People in Bhutan wear mostly traditional clothes, which are ankle length skirts for women, and knee length skirts for men. School children were uniforms in the same style. Pictures of the royal couple are everywhere. They are held in very high regard. My guide was quite excited when we saw the royal couple at Punakha Dzong.
The women in Bhutan for me are very attractive looking. This is similar to what I experienced in Tibet and Mongolia.
The people in Bhutan are very religious. Apparently, the older they get, the more time they devote to worship. Most of the people that I saw in temples were older.
According to my guide, 15% of the people are rich, 60% are middle class, and 25% are poor.
Archery is the national sport in Bhutan. I was able to watch an archery contest for a while. There are two kinds of bows in the competitions, traditional bows and composite bows. The traditional bows are wood, about 1.5 m (4.9 ft) long. The composite bows are metal, and have complicated system of pulleys and wires. Pulling a traditional bow takes a lot of strength. The force that you need gets larger, the more you pull the bow. Because of that, the archer pulls the bow and the releases the arrow in one motion. On the other hand, the composite bows behave quite differently. You need considerable force to pull the bow at the beginning. But when the bow is fully extended, you need only very light force to keep the bow extended. This allows the archer to quickly pull the bow to full extension, and then to take time to aim the arrow at the target. This allows for greater accuracy in shooting with a the composite bow. During the competition, they archers do a congratulation dance with chanting when a competitor hits a bulls eye.
The food market in Thimphu has two parts, one with local produce, and one with produce imported from India. The imported produce is less expensive than the local one, but it seems that the local producer still made good business. One important part of the produce are chili peppers. They are a big part of the diet in Bhutan.
Flying into Bhutan's Paro Airport is something else (see the main page for Bhutan).
Traffic is supposed to be on the left side of the road, but they don't take that too seriously. There was a lot of truck traffic, but it didn't cause any problems. There are no traffic lights in Bhutan. Intersections in Thimphu are handled by police. The roads were mostly good around Thimphu. The road to Punakha was bad in places, but was under construction to be made wider and improved.
Picture of the royal couple. (1023k) Worshipers walking around the Memorial Chorten in Thimphu. (766k) Man in traditional clothes, walking around the Memorial Chorten, praying. (709k) Woman in traditional clothes, walking around the Memorial Chorten, praying. (709k) Woman in traditional clothes, walking around the Memorial Chorten, praying. (791k) Buddhist monks. (769k) The monks too do the tourist thing, taking pictures. (1092k) My tour guide Yadop Kumar Kafley. (1042k) School boys. (1074k) School girls. (1071k) Students on their way to some athletic event. (1018k) School girls. (687k) Praying man. (645k) Bhutanese man. (692k) Bhutanese man. (698k) Bhutanese man. (711k) Praying woman with beads and prayer wheel. (702k) School girl. (791k) Children. (841k) Cute young boy. (705k) Cute young girl. (658k)
Archer aiming his composite bow. (1124k) Loading an arrow. (1025k) Pulling the composite bow. (1070k) Aiming the composite bow. They take their time with the aiming, which is possible with the composite bow. (1083k) Just after release of the arrow. (1102k) Aiming the stretched composite bow. (811k) Aiming the stretched composite bow. (640k) Aiming the stretched composite bow. (738k) Aiming the stretched composite bow. (947k) Archer with traditional bow. (908k) Shooting a traditional bow. (714k) Congratulation dance for a bulls eye. (1075k) Congratulation dance for a bulls eye. (1026k)
Business, Agriculture, etc.
Food market in Thimphu. (857k) Food market in Thimphu. (960k) Chili peppers in the market in Thimphu. (902k) Vegetable display. (805k) Bags of incense in the market. There were different quality grades at different prices. (962k) Weighing produce with a balance scale. (804k) Roadside stands with vegetables. (1157k) Roadside stands with vegetables. (1113k) Roadside food vendors cooking. (950k) Roadside food vendors cooking corn on the cob. (956k) Wrapping Betel for chewing. (706k) Weaving cloth. (691k) Tourist souvenir vendor near the Takstang. Such vendors where not common. (1230k) Manual labor by guest workers from India. (1007k) Bark for making paper. (1008k) Press to press the paper pulp into a sheet. (795k) Stacked sheets of paper. (761k) Hanging paper sheets to dry. (647k) Rice farming terraces. (1074k) Rice farming terraces. (1203k) Rice harvest. (1210k) Rice straw. It is used for animal feed. (1328k) Typical Bhutanese house. The red in front of the house are chili peppers laid out to dry. (1031k) Chili peppers drying on a roof. (950k) There were lots of dogs in Bhutan, but not as many as in Nepal. (1090k) Cute kitten playing. (940k) A goat on a village street. Goats roam around alone. They don't need herders like sheep. (716k) There were quite a few cows around. This one was inspecting a garbage container in Thimphu. (805k) There are a lot of horses in Bhutan. (828k)
Fully loaded car on the way to the Dochula Pass. (962k) Truck traffic on the road from Paro to Thimphu. (654k) Truck traffic on the road from Thimphu to Punakha. (939k) Colorful truck. Most trucks were decorated like this. It was very similar to what you see in India. (953k) They ask you to blow you horn to signal the truck. (797k) Sharing the road with pack animals. (868k) Intersection on the main street in Thimphu. There are no traffic lights in Bhutan. (907k) Road construction on the road from Thimphu to Punakha. (812k) My driver driving on the right side of the road. He was not passing another car, we were completely alone on that road. (643k)
Flying into Paro
Skimming over a mountain ridge while descending into the valley near Paro. We were only 300 m (980 ft) to 600 m (1,970 ft) above the ridge. (482k) Turning around in the valley to head back towards Paro for the final approach. (523k) Close to the side of the valley after the 180° turn in the valley. (677k) Climbing over the valley shortly after takeoff. (794k) Runway at Paro with the mountains just past the runway end. (533k) The Airport in Paro. (1351k)