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One Day Suzhou Ground Tour

<<Previous Post: 2D1N in Hangzhou - West Lake & Hefang Street>>

I hardly join or sign up for any private tours but since my mom requested for it, hence I booked "A Day Trip to Suzhou" from the hotel we stayed in Hangzhou. The tour package seems fairly reasonable which costs CNY288 per person and this including hotel pick-up and drop off, entrance fee, tour guide but excluding lunch and tips. And the best part, I don't have to worry about the transportation from Hangzhou to Suzhou cause they will drop us there. 

2014 China Suzhou 1
#1

When Hangzhou is well-known for its beauty classical lakes, Suzhou on the other hand famed for its beautiful gardens and courtyard parks as well as traditional waterside architecture. In order to get to Suzhou from Hangzhou, you can either take trains (both high-speed train and normal train) or bus. Unfortunately I unable to share more details cause all the logistic has been arranged by the private tour we signed with. 

The first attraction we went in Suzhou was the medieval Pan Gate Scenic Area. It's a historical landmark in Suzhou and known for the "three landmarks of Pan Gate". They are the Ruiguang Pagoda, the earliest pagoda in Suzhou, the Wu Gate Bridge which is the entrance to the gate at that time over the water passage and the highest bridge in Suzhou at the time, and Pan Gate. Pan Gate is part of the ancient city wall that surrounded and protected Suzhou. 

2014 China Suzhou Ruiguang Pagoda 1
#2: Ruiguang Pagoda, the earliest pagoda in Suzhou. 

2014 China Suzhou Panmen Scenic Spot 1
#3: Visiting Pan Men includes access to a large and rather lovely garden with ponds and pavilions

2014 China Suzhou Panmen Scenic Spot 5
#4: Pan Gate - part of the ancient city wall that surrounded and protected Suzhou.

Next, we were brought for a boat ride along the ancient Grand Canal of Suzhou. The Grand Canal is the oldest and longest canal in the world and dubbed "Venice of the East". This is one interesting and fascinating way of overlooking the city low down in the network of canals and exploring the lifestyle of Suzhou locals. Most of the Suzhou's attractions are linked by the Grand Canal cruise and therefore, it is an ideal way to take a cruise along the canal.

2014 China Suzhou Cruise
#5: Boat ride along the ancient Grand Canal of Suzhou

2014 China Suzhou
#6: Spotted Journey To The West (JTTW) sculpture. JWWT is one of the four great classical novels of Chinese literature.

Once we done with the canal ride, we then proceed to North Temple Pagoda. The pagoda was once eleven stories tall, but was damaged and reduced to nine stories. The peak of the pagoda is Suzhou's most famous and there is a garden and temples are on the grounds.

2014 China Suzhou North Temple Tower
#7: North Temple Pagoda

A trip to Suzhou is incomplete without visiting any of their spectacular garden and courtyard parks. Our last stop in Suzhou is the Lion Forest Garden. It is one of the four great gardens of Suzhou and is admired for the incredible collection of pitted, eroded rocks that were greatly appreciated by classical Chinese scholars. It was originally part of a Buddhist monastery. The gardens are a reminder of the Buddhist story of the lions. The layout of the garden follows many twists and turns. It is easy to get quite lost in these winding paths.

2014 China Suzhou Lion Grove Garden 1
#8: Lion Groove Garden, or Lion Forest Garden is one of the UNESCO-listed gardens.

#9

2014 China Suzhou Lion Grove Garden 2
#10

As for our hotel in Suzhou, it is one of the best hotels I ever stay throughout my entire trips to China. Well, the hotel room actually looks pretty decent and average but what I like about this hotel is that there is a beautiful garden and grove within it. I felt like I was transported into the past. Too bad we're only staying in this hotel for a night. How I wish we could stay longer cause I really love the classical architecture. And the icing on the cake, there is a shopping and food street just nearby the hotel which my mom and I able to shop and eat at night.

2014 China Suzhou Branch All Seasons Hotel
All Seasons Hotel Suzhou Branch
Date Stayed: 23 to 24 December 2014 (1 night)
Room Rate: RM199 for a superior twin bed room (Booked via Agoda)

Before I end this post, I would like to take this opportunity to wish each and every of you,

2020-chinese-new-year-greeting-card-with-paper-cut_11554-830-e1571110846850
"May the year of Rat brings you good luck & good fortune. Happy Chinese New Year!"
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2N1D in Hangzhou - West Lake & Hefang Street

It's my aim to travel with my mom at least once every year. Or sometimes, twice. Most of the times, I like to tag along my mom for a trip during the Christmas time. And so, we chosen to go China for our mom-and-daughter Christmas holiday together. One of the reasons why we picked China is because there are few direct flights from Kota Kinabalu to big and well-known cities like Hangzhou, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Guangzhou at that particular moment. Obviously, both of us were kinda lazy to transit in Kuala Lumpur. 

