Drukair, otherwise known as Royal Bhutan Airlines, has flown me efficiently and luxuriously to Bangkok.
My stay in Bhutan was amazing. I went in search of birds and found so much more. The scenery was fabulous, the people warm and friendly, the history and culture fascinating.
No unaccompanied tourism is permitted, I was on a Rockjumper Birding tour. There were 12 clients in the group. As well as two Rockjumper bird guides we had a local bird guide and a local cultural guide. We also had the most amazing driver. When the driver turns up carrying binoculars and a telephoto lens birders can expect a good time. He was a keen and knowledgeable birder and a very capable driver. Both Rockjumper and the ground agent, Yangphel provided outstanding service.
One thing that was missing was bandwidth. Although the hotels I stayed in had wifi it was rarely capable of keeping up with emails let alone accessing the web.
Tonight is a night of unaccustomed luxury in the Novotel at Surarnbhumi Airport.
When I get home I will provide an account of the trip to Assam and Bhutan but that won’t be immediately. Tomorrow I fly to London, UK. The adventure continues.
Bhutan has a population of about 800,000 people. None of its towns are particularly large. Mongar is the twelfth largest town in the country. It’s a regional centre in the east with a population of about 3000 people.
As you walk across the border from India you enter a different world. Traffic chaos is left behind. You’re greeted by people in traditional dress. You are in no doubt that you are in a Buddhist kingdom. The architecture is different, so too the faces.
Stupas and prayer flags. Relaxed and friendly people … a policeman was happy to have his photo taken.
Bhutan is situated on the southern slopes of the eastern Himalayas. Tibet is to the north, India to the south. The capital is Thimphu. The population is in the order of three-quarters of a million people, mostly Buddhist. 80% of the population are engaged in agriculture. The most important crops are maize and rice.
It is governed as a constitutional monarchy placing a premium on the happiness of its people.
Steep sided valleys intersect mountains that reach to above 7000 metres. The highest is Gangkharensum Puat 7,570 metres (24,840 ft), the highest unclimbed mountain in the world. The countryside is extensively forested. It has an impressive array of mammals and more than 770 species of bird have been recorded.
For those not satisfied with mammals and birds there are forts (dzongs) and temples.