By Susan Chalom
Bhutan ….land of the Thunder Dragon
The first thing I noticed when landing in this magnificent paradise was the overwhelming silence and tranquility…Isolated, unspoiled and separated from the rest of the world for years, Bhutan is situated on the silk road between Tibet, India and SE Asia..
A land of tremendous diversity, with lush green subtropical plains in the south, perfectly built rice terraces, palms and Sub Alpine evergreen mountains in the north, with peaks as high as 21,000 ft..
The countryside is spotted with Dzongs (ancient temples), prayer bells, rivers , ancient bridges and prayer flags.
The highlight for me was clearly Tigers Nest Monastery built into the side of the mountain and only attainable by a long steep trek up, no helicopter rides sorry!
The climb was beautiful…you encountered monks, donkeys, waterfalls, rivers, Dzongs (ancient temples) pure natural beauty…There is almost a mysterious feel with the fog , chanting and loud vibration of prayer bells accelerating as you approach the top. Once you arrive you can sit with the monks and meditate or pray..I found them to be very welcoming and curious.
Although I didn’t see it as the “happiest place on earth”, there certainly is a contentment which prevails throughout the country and a strong devotion to their ancient culture and Buddhist traditions.