The Ascent to Tiger’s Nest

76 comments
Asia, Bhutan, South

A Drukair Airbus A319 getting ready for take off

Long before I finally set foot in Bhutan, I had dreamed of visiting a monastery in this Himalayan kingdom so marvelous it has become an iconic landmark of the tiny country. Its cliff-side location provides a spectacular setting and its name evokes curiosity: Tiger’s Nest. While Bhutan is in fact one of very few places in the world where the tiger population is thriving (thanks to large swathes of protected forests and religious reverence of the Bhutanese toward the big cat), the monastery owes its name to a story of Padmasambhava, also known as Guru Rinpoche, who is credited for introducing Tibetan Buddhism to Bhutan in the eighth century.

In sixth-century India, a new brand of Buddhism emerged, focusing on practices designed to hasten one’s progress toward enlightenment. Known as Tantric Buddhism or Vajrayana, it requires a close guidance of a master or a guru as it incorporates esoteric rituals, complex meditations, sacred dances, and other unorthodox means to accelerate one’s realization of his/her innate Buddha potential. Padmasambhava was the ultimate guru, and true to the spirit of this new school of Buddhism, he brought the religion from Tibet to Bhutan in an unusual manner: he flew from Tibet to this cliff in Bhutan, near modern-day Paro, on the back of a tigress. In one of the caves in this area, he then meditated for months and transformed himself into eight manifestations, representing different aspects of his being.

Almost one thousand years after the arrival of Padmasambhava to Bhutan, the fourth Druk Desi (secular ruler of the country) Tenzin Rabgye instituted the tradition of tshechu (a sacred dance festival to honor Padmasambhava who had performed the metaphysical dances to subdue bad forces) which are still practiced across the kingdom today. In 1692, at the location where Padmasambhava meditated in the eighth century, Tenzin Rabgye laid the foundation of a temple to fulfill the wish of Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyel – the unifier of Bhutan as a nation-state and the leader responsible for creating a distinct Bhutanese cultural identity separate from that of Tibet – who had died 41 years earlier.

And more than three centuries later, here I was in Paro, 10 kilometers away from Taktsang – the local name for Tiger’s Nest – readying myself to do the hike to the supposedly impressive monastery.

The night before our final day in Bhutan, I told Kinga about the weather forecast which said the following day would be cloudy with chances of showers. Our guide, perhaps out of optimism or the hope that he didn’t want to disappoint us, said conditions would be fine. It was the crowds he was more concerned with since Tiger’s Nest is the most popular site in the entire country. But coming from the world’s most populous island, I wasn’t too worried.

On the following day, ahead of leaving the comfort of our Paro hotel for the beginning of the hike to Tiger’s Nest, we witnessed a Drukair A319 taking off to the southeast amid thick low clouds that blanketed the mountains as far as the eye could see – it must be very exhilarating for those few pilots who are certified to fly in and out of Paro. The clouds were also a reminder of the postcard we were given on our first day in Bhutan, showing Tiger’s Nest perched on its precarious site overlooking the valley beneath overcast skies. I was hoping that the weather would turn out like how it was when Kelly went, but as soon as we started the hike I began to see that having clouds to block the sun wasn’t that bad after all.

A modern machine soaring above traditional structures

Into the cloud-covered mountains of Bhutan

The view at the start of the hike

First glimpse of Tiger’s Nest

Situated 900 meters above the valley, Tiger’s Nest is usually visible from the parking area as Kinga told us. But not today. We had to use our imagination to guess where its exact location was, but it was alright; we just followed Kinga and other tourists in front of us. Not far from the starting point of the hike, a repetitive clang reverberated in the mysterious ambiance of the otherwise silent forest. As the sound got louder, it became clear what caused it: a small creek turning a giant prayer wheel which was installed there to bless those who live downstream.

Along the way, multiple signposts reminding people about the importance of keeping the environment clean acted as markers along the dirt path.

“They should do the same in Indonesia,” James half-jokingly said to me since littering still is a big problem in my home country.

