Rainer Jenss and his family are currently on an around-the-world journey, and they're blogging about their experiences here at Intelligent Travel. Keep up with the Jensses by bookmarking their posts, and follow the boys' Global Bros blog at National Geographic Kids.
Land of the Thunder Dragon . . . Kingdom in the Clouds . . . Shangri La . . . Himalayas . . . Gross National Happiness.
Read anything about the Kingdom of Bhutan, and these will likely be among the buzzwords you'll come across. They're what piqued my curiosity a few years ago while researching possible adventure vacation options for a friend and I. Investigating a little further, I discovered that this remote country nestled between Tibet and India only allows about 20,000 foreign visitors a year, perfect for someone like me who was looking for something unspoiled and exotic. And after being exposed to Buddhism's basic principles through years of practicing yoga, I could further explore the religion in this remote part of the world.
When our family's around-the-world trip became a reality I had to inform my trusted travel companion that the "boys only" trek to Bhutan would have to wait. But as Carol and I started mapping out our route through Asia, I couldn't resist tossing up Bhutan as an option. Was it a risk to take Tyler and Stefan to such an isolated country in a region we knew little about?
We noticed that National Geographic Expeditions offered tours there and asked if Bhutan was a good family-friendly destination. They responded with a resounding 'yes,' and with their enthusiastic endorsement, we made it work, anticipating that this might just be the highlight of the trip.
If there were any trepidations about how we would handle Bhutan's harsh terrain, spicy food, or unique culture, we figured the six weeks spent in Asia leading up to the trip would have us prepared. The kids seemed thrilled to be going on another tour because of the positive experience they had in China, so when we met up with the group in Bangkok, I wasn't surprised to see Tyler and Stefan immediately gravitate to the trip's expert, Richard Whitecross.