Today is my last day in Bhutan so I say Kadriche or “Thank you” to the true Shangri-la! The surreal beauty of the landscapes, the warm hospitality of her people (from offering biscuits to weary hikers like me or to farmers graciously inviting me to their homes), their strong focus on environmental responsibility, and the introduction to the philosophical banner of Gross National Happiness instead of Gross National Product. (A revolutionary philosophy that places real value on things such as cultural heritage, health, education, ecological diversity and individual well-being instead of economic measures.) All the people I have met along my journey were genuinely Happy!
The second part of my stay was at the UMA by COMO, Paro. This 29-room resort is a little bigger than the lodge in Punakha and offers more facilities, that includes an indoor swimming pool and an archery field. Service remains very warm and thoughtful and the food is of high standard.
And a big Kadriche to both Karma and Tsagey, my guide and driver, for the past week. They were very accommodating, extremely helpful and provided a lot of insights on Bhutan and their way of life. When we were on hikes, I would sometimes ask Karma where the nearest toilet is. He would reply saying that he would discourage me from using the public toilets as they would be sub-par and we are better off finding a bush! One instance, while we were stuck for almost an hour in traffic on the Dochu La Pass road due to snow, I needed a “bio break” badly. Karma took me to the side of the road by a snow bank and told me I can do my business there — adding in his always serious tone: “if you think people can see you, just close your eyes!”.