Kolkata

Kolkata hasn’t proved too difficult a destination to start the India trip with, the traffic is quite full on and it’s a bit smelly, but besides that a great starting point. I think visiting Vietnam and Bhutan before India was good preparation indeed. A good way of minimising the culture shock. Kolkata is a good…

India

India is the destination on this trip I am most apprehensive about. It’s such a large country, with such a wide range of cultures, peoples, languages and cuisines, there are so many things that could go horribly wrong. Multiple languages are also use, thankfully English is one of them. My mental expectation for India is…

Air Dried

The final local meal in Bhutan was delicious a picnic lunch served under a cobalt blue sky, I had just finished the walk from the Chele la pass and wasn’t sure if life could have gotten much better at that point. Perhaps with beer… But, back below the tree line in a clearing near the…

Datshi

Datshi is Bhutanese for cheese, vegetables finished with cheese was one of the repeated food experiences, especially chilli cheese, the rather delicious Ema Datshi the national dish of Bhutan. I have tried chilli cheese in a number of different places, it’s never quite the same green chillies, red chillies, with added onion and garlic, or/…

Bhutanese cooking

I must confess that I was pleasantly surprised and pleased by the quality of Bhutanese cookery. Variation on a theme springs to mind but in an agrarian society food is often dictated by what is available at the time. The seasoning and taste were spot on, with delicious food frequently served throughout our trip. Part…

Spectacular sights

Dochula Pass The 108 stupas adorning the Dochula Pass are a great fascination, a must see for anybody heading east from Thimpu, considering there is just one road it really is. On a fine day the vista towards the snow-capped Eastern Himalayas is magnificent, creating a superb backdrop to these incredibly photogenic stupas. On a…

Monastaries, Temples and Dzongs

Plenty of ornate Buddhist symbolism is rife, visible everywhere throughout the country, from the more simple script to the ornate deities and representations of protective spirits painted on the houses. To the significant decoration of the religious buildings, none of these artworks have happened by chance, every colour, every curve has a meaning. For the…

The black-necked crane festival

    Breakfast starts the day well, the mountain top horizon rising up before me across the valley so close I can make out individual trees at its crest while I sup my buttered and salted tea. The white flecked river at the valleys bottom swirls past a renovated dzong to my right before flowing…

Traveling in Bhutan

Each groups travel itinerary in Bhutan is fixed once booked, ours includes a mixture of events and activities, a few temples and monasteries, a few small hikes, a local festival or two and a requested focus on Bhutanese food. The arrival flight into Paro was spectacular, the snow-capped Himalayan mountains a memorable sight out of the plane window,…

Bhutan

I first read about Bhutan in my youth, then a few years ago articles about Gross National Happiness circulated. I didn’t find the GNH concept that compelling, the traditional Buddhist Himalayan society the government was trying to slowly modernise to benefit their people certainly is. I saw visiting Bhutan as an opportunity to visit a…

Live street kitchen

  Think a restaurant that just happens to be on a road closed at night, part of the night market that sets up outside the French colonial market building. It’s quite a feat, with the entire operation set up each night. It’s impressive! I doubt many of the sixty or so diners seated understand the…

Pork chop noodle soup

It’s a happy thing when a food experience you’re trying to relive from many years past ends up being as good as the first experience. Seven years ago I was in HCMC for the first time, walking away from the nearby tourist ghetto as quickly as possible I came across this very busy shop while…