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In this remote kingdom internet access is iffy.  It’s been a few days and with everything Ive done and seen I could probably write 5 or 6 posts.  However, I will just try one as the connection is painfully slow.

Bhutan is slowly joining the rest of the world.   They got cellphones in 2004 and the internet shortly thereafter.  All Bhutanese are required to wear traditional dress at work and when interfacing with the government.  Men wear the gho and women wear kira.  All buildings are limited to 5 stories and must include Bhutanese designs and painting.  Here’s some pics of typical designs:

One of the eight auspicious/lucky signs in Bhutanese Buddhism; seen on clothing, tanghkas, wall paintings.

To ward off all evil

A typical building front

Decorative detail on a dzong, a former fortress now used as a monastery

Tomorrow we hike up to Tiger’s Nest and hopefully Ill be able to share that with you.

Nameste

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I’m in love with this  magical kingdom! From the moment we landed my senses have been absorbing every sight, smell and sound.  The air is crisp and clear, the rivers sparkle, the forest are pungent with pure smells and everyone smiles.

This is our guide, Tandin on the left and our young driver on the  right.  Note their traditional attire and the valley behind them.

  • Bhutan has approx. 650,000 people
  • They became a democratic constitutional monarchy in 2008
  • There are no traffic lights
  • More than 75% of the people practice Buddhism with Nepali Hindus comprising more than 20% of the balance

Everywhere you look are monasteries, stupas and prayer flags.

Bhutanese style vertical prayer flag

National Museum formerly a Dzong

A Dzong is a monastery which also functioned as a fortress.  This Dzong in the round was restored and is used as the National Museum. Like most buildings in Bhutan, it is unheated and has very steep steps between the six different levels. No pictures were allowed inside unfortunately.  It is filled with Tangkas from the 17th century, incredible Buddhist statuary, arms and armor, textiles, stuffed indigenous animals, massive urns, teapots, jewelery and stamps!

Turning a Prayer Wheel

From here we drove to Thiampu, the largest city (population 37,000!) and settled in for the night.

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