dochu La with his 'thunderbolt of wisdom'.
Gantey & Thimpu
Our next stop is the tranquil beauty of the Phobjikha valley; bordered by the Black Mountains National Park, flocks of rare black-necked cranes winter here and wild boar, sambar and Himalayan black bear are also resident. In contrast the capital Thimpu, whilst only a small town, seems positively buzzing! We explore its lanes and alleys where workshops produce traditional crafts such as Thangka painting and paper making. Impressive Tashi Cho Dzong, is home to the royal government.
Paro & Kathmandu
At Paro we discover Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the most sacred temples in Bhutan, it was built to pin down the left foot of a giant ogress! A tour highlight is the walk through oaks and pines to the sacred remains of Bhutan's most famous monastery Taktsang, the 'Tigers Lair' which hangs from an almost sheer cliff face some 1000m above the Paro Valley.
Ending our adventure back in Nepal, we spend time in Old Kathmandu and exploring ancient temples.
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