We were walking on the same pathway Bhutan’s kings as well as foreign royalty – including Prince Charles, Prince William and Kate Middleton – had taken to reach the monastery. The closest to convenience one could possibly get here is riding a horse, but we opted to go on foot since this was a rare opportunity for both of us who love hiking but can’t really do it in Jakarta as the nearest hills or mountains from the city are a few hours’ drive away (depending on the traffic). What was potentially quite a challenging hike beneath the blazing sun, thanks to the absence of trees shading the hiking trail, turned out to be not that difficult. The fact that the low clouds obscured much of the valley forced me to pay more attention to everything in the immediate vicinity.

Kinga pointed at a type of moss which he said solely exists in forests with very clean air; the car park by now was already far below us and the only rather strong scent in the air, apart from the trees, were horse droppings. We also spotted a yellow-billed blue magpie which was looking at us as though reciprocating our curiosity, a Himalayan striped squirrel that piqued the attention of a dog, and a spotted nutcracker surveying the misty forest below.

At one point, I realized it was Phuntsho who was keeping up with our pace. In fact, he was faster than us. But Kinga seemed to be having issues not far behind.

“He has a problem with one of his knees,” our driver told us. Worried, we asked Kinga about his condition and as always, he assured us that it was nothing to be too concerned about.

Like other hikers, at the halfway point to the monastery we took a quick break at a small café which provided biscuits to nibble on, milk tea to drink, and … cats! These little feline friends showed us their typical nonchalant behavior, with their eyes closed and bodies curled up. But when no one was paying attention, they would grab your biscuits, or whatever was left on your saucer. The cats were adorable and the milk tea was warm and soothing, but the real treat was when, all of a sudden, Tiger’s Nest revealed itself to everyone at our vantage point. It was a majestic man-made structure that seemed to defy logic, situated on the side of a steep cliff with nothing but thin air separating it from the forest below.

A yellow-billed blue magpie curiously looking at us

A Himalayan striped squirrel which attracted a dog’s attention

Horses for those who need more than just two feet

These dogs prefer to hang around near the colorful prayer flags

Cute, fluffy cats at the café

It looks closer now, but we’re still halfway there

Water droplets on a white dahlia

A spotted nutcracker amidst the clouds

Not long afterward we continued our journey, and as we got higher rain started to fall. It was a delight when we reached a flat section of the path toward the end of the trek, and soon enough Tiger’s Nest came into view. The compound was bigger than what I had imagined, and to think that it was originally built in the 17th century was mind-blowing. In 1998, a fire destroyed the main structure of the monastery, but in 2005 it was restored to its original form, costing the kingdom millions of ngultrum (the local currency).

Even when the clouds occasionally obscured the monastery, the entire vista was as surreal as it was humbling. Modern-day visitors are ‘pampered’ for they can climb down the stairs at the end of the hike. But in the past, people had to navigate this potentially dangerous pathway on foot, by horse and possibly donkey as well, carrying loads of building materials to construct such an elegant Buddhist structure in this least probable place. We carefully went down the stairs, crossed a bridge with a beautiful waterfall to our left and the lush valley to our right, climbed a little bit more, and finally we arrived at the gate of Tiger’s Nest. After storing all of our belongings at a designated locker room, Kinga guided us through the multiple structures and chambers inside this peaceful compound.

The air was cool and fresh, the prayers were solemn, and even some Mainland Chinese visitors also prostrated in one of the prayer halls, a sight that caught both James and I by surprise. Tiger’s Nest is one of those places that must be visited to be believed, for its architecture and its old murals are true wonders to be treasured. “You work in a bank, right?” Kinga looked at me when we were inside one of the buildings. “This is their bank,” he continued while pointing at a hole in the floor a few levels deep where visitors and pilgrims dropped donations for the monastery. We all chuckled.

Kinga was right about the crowds. Despite the far-from-ideal weather, a steady stream of tourists kept coming to Tiger’s Nest and that made us decide to return to the entrance after lingering for a few minutes in a far corner of the monastery. Then it rained even more heavily, forcing James and I to don our hooded waterproof jackets. Carefully we went down and up again on the slippery stairs to where we had been before, continuously checking on the view of Taktsang when we reached safer spots to take photos.

