Saturday, 16 April 2016

Bhutan, great but how much does it cost?

Punakha Valley ©Solange Hando

How much ?
From US$200 a day, depending on group size and season

Expensive or value for money?
You decide
Here's what's included:

Bhutanese Guide (included)  ©Solange Hando

qualified guide 24/7
full board in traditional comfortable hotels
all internal transport in private vehicle
all entrance fees / festivals 
trekking staff  / equipment if applicable
all taxes

Traditional Bhutanese Hotel (included) ©Solange Hando

Any extras?
supplement for 5 star accommodation
drinks (other than water and tea)
personal purchases, tips at your discretion

Now, consider the cost of one night -room only- in London
What do you think?

Traditional Festival (included) ©Solange Hando

Basics aside, what else do you get for your money?
An amazing insight into a unique culture:
Where else is Gross National Happiness enshrined in the Constitution?
Where else would a king stop his car to chat to a farmer?
Or join in an archery contest on his coronation?

Bhutan's National Sport ©Solange Hando

a pristine natural world
gentle people
superb arts and crafts
and to top it all
unrivalled views of Everest along the way

Everest /Himalaya on the way to Bhutan ©Solange Hando

After four visits, I can't wait to return

For more information, see other blogs on this site or check Blue Poppy Bhutan for tailor-made trips.

Saturday, 2 April 2016

Images of Tenerife

Shepherd's Leap in Tenerife ©Solange Hando

Not so long ago in the Canaries, shepherds would keep ahead of their flock or rescue stray sheep by jumping with a pole from rock to rock. The pole is made of wood with a metal tip and can be up to four metres long.

Today shepherd's leap is a highly competitive sport and as well as entertaining visitors, it keeps traditions alive.If you fancy a go, just let your man know, when he's back on the ground...

Moonscape on the Island ©Solange Hando

The Teide National Park is one of the top places in the world to study the sky, sun, stars and moon, but there's no need to crane your neck to marvel at a lunar landscape.
It's all around, rocks, craters, volcanic bombs and Mount Teide towering above it all.

Heading for the Surf, North Tenerife ©Solange Hando

But when you want to escape, there's always the ocean, beaches stretching for miles, coves and creeks and if you like to be active, there's every water sport you would expect, including surfing for all levels.

Teide National Park ©Solange Hando

If rambling is your thing and you like a challenge, it's hard to beat Teide, at over 3700 metres the highest point on the island, or its neighbour, Mount Viejo where the difficulty level is marked 'extreme'.

There are easier options however like this gentle Samara route winding its way through lava flows between two volcanoes. There are great views of the peaks and when you come down, you can see the smaller islands of Hiero and La Gomera which seem to float between ocean and sky.

Wow, what did she see? ©Solange Hando

Dolphins or pilot whales? Probably both for Tenerife is rich in marine life and in season sightings are almost guaranteed. 

There's great diving and snorkelling too or you could just relax and enjoy the breeze, or wait for the most spectacular sunset over the ocean, the drifting clouds and the nearby islands.

Tenerife Sunset ©Solange Hando