Bye Bye Bhutan

Thanks to everyone who has taken this trip with me, for all your good intentions, love, and healing energy. I have carried you with me every step of the way as I’ve hoisted prayer flags and spun wheels, bowed for blessings, and reclaimed childhood lessons that were abandoned along the path to adulthood. Feel free […]

Tiger’s Nest Monastery

The jaw-droppingly beautiful monastery clings precariously to a cliff at an altitude of over 10,000 ft above sea level and nearly 3,000 ft above Paro Valley. The hike up from Paro Valley requires 2 – 4 hours, depending on your fitness level and tolerance for the high altitude. Starting out in the early morning, the […]

Chimi Lakhang Monastery, Punakha

Chimi Lhakhang was built in 1499 after the site was blessed by the maverick saint Drukpa Kunley (1455–1529), also known as the Divine Madman. It is said that Lama Kunley subdued a demon of Dochu La with his “magic thunderbolt of wisdom” and trapped it in a nearby rock. He was known as the “Mad […]

The Road from Punakha

Our trip has been blessed with good timing. In addition to being in Gangtey for the Black-Necked Crane Festival, we also managed to get “stuck” waiting for a procession of important monks and the High Abbott en route to their winter home at Punakha Dzong. It isn’t really appropriate to photograph monks, especially important ones, […]

Pay Attention, Ladies (and Gentlemen…)

Meet Kencho, our guide and chaperone on this life-changing and mind-bending journey. Not only did Kencho help us negotiate our way through local customs and formalities, he also interrupted his official tourism duties to help old ladies cross the street and carried their bundles down mountainsides. He also laughed at all their jokes and listened […]

Rural Life, Pobjikha Valley

This is not a manicured vision of earthly paradise. People live here, incorporating their spiritual practice and values into every aspect of daily life. Waiting with the locals for The Road to open Lucky for us, there’s a roadside market to keep us all occupied while we wait Hard at work Not everybody works hard

Black Crane Festival, Gangtey

Five hours of winding roads takes you from the capital city of Thimphu to the remote village of Gangtey. As fortune would have it, our visit was perfectly timed for the Black Crane Festival. The festival is held every year in November to celebrate the return of the endangered Black Neck Crane to their winter […]

And the (Prayer) Wheels in the Sky Keep on Turning

I live in San Francisco and work in North Beach. The next time, probably sometime in August, I blow a fuse trying to navigate narrow sidewalks around hordes of tourists, I’ll have to remember how kindly I’ve been treated by the Bhutanese. The generosity and tolerance I’ve encountered here in Bhutan is unimaginable. Even the […]

Vegetable Market Thimphu

Chiles are ubiquitous in Bhutanese cuisine. Rather than a role as condiment, chiles are given center stage, dominating various dishes as well as the masochistic taste buds of foreign tourists. The Bhutanese do buy and sell food products other than chiles, even if nowhere to be found outside the vegetable market. Like dried yak cheese […]