While going up is James’s forte, I always enjoy going down more including this time, or so I thought. The rain had made the dirt path muddy and very slippery, and keeping my balance proved to be no mean feat. Kinga informed us which part of the path was easier to step on, as well as the places to avoid. We tried our best not to fall, but then at one point I stepped on the wrong side and slipped forward. Luckily Kinga was just a meter away in front of me, and with his quick Spider-Man reflex he put his right hand before my torso, preventing me from suffering a humiliating fall.

Two hours later, we found ourselves back at where we had started the hike, this time with Tiger’s Nest visible on the cliffs behind us. I could not stop marveling at this remarkable structure, but we had to return to our minivan and head to a nearby restaurant for a much-needed lunch. At the curiously empty venue, we both looked like we’d had a very bad day. But no one else was there except a friendly waitress who might have secretly laughed at us upon seeing how messy we were. It wasn’t long until the dishes arrived, and without even telling Kinga that we would prefer to have local food, he’d already ordered only Bhutanese dishes for us. We couldn’t have been happier, and it turned out the food here was one of the tastiest we had throughout our stay in the country. Still, I couldn’t fathom why the place was devoid of other visitors.

A waterfall and a cave on the final approach to Tiger’s Nest

Lion Cave, a section of the monastery compound off-limits to tourists

Tiger’s Nest, Bhutan’s most iconic landmark

A magnificent structure that is bigger than I previously thought

A final look at Taktsang

Rinpung Dzong in Paro at night

Hello Mount Everest!

In the afternoon, we took a break for several hours, had a refreshing hot water shower, and just chilled while waiting for a plane to land or take off from the airport. When it got dark, Kinga and Phuntsho took us to a farmhouse to have a hearty Bhutanese meal for the very last time before we had to say goodbye to this beautiful country the next morning. The farmhouse occupied a multi-story structure just outside Paro, and inside we were seated on the floor of what seemed to be the living room. On one side of the wall a painting depicting Bhutan as a part of a complex network of temples and monasteries with Tibet as the focal point was a reminder of the kingdom’s past connection with its neighbor to the north across the mighty Himalayas.

A friendly old woman appeared from the other room, carrying a metal tray with several medium-sized pots filled with some Bhutanese dishes we were already quite familiar with. Ema datshi (cheese and chili) was of course part of the menu, and there were also two dishes with beef, and red rice, a quintessentially Bhutanese source of carbohydrates. Just as we started eating, suddenly the power went out, leaving us with our meals in a pitch black room. Kinga and Phuntsho instantly took out their cellphones and turned on the torchlight, and so did I. Moments like this make me appreciate the convenience modern technology has provided us, although there are times when I loathe it for it allows people to creep into my personal space. When we finished our meal, the electricity had still not been restored, which was a shame since the house itself was filled with interesting items.

Phuntsho drove us back to town. From afar, Rinpung Dzong’s white walls were beautifully illuminated, as were those of Ta Dzong’s, but the bright lights were such a stark contrast to where we had just come from a few minutes earlier. We went to a spot near the entrance to the bigger dzong, took some photos of the imposing structure, and then James proposed the idea of buying Phuntsho and Kinga some drinks at a local bar or café to have a chat before we would bid them adieu the next morning. Phuntsho knew a place, obviously, since he lives in this town, and drove us there.

At the second floor of the venue we exchanged stories – them about Bhutan and us about Indonesia and Hong Kong – with us naturally encouraging them to visit Indonesia one day to see the Southeast Asian country’s plethora of ancient Buddhist monuments, including Borobudur – the world’s largest Buddhist structure.

“Bali is one of the places I want to see the most,” Kinga said, further affirming the popularity of this Indonesian island that far outstrips the rest of the country where it belongs.

