Most Inspirational Moment
More like highlights, of which there were many. The walk up to the Tiger's Nest Monastery. An out of programme trip organised by our leaders to visit the beautiful dzong in Punakha together with an impromptu visit to a local festival in Wangdue Phodrang. Stories of the Divine Madman and seeing phalluses painted all over the houses which are a sign of good luck here. Watching boy monks dancing in costume inside their dzong. Assisting in a ceremony inside one of the temples. Watching the festival in Thimpu and observing the locals dressed in their best ceremonial clothes, and more mundane things - but not least important! - like hot water bottles at night on trek, solar lamps, delicious pizza and cake made by the camp chef.
Thoughts on Group Leader
Norbu and Karma were excellent leaders. Both were well organised and took great care of the group. Karma took care of the monastic/temples side of the trip explaining everything about the Buddhist religion, whilst Norbu told us more about the politics, royal family and social/environmental structure of the country and how they are striving to get it all right. Both were complimentary to each other. Karma fell over backwards to try and keep us happy......during the rain! He even washed our muddy boots in the river at the end of the trek!
Advice for Potential Travellers
This is NOT a trek for BEGINNERS. The altitude is something to be taken seriously (over 4000mts asl) and also physical fitness is an absolute must. Trekking, albeit the foothills, in the Himalayas is hard on the body. However, if you are used to hill walking , you will love it.
Just that if you do go, try to go over one of the festival periods as it's well worth it. Oh, and if you think you will lose weight with all the walking......you won't! The food on trek is wonderful and loads of it!