Entering ‘The Last Shangri La’ – Bhutan

After a week of meetings and planning future courses, its now time to move on to Bhutan. The 50 minute flight from Kathmandu to Paro has got to be the best commute I’ve ever done, flying along with the Himalayas on the left of the plane and stunning views of Everest.

As many of you know my first visit here was in 2006 when I was part of a team invited in by the King to explore the country using its river systems. 70% of the country is still marked as ‘dense mixed jungle’ with the main road infrastructure running East to West across the country, whereas the rivers run North to South right the way across Bhutan. Our trip took us to places never seen by western eyes before with unrestricted access throughout this Buddhist kingdom, including the first descent of the Mangde Chu river and the first access into the Manas region, one of the biggest bio diverse regions left on the planet and a UNESCO world heritage site.

This journey opened a new world for me that has been hidden away from western visitors and influence until recently, and now become a place I feel privileged to be able to visit and work – one of my favourite destinations in the world.

Bhutan, Mangdi Chu (River) Expedition

Bhutan, Mangdi Chu (River) Expedition – Live the Adventure

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Since 2006, I have been back frequently guiding itineraries throughout Bhutan and leading another multi-day river expedition in the far East into Manas in 2012 on the Drangme Chu  – the same river corridor the BBC portrayed in ‘Lost land of the Tigers’.  Ours was one of the first commercially guided trips with clients on this river and certainly the first European group. This meant that, I had become one of the first kayakers to complete the descents of the two main drainages flowing through the country and many of its tributaries.

As a result of these early trips, the first Bhutanese river companies were established and over the last few years I have had the honour to work with these companies in training the first Bhutanese local staff as river guides and issuing them with internationally recognised certification.

In addition to this, through this work and work with colleagues in the country we have highlighted one of Bhutan’s hidden secrets – its adventure! Bhutan has predominently been a destination for culture to a rather more mature age range! Over the last few years we have opened the potential to one of the best adventure travel locations in the world, with pristine rivers to kayak and raft, and stunning mountains, valleys and forest trails to trek and bike in. All of this blended with the beauty and splendour of its Dzongs, Monasteries, religion and culture.  No where else in the world will you find a combination like this.

Bhutan, Mangdi Chu (River) Expedition - Live the Adventure

Bhutan, Mangdi Chu (River) Expedition – Live the Adventure

Live the Adventure Travel - Expedition Mangdi Chu River

Live the Adventure Travel – Expedition Mangdi Chu River

Over the next 12 months in Bhutan as part of Live The Adventure, we will be training more staff as adventure travel guides, working with these guides in researching more unexplored river and mountain locations for adventure travel and expanding our own guided itineraries to the country.

Towards the Autumn of 2015, we will be working with long term friends and colleagues as they open the first luxury Lodge and Resort in the stunning Punaka valley offering adventure programmes in the country and a range of unmatched itineraries to the place they call ‘Land of the Thunder Dragon!’

Bhutan is hard to fully explain, and by far much better to visit!

Live the Adventure Worldwide Travel, Dzong Bhutan

Live the Adventure Worldwide Travel, Dzong Bhutan

Tomorrow, I’ll be meeting the group as they arrive for our 10 a day ‘Inside Bhutan’ itinerary – a combination of culture, rafting, trekking, hot springs, and mountain biking. I’ll be posting regular blogs as we travel through the country so you can keep up with the journey, and maybe it will give you the urge to visit this stunning adventure location in the future.

 

Ant

 

 

 

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