Posts Tagged ‘Trekking’

Bhutan, the kingdom of happiness

Bhutan- Taktshang monastery. Photo: Pedro Sagues

Bhutan, the kingdom of happiness

Bhutan is a deeply Buddhist remote and enigmatic country nestled in the heart of the Himalayas. Since the beginning of time immemorial, mystics, philosophers and pilgrims have been drawn to these mountains in their personal search of wisdom, inspiration and happiness. In fact, Bhutan is the only country in the world which puts happiness at the heart of government policy by supporting the “Gross National Happiness”.

Bhutan is not an ordinary place. Visitors will be surprised that the cultural and traditional lifestyle are still intact. In the silence of this remote country, at the Buddhist monasteries, surrounded by fluttering prayer flags and overlooking the green valleys, one feels part of another world, away from computers, iPhones, cars… It gives you an alternative vision of what is truly important in life.

To safeguard these treasures, the country has consciously adopted a controlled tourism policy. Each year, approximately 25.000 tourists enter the country. They all have to pay a minimum of 220$ a day in an all included tariff (food, accommodation, …). Don’t expect luxurious hotels.

Travelling inside Bhutan is very uncomfortable. There are narrow roads: you drive at an average speed of 30km/h a meter away from the deepest valleys you’ll ever see.

Besides the amazing people (they’re always smiling), the peaceful atmosphere, the impressive monasteries and the stunning views, the activity I liked the most was the unforgettable three day trek in the lower Himalayas (up to 4.400 meters altitude, 20 km a day… and freezing cold December temperatures at night (-18º C).

Useful info about Bhutan: Wikipedia, National portal of Bhutan, Tourism Council of Bhutan.

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Photo credits: Pedro Sagüés

The Akha Experience in Laos

The Akha Experience in Laos. Photo: Pedro Sagüés

The Akha Experience in Laos

The Akha Experience is a community-based trekking that takes the participants on a three day learning experience into the culture and daily life of the Akha tribe in Muang Sing (Laos).

I did the experience in 2007. It consisted of a 6 hour a day trekking through the forest where we had the opportunity to visit eight villages, meet their villagers and learn their culture. We slept in their lodges, ate their food, played with their children, learned to spin cotton or pound rice, sang their songs at camp fires…

It’s an amazing experience that gives you the change to share three days with people with few resources but tons of happiness

More information about the Akha Experience.
People ask me if there is any special equipment you should wear or bring to the bush. Although you really don’t need it, I’d recommend to take a compass with you. I bought mine at this great website plenty of great gifts for adventurers.

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Photo credits: Pedro Sagüés