Bhutan was always one of those countries that was on my bucket list. I was intrigued by its spirituality, snow covered peaks and the measuring of their country’s Gross National Happiness. I was ecstatic to finally visit in 2014 with my family and it lived up to its expectations.
Not only was the scenery magical, but the people we met throughout our trip were so kind and welcoming. Their relation to spirituality and Buddhism was awe-inspiring and massively humbling and I left there feeling mentally recharged. The moment of the trip that marked me the most was when we visited Tiger’s Nest, a monastery high up in the Bhutanese mountains and built on a cliffside. Most people hike up on foot, at least for the first part, but we opted for mules and horses to help us up the steep mountainous path. We were dropped off by an uneven staircase down a cliff and following the climb down to the crossing, we had to climb back up to the monastery. We could really feel the altitude with every step and it was a real effort to get there, but worth every second, even more so for the journey than the actual monastery. The way back was entirely on foot and took quite a few hours under the strong sunshine. I’ve rarely felt so much satisfaction and accomplishment and I would truly recommend it to anybody: the visit of Tiger’s Nest is earned, not given away. Many Bhutanese people who live locally climb up the mountain multiple times a week: it’s a truly integral part of their daily lives.
In 1998, Tiger’s Nest was ravaged by a fire and had to be rebuilt, with work concluding in 2005. Nevertheless, the monastery’s magic is intact and just as rich as it was in the 17th century.
I can’t recommend visiting this country enough: trust me, you will be bowled over and in awe and once you fly out, you’ll be counting down the days till you can go back.
More on traveling… have you read about our honeymoon in Japan?