At last we arrive in Bhutan

Previous page - Last hours in Singapore & flight into Bangkok

 

Take-away breakfast at BS Residence

Even though it was a short night I felt I slept better than the two previous nights. Ian was awake at 2:00 a.m. because he thought someone was at the door trying to wake us up and at some stage Jeremy was snoring! The alarm rang at 4:00 a.m. so we shot out of bed and 20 minutes later were packed ready to race back to Bangkok airport. 

Breakfast was included in our tariff and I had read on the Trip Advisor site that if you informed the hotel of any early flights, they would pack you up a little take-away breakfast to eat at the airport.  Being the thrifty person I am, I made sure we advised the hotel when we booked in the previous night. Upon checking out I reminded the young lady at Reception. I received an irritated look and she shuffled off somewhere in her slippers.  Back she came with three little white boxes. I thanked her profusely but was sorry I did so because we each had three tiny dried up sandwiches in our boxes. The bread felt like sandpaper. It was totally inedible. But a far better breakfast was yet to come…..

 

The giant TVs and a giant breakfast

It took forever for us to get our Druk Air seats assigned at Bangkok airport.

There seemed to be so many other people all headed for Paro in Bhutan. They had mostly been on shopping trips and had huge quantities of luggage in cardboard boxes.


We were astonished to see so many enormous TVs all getting checked in.  When we finally got to the counter we realized we weren’t on a direct flight.  We were going to be touching down in Guwahati in India. Oh, well that was something different. We wondered if those TVs would be off loaded in India and not Bhutan – who knows. The DrukAir plane was quite nice and we soon got underway. Before we knew it we were being served a very large breakfast. There were several items of cooked food, two croissants, yoghurt and much more.  It was far better than three dried up little sandwiches.

 

Large breakfast served onboard Drukair Huge breakfast onboard DrukAir
The aircraft that brought us to Bhutan Our aircraft

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Identifying our carry-on luggage

At Guwahati airport we had to stay on the plane. We probably waited onboard for around 30 minutes whilst people and goods were off and on-loaded. Before the plane took off for Bhutan we all had to identify our carry-on luggage. That’s something we’ve never done before.

 

Flying in to Paro airport in Bhutan

View of Paro airport Paro airport, Bhutan


We knew we were in for some spectacular scenery and a hair-raising descent into Paro but both far exceeded our expectations.

When the plane was coming in to land you felt you could have reached out through the windows and touched the mountains – they were so close. We’ve been told there are only 12 pilots in the world qualified enough to fly in and out of Paro airport.  As the plane touched down, passengers started cheering.  It was all quite emotional. Jeremy was blown away!

 

 

Meeting our guide and driver from Lhomen Tours

We soon completed our customs obligations and shortly afterwards we met up with Kinga our guide and Dorje our driver. They helped us load our gear into their beautifully presented mini-bus. It was the perfect size for our little group of three.

Scenery between Paro and Thimphu View of scenery from the car

Dorje drove us from Paro airport into Thimphu (altitude 2350 metres) which is the capital of Bhutan and has a population of about 85,000. Here we would be staying for the next two days. The drive along this route was fabulous with lots of bends in the road and excellent views in every direction. We soon found that people don’t always drive on the correct side of the road here. Quite often this is because there are giant pot holes they are trying to avoid. We saw a truck only minutes after it rolled over.  The general consensus was that he must have gone too fast around the bend. We saw a dead cow and lots of live ones on the road too.

 

 

Third King’s Memorial

Before we stopped for lunch Kinga wanted to take us to the Third King’s Memorial which is also known as the Thimphu Chorten. We clambered out of the car and found it was actually quite hot.

The third King's Memorial Chorten The Third King's Memorial

The chorten, built in 1974 to honour the 3rd King of Bhutan, Jigme Dorji Wangchuck (1928–1972), is a prominent landmark in the city with its golden spires and bells. In 2008, it underwent renovations. It is popularly known as "the most visible religious landmark in Bhutan". We were concerned that we had no Bhutanese money whatsoever so Kinga took us to a bank to exchange some of our U.S. dollars.  There didn’t seem to be any sensible queue in the bank - just a gathering of customers in one corner - so it took quite a while to be served. We felt quite relieved as soon as we had some local currency in our pockets.

 


The first of many substantial meals

Kinga then took us to the Green Café for lunch. The café has only been open for two months.  It was located up a few flights of stairs but was worth the climb. We were served such tasty foods as fried meat, cooked vegetables, rice, bitter gourd, a chilli vegetable dish and a dahl soup with coriander. This was washed down with cups of quite a sweetish tea. The bitter gourd was a shock to our senses and the chilli vegetable dish was quite hot but we eagerly devoured everything else. We were the only people eating up there.

 

Next page - The Phuntsho Pelri Hotel in Thimphu

 

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