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Photo Essay: The Back Roads of Bhutan

Punakha Valley

A trip to Bhutan is not complete without a road trip through the mountain passes, twisting valleys and treacherous switchbacks that characterize the country. Entrenched with the Himalayan mountain range, the country is almost entirely mountainous, blanketed with plunging gorges and steep slopes. 72% of the country is forested — you don’t have to drive far to see acres upon […]

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Colors of the Tibetan Prayer Flags

Prayer flags made into the shape of a stupa

On my recent trip to Nepal and Bhutan, I was truly captured by the colorful and vibrant Tibetan Buddhist architecture — their prayer wheels, the intricate carvings on their stupas, their regal fortresses, and most of all, their prayer flags. It’s hard to miss them. They’re everywhere. Strung from one tree to another, erected on a […]

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Unusual Discoveries: Phallic Symbols in Bhutan

Painting of phallus on outside walls of houses

In Bhutan, it is common to find phallic symbols painted on the walls of houses and in temples and other monastic bodies. Yes, I’m talking about explicit images of penises complete with hairy testicles and layers of foreskin tugged around them. It may be a peculiar sight to us — but for the Bhutanese, the phallus is simply of sign of […]

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8 Things You Might Not Know about Bhutan

Building a strong identity

Since opening its doors to tourism in the 1970s, Bhutan has quickly risen to become one of the most talked-about country  in the world. So how did a small, isolated country of just under 800,000 people landlocked between the superpowers of India and China suddenly get so much attention’? I came to Bhutan to search for […]

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Finding Peace at Bhutan’s Most Sacred Site: The Tiger’s Nest

Tiger

According to Sangay, I must have committed quite a lot of sins. I’m huffing and puffing, mid-way up the hundreds of steps that will take me to Bhutan’s most famous sacred site, Paro Taktsang or Tiger’s Nest. The air is thin and crisp at this altitude, and the steps are so steep my calves and ankles are aching with each […]

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The Journey to Bhutan: Flying Over the Himalayas

The first peak appears

My recent trip to Bhutan was definitely something special, but the journey there itself was an experience on its own. Onboard Druk Air’s Airbus A319, we took off from Kathmandu and immediately rose above the clouds to find ourselves flying high above the rice terraces and hills of Kathmandu Valley. Once we reached almost 32,000 feet above sea level, a snow-capped mountain peak then appeared before […]

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Bhutan in Photos: from Lofty Mountains to Magnificent Fortresses

The tallest mountain in Bhutan

Entrenched within mighty mountain chains and surrounded by Buddhist myths and legends, Bhutan still remains shrouded in mystery. Having only opened its doors to international tourists in 1974, the country has come a long way in terms of development and modernization. In spite of it, Bhutan has chosen to proudly cherish local traditions and conserve […]

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The Himalayas Calling: Off to Nepal and Bhutan!

558-Old man feeding birds pigeons in Bhaktapur Durbar square Dec 15, 2011 7-12 AM 4208x2723

Namaste from Nepal! I know it’s barely been two weeks since my trip to East Africa and here I am, in the opposite end of the world. This time, I’m in an area that I know very little about and is completely new to me so I’m really looking forward to discover and learn. The […]

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