The purpose of the trip was to learn more about the regions and the people south of Himalaya living in the Sikkim region of northeast part of India, Bhutan and Kathmandu area of Nepal. Tibetan Bhuddism has strong influence in all the regions above..
Sikkim is the region in northeast India located on the slopes of Himalaya. We started our car trip in Bagdora where Hinduism is more dominant and drove up to Martam crossing the border to Sikkim. The distans is not to long but roads are under construction most places. In Martan we did excursions and visited local farms and shool and visited Rumtek monastery. From Martam we drove mountain roads where we had amazing but sometime horrifying views of the landscape to Pelling. Driving south from Pelling we entered the west Bengal resion before comming to Darjeeling. We did some different excursions round Darjeeling experiencing sunrise over Tiger hill, Toy train and visited Tea manufactory, monasteries, Himalayan Mountaineering Institute and more. From Darjeeling we drove main road to Bagdogra (70 km/4 hours).
From Bagdora we flew to the main airport in Bhutan, Paro. The inflight is known to be one of the most risky inflights in the world. Happily I did not know until we got back home. Bhutan is very different from India and Nepal partly due to beeing a closed country to the outside world for a long period of time. Current king, fifth in order, seems to be popular and tries to keep a balance between maintaining the traditional Bhutanese values while at the same time open up for influences from the world outside Bhutan. Buthan have introduced a measurement of Gross National Happines instead of the more common BNP to also take people well being into concideration. The society is influenced from fundamentals in Tibetan Buddhism, traditions and beliefs (e.g. manifested by decoration of many houses with dildos to support fertility rate) and modern legislation e.g. homosexuality and smoking of tobacco is strictly forbidden in Bhutan. We visited some different Dongz (fotresses) and did some spectacular walks such as the 5-6 h rountrip up to Tiger nest located on 3200 m.
From Paro and Bhutan we flew just south of the main mountains of Himalaya and had a first class view of Mount Everest. When finally passing the immigration counter we landed in the center of chaotic Kathmandu (which was very different from Bhutan). First night we stayed in Dhulikhel which is a smaller suburb in the Kathmandu valley. As it was the last days of the annual Diwali celebration we experienced the festivities in old town of Dhulikhel. The last nights we stayed in middle of Thamel which is the old town of central Katmandu. It took some weeks to trying to understand everything we had seen and experienced during this trip.