5 Reasons You Should Add Nepal To Your Bucket List!

West’s Bucket List looks at the places across the globe I want to visit. I look at why I want to go and why you maybe should too! Let me know what you guys think of Nepal down in the comments! This post is number 11 on West’s Bucket List. Enjoy!

“When we reached the prayer flags and a pile of rocks that marked the highest point on the pass, the view was brilliant. There was hardly a cloud in the sky. To the south we could see rolling foothills: the gentle ups and downs that we’d walked through. Some of the hillsides were red or purple with rhododendron blossoms. To the west and east there was a muddle of ridges and spurs. To the north, there were several mighty snow-capped himals. The real Himalayan giants were mostly east of where we stood.”

Jane Wilson-HOWARTH, CHASING THE TIGER

This quote, from my fellow compatriot, broadly captures those elements of Nepal’s natural landscape that I wish to experience. I thought it was a good place to start off but let’s now dive in on why I want to visit the country:

  1. Everest Base Camp

The trek up to Everest Base Camp is popular with adventurers from around the world!

The trek itself doesn’t require you to actually summit the tallest mountain on earth; however, it does require you to hike 11 days through the beautiful Himalayas. Sound good?

Of course, altitude sickness, and fatigue-related illnesses, are amongst the risks associated with the trek; however, if you’re fit and healthy then I’d consider the potential risks well worth the reward! My friend is a young doctor with some health complications, and she powered through the entire route. She said it was tough but very manageable if anybody doubts they might be capable!

The trip certainly isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. Instead, it requires a healthy dose of blood, sweat, and tears en route up amongst jagged snow topped mountains! Everything will be expensive on your hike too. If you want to charge your devices, or buy food and water, the locals will charge you a pretty penny because they can. Just bear that in mind and pack efficiently so you don’t have to splash out if you’re on a budget.

Overall, if hiking up to 5550 meters doesn’t appeal to you then maybe give base camp a miss but, otherwise, what’s your excuse?

  1. Annapurna Circuit

If you thought Everest Base Camp sounded tough, maybe you should stop reading. The Annapurna Circuit is reputed to be that much harder!

The trek can take up to 20 days and is around 200km long at some serious altitude! As with Everest Base Camp, you need to be fit and healthy, but not necessarily superman to make the trip. The trek has been voted the best long-distance hike in the world a number of times, and by a variety of sources. It concludes at the Kali Gandaki Gorge, the deepest gorge in the world! To be honest, the gorge sounds like a bucket list item in itself to me!

You can trek the Annapurna Circuit, and also up to Everest Base Camp, on your own if you so wish. Of course, going alone is cheaper but also more arduous, and requires more sophisticated planning, than travelling with a tour company so make your choice wisely!

It is also important to note that both Everest Base Camp and the Annapurna Circuit require hiking permits so, if you’re hiking either on your own, make sure you’ve purchased the appropriate documents to set up your trip. If you’re going with a group, also ensure that they will provide the permits, so you have nothing to worry about!

All in all, there are few better ways to see the Himalayas up close and personal than the Annapurna Circuit. It’s certainly on my bucket list!

  1. The Wildlife

Nepal is perhaps known best as the home of Mount Everest but, in other circles, it is heralded as a haven for some of the most spectacular wildlife on the planet!

There are three particular animals residing in Nepal which, in my opinion, would be worth the cost of a plane ticket in themselves.

The first is the elusive bengal tiger! It is one of the world’s charismatic megafauna and right up there with the most majestic apex predators earth has to offer!

With a muscular orange body, striking black markings, and a white underbelly, the bengal tiger is one of the most iconic animals you’ll likely ever see. Only 2,500 are left across the globe and they are as beautiful as they are rare. Nepal is second-to-none as a location if you want to see one!

Equally enigmatic, but even greater in stature than the bengal tiger, the greater one-horned rhinocerous is the armoured tank of the Indian subcontinent. They’re so comfortable in the water that, if you didn’t know any better, you could mistake one for a hippo at a glance!

The animal, just like the tiger, is vulnerable to poachers and both need your help. Look into sponsorship options if you really want to lend a hand in conservation efforts so that they are still out there when you make the trip!

Last, but by no means least, is the animal I want to see most of the three. The red panda more closely resembles a lemur than a giant panda! In fact, they aren’t closely related to the giant panda at all, with their size and form betraying their true lineage amongst the mustelids.

