TPOL’s Guns & Butter Travel Guide is the best way to see as much as you can in as little time as possible. Here’s how it works – A trip is composed of two factors: Labor And Lazy. The opportunity cost (what is given up) for relaxing and being Lazy is gained by being adventurous in the form of Labor and vice versa. The guide includes inefficient activities i.e., tourist traps that should be avoided and aspirational activities that are worth doing but may be impossible to see given the constraints of time and resources.
Getting There: Book a flight on Drukair.
Searching for happiness? Everyone says go to Bhutan. What they don’t detail is how to book a trip to get there, what it will cost, and what tour guide to select. Let’s start with the price.
Americans need chaperones to go to Bhutan (Guided Tours: Like Attending Class, It’s Boring But Sometimes Useful). Here’s what it costs for 5 nights (see How to Book a Trip to Bhutan).
I booked Bucket List Adventures and have nothing but great things to say about that tour group (see Traveling to Bhutan? Contact Bucket List Adventure).
Now that the logistics are out of the way, here’s what you should do and what you should avoid.
Don’t eat at tourist restaurants. Insist on spice!
If you aren’t a cyclist, you won’t enjoy biking down from the Big Buddha.
Too many temples, not enough adventure. TPOL isn’t always one with nature, but Bhutan is naturally beautiful. Don’t spend all your time visiting temples (see Finding Happiness: Bhutan Day 1).
Avoid #5: Selfie Death
Even in the land of happiness, selfie death may occur.
I’ll list these in order of enjoyment.
#1 Find Happiness
You certainly don’t want to come all the way to Bhutan and leave without understanding what happiness is (Finding Happiness: TPOL’s Search for the Point of Life in Bhutan).
#2 Trek up to Tiger’s Nest and Beyond (see Finding Happiness: Tiger’s Nest (Bhutan Day 5)
#3 White Water Rafting (see Finding Happiness: Bhutan Day 3)
#4 Trekking with a Stranger to the Isle of Dogs (see Finding Happiness: Bhutan Day 3)
#5 Souvenir Shopping
# 6 See Temples
By far the nicest temple is the Palace of Great Happiness (see Finding Penis (Happiness): Bhutan Day 4).
By far the most interesting is Chime Lhakhang which was built in tribute of Lam Drukpa Kuenley, the Divine madman, who “deliberately portrayed the image of a vagabond and wandered around the countryside, indulging in song and dance, alcohol and women, hunting and feasting.” Kuenley, a social critic, “taunted the hypocrisy of the established orders, including the monastic order. The use of his phallus as a ‘flaming thunderbolt’ weapon symbolizes the discomfort that society experiences when facing the truth.”
#7 Watch Archery, Try Archery
Eating is #8 because I was so distracted by what I was doing.
Beef momo (see Finding Happiness: Bhutan Day 2) and chili cheese (see Finding Happiness: Bhutan Day 5 (Post Tiger’s Nest)) are prerequisites for happiness.
#10 Golf (see Total Consciousness: Golfing in Bhutan)
There won’t be a tip, but on your death bed, when you die, you’ll receive total consciousness. So I got that going for me.
Don’t forget to indulge. Going to a stone spa in a home is a great way to end your trip (see Finding Happiness: Bhutan Day 5 (Post Tiger’s Nest)).
I don’t think I will visit Bhutan again. It’s not because there isn’t more I could do like festivals or explore the eastern part of the country. It’s because I had such a perfect time and want to remember it that way.