Our original flight tickets supposed to be KK-Shanghai-KK with Malaysia Airlines but because the duration of the trip takes about 8 days which my mom found it's kinda long for her, I booked another extra one-way ticket departing from KK to Hangzhou with AirAsia. It's not a bad idea given that I don't have to return to the same spot I arrive in China. Fly-in Hangzhou and fly-out from Shanghai, it looks like a perfect plan at the beginning, but turned out to be disaster towards the end of our trip (I will share more about this later).  

So we burned our one-way ticket from KK to Shanghai and catch our flight to Hangzhou instead. The flight departed around 3.30pm and arrived in Hangzhou Xiaoshan International Airport (HGH) almost reaching to 8pm. I noticed that besides my mom and I, there were no other Malaysian departing to Hangzhou. Almost all the passengers were Chinese tourists. Once we done with the immigration clearance and claimed our luggage, we took taxi to our hotel. Normally I don't take taxi when travelling abroad but when travelling with my mom, I need to consider about her comfort and convenient as well. 

2014 China Hangzhou Victoria Regal Hotel Zhejiang 1
#1: Our stay in Hangzhou for two nights

2014 China Hangzhou Victoria Regal Hotel Zhejiang 2
#2

Victoria Regal Hotel Zhejiang
Date Stayed: 21 to 23 December 2014 (2 nights)
Room Rate: RM196 for a twin bed room with a city view (Booked via Agoda)

West Lake of Hangzhou
With only one full day in Hangzhou, I can only pick one or two top tourist attractions to visit in Hangzhou. And therefore, I chosen to stay the hotel that it's close to West Lake, regarded as one of the most beautiful sights in China. There's one thing I regret the most was I should book the room comes with breakfast cause we spent our time aimlessly looking for the breakfast outside the hotel before heading to West Lake. Not sure whether we're too early or too picky, it seems like so hard to search any shops that suit our tastebuds. 

2014 China Hangzhou West Lake 01
#3: Xihu Tiandi, a recreation park in West Lake.

After done with our breakfast, we walked to the West Lakes which is approximately 10 minutes walk. The first spot we arrived is the Xihu Tiandi, where there's lush green recreation park with Starbucks within it. The place is undeniable peaceful, calm and tranquil and the best part, there weren't many visitors there. Maybe due to my mom and I were too early, or probably because it's freezing cold cause it's winter time when we're in China. Immediately both of us took the opportunity for phototaking at every nook and cranny without a miss. 

2014 China Hangzhou West Lake 02
#4: Christmas set-up and decorations.

A quick introduction of West Lake. It is a freshwater lake in Hangzhou with countless temples, pagodas, gardens, and artificial islands within the lake. The classical beauty and outstanding natural landscape of West Lakes has made it to be featured in numerous poems and paintings in the past and currently, it has been listed as UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

2014 China Hangzhou West Lake 03
#5

2014 China Hangzhou West Lake 04
#6: Autumn tree with orange and red foliage even during winter time.

2014 China Hangzhou West Lake Pleasure Boat
#7

In order to enjoy the beauty of West Lake, I suggested to take the cruise boat to visit some of West Lake's islands and luckily, my mom agreed with it despite she's freezing in the cold weather. There are many type of boats to choose from, including the large painted boats, small rowing boats, and even self-rowing boats. These cruises are available day and night. We took the large painted boat and it costs CNY55 for each of us, which I found it's pretty affordable. 

#8

One of the spots you shouldn't miss when taking the boat is definitely the Three Pools Mirroring The Moon. This specific spot has been featured on the one yuan bank note. Majority boats will dropby to this site. Once the boat docked here and when we stepped our feet at this small island, I have to claim it instantly took my breath away. I was literally blew away by its beauty and now I understood why it has been one of the genuine world class attraction. Until today, I still find West Lake is the most mesmerising place I've been among all the places I went around China. 

2014 China Hangzhou West Lake 06
#9

2014 China Hangzhou West Lake 07
#10

Talking about the cruise, there is no time limit for island sightseeing. Visitors are allowed to stay as long as they want, but make sure don't miss the last boat which is about 4pm. As much as I don't feel like want to leave this beautiful place, I know I have no choice cause I need to catch up with other places. West Lake, you will always in my heart and my mind too. 

