Paro, Bhutan

23-25 March 2024

Today, a short 31-mile drive takes me to Paro, perhaps the best-known small town in Bhutan. Here, I find Bhutan’s tallest building at a staggering 72’, its only international airport, mystical Tiger’s Nest, and its crowd-drawing Paro Tshechu. It is where India’s Prime Minister Modi has been hanging out the past several hours. I am here to see all of it, unless rain, snow, or Modi causes it to be closed.


Paro Tshechu Festival

23-25 March 2024

Bhutan hosts several annual cultural festivals. One of the most popular and significant is the Paro Tshechu. Tshechus are religious festivals celebrated in various districts across Bhutan. However, the Paro Tshechu remains particularly enjoyable because of its grandeur and cultural significance.


Into Thimphu Valley

22 March 2024

Altitude 7590

We wake to a magical morning.

Thin fluffy clouds float over the valley and around the Trongsa Dzong and Taa Dzong Watch Tower. A dusting of snow lays on the pine trees and peaks. Rays of sunlight come thru a mountain pass highlighting the valley, clouds and dzong. Finally, the glowing orb of the sun itself rises over the mountains to the east. This is the morning we have been waiting for.


Retracing Our Drive to Trongsa

21 March 2024

Altitude 7200′

Bumthang has its own domestic airport, one of four airports in Bhutan.  It opened in 2011 only to be closed due to damage to an instability of the runway.

After repairs, Drukair turboprops departed the runway, climbed over the surrounding mountain peaks, and flew on to Paro a couple times a week. Not even their “My Happiness Reward” program could convince me to do so. 


Bumthang, Bhutan

19 March 2024

Altitude 8600

Yesterday, following the Lateral Road from the west, we entered Wangdue. It is one of three roads one drives here. (Actually, there is only PNH One, the other 2 lead to ?)

As of 2020, Bhutan’s road network has a total road length of roughly 11,100 miles, of which 61% are farm roads, around 15% are national highways, and about 11% are district roads. The National Highway system began linking rural districts in 1960. Using the labor of Indian and Bhutanese, mountainous roads were built mostly by hand and, even by modern standards, incredibly fast,. The building of these roads is a story in itself.

On our exit from town, we again drive the Lateral Road going east to Tongsa and, ultimately, Bumthang, some 125 miles away. In the meantime, we cross 3 passes, see more green trees, steep mountainous, steeper cliff-side drops, pristine and cold rivers, unbelievably scenic view, and about 6 hours of twists and turns. My guide describes it as “spectacular winding road.” I say #&@%?