With their weasel-like bodies, but sporting painted faces, black limbs, and striated orange and white tails, red pandas are highly unusual and well worth seeing in the wild. Endemic to the Himalayas, Nepal is one of the few natural strongholds for the species and, thus, you have a great reason to visit!

  1. Paragliding in Pokhara

I know a few adventurists, even one or two fans of extreme sports, read this blog. So, when I read about paragliding, I knew I couldn’t leave it out!

I have never been tandem paragliding, or paragliding at all for that matter, and so I can’t speak to the particulars of the sport; however Pokhara is renowned across the world as one of the best places to do it. Going up at sunrise will provide you with an unmatched view of snowcapped mountains whilst you glide on Nepal’s natural rising thermals. Maybe you’ll even be joined by hawks on wing as they hunt in the skies!

Of course, people might be a little worried about paragliding in Nepal. The experience is, however, about as safe as paragliding can be, and, from all the reviews I have read, undoubtedly worth the trip!

  1. Kathmandu

Kathmandu is the capital city, as well as the cultural, religious, and economic hub of, Nepal.

It is home to an intricate labyrinth of alleyways which weave past colourful temples and cramped housing alike. Lonely Planet describes entering the city as a ‘pupil-dilating experience, a riot of sights, sounds, and smells that can quickly lead to sensory overload’.

Durbar Square, at Kathmandu’s center, is used for Buddhist rituals and Hindu rituals alike, amongst holding myriad other religious functions, and also has secular importance as a site where royal events take place. The square has spiritual significance and is seen by some as a place of meditation contemplation. You should visit it to see an important part of Nepalese culture!

If you want to find a little respite from the chaos of Kathmandu’s bustling streets, perhaps the Garden of Dreams is the place for you!

A neoclassical oasis at the heart of the Nepalese city, the Garden of Dreams was designed to mimic an Edwardian-era English garden. With flawless lawns, tranquil lily-laden ponds, and six pavilions, each architecturally designed to represent one of Nepal’s six seasons, the Garden of Dreams can be contrasted starkly with the rest of Kathmandu and is thus worth a visit in my opinion!

The last architectural marvel I wish to see in Kathmandu is Boudhanath Stupa.

A stupa is traditionally a domed structure used to stores Buddhist relics and Boudhanath is undoubtedly one of the most spectacular of all. It is identifiable by its great white dome topped with a spire, from which are draped long ropes adorned with colourful rags.

It is an absolutely critical part of the Buddhist faith and is wonderfully different from any religious building we have in the UK. That is why I so long to see it!

Finally, I would love to try Nepalese cuisine. I’m not incredibly gifted at eating spicy food, but I’d risk singed taste buds for what Nepal has to offer!

I have never tried a Dal, a lentil soup, served over Bhat, a type of rice, cooked in a country where it is a delicacy! That really appeals to me. I also wish to try thukpa, a Tibetan influenced Nepalese noodle dish! Made with chili and masala I believe it would assault my senses about as much as I could take! Hopefully, I get to try it one day!

Conclusion

Nepal has a wonderful blend of natural beauty and urban splendour!

From the tip of Mount Everest to the bottom of the Kali Gandaki Gorge, Nepal is a country of extremes! If you are an adventurer, or have adventurous tastes, then you have a duty to visit and make the most of all that it has to offer!

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Four Things I Want to See in Malacca Malaysia!

This post is number 7 on West’s Bucket List. Enjoy!

This city in Malaysia is one of culture and colour! If you were to look at the pictures of its red and pink buildings, you might think they were in somewhere like Cuba, and for good reason. Like Cuba, Malacca is something of a time capsule, visually still trapped in the colonial era with architecturally traditions lent from Portuguese, Dutch, and British settlers. Here are just two reasons I’m desperate to visit the city!

  1. Jonker Street Market

One of the most popular tourist attractions in the city is Jonker Street, the central promenade of china town.

Jonker Street supposedly has one of the best and most bustling night markets in all of Asia. Bargains and street foods of all types are available, virtually on tap, if you’re hungry or have an itchy finger when it comes to your wallet. That, coupled with the street party-style atmosphere of the gathering, makes Jonker Street unmissable if you’re spending a night in the city!

  1. The beautiful architecture

If, however, you want to take a more laid-back and slow-paced approach to exploring Malacca, perhaps the diverse range of buildings will take your fancy.

The creme de la creme is the 16th century A’Famosa Fort, constructed by Portuguese conquerors of Malacca. One gate stands, now alone, defending the city, flanked by two accompanying cannons. It is amongst the oldest European architecture still standing in Asia and reinforces the idea of Malaysia as an age-old cultural hub. That has to be worth seeing!

