Guiding friends from Switzerland through wonderful Bhutan

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Many people kept on asking me if I would ever show them “my Bhutan”..

so in April 2015 I guided for the first time a tour through Bhutan: a group of seven friends from Switzerland and Liechtenstein accompanied me on a 15-days trip to Bhutan. Beside hiking through wonderful nature and visiting many sacred places we had encounters with a good variety of my Bhutanese friends: among them a traditional mask maker and his family, film makers, visual artists, a school principal, and a blind friend who runs an automobile spare parts shop.

In Bumthang -where we stayed in his Swiss Guesthouse- Swiss born legend Fritz Maurer who has become a highly respected Bhutanese since long ago was sharing with us insider stories about the begining of the Swiss-Bhutan friendship.

One of the most exciting and delightful places to stay in Bhutan is beautiful Ogyen Choling in Tang Valley where former Helvetas country director Walter Roder and his wife writer Kunzang Choden are running a wonderful guest house and probably the most interesting local museum in the country: Kunzang Choden herself guided us through her museum and explained about everything in her most compelling and competent way. In the evening a group of women from Ogyen Choling village were dancing and singing around a bonefire and gave us wonderful live experience of the local culture and traditons.

In Gangtey-Phobjikha a young monk was showing us around Gangtey monastery and inviting us for tea. I got to know him a few years back when I was working in a culture project for HELVETAS in four remote communities of Bhutan and he was then still living with his parents in one of these remote villages.

Near Trongsa the principal of a local school -who is an old and good friend of mine- was introducing us to his school offering us lively and detailed insight.

And last but not least: for everyone of the group it was a great pleasure and wonderful opportunity to learn more about Bhutan and the Bhutanese from my best friend and local partner Tshering Zam who accompanied us to many places in and around Thimphu and Paro and also to most famous Taktsang Monastery.

All photos taken by © Markus Wild during the group tour in April 2015

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Flying along the great Himalayan range towards the Kingdom of Bhutan

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Arrival at Paro International Airport, Bhutan

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A first lunch in a local restaurant in Paro town, experiencing a wonderful variety of authentic Bhutanese food.

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My best friend and local partner Tshering Zam with her daughter Tashi Yangzom
at the first annual Royal Bhutan Flower Exhibition in Paro

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Thimphu’s Tashichho Dzong at night

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Mural paintings at the entrance of one of the lhakhangs (temples) at Cheri Monastery, 15 km outside Thimphu

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Details of mural paintings at Cheri Monastery

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Prayerflags and statue in the garden of Khamsum Yuelley Namgyal Chorten, near Punakha dzong

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Chimi Lhakhang, a very old temple and monastery, built in 1499 in honour of the divine madman, saint Drukpa Kunley

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Young monks at the monastic school of Chimi Lhakhang

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Monk playing a self made flute at Chimi Lhakhang

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Punakha Dzong, probably the most beautiful dzong in Bhutan, built in 1637

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A lama monk in the Punakha dzong sitting below the “wheel of life”, a sacred painting showing the six realms of existence and the 12 links of dependent origination

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Kurjee Lhakhang in Bumthang, one of the most sacred Buddhist places in Bhutan

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A nightly song and dance session of local women, surrounded by their children
at beautiful Ogyen Choling in Tang Valley, Bumthang

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At Ogyen Choling, Tang Valley, Bumthang

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Membartsho (Burning Lake), another holy place in Bumthang,
the religious heart land of Buddhist Bhutan

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Beautiful Gangtay Village and Monastery in the high mountain valley of Phobjikha

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Girls on their way back home from school, Phobjikha Valley

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Girls on their way back home from school, Phobjikha Valley

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Phobjikha Valley

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Group photo on Dochu La pass

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Tshering Zam serving tea to the members of our group on the way to world famous Taktshang Lhakhang (Tigernest) above Paro

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