It would be exciting to see these two gentlemen come to Indonesia one day for they had shown me the stunning beauty of their country. I can say for certain that Bhutan was worth every penny of the trip. It is easily one of the most memorable places I’ve ever traveled to, and it is in everyone’s interest to see this small kingdom thrive for many generations to come without sacrificing its pristine nature and unique culture. In the end, to Kinga and Phuntsho (if they read this), and those who wish to come to Bhutan, tashi delek!*

*   *   *

*Tashi delek is an auspicious and versatile expression used in Bhutan and other Himalayan regions whose meanings include: wishing you well, good wishes, congratulations, cheers, good luck, and so on.

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Based in Jakarta, always curious about the world, always fascinated by ancient temples, easily pleased by food.

76 thoughts on “The Ascent to Tiger’s Nest”

  1. Great post Bama. It sounds as if Tiger’s Nest was really special despite the weather. Your entire trip to Bhutan sounds wonderful. I hope we get there one day.
    Alison

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    • Thanks Alison. I was really impressed with Tiger’s Nest, but I think you would appreciate this monastery even more. Hope you and Don will get the chance to visit Bhutan soon!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Beautiful and insightful, and as majestic a travelogue as the heavenly monastery itself. I was so engrossed I had to shake myself back to reality after the post. Wish you a Happy New Year and many more spectacular journeys.

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    • You’re always kind, Umashankar. People usually visit Tiger’s Nest at the very end of their trip to Bhutan not only for convenience as it’s not too far from the international airport, but also because this monastery really is a sight to behold. Happy New Year too and wish you a year filled with happiness!

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  3. You made it sound like you had no problems hiking up to Tiger’s Nest. I had to battle with breathlessness due to the thin air. That was the most uncomfortable part of the hike.

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    • It wasn’t the easiest hike, for sure, but probably because we kept our pace steady in the end we spent around two hours up, and another two down, which according to Kinga was quite alright. Of course, we made sure to stop every now and then thanks to the thin air.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Great ending for your trip!
    I’ve to say, had I been there I probably would’ve liked those moody skies more than sunshine. For starters, trekking in the shade is better than sweating your ass off, but there’s also something in those low-hanging clouds cruising around the departing plane… Adds to the drama.

    Loved the squirrel! Over here in the UK there’s an invasion of those horrid grey ones, almost as big as cats. In Italy we’ve got tiny red ones, but that Himalayan specie is really beautiful! And I really liked the nutcracker keeping watch.

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    • It would’ve been a much more difficult hike had the sun showed itself. So yea, in hindsight I’m glad the hike turned out to be quite manageable and not too arduous. As for the plane, I was wondering whether it would still depart in such weather — it must have been quite a thrilling experience for the passengers!

      Speaking of squirrel and cat, today I saw a kitten climbing a tree trying to catch an adult squirrel. Don’t worry, everyone left the scene unscathed. Do you know where those invasive grey species in the UK came from?

      Liked by 1 person

      • I doubt if any plans like what New Zealand is currently doing — eradicating several invasive species from its islands — is on the table for politicians in the UK. Brexit will take everyone’s energy for quite some time.

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      • Ah, the squirrels have been here a loooong time, and I daresay there are most important things to do. Besides the obvious, there’s the fact that Universal Credit is effectively killing the poor, crime is rising (due to police cuts, obviously) the railways are a mess and the NHS is a sneeze away from falling to bits!

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  5. Very well written
    I am from Bhutan and we are always glad to know when someone from foreign countries writes about best trip in bhutan.
    Thank you for visiting our country.

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  6. Your excellent descriptions and photos make us feel like we might have actually been to these fascinating locations! I always wonder at the first person, many many years ago, who gazed at the ledge high above and thought, ” Hmmm, looks like a perfect place to build, no problem….” And then did it.

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    • You’re too kind, Marilyn. But I’m glad this post made you feel that way. Actually I also often think the same whenever I visit ancient places that were built on spectacular locations. Whoever had those ideas and made them into reality were probably considered mad at first, but admired later on.

