When you think of Maldives you’ll think of the never ending white sand beaches, the azure blue of the Indian Ocean and gorgeous over water villas… But what if there’s more to it?
We began our journey in Bhutan, a quaint little town with Bhutan’s only roundabout junction. Fun fact: Bhutan doesn’t have traffic lights so this junction is monitored by policemen.
Thimphu is arguably as busy as Bhutan gets, which is not very busy if you compare it with the hectic streets of Singapore. Buildings rarely go past 4 stories in height and people are still nice and friendly. I’ve heard from a local guide that there is a drug problem in Thimphu because of the abundance of marijuana in Bhutan. I’m not kidding, wild marijuana actually grows freely on the streets.
Crazy right? Aside from the single junction in Bhutan for tourists to gawk at, Thimpu has various quintessentially attractions as well.
The first is the Tashichhoe Dzong which now serves as the main political office in Bhutan. Because its an active offcie of sorts, you can only visit after 5pm, which is quite an interesting experience to be in a Dzong in the later times of the day. Monks are shuffling in and about getting to their rooms for the day. The contrast of their red robes against the whitewashed walls of the dzong makes for excellent photography!
Aside from the dzong, something special in Thimphu is the memorial chorte which was built in 1974 to honour the 3rd king of Bhutan. While the chorten doesn’t hold any mortal remains, you can often see pilgrims walking around the chorten everyday in a clockwise position. Many elderly also congregate here to chat with their friends and to offer their prayers.
Atop a hill overlooking Thimphu city stands the newly built Buddha Dordenma statue. You literally can’t miss it. Upon completion, it will be one of the largest Buddha statues in the world.
Aside for the towering Buddha statue, the hill offers some panoramic views of Thimphu city as well.
My favourite attraction would be the Motithang Takin Preserve. I have resigned to the fact that I am an uncultured person and cannot appreciate the finer intricacies of Bhutanese culture except for taking photos and gawking at the immaculate architecture. Please take me to see animals instead.
As explained in my introduction to Bhutan , the national animal of Bhutan is the Takin. A strange hybrid-goat-bear-elephant(?) looking thing. It can be aggressive but most of the time they’re quite silly and just look fun to be with.
Thankfully, their enclosure is quite large and mimics their natural environment closely—well, because it is their natural environment, the park officials just fenced off part of the pine forests for the Takin.
Another fun-fact: initially, the preserve was a zoo but the king thought it would be improper for a Buddhist country to keep animals in an enclosure. However, when he ordered for the zoo to be dismantled, the Takin stayed put and refused to leave. Some of them even went to Thimphu town and roamed the streets! As a result, this preserve was created for them to roam freely without terrorising the citizens of Thimphu!
What an odd-looking fellow!
If you’re staying in the Taj Thimphu, they also offer Bhutanese dances in the evenings, a glimpse into what festival dances are like! Beside the bonfire, they give a sense of the festivities during festival season and you won’t have to feel left out that you didn’t see the festivals anymore!
There you have it! The highlights of Thimphu, the capital city of Bhutan! As one of our first few stops, Thimphu offered us a glimpse into Bhutanese life and culture.
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Bhutan has many names, the last Shangri-La, the land of the thunder dragon, the land that time forgot, the world’s happiest country... Its a little bit like Khaleesi in Game of Thrones, call it whatever you want, but its pretty awesome. Bhutan has also become the next place to be if you want to do some soul-searching or stare dramatically in the distance. If the unique culture and interesting history can’t do the job for you, Dzongs and amazing scenery can also make for a good #OOTD background. I mean, if that’s all you’re looking for when travelling. Not judging.
Here’s my introduction to Bhutan and a quick guide on how to get there!
As you already know, Raja Ampat is insanely beautiful and offers exceptional diving. However, as with all things too good to be true, getting there is a little bit of a hassle. Fret not! I’m here to help! Here’s my Ultimate Guide to Raja Ampat dealing with how to get there, the million dollar question of live-aboard or resort and the best diving sites Raja Ampat has to offer.
Heaven is real and you can find it in Raja Ampat—an introduction to the most beautiful islands on the planet.
As a travel writer, one of the questions you get asked most often is where is your favourite place in the world. Since my virgin experience in June 2015, my answer has always been the same, Raja Ampat, Indonesia. I cannot begin to express my excitement and love I have for this place. It’s easy to see why—the landscapes are spectacular and like no other, the waters impossibly blue and the sand, a blinding shade of white. However, it is the soul of Raja Ampat that draws me in. The pureness of its landscape and its people, untouched by the crass hands of technology. Life here is simple, unadulterated and as it should be.
I’ve been in a bit of pensive mood lately, work has been overwhelming and nobody, including myself seems to be truly happy anymore. So, I’ve decided to reminisce and maybe think of ways in which I could be happier. As the saying goes, when life gives you lemons, edit a bunch of photos in Lightroom and write a list. So here’s a list of reasons why Bali is no better than Cappadocia when it comes to getting over an ex, dealing with some nasty sh*t, or when you’re just done with life*.
*disclaimer, I have never actually read Eat Pray Love because its cliché and dumb and I cry easily.
There’s one constant that you will find in nearly every bucketlist or things-to-do-before-you-die clickbait—taking a hot air balloon ride in Cappadocia, Turkey. At about 160 Euros per person on average (for an hour’s ride), a hot air balloon ride does not come cheap. Here are some photos to convince you that 160 Euros for a lifetime of memories is worth it.