with Jackie and Elston
If you were to visit only one Asian country, Bhutan should be at the top of your list.
It is a small country, the size of Switzerland, with a population of approximately 700,000. A majority of the population still
wears traditional dress. 50% of the land is National Park, and another 9% is biological corridors. Most of the roads are
one lane roads. Much of the population still consists of subsistence farmers. However, English is the language used in
the schools, so it is easy to communicate with most Bhutanese, particularly those under the age 0f 30. Crime and
poverty is almost non-existent. Most of the country is covered in forest. By the time you leave, you will feel as if you have
been to Shangrila. The impact of tourism on Bhutan is limited as the government only issues tourist visas to travelers
who have paid a local travel company in the amount of $250 a day or more either directly or through a travel service.
Below are links to pages on our trip. If you like, just click on the first link. At the bottom of each page will be a link to the
next page in our trip.
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simultaneously on your computer.
We had long wanted to go to Bhutan. We booked this trip with Cheeseman's Ecology Safaris as they have a reputation
for using the very finest guides. Also, Gail Cheeseman was very helpful in booking us additional days in Bhutan and
offering advice on Bangkok. When you go with Cheeseman's you know you are going with the best guides no matter
where you go on the planet.
Our guide in Bhutan was Hishey Tshering. He
has a reputation in many circles for being the
absolute best guide in Bhutan. Whatever you
want to do in Bhutan such as trekking the
Himalayas, Hishey can do for you through his
company Bhutan Birding and Heritage Travels.
We spent five days on our own in Bhutan with
three of Hishey's guides and they were
excellent. We also met two different couples
that had trekked with his company and they
were enthusiastic about his services.
Left, Hishey's nephew was our private guide for two days in Paro. He is smart,
friendly, and attentive.
Right, Kesang Chogyel was assistant guide to Hishey. Kesang did a splendid job
filling in with additional information and looking out for the well being of the group.
Below, Jigme Goenpo gave us a fascinating private tour of Bhumtang for four
days. His knowledge of the culture of Bhutan is phenomenal. We did trudge
through a lot of mud with him as the cyclone from India was drenching the country
at this time.
In Bhumtang, we arrived at a temple just as the monks were preparing for the visit of the Fourth King. The monks
informed us that we would have to leave, but the four wives of the king told them to let us remain. So, we stood with the
wives and members of their family and awaited the arrival of the King with the rest of his royal party. For the next three
days we bumped in to Leon Rubten of the royal family several times. He was most cordial in welcoming us to Bhutan.
To the very far left is our driver
in Bumthang. It was he who was
responsible for helping us meet
the four queens. He drove us
through some very rugged
roads and was so attentive to all
Below, our driver's wife owns a
general store. She attends her
daughter while tending the store.