THE KINGDOMOF HAPPINESS
Located between India and China, and hidden in the imposing Himalaya Mountains, we find an isolated, remote kingdom, the Land of the Thunder Dragon; Bhutan. Enveloped in the essence of Buddhism, this kingdom, where time appears to have stood still, welcomes its visitors with the wide smiles of its people and its precipitous landscapes.
NUBA, the specialised agency in the design of tailor-made private trips, provides the opportunity to discover this part of the world to everyone who wants to live a unique experience with a trip “on the fringes of time”.
The adventure starts in the air. As the plane approaches Paro Airport, travellers will be delighted with an incredible view of the city, as a beautiful valley nestling between two mountain ranges appears before their eyes. After being closed to tourism for years, until 1974, the most enigmatic territory of all Buddhist societies that has bloomed in the Himalayas reveals its ancestral traditions and the profound peace and harmony that its unexplored valleys radiate.
Forests and deep, blue lakes, ever-snowy summits, majestic cliffs and simple wooden bridges all shape Bhutan’s unrivalled setting. The bright colours that decorate its houses, palaces and temples, and the always curious gaze of its people fill every corner of the city with light and life.
Thimphu, a city without traffic lights
In one of the highest valleys of the Himalayas, surrounded by hills on the shore of the Wang Chu River, lies the capital of Bhutan: Thimphu. Its wooded landscape made up of valleys and highlands, and its medieval feel, combined with the colourful facades of its buildings, make Thimphu a place that brings tradition and progress together in perfect harmony.
Next to the Wang Chu River, travellers will be able to enjoy a relaxing traditional hot-stone bath, and savour an exquisite local dinner served with champagne, while admiring an incredible view of the city.
Houses, palaces, temples and the curious gaze of its people fill every corner of the city with light and life.
Those who so wish will have the opportunity to enjoy a meal prepared with the best local products by a typical Bhutanese family.
NUBA travellers will be able to visit the handmade paper factory, the centre for textile-manufacturing where traditional Bhutanese dresses are made, the painting school, the Institute of Traditional Medicine, or the craftsman district… They can also attend the archery competition, one of the greatest spectacles of the region, which is held in the Changlingmethang Stadium every year.
A natural stairway to the Himalayas
It’s striking to cross the marvellous Dochula Pass, over 3,000m above the valley, and admire the breathtaking view of the highest peaks of the Eastern Himalayas. There awaits the solitary Gangkhar Puensum, the country’s highest peak and the highest unclimbed summit in the world.
During the descent towards Punakha, the scenery begins to change. It’s a memorable experience to see the snowy summits and go through the little villages in the mountains, where yak-herders and Buddhist monks arrive, reciting their mantras on their way to unknown, remote monasteries.
Mount Chomolhari crowns the north of Paro valley, and its glacial waters plunge between the profound canyons to form the Pa Chhu River. This is one of the most fertile valleys in the kingdom, and from here it’s easy to see the enormous area of terraced cultivated fields of the famous red rice, the star of the delicacies of Bhutanese cuisine.
Once they arrive in Paro city, travellers will have the chance to go on horseback up to The Tiger’s Nest (Taktsang), the most important temple of the 2,000 that can be found scattered throughout the country. This monastery clings, literally, to a sheer cliff face 900m above the valley floor.
Everyone who chooses to discover this mystic country will be able to enjoy, thanks to NUBA, some unforgettable experiences. From flying over the Gangtey valley in a hot-air balloon at sunrise, to hiking and horse-riding through the impressive valleys, or rafting in the Mo Chhu in the Punakha valley. Travellers will be able to experience firsthand the true essence of Bhutan by coming across a lamasery, or taking part in a private Buddhist meditation ceremony in Gangtey’s temples, in the monasteries of Punakha Dzong or Chimi Lhakhang. All of this, without sacrificing comfort, while staying in the most exclusive hotels.
Bhutan is still an unexplored gem for those who decide to take a journey to connect with themselves, in one of the most privileged places on earth, where wealth isn’t measured by belongings, but by happiness.