Irian Jaya’s Kombai
The Tree House People

Kingdom of Bhutan
Around Paro

Bhutan [see map] is an isolated Himalayan kingdom nestled between India and Tibet. In 1996 the country had only two small airplanes, no traffic lights, no television and no internet connection. Only a few foreigners travelled in the country each year, and fewer still travelled away from it’s handful of roads. We started our trip in Paro where the country’s only airport is, and hiked into the Himalayas following the Chomolhari route for sixteen days until we arrived at the town of Gasa where we drove to the capitol Thimpu. 

Typical House just outside of Paro.

Let’s zoom in for a close look at the fertility symbol painted on the
left side of the wall — ’nuff said.

A monastery inside Paro.

A group of kids near the monastery.

A farmer carrying hay.

The monastery of Taktsand perched high up on the cliffs.

Taktsand (Tiger’s nest) is a monastery built on a narrow ledge of a cliff
3000 ft. above the valley floor. There is a huge vertical drop between me
and the monastery. There is no way for me to get to it from
where I’m standing. The monks have a secret path down the cliff.

We climbed high above the Paro valley to the Monastery of Sangchoekor.

We’re greeted by a group of monks at Sangchoekor. The head lama happened to be away while we were there, and we cause a major disruption amongst the younger monks. Instead of attending to their classes and to their prayers, they followed us around in great humour and high spirits. When we left a big crowd of them stood on the ridge and waved goodbye to us as we descended down the mountain side. Twenty minutes later we could still see them far in the distance waving at us.

The courtyard of Sangchoekor Monastery.

An old woman spins prayer wheels in the monastery.

The main shrine inside the monastery.
Bhutan is famous for it’s beautiful postage stamps.
The make everything from three dimensional stamps
to stamps that you can play like a record.