Beyond the Fort, Christ Church, with its giant white cross set against bright red walls, is the legacy of Dutch settlers who took the region from the Portuguese. It is well worth a look, whether you subscribe to the Christian faith or not, for its beautiful architecture and vibrant colouring.

Amongst the architecture there are homes for guns and gods alike! Explore both to your heart’s content!

  1. The Butterfly and Reptile sanctuary in Ayer Keroh.

If, however, you’d prefer to see a few of the animals native to Malaysia, you may perhaps choose to visit the butterfly and reptile sanctuary just 15 kilometers north of Malacca. It is the second largest zoo in the country and a very popular tourist attraction if you have the time! From delicate patterned butterflies to monstrous grey crocodiles, they have it all.

  1. The Sultanate Palace of the Mansur Shah of Malacca

This could come under architecture, but the Sultanate Palace is a reconstruction and it feels disingenuous to plug it in alongside the real historical remnants of A’Famosa Fort and Christ Church.

A wooden replica of the Sultan’s palace, the building was once an iconic symbol of the Malaccan Empire. This reconstruction is well worth a visit to see an important piece of Malaysian history!

Malacca isn’t widely or particularly well known; however, one of my best friends visited it and swore by the city. She commended Malacca for its laidback feel and beautiful aesthetics, although she said there wouldn’t be a lot to do if you find yourself there for a while. All in all, Malacca definitely sounds worth at least a stop off visit to me!

5 Things to Complete your Experience of the Great Barrier Reef!

This thread of posts is on my bucket list, both the parts of it I have done and those I am yet to do. It has been written to provide consistent content for your perusal (particularly with lockdown at the moment). I hope West’s Bucket Lists will provide some inspiration, perhaps for your future travels, and even a little escapism in these uncertain times. This post is number 6 on West’s Bucket List. Enjoy!

The Great Barrier Reef covers around 350 000km of Australian waters and is the world’s largest living structure. Unfortunately, it is dying, and that is why I fear if I wait much longer, I may not have the opportunity to see it. Rising sea temperatures are changing far too fast for the coral polyps to adapt their ways.

One of the seven natural wonders of the world, the reef is supposed to be a place of unspeakable beauty. In the hope that I may one day get to see it, still thriving, I’ve written this bucket list post a little differently. I’m going to provide you with a short list of possible ways to further your enjoyment if you ever happen to get to see The Great Barrier Reef.

Without further ado, here’s what my friends and family have recommended!

  1. Whitehaven Beach

The best beach in Australia? I think few would disagree. If you like sand, sea, and sky, there is just about nowhere better to spend a few days of your time.

On Whitsunday Island, at the heart of the reef, white pristine sand stretches for miles, bordering the electric blue Pacific Ocean. Oceanside restaurants, like the Marina Tavern, can provide you with food and drink to supplement the experience, but no where’s cheap so maybe consider packing a picnic to bring with you.

As you lie on the silica sand, you may be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of turtles or dolphins in the water but, if not, take a trip out into the surf by boat and seek them out! There’s no shortage of tour possibilities to enhance your day at the beach.

  1. Snorkelling

If you don’t want to strap on a dive tank and dive into the depths of the reef, snorkeling can still provide you with a way to immerse yourself in the subaquatic world.

I actually prefer snorkeling to diving. Don’t get me wrong, diving definitely provides you with a more comprehensive underwater experience. You come far more up close and personal with the reef and its various inhabitants; however, I like to take my time looking at the wildlife and exploring. Snorkeling can give you hours and hours of continuous entertainment where you would have to return to the surface if diving. Moreover, snorkeling gives you added freedom to move in the water, without the hindrance of cumbersome equipment. There is something discernibly natural about that.

Perhaps the most significant reason why you should choose to go snorkeling is that it is considerably cheaper than diving. A mask, snorkel, and perhaps a pair of fins, should set you back less than £50 (unless you plan to buy professional gear) and can provide years of waterborne fun. For the thrifty traveller in me, that is partly why it is one of my absolute favourite activities when I am abroad.

  1. Scuba Diving

Having made a case for snorkeling the reef; scuba diving, to many, will be a preferable choice. It will set you back an absolute minimum of 100 AUD per dive around the reef, but if that doesn’t put you off, there are plenty of reasons to get yourself down towards the sea floor.

