my very first book on Bhutan.. made me wanna go there immediately after reading the book.
For most western travelers traveling to Bhutan is all but a distant dream. The country is notorious for trying protect its cultural heritage from the 'evils' of modern tourism. Every year it allows only a handful of tourists to visit the magical country and that too for a hefty fee. Around 200 to 250$ a day gets you an all inclusive trip around the country. The Author of this book Katie Hickman was one such wide-eyed western tourist. When touring in the Manas national park in Assam, India, she happened to catch a glimpse of Bhutanese buildings across the river and after that she was never able to get the country off her mind. Later by chance she happened to meet someone from the Bhutanese royal family and they graciously offered her a rare invitation to visit the country.
The book is an emotional narration of her journey across the country. Armed with an royal decree she had access to people and places which are normally out of bounds to normal tourists. Back in the days Bhutan was not as developed as it is today and they had to travel on foot and on ponies, braving heavy rain and landslides. Her journey took her all the way across the country.. from the well traveled and prosperous west (where the capital Thimphu and Paro lie) through the charming central (Bumthang) regions all the way across to the remote eastern reaches of the country. Most notably the tribal villages of Merak and Sakteng.
Reading her book was a inspiration of me to drive across Bhutan on my motorbike, which i did back in 2007.Â