Piers to Board for West Lake's Islands:
  1. The First Park
  2. Children’s Palace
  3. Zhongshan Park
  4. Hangzhou Restaurant
  5. Yuefei Temple
  6. Huagang
  7. King Qian Temple (Qianwang Ci)
Opening Hours: 8am to 4pm
Ticket: CNY55

Right after we spent roughly around 3 hours exploring the West Lake, we walked off to other places. This time around, we decided to take public transport instead of taxi since we don't have any luggages to carry with. Hangzhou has an extensive bus networks but because I have difficulty in reading Chinese (bear in mind I can't read and write Chinese), I rather take subway than bus cause on-board announcements are all in Chinese for public buses. At least for subway, there is an English language for each station. 

2014 China Hangzhou Subway
#11: We bought the single journey ticket from automated vending machine which available in English language. 

2014 China Hangzhou City Sightseeing
#12: One of the stunning architecture I came across in Hangzhou

2014 China Hangzhou Pagoda Temple
#13: Not sure what's the name of this pagoda but it does looks stunning especially during the night time with the lights on.

Hefang Street
Once known as Taiping Street, Hefang Street is the most popular street in Hangzhou. With heritage culture and long history, it is regarded as a iconic symbol of ancient Hangzhou. Visiting this bustling but fascinating street, you can catch a glimpse of antique buildings and well-preserved ancient stores as well as savor the beautiful artifacts. The shops in Hefang street are open all-day long but of course, the view is totally different depending on whether you are visiting during the day time or the night time. In day time, you can have a clearer sight of these old shops and museums while for the night time, the street offers you a better view with the red lanterns.

2014 China Hangzhou He Fang Street 1
#14: We ended our night by visiting Hefang street, the most popular street in Hangzhou.

You can also satisfy your stomach with numerous of delicious and tasty local food in Hefang street. At far end of street, there are many stalls for street foods such as crabs, squids, stinky tofu, BBQ, cool noodles and the list goes on. There is a 140-year-old teahouse called Taiji Teaism where people like to have a cup of tea, listen to the popular tune and enjoy the performance of tea-brewing.

2014 China Hangzhou He Fang Street 2#15: At far end of street, there are many stalls for street foods and we had our dinner here. 

How To Get To Hefang Street: Metro Line 1 will have a stop in Dingan Road which is about 1 km from Hefang Street. With 10 min’s walk, you can get to Hefang Street.

And that's how we spent our short but fruitful day in Hangzhou. If I have the chance to return to Hangzhou again, I will definitely spend more days to cover beautiful places like Jiu Xi, Wushan Night Market and more.
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Summary of My 11D10N Nepal & Bhutan Travelogue


Summary of My Nepal & Bhutan Itinerary
Day 1: Kuala Lumpur → Kathmandu (Post here)
Day 2: Kathmandu → Chitwan National Park (Post here)
Day 3: Canoeing & Elephant Riding In Chitwan National Park (Post here)
Day 4: Chitwan → Pokhara (Post here)
Day 5: Sunrise Viewing & Tandem Paragliding in Sarangkot (Post here)
Day 6: Pokhara → Kathmandu → Nagarkot (Post here)
Day 7: Nagarkot → Kathmandu (Post here)
Day 8: Kathmandu → Paro → Thimphu (Post here)
Day 9: Thimphu (Post here)
Day 10: Thimphu → Paro (Post here)
Day 11: Paro → Kathmandu → Kuala Lumpur


Flying In
Nepal
From Kuala Lumpur, one can fly either with Malaysia Airlines or Malindo Air to Kathmandu which is the gateway of tourism in Nepal. AirAsia X used to commerce this route to Kathmandu before but unfortunately, they have completely suspended this direct flight since October 2018. As for the time difference, Malaysia is 2 hours and 15 minutes ahead of Nepal. 

Bhutan
This is the most tricky part. The only way to fly in the one and only of Bhutan airport, Paro International Airport is either you can choose to fly from Singapore, Bangkok in Thailand, Delhi, Kolkata and Mumbai in India, Dhaka in Bangladesh and Kathmandu in Nepal with the country's flag carrier, Druk Air. Do take note that you must pay the tourist visas (USD200-250 per person per night) first before you can proceed to book any flight tickets with Druk Air. 

Visa
For Malaysian, visa are required for both Nepal and Bhutan. I remember I handover my passport to my friend in order to process for the Nepal visa application. Nepal tourist visa allows a stay up to 15 days and you can apply at Embassy of Nepal in Kuala Lumpur (click here for more info). Visa can also be obtained at the Kathmandu Tribhuvan International Airport of Nepal on arrival.

