Bhutan in Pictures

Tiger's Nest Monastery

To celebrate the one year anniversary of my trip to the Buddhist Kingdom of Bhutan, I put together this set of photos. I get a lot of questions about Bhutan and someday I will write about it but I think the pictures say most of what I want to. It's a beautiful place stuck between the future and the past, hesitant to commit to either. It constantly finds itself in the in-between. While the King is young, Western educated and seemingly progressive, I think it will be many years before the prices come down and they let tourists wander on their own. Currently the government has a set price, for tourists, per day. You can check on the government tourism website to see the most up to date rates. When I went, the only option was to join a tour, I was not allowed to wander on my own.

 Bhutan gets a lot of press about it's Gross National Happiness policy but I have to be honest and say due to the language barrier it was very hard to find out if the people are happy. If I was to base it on smiles I would say not really. Everyone goes about their business, praying, going to work and spending time with their families.The most smiley people, as always, were the children.

As a side note, the flight into Paro was one of the most beautiful and terrifying flights I've been on. Since I visited from Nepal, we flew over the Himalayas, and if you were on the proper side of the plane you could actually see Mt. Everest.  The landing was the tricky part in Bhutan. The way the pilot had to fling the plane over the mountains and then land took immense skill. If you are not a good flyer, all I can suggest is to close your eyes and pray (if you do that sort of thing). Enjoy!

Building Thimphu, a significant portion of the city was under construction. Some hotels, some housing.
Thimphu Municipal Dzong
Thimphu Municipal Dzong

This guy was more than happy to have his picture taken. He had a professional with a huge lens in his face right before me, I think he liked my little lens better.

Thimphu Prayer Wheels

These compartments all hold prayer wheels.

Thimphu Municipal Dzong at dusk.

Morning prayer in Thimphu and an example of traditional dress for women. The women wear a kira, which is heavy folded fabric that makes an ankle length skirt. Blouses are worn over the kira but under a blazer/bolero like jacket, known as a toego.

Another example of a kira at morning prayer.

These locals monitor and help with the prayer wheels.

Morning prayer, Thimphu.

Morning prayer, Thimphu.

After spinning the prayer wheels, people walk to the Chorten Memorial Stupa and circle it three times.

Morning prayer, Chorten Memorial Stupa, Thimphu

Thimphu from above.

Shanty town hidden in the hills next to the Giant Buddha. The workers building it live here.

The people in the foreground are standing quite aways away and they are still so small by comparision.

Giant Buddha Dordenma statue outside of Thimphu.

Giant Buddha outside Thimphu.

Always watching, always a Mona Lisa smile...or maybe Mona Lisa has a Buddha smile?

Bhutan's national sport, archery. We watched for a while and it was intense. The arrows fly so fast you can't even see them in the air.

Weaving, a national and respected art of Bhutan.

Weaving. Note how these ladies are actually strapped into their looms.

Paro, Bhutan

Paro, Bhutan

Official Name - Pungtang Dechen Photrung Dzong, but everyone calls it Punakha Dzong.

Beautifully set in the mountains, Punakha Dzong.

These children were having a very animated conversation. Punakha Dzong.

Punakha Dzong.

Punakha Dzong
Punakha Dzong

Monks with technology, the original photo that started my series.

I was across the courtyard taking pictures of the building when this guy put on his photo face. Punakha Dzong

Punakha foot bridge. Supposedly the longest in Asia according to our guide.
Punakha foot bridge.
Punakha foot bridge.
How the bridge stays up, all those cables.

Punkaha foot bridge from below.
Our first sunny day in the countryside of Bhutan.
Prayer Wheel

A quick stop at a school for monks.

Time for lunch!

We're hiking where?! Tiger's Nest.

Tiger's Nest hike.

"May I tempt you with this sound?" Tiger's Nest hike.
Prayer flag fortress on the way to the Tiger's Nest.

And just like that, there it is. Tiger's Nest Monastery.

Walking up to the Tiger's Nest.

Prayer flags that I hung at the Tiger's Nest.
Tiger's Nest hiding in the rocks.
Seen at the Tiger's Nest. I don't think he's happy about me taking his picture...