I travel to return back home. We are back: three weeks of traveling Nepal and Bhutan are behind us. We explored the fascinations of Buddhism and Hinduism, eavesdropped the prayers of the monks in various temples in Bhutan. We admired spiritual dances of indigenous people in those colourful fortresses, baffled the valley of Paro on the back of horses and cooled down while rafting in Chitwan.
We lived with the indigenous tribes of Taro, allured rhinos and tigers on a safari through Chitwan National Park and took a bath with elephants in Barauli Rivers. We crossed mountain chains at about 3000 meters above sea level, fought with bumpy winding roads passing Bhutanese mountains, watched the cloudless skies of the Himalaya and Mount Everest and were marvelled by Kathmandu’s crazy streets. And now, we are back!
Those who will do a trip to Bhutan will see magical mountain sceneries, untouched and well protected pieces of nature, packed with cultural treasures nestled in the eastern Himalayas. But a journey to Bhutan will be different to everything you know from your daily life in the western parts of the world. For us it was simply amazing, we wanted to show the parts of the country off the beaten track. But the work was not as easy as we thought it might be: On one hand, there are those magical details around every corner, but on the other hand the Bhutanese people guard their secrets of true treasures like a mother would guard her newborn.
It’s a country where the phrase of Gross National Happiness is more important than the Gross National Product. It includes quantitative measurement of well-being and happiness. The Nature should stay untouched especially in the altitudes, so it’s not allowed to go up there or even fly drones anywhere in the country just like smoking is prohibited everywhere in Bhutan. The country’s contribution to keep you healthy.
In any case, filming and taking photos in Bhutan means to compromise. A required guide you need to hire for your travels knows how to stop you from taking photos in monasteries and from filming monks during their ceremonies. He knows how to point the way if you forgot to take off your hats or shoes. Even if it’s hard not to take a picture of a stunning ceremony, sometimes respecting the local culture and conventions of the country you’re travelling in is what’s most important.
Eighteen days full of new impressions and tiny culture shocks are now behind us. We are more than happy about all the magical photos and videos we were able to bring back. And we are really grateful for the locals who warmly welcomed us. The unknown became familiar. Strangers became friends. You travel to discover new things, but you also travel for coming back home again.
Kandrinché, Bhutan and Dhanyaabaad Nepal!
Thanks to the team of iTravel, who organized this trip for us and a big thank you to my crew for those incredible weeks.
Photo credit: Linda Abrosius, Lennart Lahrs, Marcel Schlegel, Marko Roth