UW Alumni Tours Blog

Gross National Happiness

August 11th, 2009 by Pauline Ranieri, UW Alumni Tours

It’s incredibly refreshing to be traveling in a country where you’re not

Bhutanese Man Outside Memorial Chorten

Bhutanese Man Outside Memorial Chorten

besieged by begging children; hassled by vendors selling cheap souvenirs; and affronted by shopkeepers who are always  able to offer you a “good” price. And, the locals still enjoy having their photo taken.

Today was an amazing day of experiences as toured around the capital of Bhutan, Thimphu. First we watched part of an exciting archery tournament. Then we visited an art school where children were studying painting, wood carving, sculpture, metal-smithing, embroidery and other art forms.  A stop at the Takin nature reserve gave us a glimpse of the Bhutan national animal which is purportedly a cross between a cow and a goat (it’s a long story). Then it was  visits to the the textile museum, national handicrafts museum, Zilukha nunnery, paper-making factory, Memorial monksChorten and the highlight for me, a visit and walk around the grounds of the Tashichhodzong. We had our first real glimpse of Bhutanese monks and were treated to the sounds of chanting.

All this in one day you say? Even though Thimphu is the largest city, everything is a mere 5 – 10 minute drive away.

The jetlag is catching up with me and I’m off to sleep to ready myself for our upcoming drive to Punakha. We’ll be traversing over the Dochu-La pass (10,000 ft.) and have been promised spectacular views of the Himalayas.

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