Made it to the legendary “Kingdom in the Clouds”, the last Shangri-La in the mighty Himalayas, the mythical land of thunder dragons and flying tigresses … the ever-enduring, beautiful Bhutan. I’m doing a cultural expedition with the National Geographic for 12 days, trekking to Buddhist monasteries, observing medieval festivals, exploring magnificent gorges, chatting with monks and lamas, eating red rice with chilly peppers, and lotsa de happiness is on the schedule.
My first impression of Bhutan is WOW! It’s like Tibet meets Japan, flawlessly. Dramatic Himalayan landscapes, pristine rustic villages, well organized local services, wonderful kind people, and most of all … deeply Buddhist and magnetic temples. Arriving at Bhutan’s only International Airport (PBH) in Paro with its authentic traditional architecture unlike anywhere in the world, was a perfect introduction. Paro is a cute little town with lots of medieval houses adorned with spiritual frescos, ethnic hand-craft shops with quality products, and family-owned restaurants offering delicious local specialties.
On my very first day, I accidentally ended up in a random meeting with a lama, and had my first dialogue with a proper monk. He kindly invited me for a chat with him and was genuinely interested in who I am and what brought me to Bhutan. After hearing my story, my reasoning to do a long journey in search for meaning … he slowly exhaled and with a gentle smile said: “Just like Siddhartha!” #ISoM 📿