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Posts Tagged ‘Bhutan’

Through Your Eyes: hiking the Tiger’s Nest

Tiger’s Nest, Bhutan ©PROGöran Höglund (Kartläsarn)/Flickr

Last year we received this wonderful letter from one of our travelers, John Monahan. His beautiful story about a trek to The Tiger’s Nest Monastery—a famous Himalayan Buddhist sacred site and temple perched high on a cliff in Bhutan—reminds all of us here at Friendly Planet why we do what we do! This experience will stay with John the rest of his life, and we’re humbled to be a part of it.


Dear Friendly Planet,

I am sending you this because I want to share an experience that I had hiking to Tiger’s Nest monastery high in the Himalayas, the Mecca for Buddhism in this part of the world. I had many good experiences in Bhutan, but this one in particular was really special. You see, I was supposed to spend the last two days in Paro, the town below the monastery, before leaving Bhutan for Bangkok. But my flight in Bumthang was cancelled because of rain and the only road was not passable because of rock slides. Luckily, I was able to get on a late afternoon charter the following day, but that also meant I only had one night in Paro. Turns out, this was not enough time to visit the Tiger’s Nest, because my guide, Karma (I hope that I am spelling his name correctly), said that we would need at least five hours to complete the hike; the flight to Bangkok was at 1PM. So I asked if I could do the hike at 5AM. He agreed, even though he didn’t think that we would make it to the top in time.

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Stories, laughs, and more at the Friendly Planet Travel Book Club

The first meeting of the Friendly Planet Travel Book Club is in the books, and we couldn’t be more pleased with how it went. Despite the dreary weather, travelers gathered at the Jenkintown Library in Jenkintown, Pa., to discuss our first book choice, “Radio Shangri-La” by Lisa Napoli. The team was excited to hear everyone’s reactions, and pleasantly surprised to have some well-traveled guests in our midst.

Shelly and Harriet, two attendees, contributed a wealth of knowledge about travel that I think rivals mine! Each woman loves to travel and has been all over the U.S. and the world. Shelly has been to Bhutan, so she was able to share her experiences and relate them to Lisa’s. But the conversation didn’t stop with Bhutan. The group branched off, talking about other countries and how their people relate to the Bhutanese.

The group discussed Bhutanese traditions, the country’s changing culture, how technology is influencing Bhutan, and much more. We had our camera at the ready to capture the goings-on and interesting conversations. Press play to hear it all.

What a great kick-off to our Friendly Planet Travel Book Club! We’ll be meeting again soon and we want to know: What travel book we should read next? Leave your ideas here or on our Facebook page.

Tune in with ‘Radio Shangri-La’s’ Lisa Napoli

If you’ve been following our posts lately, you probably know we’re gearing up for our first meeting of the new Friendly Planet Travel Book Club. Our office has been buzzing with conversations about “Radio Shangri-La,” the first book we’re reading. Author Lisa Napoli‘s journey to Bhutan has been sparking comments like, “What do you think it’s really like there?” and “I wish I could know more!”

Well, I was delighted when one of our Friendly Planet Travel bloggers got the opportunity to get these answers and more, directly from Lisa. Our blogger Caitlin sat down with her, via Skype, to chat about what it’s like to travel to Bhutan, the vast differences in scenery and culture from the U.S., and what working at the first youth radio station in Bhutan was really like for her.

In her book, Lisa talks about writing down three good things that happened to her everyday. Tune in to see what they were. Lisa and Caitlin also talk about the changing influence media is having on the people of Bhutan, and whether a trip to Bhutan will change the life of every person who goes there, so be sure to hit play below to see the entire conversation.

If you have any questions for Lisa, check out her website and Twitter. She has additional interviews and information about Bhutan on her YouTube channel. And if that isn’t enough to whet your appetite to read her book, Lisa has made the first 30 pages available as a sneak preview.

So after you watch our interview, I hope you’ll crack open “Radio Shangri-La,” if you haven’t already. Then please join us at the Jenkintown Library tonight from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. to delve deeper into this book. Thanks so much for taking the time to speak with us Lisa — we had a great time!

If you’re reading ‘Radio Shangri-La’ for our first book club meeting …

… you’ll want to read this! Adam Platt, a writer for Condé Nast Traveler, detailed his experiences in Bhutan in “Bhutan or Bust!” Bhutan is the setting of “Radio Shangri-La,” so I thought this article would be the perfect introduction for readers to get to know Bhutan before diving into the book.

A self-described “neurotic lowlander,” Adam Platt is like most of us, consumed by technology, work, and a recessive economy.

But most people of Bhutan have no knowledge of these things. In fact, when Adam asks Tobgay, a young monk from Bhutan, if he has any words of advice about the recession, the monk responds, “Please explain the meaning of this word recession.

A quick overview for anyone not familiar with Bhutan: The country, while around the size of Switzerland, doesn’t have a single stoplight. It has only three movie theaters; no tall buildings; and hardly any unemployment, pollution, or crime.

The people are spiritual, pragmatic, and environmentally green. They measure progress not by GDP, but by Gross National Happiness. In fact, the country can boast that its people are among the happiest and most content in the world.

So if you want to hear more, check out Adam’s full article over on Condé Nast Traveler. And start by reading this excerpt of “Radio Shangri-La,” and then pick up the full copy and join us at our book club meeting on Nov. 29 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Love reading about far-off places? You’ll love the Friendly Planet Travel Book Club

Bookworms unite! If you’re passionate about reading and travel (like most of us here at Friendly Planet Travel), you’ll be delighted to hear about our latest project. Friendly Planet Travel is embarking on a journey to see the world through amazing literature with our Friendly Planet Travel Book Club.

Every month, we’ll be discussing a different travel-related novel, memoir, or travelogue. It’s a great way for all of our travelers and fans to connect and experience the joy of travel with friends and neighbors right in their own town.

We’re starting our book club by meeting in Jenkintown, Pa., where we’re located. But if you’re not from around here, we’re also starting a Facebook group so you can join us from around the planet. We’ll let you know when this group is created, and how you can get involved.

For our first meeting, we will be reading and discussing “Radio Shangri-La,” a non-fiction book by Lisa Napoli. The author, a Los Angeles-based radio journalist, tells the story of her midlife crisis and how it inspired her to pick up and move to the Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan. She starts volunteering at the country’s first youth radio station, Kuzoo FM.

There, she experiences the simplicity and happiness of life that Bhutan is known for. And as she becomes more immersed in the culture and connected to the people around her, she begins to find the happiness that she has been searching for.

The New York Times called “”Radio Shangri-La” an “affectionate portrait of life in a slower-paced, high altitude society…[an] absorbing, often touching memoir.” We’re excited to dive into a lively discussion about Lisa’s discovery of happiness and the differences between American and Bhutan cultures.

Pick up a copy of the book on Amazon or your local bookstore and start reading! Get your friends and family to join in too. It’s a great way to spend quality time and have good, intellectual conversations with those around you.

Please join us at the Jenkintown Library on Nov. 29 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. to discuss this amazing account of one person’s journey to happiness. Space is limited, so this will be a first come, first seated event. We look forward to seeing you there!