Land of Blue Poppy

August 11, 2012 § 2 Comments

Way before i went to Bhutan, I read this book about a Parisian psychiatrist, Hector, who’s tired of those people coming to him with no real problems but their own unmet expectations. I followed him in his journey around the world in search for the answer to happiness. He met different people along the way, a young hostess in China, a fellow psychiatrist in Africa, a monk in China (or is it Hong Kong?), a quirky professor in the US calculating happiness and some others. Interaction with these people opened his eyes to things we usually take for granted. There were a total of 23 lessons learnt and my favorites are:

Lesson #20          Happiness is a certain way of seeing things.

Lesson #15          Happiness comes when you feel truly alive.

Lesson #8a          Happiness is being with the people you love.

And I’d also like to add on two more to his list:

Lesson #24          Happiness is taking pleasure in the simple things in life.

Lesson #25          You are only as happy as you want to be.

But what better way to find out about happiness than to visit the land of Happiness? Incidentally, I got the chance to visit the happiest place on the planet – Bhutan. I never dreamt of stepping into the exotic land of happiness until work gave me a chance to. It was a fun media FAM trip not only because of the beautiful place but also the group of people who gel-ed so well together.

The experience was SUPER cool and unforgettable! There’s just too much to tell. From histories of Dzongs and its religion, to dancing in a basement club, trekking 8km to the Tiger’s Nest and threading through padi fields, nope, can’t forget all those.

Many asked if the people are truly happy. You can’t deny that they are – leading simple lives, breathing in fresher than fresh air, ending every sentence with “Don’t worry”, and the dash-dot-dash humour, even I felt really happy. Of course they do have their fair share of desires like owning iPhones, but with TV channels like AXN & Discovery, it’s no wonder that they do.

Mountains and clouds welcome you as we land and disembark.

There are friendly people all around, take all the photos you want with them, they love it. Even the babies! Their training to be friendly and happy starts really young.


Buddhism is a major part of their lives with histories dating back to many many centuries ago. They took care to restore the Dzongs – fortresses that protected the cities. I love their choice in colours, its so rich, it gives life to all the stories painted in the temples. And one of the most famous one we trekked to is Taktsang – Tiger’s Nest. After which, a cute little calf decided to taste my camera.

Some of the other town sights are really interesting. From the Cinema that screens only one movie at any one time to the meat store filled with so much meat that one would think they have an underground farm. I love the quaint and colourful hole-in-the-wall shops scattered all around, and got so tempted to dive into them. We even get to experience the local Drayang where locals pay to have young girls dance or sing (in their traditional costumes) on a stage with neon lights. The funniest thing is that you can have five girls dancing five different dances on stage. Nope, no coordination.

We have the privilege to relax each night at some of the most luxurious properties. My favourite (and the most expensive) being the Amankora properties in Thimphu and Punakha. I like them because i have never experienced so much tranquil in a resort before, never had to cross a bridge over raging waters and take a 5 min buggy ride to get to the lobby, never woken up to see the lovely padi fields out of my windows, and never ever had no TV in the room to disturb me. Oh, and no mosquitoes. I enjoyed every single bit of my stay and really loved the shy property dog, Funky. I just wished i had more time to enjoy the resorts thoroughly.

I would like to go back some day.

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