Asia 2009 - Facts and Information
Day by Day 1: West Bhutan
From UK to Delhi then on into Bhutan

ASIA 2009

 To Paro
 Paro 1
 Paro 2
 Paro 3
 To Thimphu
 Thimphu 1
 Thimphu 2
 Thimphu 3
 Thimphu 4
 To Punakha
 To Phobjika

 To Trongsa
 To Jakar
 Around Ura
 To Mongar
 To Tashigang
 Tashigang 1
 Tashigang 2
 Tashigang 3

 Delhi 1
 Delhi 2
 Delhi 3
 Delhi 4
 Delhi 5

 Mount Abu
 To Narlai
 Narlai 1
 Narlai 2
 Narlai 3
 Narlai 4
 To Udaipur
 Train across India


15 October
Spent previous night at Bath Road Premier Inn, used bus passes for morning trip to Windsor before returning to make the one minute drive to Quality Parking next to the hotel then transfer to LHR T4.

16 October
Arrival in Delhi, fast processing and transfer to hotel. (For remainder of day and 17 October see Day to Day 3 Delhi.)

18 October
Flight to Paro. Security at Delhi very tight. Had long stop on ground at Kathmandu then flight past Himalayas to exciting VFR approach to Paro along valley. Immigration slow, fortunately we were near front. Short transfer to Hotel. Janka Resort, Paro. A new, traditonal style hotel in quiet fields a short distance from Paro. Good, large room, nice food, very friendly staff.

19 October
Walked across fields after breakfast then picked up for good run to Haa Valley where we had picnic by river. Went to Lhakang Karpo, very quiet, interesting, good views. Had wanders at Chele La Pass and a couple of places near Haa.

20 October
Went for wander along main road after breakfast and subject of great interest from schoolchildren. Day in and around Paro at Dzong (monks chanting), Ta Dzong (disappointing) and looking at various agricultural practices and archery.

21 October
More field exploration after breakfast before pick up for worthwhile day up to Drukyel Dzong (excellent). Also walked round village and saw women roasting barley as well as Amancora staff gathering watercress from dubious roadside drain channel. Kyichu Lhakhang also good. Plenty of time to wander.

22 October
On to Thimphu with assorted stops. Tamcho Lhakhang to see chain bridge. Went to Botanic Gardens which were very disappointing indeed. Simtokha Dzong good. After settling into hotel went to explore Thimpu. Not over impressed but got down to market area and had good nose round on our own which was fascinating. On return to hotel some entertainment when power failed just as dusk fell. Candles provided but torches taken came in useful. Jumolhari Hotel, Paro. Town centre hotel in good condition. Fairly busy but no noise, good but strange shaped room. Dinners good, staff pleasant, but one breakfast very badly organised.

23 October
Round markets with guide and driver so able to find out what was what and how it was used - very worthwhile. Craft market over bridge disappointing. Post Office for cards and stamps. Then on to Folk Museum which was very good indeed and with a very good local guide. Later to paper factory (interesting) and Handicraft Emporium (less so). Viewpoint above valley and Drubthon Gompa/Zilukha Nunnery (special celebration there).

24 October
National Institute for Traditional Arts (interesting) then on to see takin with nice walk in woods watching some weaving at a hut on way back. Then Tashi Chhoe Dzong (impressive but only part open to visitors), National Memorial Chorten (outside only and so-so) and Gagyei Lhundrup weaving school (interesting).

25 October
Drive to Punakha via Changangkha Lhakang which very interesting and via 108 chortens at Dochu La where had walk. After arrival at hotel went for walk up hill to village. Meri Puensum Resort, Punakha. Buildings on hillside with nice views over valley in very quiet location. Rooms not as good as outside led you to think but adequate. Good food and service from friendly but rather shy staff.

26 October
Good drive (stop to see milking) up to Khamsum Yul-le Namgyel Chorten which was steep and hot climb but worthwhile. Punakha Dzong interesting. In afternoon had volunteered services to 'Senior English Conversation Class' at Narlanda Buddhist Institute above the hotel (brilliant drive up there). Each of us had about 50 monks for an hour to help them with their English. Hard work - Eleanor was lucky, she got the A stream. Meanwhile guide worked with tiny monks.

27 October
Went to Chimi Lhakang (interesting walk across fields) and had nose around Wangdi on way to Phobjika. Phobjika Valley superb area but no cranes for us. Later walked from hotel north through village, very interesting. Turned very cold as sun set. Dewachen Hotel, Phobjika. Newish building in excellent location on hillside with good views over beautiful valley. Large room which got cold at night once stove had gone out. No electricity after 2100. Good food, pleasant staff.

28 October
Started off in carpet weavers. Ended up taking a couple of classes each in the local school. Apart from other things Eleanor sang English nursery ryhmes to some tinies, Michael on his own without a teacher had a slightly older group ended up spelling names of animals and the word for the noise they make (with full onomatopæic effect), great fun for all involved but probably bad for discipline. Then to Khewang Lhakang, picnic lunch and walk through valley along nature trail. All very good. Crane centre for video. Early finish so walked south from hotel and had explore round simple village of Lusa as cows were bringing themselves home - fascinating place. Kids going home all wanting to talk.

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