From small, striped, and colourful clownfish in their sea anemone huts, to great grey groupers hunting over the sand, there is every type of fish before your very eyes down in this portion of the deep blue. Moreover, corals as far as they eye can see and turtles, reptilian sentinels watching over the reef, complete a composite image of the thriving ecosystem. Apparently, according to the people who have visited, there is no place quite like it.

For an utterly immersive experience down and personal with the reef, get diving.

  1. Mon Repos

Mon Repos is the home of the turtle center. The center itself is a hub dedicated to turtle research and protection, as well as the education of the public.

If you have kids, Mon Repos is a great place to teach them about marine life and conservation. Get yourself out on a night tour to see turtles laying, or hatching, depending upon when you arrive. I’ve seen both phenomena, in Florida and Oman respectively, and its an experience that will truly live long in the memory.

Pricing isn’t too bad but check the Mon Repos website for updates because I can’t guarantee they will stay stable when we get out of lockdown.

  1. Take to the skies

There are lots of different options for tour operates who provide flights over the reef, be it by plane or by helicopter.

If you thought diving under the water offered you a unique perspective, a low flying tour over the reef will offer you one which even fewer people are blessed with. It is an experience that few people consider but, by all accounts, one that is magnificent.

If expense, or your carbon footprint, are on the brain then you might not be inclined to take a flight. For those reasons, it would not be under consideration for me; however, but for both factors, I have heard nothing but good things about such trips.

Conclusion

I hope that I have given you a little inspiration for your trip to Australia, whether you were considering taking one or not. I am positively buzzing about the prospect of lockdown ending in the near future and writing these posts to learn that bit more about the world is just about the only thing keeping me going. I hope they are providing something to you all as well! Happy Lockdown!

Why I want to visit Mount Fuji!

“Aspire to be like Mt. Fuji, with such a broad and solid foundation that the strongest earthquake cannot move you, and so tall that the greatest enterprises of common men seem insignificant from your lofty perspective. With your mind as high as Mt Fuji you can see all things clearly. And you can see all the forces that shape events; not just the things happening near to you.”

MIyamoto musashi

This thread of posts is on my bucket list, both the parts of it I have done and those I am yet to do. It has been written to provide consistent content for your perusal (particularly with lockdown at the moment). I hope West’s Bucket Lists will provide some inspiration, perhaps for your future travels, and even a little escapism in these uncertain times. This post is number 5 on West’s Bucket List. Enjoy!

Mount Fuji, although famous the world over, only really jumped onto my radar as an addition to my bucket list once I read Shoe Dog by Phil Knight, the founder of Nike. In his quest to find those places in the world which most spoke to him on an ethereal level, Phil Knight described climbing Mount Fuji as a ‘mystical experience’. That really caught my attention.

I have never been a particularly religious person. I went to a Christian school and some of my closest friends have strong connections to their faith; however, that was something I never came to share. For one reason or another, common forms of worship just didn’t seem to resonate with my personality.

Instead, my father raised me with a profound respect for nature. To respect the land and all of those creatures living upon it with a sense of quasi-reverence. I believe it is for this reason that my travels already seem to end up taking me to places of unadulterated and exquisite natural beauty. These places stir something deep within me.

Gullfoss, the roaring waterfall in Iceland, for example, captured my attention for it enormity and sheer power, whilst Madagascar, where I saw the horrors of mass deforestation, evoked strong senses of awe and terror in my psyche. As I travel further, it is such personal responses that I am looking for in nature, and many of my posts will reflect that. Mt Fuji is, therefore, somewhere that I hope will sit amongst these unearthly places.

Fuji’s name is something of a mystery. It has been claimed, in the Tale of the Bamboo Cutter, that the name means immortal; however, there are just as many who claim the name derives from any one of a number of other possible etymological origins.

Mount Fuji itself is nearly four kilometers of snow capped mountain which hides a terrible secret. Although serene to observe, beneath still rock churns fire and smoke. The mountain is a volcano, albeit one which has not erupted in three hundred years, shrouded in a light cloud hat and snow topped peak. I’s outward beauty make its an apt sacred site and symbol for practitioners of Shinto, the indigenous faith of Japan.

Only around thirty five minutes from Tokyo by bullet train, Mt Fuji is a must if you are ever in the city. Ascent of the mountain is not supposedly particularly difficult. Hundreds of thousands of people hike the mountain every Summer and most without guides. You shouldn’t need one either should you follow the trails.

