Posts Tagged ‘Punakha Dzong’

Bhutan or bust

March 7, 2008

Perhaps I travel more than the average person does, but I don’t travel half as much as people think I do, especially overseas. And there are many countries I’ve yet to visit. Bhutan, for instance. Flag of Bhutan (source: on that later.) Instead, I live vicariously through my Where they Went subjects, whose trips I write about every week in the Boston Globe.

One such journey was in April, when three friends from the Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) spent two weeks in Peru. Marianne Page did all the planning as part of her preparation to become an AMC leader. She’s now officially co-leading a trip to Glacier National Park in Montana this summer, which has already filled up But her Oct. 8-26 trip to Bhutan still has openings. (If any of you have done AMC trips, I’d love to hear about them.)

The Dzong (fortress-monastery) at Punakha; Henry David Shapiro ©2003Of course I want to join the group, but it’s not on this year’s agenda.  Bhutan is a pricey place on purpose, to keep tourism at bay. Although now it’s becoming known as a luxury destination, and don’t even get me started about that.  Anyway, the $4,600 to $5,000 fee for 2.5 weeks of travel is the usual AMC-type bargain. It includes lodging, meals, museums fees, trekking fee and transportation in Bhutan. For airfare, add another $2,200. 

Here’s an excerpt from the AMC listing linked above: An eight-day trek “travels through two high passes of 16,000 feet through The Taktshang Goemba (Tiger’s Nest Monastery); Henry David Shapiro ©2003remote wilderness with abundant wildlife. The remaining time in this ‘Shangri La’ will be spent visiting monasteries, dzongs, textile museums, the local market place, Thimpu festival and the famous ‘Tiger’s Nest.’ This is the most famous monastery, perched precariously on a steep cliff almost 3,000 feet above the Paro valley.”

If you sign up and you live in New England, let me know and maybe I’ll highlight your trip in Where they Went. And then my readers and I will get to travel to Bhutan with you, at least in our minds.

Photos by Henry David Shapiro (©2003); photos reprinted with photographer’s permission.