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  7. Bama I absolutely loved following along with you to Tiger’s Nest. The weather perhaps not ideal and thank goodness Kinga saved you from a fall. I’m a fan of going down myself and often feel as though my lungs are trying to eject from my chest while going up. Wonderful to hear about the country’s sensitivity to littering. It was a shock to me in SE Asia to see the amount of garbage laying about. I think in Canada we take a great deal forgranted and the fact that littering is illegal and fined heavily in many areas.

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    • It wasn’t ideal for photography — even James had to wipe his lens several times because of the rain — but at least it wasn’t scorching hot. Trash is a big problem in many developing countries, and unfortunately in the latest top 10 list of the countries polluting the oceans the most, five hail from Southeast Asia: Indonesia (ranked 2nd), the Philippines (3rd), Vietnam (4th), Thailand (7th) and Malaysia (8th). However, in Indonesia one province after another are finally taking steps to reduce plastic waste because local governments are beginning to realize that something needs to be done fast.

      Liked by 1 person

    • 2019 is still a week old, so it’s not too late to make a travel resolution, i.e. to visit Bhutan this year. 🙂 Thank you for reading and leaving such a nice comment.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. This sounds like it was your best day in Bhutan; plus what a bonus spotting wildlife, especially the magpie. I know how thrilled I get when a hummingbird or bluejay come on to my balcony.

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    • Seeing Tiger’s Nest with my own eyes will remain one of my best travel experiences for many years to come. And the hike was even nicer thanks to the wildlife, as you mentioned. Had it been a sunny day I probably would have paid less attention to my immediate surroundings.

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  9. Nice story and photos seperti biasanya, Bama. Like it. Nggak salah deh kalian memutuskan untuk trekking dan mendapatkan gambar pemandangan bagus, flora dan fauna endemik di sepanjang jalan. Nggak kebayang juga gimana caranya bahan bangunan dibawa naik, membangunnya di tebing, ahh Tiger Nest memang tempat wajib dikunjungi di Bhutan. 🙂

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    • Terima kasih, Halim. Gak kebayang kan kok orang zaman dulu bisa ngangkut material bangunan sebanyak itu untuk membangun Tiger’s Nest. Dedikasi dan semangat mereka sangat luar biasa memang karena bahkan untuk ukuran tahun 2018 saja Tiger’s Nest ini bukan tempat yang secara fisik mudah dicapai. Kalau suatu saat ke Bhutan gak boleh enggak ke sini. Wajib hukumnya. 🙂

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  10. Mas Bamaaaaaaa….
    Ini aku lagi, setelah lamaaaaaaaaa tidak baca blog keceh ini (dan blog-blog lain serta tidak nulis juga dengan 1001 alasan yang dibuat-buat hehe…)
    Aku lihat Tiger’s Nest langsung mulesss, 900m diatas bikin langsung lunglaiii… 5 jam dong naik dan naik dan naik… tangga kaan… aku teringat tangga-tangga jahanam di Nepal itu hahaha…
    Tetapi semua itu worth banget ya… ndak bisa nginep ya? gak ada hostel sekitarnya ya ? (ini pertanyaan gak penting banget hehe)
    Tapi foto mas Bama semuanya itu warbyasak banged, terutama rombongan kucing itu, hahaha gak dibawa satu ke Jakarta?
    BTW, aku sedang membayangkan seandainya ndak ada tangan Kinga saat salah melangkah itu, apa yaaa yang terjadi?

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    • Mbak Riyanti.. Iya udah lama lho saya gak baca cerita Mbak Riyanti ngos-ngosan di Nepal, atau lari-lari di bandara, atau pengalaman “lucu” apapun itu. Lucu karena saya melihatnya dari sisi pembaca, bukan yang mengalami langsung, hehe. Penginapan yang paling deket sama Tiger’s Nest adanya tetep di bawah sih Mbak, jadi mau gak mau memang harus hiking. Tapi beneran, pas sampai atas sana pasti capeknya langsung hilang begitu melihat Tiger’s Nest.