Of course, bring with you provisions, such as food and water, as well as money to buy more. There are many stations where you can pick up further supplies if you should wish or need to. There are associated risks whenever hiking and you should beware of both exhaustion and altitude sickness. If you have health conditions that should threaten to do you him, be careful and think twice about attempting the journey.

It might be that the view of Mount Fuji from ground level is more appealing to you than the view from the top. It is, of course, the form of the mountain which boasts to have inspired master artist Katsushika Hokusai, and through his work, the paintings of Vincent Van Gogh and compositions of Claude Debussy.

To say that views of Mount Fuji are iconic is therefore laughably understated; however, I don’t think the trip would really be complete without reaching the summit of this ancient volcano as well as laying eyes upon it. I think if you are visiting, and able to make the hike, a pilgrimage to the top should be a perfect way to experience one of element of Japan’s magnificence. I certainly plan on getting up there!

“In the darkness you could hear the crying women, the wailing of infants, and the shouting of men. Some prayed for help. Others wished for death. But still more imagined that there were no Gods left, and that the universe was plunged into eternal darkness.”

pliny the younger’s sombre take on the horrors of a volcanic eruption.

Why I Want to Visit Cairo!

This thread of posts is on my bucket list, both the parts of it I have done and those I am yet to do. It has been written to provide consistent content for your perusal (particularly with lockdown at the moment). I hope West’s Bucket Lists will provide some inspiration, perhaps for your future travels, and even a little escapism in these uncertain times. This post is number 4 on West’s Bucket List. Enjoy!

I am desperate to visit Cairo and the surrounding area.

As an ancient history enthusiast, as well as a former student of the subject, Cairo encapsulates one of my many visions of paradise. The Giza pyramid complex, the Saqqara Necropolis, and the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, all rank very high on my list of attractions worldwide that I desperately want to visit.

The Great Pyramid of Giza, to spare you the full history lesson, was built further away, temporally, from Augustus’ Ara Pacis than the Burj Khalifa was. If that architecture factoid doesn’t stun you then I don’t know what will! Thus, as the oldest of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, this one of a kind pyramid has become that symbol which defines Egypt, at least in my eyes. To boot, the sphinx, right on it’s doorstep, is too good an opportunity to pass up if I’m ever in the region.

As the pyramids and the sphinx are practically rockstars of the ancient world, you probably don’t need me to explain why I want to see them. The necropolis at Saqqara though, might not have caught your eye before. The Pyramid of Djoser, at this site, is around 4,700 years old and is a legacy of a way of life so unimaginably different from our own that it is almost impossible to comprehend. It is so ancient that it claims to be the oldest still complete building known to exist in the entire world. An opportunity to see a building like that is something I just can’t possibly give up on.

Finally, the Egyptian Museum in Cairo houses one of the artefacts I must one day see. In the same personal pantheon in which I have placed marvels such as the Lewis Chessmen, the turquoise double headed serpent of the Aztecs, the golden ornate belt buckle of Sutton Hoo, and the Antikythera Mechanism, I have also set the golden mask of Tutankhamun. It is perhaps the singular most beautiful piece of art I have ever laid eyes upon and I desperately hope to come across it, at its home in Cairo, one day.

Of course, there are far more reasons to visit Cairo than just the history. Koshary, for example, is a spicy street food made of assorted vegetables, lentils, macaroni, and rice, and is supposed to be a delectable dish, and a local delicacy. So, if you’re after great food and interesting culture, I’m sure Cairo can give that to you as well, it’s just not the main reason I’m going there!

Let me know if you have any recommendations for what to do/try in Cairo. I am always welcome to some good ideas!

Who Else Wants to See The Big Five?

To paraphrase my previous sentiment, this blog may seem to be something of a rat’s nest. I am therefore writing this thread of posts on my bucket list, the parts I have done and those I am yet to do, to provide consistent content for your perusal. I hope West’s Bucket Lists will provide some inspiration, perhaps for your future travels, and even a little escapism in these uncertain times. This post is number 3 on West’s Bucket List. Enjoy!

On my list is one of the most iconic challenges known to safari tourists the world over. I of course want to see the Big Five in their natural habitats. A cape buffalo, an elephant, a black rhinoceros, a leopard, and a lion.

My sister has had the distinct pleasure of doing so and I am incredibly jealous. Across trips to South Africa and Kenya she even saw an elusive leopard, hauled up at the base of an acacia tree. I have made a start to the five though. So far, I’ve seen several solitary water buffalo, a handful of herds of elephants, and a majestic pride of lions, complete with cubs. Whilst not a wildlife expert, my bachelor’s degree being in ancient history, I am passionate about conservation and never fail to have my breath taken away by seeing spectacular fauna exactly where it’s supposed to be.

