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Old 11-23-2011, 09:50 AM   #16
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Fantastic! Looks like a great adventure.
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Old 11-23-2011, 11:09 AM   #17
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Great RR . Thanks for sharing it with us. This is another place I need to add to my list of place to go. My mother went here a few years ago.
Cheers
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Old 11-24-2011, 06:43 AM   #18
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Today would be our longest day on the bikes in Bhutan. 270km to the capital, Thimphu.
We hadnít been going long when we came across more roadworks.


This time they had a real sign.


Being a roadsweeping contractor myself, this amused me more than a little.


Another roadside hotmix plant.


After about 70 km we arrived at a town called Trongsa.
Each district has a building called a Dzong. It is a fortress that is used for administrative and religious purposes. This is where the district is governed from. It also houses temples and monasteries.
This is the Trongsa Dzong. The largest in the country.


It was first built in the 1600ís and subsequently added onto until the late 1700ís.


There is extensive woodwork but no nails were used in itís construction.


Looking down the valley from the Dzong.


The crew. Peter, Steve, Garry, Revel, Howard, & Colin.


Nima, our guide, trying to give us a cultural lesson.


After lunch it began to rain. Although we had had several wet mornings, they usually cleared up by the time we got moving. But that afternoon it pissed down. Some of the guys werenít well prepared and got soaked, but I was dry and having a ball.
Iím not much of a road rider at the best of times, especially when itís wet but on that day with hundreds of corners and trucks and cars still using all of the road, I was having a fat old time.


It soon dried up again and we cruised on to this village where we had a bit of a wait for our road captain to catch up so he could take us into town.


Once at our hotel in Thimphu, we got straight down to business.
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Old 11-24-2011, 06:48 AM   #19
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I've just realised, this ride report doesn't have many photos with motorcycles in them.
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Old 11-24-2011, 11:01 AM   #20
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Your pictures and writing are GREAT. You are exploring a place that not many people have heard of or seen. So keep doing what you are doing. I know I am enjoying it.
Cheers
Drew

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I've just realised, this ride report doesn't have many photos with motorcycles in them.
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Old 11-24-2011, 11:34 AM   #21
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Absolutely incredible! Inspiration to get of my butt and go riding.
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Old 11-28-2011, 02:43 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by Tail Gunner View Post
Your pictures and writing are GREAT. You are exploring a place that not many people have heard of or seen. So keep doing what you are doing. I know I am enjoying it.
Cheers
Drew
Thanks. I'll carry on.

And to all the other commenters, thanks, I'm glad you're enjoying it.
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Old 11-28-2011, 03:33 AM   #23
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That night, three opted for a quiet night and three of us decided to head down town to check out the night life. It was Thursday night and there wasnít a lot going on but we ended up in a bar where there were some girls singing and dancing. It was a bit more conservative than the dancing girls one would expect to see in a bar at home, but a pleasant evening all the same.
The next day we spent the morning doing a bit of tourist stuff around town.
Thereís a lot of building going on. Mostly tourist accommodation.


We went to a sort of zoo to see Bhutanís national animal, the Takin.


Then we went up the hill to inspect the big arsed Buddha still under construction.


The view of Thimphu from the Buddha.


Some more prayer wheels.
When people get old and donít work anymore, they hang out at these places and just spin the prayer wheels. These big ones have a bell on them and every time they go around it rings the bell. They seemed to like it but it drove us crazy.


After a bit more tourist stuff we saddled up for the short ride to Paro.
Paro is home to the only airport in Bhutan and is where we would be leaving the country from, but we had another day there first.
Tomorrow we would be taking a bit of a hike to the ĒTigers NestĒ
So how do you prepare for a big climb? Of course.


There was a lot of funny stuff going on that night
By the time we had finished up Pete still hadnít even been to his room to get changed yet.


In the morning after breakfast we wedged ourselves into a minivan and headed for the Tigerís nest.
We had to stop in town so Revel could try to buy some shoes. While we were waiting, this dog wandered past.
They donít believe in killing animals so instead of putting them down when we would, they are left until they die. Consequently, there are some animals in a pretty bad way.


After a short drive we arrived at the beginning of the climb. That white spot high in the hills is our destination.


The Tigerís Nest, also known as the Taktsang Monastery is one of the Holiest places in Bhutan. It sits on the edge of a granite cliff and was built in the mid 1600s.
I had seen photos of this place before but I had no idea where it was til we got here.
It is about 3100 metres above sea level and is about a 600 metre vertical climb from where the road ends.

The path is good but it is quite steep, but it more of a hike than a climb.