      Kalau gak ada tangan Kinga? Pasti jatuh terpeleset sih saya. Sakitnya mungkin gak seberapa, tapi malunya itu lho. Ditambah lagi pas turun jalan setapaknya becek, jadi bisa kebayang kan udah malu karena jatuh, terus malu karena baju belepotan kena tanah. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

    • I just read your blog post and it sounds like the weather was nicer when you went up, but it was a nightmare on your way down to the car park. Anyway, such experience always makes good memories — and reminds us to always stay in shape.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Bama, your description of your hike up to Tiger’s Nest enthralled me. While a clear sunny day might have been more comfortable, the fog just makes this incredible sight even more more dramatic. I love the cats at the cafe. I’m glad you had such a wonderful time in Bhutan. I’ve really enjoyed reading your posts. Hope you’re home safely. Flying out of that airport surrounded by mountains with all the low cloud looks scary.

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    • You would love the hike to Tiger’s Nest, Caroline.. No, you would love Bhutan to be exact. You shouldn’t find the hike too challenging, I believe, given your penchant for outdoor activities. And when you see the monastery for the first time, it will blow your mind away! For Christmas I went to Hong Kong — such a stark contrast with Bhutan in every sense. Thanks for reading, Caroline!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Tiger’s Nest is one of those places I’ve seen 100 pictures of and seems most intriguing, but I doubt I’ll ever get to see in person. Thanks for the personal perspective, it makes me feel, in a small way, like I’ve been there.

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    • Never say never, Dave. I saw people from different countries, old and young going on the hike to Tiger’s Nest, and they all made it. It’s one of the most magical places I’ve ever been to.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I went to Nepal and Bhutan on two separate trips, and I really loved my time in both countries. While Nepal has incredibly beautiful Newari temples and palaces, Bhutan has incredible dzongs and of course, Tiger’s Nest.

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  13. Wow, what an amazing opportunity to visit this gem. Can you imagine how difficult it was to build this? Wonderful photos and wonderful write up as well.

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    • I know, right? We’re so spoiled by modern conveniences sometimes we forget that people in the past managed to build impressive monuments using limited technologies. Thanks for reading!

      Liked by 1 person

  14. I have dreamed of going to Bhutan and seeing the Tiger’s Nest for years! I’m not sure when I will get there but thank you for the lovely post and photos. What a trip! 🙂

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    • Maybe when your kids are all grown up you can take a family trip to Bhutan. I know you really loved Nepal, so I think you’ll enjoy this Buddhist kingdom just as much.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Sebelumnya belum pernah denger Bhutan, tapi setelah baca ini jadi kepengen ke sana, arsitektur temple nya sangat berbeda sekali ya dengan yang ada di Asia lain nya seperti Nepal atau India. Terima kasih infonya mas Bama

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    • Betul, arsitektur Bhutan konon lebih mirip dengan yang ada di Tibet (belum pernah ke sana sih, tapi dari foto-foto yang saya lihat sepertinya memang begitu). Secara bahasa pun penduduk Bhutan menggunakan bahasa yang satu rumpun dengan Tibet dan Myanmar, beda dengan Nepal dan India yang berada di rumpun bahasa yang lain. Terima kasih juga sudah membaca, Mas Ferdi.

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    • You’re so lucky to live right on Bhutan’s doorstep. Sounds like you and your friend had so much fun in the Himalayan country, and the weather looks nice too! Thanks for dropping by, Saumya.

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  16. Great post, Bama. I have of course seen the iconic photos of the monastery, but your photos and descriptions really take us along on the hike. Looking at it on the side of the cliff through the clouds must have been incredible. You saying that it was worth every penny makes me think that maybe I need to go – it is so expensive but I am sure it is money well spent.

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    • It took me years to finally convince myself that despite the steep cost I still should go to Bhutan. There’s a term in Indonesian to describe a situation where you have to spend a lot of money against your will so that it makes you sad: nyesek (which literally means hard to breathe). But as you might have noticed from my earlier posts on this country, I inhaled as much fresh air as possible during my week-long trip for it is a luxury in Jakarta. So it really paid off, figuratively speaking. 🙂

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  17. Well-written story, as usual Bama. But I noticed that you did not take so many photos on your way to the peak where Tiger Nest is located. I presumed it’s because of the weather or rain so it made more difficult to snap. I’m crossing my finger now to visit this beautiful country someday.