On visits to the Maasai Mara and Serengeti, both of which were on my bucket list and may deserve separate posts in themselves, my reverence for the phenomenal wildlife was perhaps only matched by my wonderment at the beautiful landscapes in which I saw them. Sprawling planes, meandering rivers, and endless golden grass set against the backdrop of a fire orange sky is, in itself, that which has brought me closest to a feeling of true serenity perhaps in my entire life.

If my dual summation, on the spectacular nature of both the animals and their habitats, appeals to you, save up some money and try get out to see the Big Five.

Why Iguazu Falls Should Be High on Your Bucket List!

To paraphrase my previous sentiment, this blog may seem to be something of a rat’s nest. I am therefore writing this thread of posts on my bucket list, the parts I have done and those I am yet to do, to provide consistent content for your perusal. I hope West’s Bucket Lists will provide some inspiration, perhaps for your future travels, and even a little escapism in these uncertain times. This post is number 2 on West’s Bucket List. Enjoy!

Next up on my list is Iguazu Falls. For many people’s money, these are the crème de le crème of waterfalls across the world. I’ve seen some beautiful ones. Plitvice in Croatia, Yosemite falls in the USA, and Gullfoss in Iceland, to name just a few. Iguazu is absolutely at the top of my list though. I’m yet to visit South America, and perhaps that partly plays into why I am desperate to see Iguazu; however, the pictures of it, as I look at them now, reaffirm my absolute desire to visit the falls.

Where Iguazu is located, at the convergence of Argentina’s Misiones Province and Brazil’s Parana State, a torrent of water cascades over basalt in an arc down into what is colloquially known as the devil’s throat canyon. White water, beneath blue sky, and surrounded by dense pockets of emerald canopy, sounds like paradise to me.

Your hard-earnt money, spent on all manner of touristy activities at the fall, will also go further to help protect the biodiversity and pristine habitat of the region. Like Bhutan, if you spend your money wisely and try to keep your footprints in the area as harmless as possible, there is no reason your visit can’t benefit Iguazu Falls.

As a perfect stop off when planning to travel between Brazil and Argentina, or vice versa, Iguazu is a must see and, when I eventually get down to South America, somewhere I dare not miss.

An Intro to West’s Bucket List and Bhutan!

This blog may seem to be something of a rat’s nest. There are a variety of types of post running in every which way and, unfortunately, that may not lend itself to complete clarity.

I therefore believe that a series of posts, linked thematically and regularly written, may help to bring about some semblance of order to my blog for you, the readers. Therefore, to go alongside my Lockdown Reads series, I am writing my West’s Bucket List series. The posts in West’s Bucket List will be grouped into former, things I have done that were on the list, and future, those things that I desperately wish to do and are therefore still on it. Let me know in the comments if you have any ideas as to what I should add to my bucket list and I may well do some reading up and add them!

So, that was a little intro to what I’m doing and now here’s my first entry.

Most of my list is made up of activities I wish to try, foods I wish to taste, or very specific cities, or regions, I wish to visit; however, Bhutan is an entire country that I’m desperate to see every inch of.

I first heard of the country when I watched the BBC documentary Lost Land of the Tiger as a kid. In it, a team of wildlife experts and film makers search the mountainous and heavily forested regions in Bhutan to identify a, then unidentified, tiger population. I was absolutely taken aback by the dramatic panoramic shots of the country and resolved to one day visit. High in the Himalayas, Bhutan boasts a magical combination of monasteries and mountains. The pictures of Taktsang, nestled abreast a sheer cliff face and atop a rocky outcrop in the upper Paro valley, should be iconic. Perhaps the temple would be if more new people knew of Bhutan and I believe that, one day very soon, they may well do.

Whether you visit to learn what you can of Buddhist culture, hike among the national parks, or seek out the elusive tiger, visiting Bhutan will unfortunately set you back a pretty penny. That is perhaps why I fear that visiting it will fall far down my list of priorities. The government has put a minimum of $200 per day, per person, to visit the country even in low season. This is with the noble aim of ensuring the country isn’t ravaged by the negative impacts of tourism, something I genuinely and wholeheartedly commend. Unfortunately though, that alone makes the trip unaffordable for some, myself included at present; however, I one day intend to go. I hope to see you there when I do!