In December of 2010, Kristin and I gave my mother Madge a golden ticket for her 70th birthday. This golden ticket entitled her to a trip anywhere in the world she chose to go. After a few weeks of research, Madge decided on Bhutan and our preparations began.
In March of this year, after many long months of planning, the three of us traveled to Bhutan for a two-week tour of the western and central portions of this tiny country. At approximately 18,000 square miles, Bhutan is roughly the size of Vermont and New Hampshire combined, but this Himalayan kingdom retains a rich and unique cultural and religious heritage all of its own.
The images below tell the story from the first leg of our trip, in which we drove over Chelela Pass, the highest road in the country at close to 13,000 feet, and then descended into the Haa Valley.
Isolated to the west of the main cities of the country, fewer than 10% of the tourists that visit Bhutan venture into this area. We began our trip with a hike to a tiny, cliff-side monastery, a visit to a local farmhouse for lunch, and a memorable drive down a deeply incised river valley choked with old-growth trees.
if you click on any of the images below, you can view a gallery where you can easily scan through the photos.
You can also see a slide show of these same images set to some local music here: VIMEO slide show. (Be sure to watch the HD version.)
Over the next couple of weeks, we'll publish shots from the rest of the trip, including the five-day Druk Path trek, a visit to the famed Tiger's Nest monastery, and the annual religious festival in Paro.