Day 1 in Bhutan: Rinpung Dzong and the National Museum in Paro

After a long flight from New York to Dubai and a brief stop in Kathmandu, Nepal, we boarded a small plane to Bhutan. We were on a small propeller plane and saw Mount Everest. It’s the world’s highest mountain at 29,029 feet and it’s that black one towards the left. The view blew every Instagram photo anyone has ever taken from a seat of a plane:

The light was beautiful in Bhutan that it was difficult not to keep snapping photos. We saw a lot of this kind of view: mountain ranges in different layers and shades just like how a painting would depict them.

In Paro, we met our guide and driver for the duration of our trip: Dorji and Karma. They were wearing the traditional dress for men called gho and they welcomed us with silk saffron scarves just like how Hawaiians welcome their guests with leis. (The saffron color is the Theravada Buddhist monk color, the oldest surviving branch of Buddhism.) I might have drank the Kool-Aid early, but I swear I instantly felt some kind of peace as soon as that happened. The moment reminded me of when I was welcomed the same way in Luang Prabang in Laos, but this time, I was glad to be traveling with friends and not solo.

After we stopped for tea at a local shop in Paro, we drove to our first dzong, the Rinpung Dzong, a fortress architecture that now serves as both administrative and religious building to the district. The conch-shaped watch tower now-museum was under construction after the 2010 earthquake, so we went inside the temporary space across the alley instead.

One of the many giant prayer wheels we spun on our trip:

And the ubiquitous prayer flags:

In the beginning I made wishes for myself, but as our trip progressed, I found myself wishing good things for my family and friends; I found myself sharing the fortune I had in being in the Kingdom of Bhutan. It sounds cliché, but this trip was very enlightening for me.

Related article/s:
Photos of the National Museum of Bhutan on Flickr
Up in the Air photos from Nepal to Bhutan on Flickr
I highly recommend using Smile Bhutan as your guide