We all set off together but soon spread out. 3 of us seemed to be making better time than the others
See Revel in the background was unable to buy any shoes so he did the trek in his thongs/jandals/flipflops/chinese safety boots.


The excesses of the previous night along with the lack of oxygen from the altitude were taking their toll on us.


The closer we got the more spectacular it looked.


It astonished me how they managed to build this here more than 350 years ago.


Unfortunately it suffered catastrophic damage from a fire in 1998 and itís reconstruction was completed in 2005. It houses several temples, of which we were allowed to view a couple. In one of them the monks were doing their business of chanting and playing various instruments. Apparently they only do that a couple of times a year so it was pretty cool that we got to see it.


Only the three of us made it all the way up, and our guide because we couldnít go in without him. It took us about an hour and a half to get up there and the monks can do it in half that time.


The less fit can catch a lift up on a horse so as a result the track stinks of horse shit.


On the bus ride back to town we spotted this dude washing his car in the river.
Iíve never seen that before.
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Old 11-28-2011, 04:11 AM   #24
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Quote:
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]Karma - the road captain/mechanic who would ride with us
You have to feel good about your chances having Karma on you side

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Old 12-01-2011, 02:54 AM   #25
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During the week I had commented on a few occasions about the absence of any offroad riding. It seemed a waste to me to have these very capable bikes and only ride along the highways.
So, that afternoon we were going offroad riding in the hills. Woohoo.
Well it turned out that the offroad ride was actually on a perfectly good dirt road which wound its way up the hills. Not offroad, but a nice ride anyway.
At the top of the hill was another monastery.


From the monastery you could see the runway for the airport. Apparently it is the second most difficult international airport in the world to land at. I am not surprised.



Our last night in Bhutan was a quiet one as we had to get going early for our flight to Kathmandu in the morning.

Taking off from the Paro airport was pretty cool as we zig zagged our way up between the hills. It must be very interesting trying to land there.
Anyhow, once we got above the clouds we had a perfect view of the Himalayas as we flew along the edge of the mountains. Then a particularly high peak came into view, so we all flock to a window for a photo of Everest.



Then the captain gets on the PA and it turns out itís not Everest after all but he would let us know which one is.
Soon it came into view. Fortunately there were very few people on the plane so everyone got a window on that side of the plane.


After the most spectacular flight I had ever taken, we were soon on the ground in Kathmandu, and all wedged into another minivan on our way to the hotel.
We are not used to seeing things like this in Australia.


After we checked into our hotel we had a few free hours to spend so we went for a walk to get some lunch and try the Nepalese beer.
This turned out to be a reasonable drop



This place was a whole lot busier than anywhere in Bhutan.


We even had trouble crossing the road at times, but eventually figured out if you just walk out and keep walking at the same speed and donít change direction, everyone will go around you.
How the hell was I going to ride a motorbike in this traffic?
In the evening we were taken around to the office of ďSacred SummitsĒ, which also has a bar called the Handle Bar, to get acquainted with our machinery for the next few days.



Here we were introduced to the Royal Enfield 500cc Bullet.
We had a quick lesson on how to start the beast, and the brakes and gearshift being on the opposite side to every bike I had ridden in the past 40 years. This was going to be interesting.
We returned to our hotel and the bikes would be taken there overnight, in preparation for what would turn out to be the craziest, funniest day I have ever spent on a bike.
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Old 12-03-2011, 06:32 AM   #26
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Great stuff Howard. Two photo's render me virtually speachless- one is of Colin and the other is the one not of Everest
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Old 12-03-2011, 01:42 PM   #27
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Brilliant, just brilliant!

I know it takes a lot of time and effort doing these reports and I appreciate you sharing it with us all.

Cheers, badmanners.
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Old 12-03-2011, 10:03 PM   #28
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Great stuff Howard. Two photo's render me virtually speachless- one is of Colin and the other is the one not of Everest
For different reasons I hope, "A".

The snow capped peaks of the Himalayas looked awesome with the morning sun on them but it's impossible to get a decent photo through the plane window with a budget camera and no idea how to use it.




Hopefully I will finish this later in the week. My computer has dropped a wheel in the sand but should be sorted in a few days.
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Old 01-17-2012, 02:42 PM   #29
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Have had this bookmarked for some time, finally got around to reading it. Great write up, can't wait to see the rest. Thanks!
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Old 01-17-2012, 09:28 PM   #30
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Looking forward to it . . . . .

Looking forward to the rest . . . . . . .

Thanks for posting -



Love the "Monks hanging out" pic ! ! !

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