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    • You’re right, Nurul. I didn’t take as many photos as I usually would, thanks to the gloomy weather. Had the valley been visible from the trekking path, I think I would’ve taken a lot more shots. Hope you’ll visit Bhutan sooner than later!

      Liked by 1 person

  18. So glad to finally read your post about the Tiger’s Nest! (I imagined it was inevitable…) Monasteries are always awesome to visit, but from your photos this one looks particularly special. Although it seems obvious in hindsight I was very pleasantly surprised to see there is a beautiful hike to reach the building itself; that in itself sounded like an adventure!

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    • This is your kind of place, Zac — just now I remembered your post on the secluded monastery in Ethiopia where you had to climb a steep ladder to reach it. Tiger’s Nest should be a lot easier than that, and once it is in your sight you’ll understand why this place is very special.

      Liked by 1 person

  19. Bama what an interesting story of how Tiger’s Nest got its name. These pictures of the monastery are amazing! What an awesome trip you had, thank you for sharing it!

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    • Thanks for reading, Liz. Tiger’s Nest really is one of those unique places in the world that would spark people’s curiosity and encourage them to travel.

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  20. My excitement knows no bounds! My trip to Bhutan in April got the green light, and Tiger’s Nest is without doubt one of the things I’m most eager to see. I think the photos of the climb and the monastery amid the swirling clouds are more special than nice sunny ones would have been … then again, it wasn’t me who had to walk in the rain! Great post, Bama!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m soooo thrilled to hear that! This is such great news to start the new year, Lex. If you’re flying in from Bangkok, try to book a seat on the right side of the plane. Feel free to drop me an email if you need recommendations on what to see and what to eat!

      Liked by 1 person

  21. The hike up to Tiger’s Nest was truly a fitting end to an amazing week in Bhutan – even if the weather turned against us! Going up was nowhere near as difficult as I had originally anticipated. Maybe it was because we were already acclimatized to the altitude, and the fact that the rain/fog kept us cool the whole time. This gorgeous post is another reminder that I still need to upload photos and write about Bhutan… since it’s already 2019 I guess it’s time to stop being a serial procrastinator!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I guess five days staying at high altitude really helped us acclimatize so when the time came for us to go to Tiger’s Nest, our bodies were ready for the challenge. I recall you actually have a lot of stories from your past travels (including business trips) that you haven’t written about. So your last words make a really good new year’s resolution. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  22. I love how you included pictures, it seems to be such a beautiful place to go to. The vibes of the photos make me think it’s very peaceful to be there. It also makes me want to travel more often than what I already do.

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    • The good thing is unlike other countries that embrace mass tourism, Bhutan only allows a certain number of foreign visitors to come to the country every year, making popular places like Tiger’s Nest still comfortable to explore. Thanks for reading!

      Liked by 1 person

  23. Bama, how nice catching up with another article on your Bhutan trip from you this evening 🙂 The cloudy day definitely made the Tiger Nest look even more mystical. I don’t think you missed out on the weather too much because the site looks ethereal even on a cloudy day! I can imagine what an experience it must have been hiking in those pristine forests and being rewarded with such a monumental architectural complex at the end of your hike.
    The Dzong in Paro looks absolutely phenomenal at night with all those lights! You have definitely made Bhutan sound very appealing to me as a possible travel destination through your Bhutan series. Also got to learn a thing or two about the country and its culture. So, kudos to you! Hope to read about more of the beautiful world from you this year! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Pooja! You definitely should visit Bhutan — I do wonder how much you’ll feel at home since both Nepal and Bhutan share some similarities, from the landscape to the cultural scene. Make sure to put Tiger’s Nest at the very end of your itinerary because it really is that special.

      Thanks for reading, and hope to read more stories from wherever you go too!

      Liked by 1 person

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