Our Trip to Southeast Asia 2012 (Around the World in 27 days) travel blog

The bells in our hotel. We are going on to another part...

A waterfall in the entrance of the hotel we have been in...

 

A market along the road

Yak cheese! Yuk!

 

It was overcast at the top of the pass

 

Orchid

A quick glimpse at the highest mountain

The high peaks were obscured by clouds

A welcome warm tea break

The 5 kings of Bhutan

Fiber work

Yaks on the mountainside

The yak belly hair makes great yarn

 

Terraced fields

Threshing rice by hand

 

Kids are always so cute

 

We trecked across the rice fields

Grains of rice.

 

A stack that is yet to be threshed for the grain

Our guide explains about the "Divine Madman"

Outside the temple dedicated to the "Divine Madman"

Monks at learning.

 

A giant prayer wheel

 

Back across the fields

A mechanical grain separator

 

 

The fortress we'll visit later

The river runs past our hotel

 

View from our room

An excellent dinner


Nov 9 (Fri.) Bhutan Day 3 Dochula Pass, Pana Village - Punakha

After the workout of yesterday, we were told we would have it much easier at a lower altitude (3,000 feet) in a lush valley. We also started at 9AM so we had time to rest and build up the energy for the Tiger's Nest climb in a couple of days. As the van negotiated the switchbacks, we passed a roadside market where besides apples and oranges, we saw a large hanging bunch of strings of yak cheese which was described as chewy and not too appetizing. It was just over an hour to drive to the top of the Dochula Pass where we had hoped to sight the highest mountains in Bhutan. However it was not clear (after all we were at 10,000 feet in the clouds themselves!). At the pass, we drank some welcome hot tea in a restaurant to ward off the chill of the high altitude.

On our way down into the valley, we sighted a herd of yaks. The terraced rice and vegetable fields were punctuated with farmers threshing the harvested rice. Our guide told us that rice stacks with a point on top were ready for threshing and the ones without the point on top had already been threshed and the stack was merely hay that is used for feed for the livestock. Lunch was at a local restaurant where the owner asked us how we liked the food and proudly proclaimed that he had grown the vegetables on his own land and had done so organically. There is a top down movement in Bhutan to do all farming organically. After lunch we headed across rice paddies (that had already been harvested) and toward the temple that had been built and dedicated to the Divine Madman by his cousin. It was interesting to see the larger statue of the cousin to the right of the smaller statue of the madman.

We walked back to the road from the temple and settled into our hotel. Our room had a spectacular view of a winding river. An excellent dinner was enjoyed in the hotel's restaurant and we slept soundly with the faint whisper of the rushing water in the distance.

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