Nepal and Bhutan, September-October 2008

We've spent most of the last three weeks in Nepal and Bhutan (mostly in Bhutan). Bhutan is a fantastic place to visit and (at the risk of encouraging too many people to visit) it's been great to get the chance to visit somewhere with a still limited tourist infrastructure. We flew from London to Kathmandu (via Delhi) with Jet Airways who I last used in 1994 for an internal flight from Bombay - they are my new favourite airline - loads of room in economy class and decent food too.

September in Kathmandu is still definitely monsoon season - but not withstanding that spent time both around Durbar Square and at Bodhnath and Pushupatinath (which made for some interesting photographs), and at the other end of the trip we spent time at Nagarkot and Bhaktapur.

Places Nepal Sep 2008

We flew into Bhutan from Kathmandu - Paro airport is unlike any other international airport I've been to (both in terms of architecture and atmosphere) - it's also almost 7500 feet above sea level and surrounded by high mountains (the Druk Air in-flight magazine reassuringly tells you that the hills aren't as close as they appear!). From Paro we spent the next 10 days or so driving slowly (it's the only way to drive in Bhutan) across to Thimphu, Punakha, Trongsa and Jakar in the Bumthang valley and then back, finishing with the Bhutanese 'must-do' for all tourists, the trek up to Taktshang Goemba (Tiger's Nest).

There really is a dzong, stupa or chorten on pretty much every hilltop.

Places Bhutan Sep 2008

The entire trip gave loads of chances to photograph people - it's not my usual thing, but it gave me the excuse to do this time.

People Bhutan Nepal Sep 2008

I did try to spend a bit of time looking for wildlife (mostly birds) - and a few shots are linked below. I think I can feel a return visit coming on to spend more time looking at wildlife - and going further east to Mongar and Tashigang.

Wildlife Bhutan Nepal Sep 2008

The flights provided some chances to see the high Himalayas amidst the clouds...

WindowSeat Bhutan Nepal Sep 2008

We booked this trip (Bhutan: The Dragon Kingdom) via Cox and Kings in London - and the local guiding was provided by Temple Tiger in Nepal (Shiva Ram), and by Blue Poppy in Bhutan (Sonam and Phup).

Thoroughly engaging trip - it's a really nasty shock to the system to be back in the UK (and the food here is just so mild)... when's the next trip, I'm sure I've still got some blank pages in my passport.