I know you’re all DYING to hear about Bhutan, but we have about 2,000 photos (from only 10 days) to sort through, so that post will be coming shortly. In the meantime, I’d like to tell you about our journey there…
Though the flight from Kathmandu to Bhutan is only 50 minutes, to best describe the ridiculousness of the views we saw along the way, I need to give this flight its own blog post. Here goes!
Miles walked: 0
Miles transported: ~250
We boarded the plane, CROSSING our fingers that our seats would be on the left (mountain) side, so that we could potentially get a peek at Everest one more time! Well, with only EIGHT people on board the entire plane (an Airbus A319, no less)… seat assignments were really not much of a concern:
Even Samsonite got his own seat:
And delicious snacks and vodka (I know, I know… we spoil him so):
Shortly after taking off and coming out of the smog (due to the Nepali fuel and gas crisis, everyone is cooking using wood, resulting in a pretty concerning level of smog and pollution), we reached 30,000ft / ~9,000m and got to experience these amazing views for the next hour:
And yup, there she is… at 29,002ft / 8,848m, the peak of the devastatingly magnificent Mount Everest comfortably sits neck in neck with the cruising altitude of a commercial airliner:
It was actually a pretty trippy concept to comprehend. Cruising at the altitude we normally cruise at, but seeing the Himalayas (as in… LAND) just outside your window is pretty mind-blowing. Samsonite was simply enamored:
And speaking of mind-blowing… landing in Bhutan was a combination of thrilling and terrifying. As Bhutan is almost entirely mountainous (composed of the high and low Himalayas), the only place in the entire country that can accommodate a large, international airline landing is Paro. And by accommodate, I mean there is a small, flat stretch of valley that the plane somehow manages to land in after weaving through 5,000m (16,500ft) mountains. Apparently, it is considered one of the world’s most challenging airports and only eight pilots in the WORLD are qualified/certified to land there (stole all of that from Paro Airport’s Wikipedia Page). This picture isn’t that great, but I swear it looked like the wing was going to clip the mountain at any second…
But, thankfully, our experienced pilot (1 of 8!) safely landed our plane in Paro. This was easily one of the most beautiful airports either of us had ever seen…
We couldn’t wait to see the rest of the country. Bhutan… here we come!