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RAJO'S BLOG: The Kingdom of Happiness

"I have always dreamt of going to Bhutan."
RAJO'S BLOG: The Kingdom of Happiness "I have always dreamt of going to Bhutan."

I am so excited to share this series of blog entries with all of you as I am going on a dream destination of mine. I am heading towards the kingdom of happiness called Bhutan. I have always dreamt of going to Bhutan ever since I learned about their philosophy of “GNH” or Gross National Happiness which is based on core Buddhist and human values. This measurable index is a counterpoint to the economist’s Gross National Product.

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Took the first flight out to Paro!

The sun was just about to rise.

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Here we go! 

Meet my Bhutan gang a.k.a. the “BHUTANgeras.” #LOL

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The city of Bangkok

Got the window seat and saw some beautiful clouds.

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Hello Bhutan!

I loved the idea that the kingdom sees economic growth not as an end but rather as a means of achieving more important and meaningful ends. My friends and I took the 6 am flight to Paro which had a pit stop in Calcutta. I was told that Paro, Bhutan has one of the most challenging runways as it is in between close valleys. I was also told that it was one of the most beautiful arrivals and departures ever. The flight to Paro from Bangkok took less than 3 hours, and before we all knew it, we were already in Bhutan.

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The view as we landed.

 

Thank you for a safe flight.

We were all very lucky as the owner of the carrier of Bhutan Air was seated beside my friend Malu and we were able to get local first-hand information. As we descended from the plane, my immediate reaction was how clean the air was and how fresh it felt as it entered my lungs. The portrait of the young King and Queen greeted us and I thought how they looked like movie stars. I found out later that the monarchy is so well loved and respected throughout the land.

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The image of the King and Queen of Bhutan greeting us.

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The men in various forms of the GHO!

This grows so abundantly and wildly here.

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No wonder they are the happiest kingdom on the planet. LOL!

We made our first stop.

My friends and I literally hit the ground running and our guides Mani and Doji started the tour immediately. I loved the fact that most of the Bhutanese still wear their traditional dress on a daily basis. This added so much allure to our experience. Mani pointed out that the plant Cannabis or Marijuana grew everywhere. No wonder everyone is so happy here. LOL!

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Nix, Tina and I, and with our guide Mani.

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The colors and the air are so much richer and purer here.

The first adventure we had was to walk on this thousand-year-old chain bridge.

En route to the capital city of Thimpu, we made a stop at 16th century chain bridge which was an omen of the kind of adventure that we were all going to have. It took me a while to cross the bridge as I have vertigo but happily I was able to accomplish the task. I was also so happy to see my friend Poma Malantic who was also in Bhutan at the same time. We immediately took photos of the experience and greeted one another with much glee.

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Let’s do this!

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Yikes!

Hello to my favorite travel buddy Malu! Grateful that I get to see the world with this beautiful soul.

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Lining the bridge are prayer flags. Which are placed in areas like mountains and streams so that the prayers can travel far and wide.

Nix letting go of his fears!

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I love how my camera picks up the colors so vividly.

So happy we got to see our friend POMA who was also in Bhutan at the time.

After a few hour of driving, we arrived in Thimpu and checked in at our hotel which was so well appointed. I was really impressed that in a country of less than 650,000 residents they would have so many 5-star hotels. This was just the first few hours of my adventure. I will share with all of you much more soon. ‘Til then, please enjoy the photos!

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The Pinoy contingent!

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Nix snacking in our room! He is going to kill me for posting this. LOL!

The room was really lovely.

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We stayed at the Le Meridien which was very cool!

I like the mix of the Scandinavian and the Ethnic.

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Nice selection of stools.

Hugs,

Rajo

To see read more from Rajo Laurel's blog, click here.

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