Tourist visas for Bhutan are significantly expensive. It depends on how many night you intend to stay in Bhutan and each night it costs minimum of USD200 for non-peak season and USD250 for peak season each person. I have to admit that it was a tedious process when applying for Bhutan tourist visas and I almost gave up, especially in wire-transfer via bank to overseas. I was rejected by few local banks and till the very last minute, I managed to do so at Standard Chartered Bank. 

Currency Exchange
Nepal
The official currency for Nepal is Nepalese Rupee (NPR). But because Nepalese rupees are not commonly found in any of Kota Kinabalu's money changers, hence I brought along US dollar and prepared to change Nepalese rupee when reaching there. 

Bhutan
For your information, the tourist visas of Bhutan actually include accommodations, all meals, ground transportation and also guided by both licensed Bhutanese tour guide and driver. Therefore, we didn't bother to change any money into their local currency as almost everything had been included, except for souvenirs. 

Total Damage
Nepal 
PARTICULARS FOR NEPAL TRIP 
NOTE
AMOUNT
US$/NPR
RM
Airfare
KL – Kathmandu - KL via AirAsia X
Add: Meals, luggage, seat
Add: Changes of flight

Tour Arrangement
Food and drinks   

Admission Fee
Nagarkot Sunrise Ticket
Devi’s Fall
Gupteshwor Mahadev Cave
Kathmandu Durbar Square
Boudhanath Stupa
Swayambhunath Stupa

Others:
Tips
Souvenirs
Photo & video for tandem paragliding



1

2

-
-
-

US$400
NPR6,018


NPR30
NPR30
NPR100
NPR1,500
NPR500
NPR200


NPR918
NPR6,830
NPR1,700

678
124
274

1,280
186


1
1
3
46
15
6


28
211
53
TOTAL (RM)
2,906
Note:
  1. Because one of my friends and I want to extend our trip to Bhutan, therefore we changed our flight time. 
  2. The ground tour we booked include 7 nights accommodation, breakfast, tandem paragliding, transport with driver and round-trip airport transfer. 

Bhutan
The total we paid for our 4 days and 3 nights trip to Bhutan was USD1,050 which include return trip from Kathmandu to Paro, 3 nights accommodation, all meals and guided by professional and attentive tour guide together with driver. For souvenirs, I spent roughly approximately RM130 for postcards, stamps, T-shirt, tote bags and two magnets. In case you are interested with Bhutan trip, do email me and I will introduce the local licensed tour operator to you with the special tour package fare offer. 

Exchange Rate as at November 2014
USD1 = RM3.20
RM1 = NPR32

Nepal & Bhutan Souvenirs
I just noticed I didn't manage to take all the things I bought from Nepal and Bhutan. This photo also I used the one took by my friend. Clumsy me. The thing I bought the most are Pashmina shawls from Nepal. 
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Goodbye Bhutan! Goodbye Nepal!

With the clear blue skies, the fresh and cool crisp air and not forgetting the untouched natural beauty - these will forever remain in my heart. 

It's our 4th day in Bhutan and this means it's our final day before leaving this country. How we wish that we could stay longer but that's all what both of us afford to pay for. If we continue to stay longer, I think my bank is going to bleed badly. Nevertheless, I never regret of coming to this so-called "The Land of Happiness".  

Bhutan Day 4 - Paro View
#1: The sun rose to the clear blue sky with fresh air flooded to our noses. Bhutan, you are so incredible. 

Nothing much we can do, except waiting for the time to pick up to the airport. Plus, our hotel seems to be located on the small hill and there is no other shops and cafe within the vicinity, therefore my friend and I just hang around our room after had the hearty breakfast served by the hotel. 

Bhutan Day 3 - Paro Khangkhu Resort Breakfast
#2: The hearty breakfast served by the hotel

#3: A thoughtful souvenirs given by the local tour operator we signed up with - Postcards, Bhutanese Red Rice and Cinnamon Incense Sticks. 

The distance from our hotel to the Paro International Airport is relatively short - not more than 10 minutes drive. Before bidding goodbye to both of our drive and tour guide, we decided to give them some tips for their excellent, attentive and great services throughout our 4 days and 3 nights trip in Bhutan. 

Bhutan Day 4 - Paro Internatinal Airport
#4: Paro International Airport is pretty small and not crowded.

Bhutan Day 4 - Paro Internatinal Airport 3
#5: All the 5 Kings of Bhutan ever since 1907 until now.

