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Trip Report Bhutan Trip Report- Active & Cultural trip

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We are at the beginning of our much awaited Bhutan trip. I will post as we go along - depending on Internet service. Thanks to Craig for his post in 2012 - we are using Kencho/ Snow White Travel based on his experience. In the planning stages I found her quite responsive and helpful. We only arrived in Bhutan yesterday- but so far so good. We requested an active vacation ( but we're not interested in treks that involved tent camping) and higher end hotels. There is not a lot to pick from - absent Aman. Though we have stayed in Aman resorts in other countries- we did not opt for them in Bhutan. They are wildly expensive - impeccable - but it many ways once your staying at one you could be in any country. We were hoping to get more of a feel for Bhutan by not going with that choice. We shall see.

Our journey here involved Business class on Etihad . Chicago - Abu Dhabi- Dehli. The seats were flat beds which is my requirement for those long flights. The seats were on the smallish side ( narrow) but they were fine. I am 5'10 and my husband 6'2" and they worked out. If you are heavy set I would not recommend however. If you fly Etihad check the Seatguru website to select your seats. We got a middle section " pod - which affords the most privacy away from the aisle. Same with window seats. They are staggered - one close to windo - one away. Hard to describe but if u are on the outer side of aisle people walking in the aisle could bump into you while you are sleeping.

Etihad sends a limo service as part of the ticket price - so we were picked up at home in Chicago, and met on the other end in Dehli. Our flight arrived at 7:20 pm - and we were taken to the JW Marriott ($200) where we spent a few hours sleeping. Our wake up call was 3:30 AM ! The hotel was very nice - close to airport- quiet. I would recommend it - though we didn't see much of it!

Our Druk flight was at 6:30 AM. We flew business class . Business Class has higher baggage allowance, an airport lounge, bigger better seats etc. it does not cost a lot more. The ticket check- in gates close 1 hour before flight ( according to info at the ticket counter) so arrive in plenty of time. There was no line in B Class at the counter, passport check & security had faster separate lines for B class. The coffee and food was decent in the lounge, however their wifi wasn't working.

Flight made a stop in Katmandu for about 30 minutes. As indicated in other posts- sit on the left side to get photos of the Himalayas. Service on board was good - breakfast on first leg and snack on second leg - even though flight times were fairly short.

Immigration was fairly smooth and we were met by our guide and driver in baggage claim. ( I need to get spellings of names - so for now rhet are guide and driver)

We left the airport and went straight to the National Museum at Ta dzong. It is small but interesting for a 30 minute visit. A display of masks, paintings on textiles, taxidermy of local wildlife, exhibit on flora and fauna etc. Interesting to see - but it is small and 30 minutes covers it.

We then went to a buffet spot for lunch. It was ok - I am not expecting much in the food arena in Bhutan. A Buffett of green beans with pistachios ( very good) cauliflower, curried chicken bread, sweet potatoe hash, rice and some lukewarm vegetable soup. We weren't very hungry after breakfast at the airport and breakfast on the plane - so had a small plate and it was fine.

After lunch we went to the Kyichu Temple. It is very small and very old - 8th century. Fun to have a look but it is not a lengthy stop. If you have spent any time in SE Asia you have seen similar . However I have never seen prayer wheels - and those were pretty cool. There were smaller ones surrounding the temple, and then a set of 4 or 5 very large ones - all of which you could spin.

We then left to drive to Thimphu to the Hotel Therma Linca where we will stay for two nights. Our room is located along a pretty river....which makes a pleasant rushing noise outside our window. I have seen many comments about barking stray dogs in Bhutan..and the hotel is quiet. Our room is very large - comfortable king sized bed, large bathroom with single sink but plenty of counter space.

The staff thus far has been very sweet and kind and eager to please.

Signing off now - more as I get time.

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