Bhutan Fridge Magnets
#6: Finally we found fridge magnets at the airport but like we expected, it's freaking expensive but we don't want to leave with empty-handed. Each costs us US$10. 

Bhutan Day 4 - Paro Internatinal Airport 2
#7: Thank you for welcoming us, Bhutan!

At first our flight from Paro to Kathmandu seems to be pretty normal and nothing extraordinary, not until few of the foreign passengers stood up and started to take photos with a Bhutanese who was dressing up in black gho. Out of our curiosity, we asked the stewardesses who were serving us the in-flight meal and they told us that that particular person is their Prime Minister back then. I'm not sure whether my friend and I were consider lucky or not cause, once we arrived Bhutan on our first day, we bumped into their King. And our final day leaving Bhutan, we had the same flight with their Prime Minister. Bhutan, you really gave us lots of unexpected surprises leh... 

Bhutan Former Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay
#8: Tshering Tobgay, former Prime Minister of Bhutan who had the same flight with us from Paro (Bhutan) to Kathmandu (Nepal).

Goodbye Nepal
#9: Alavidā Nepal!

Once we arrived in Kathmandu International Airport, my friend and I thought that both of us can proceed with our flight back to Malaysia as we booked our tickets at least 3 hours apart from our flight from Bhutan. Unfortunately, an unforeseeable event occurred where our flight back to Malaysia had been delayed for at least 6 hours. The delayed is due to the movement of VVIP guests at the Tribhuvan International Aiport for the SAARC Summit (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) and causing all air traffic closed for other airlines, including ours. Indirectly, this also will cause us to arrive at KLIA 6 hours later. For my case, I have no problem cause I still able to catch my flight from KL back to Kota Kinabalu. However, this creates lots of trouble to my friend as she will miss her flight from KL back to Sibu. Fortunately with the help of insurance she bought earlier, her agent got her new ticket for KL to Sibu flight. That's why you should buy insurance prior to your trip.

And that's conclude my two-in-one trip covering both Nepal and Bhutan. For my next post, I will share more details such as visa application, the total damages I spent for these two countries and not forgetting, my travel haul. So, do stay tune! 
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Bhutan Day 3: Paro Taktsang, The Tiger's Nest Monastery

<<Previous Post: Bhutan Day 2>>

In Thimphu, we're only staying there for two nights and from there, we repacked our bags again and check-out on our third day in Bhutan. We're going to head over to the previous city where we arrived on the first day - Paro. But before going over, there's one attraction in Bhutan that shouldn't be missed and must visit by every visitor. Or else, the trip to Bhutan is absolutely incomplete.  

King & Queen of Bhutan
#1: Not just the Bhutanese, but we also admired their King and Queen. So young, handsome and pretty. What a perfect match! 

Paro Takstang, or widely known as the Tiger's Nest Monastery is the one I mentioned earlier. It is one of the most important symbols of culture and religion in the Kingdom of Bhutan. This popular monastery has been featured in almost travel brochures when comes to promoting Bhutan and I can't believe finally I got to witness myself with my naked eye. However, it's not as easy as I thought cause Paro Takstang is located 2,950 meters above the sea level. And if you thought is there any cable cars to reach there, you better get up from your dreams cause there is no any cable cars within the nation. So the only way to reach Paro Takstang is by hiking and guess what, it takes approximately 6 hours of climbing up - that's what my tour guide told us. 

Bhutan Day 3 - Paro Taktsang Tiger Nest 1
#2: You can choose to rent a horse but still, you need to hike up yourself when almost reaching the top. 

My friend and I geared up in a comfortable attire - long sleeve, long pants and shoe. The weather in November, the month we're there was kinda chill and slightly cold but overall, we did enjoy hiking in this kind of weather. At least we're not covered in the hot and sticky sweat. So now let's us start hiking. The hike starts from where our driver parked his car. As for our tour guide, he will be accompanied and join us for the hike too, cause this is part of his job. 

Bhutan Day 3 - Paro Taktsang Tiger Nest 2
#3

At the beginning of the hike, I thought hiking up to Paro Taktsang might be easier and achievable without putting much effort. It really was, but only at the starting point cause when reaching to the certain point, I realised I was facing difficulty in breathing. Luckily with the accompanion of our tour guide, he advised us to slowly take our time instead of rushing heading up. Well, it's not a race after all, right?

Bhutan Day 3 - Paro Taktsang Tiger Nest 3
#4: The halfway point where you can take a break at the cafeteria

After hiking for almost an hour, we reach the halfway point and we saw a cafeteria. Our tour guide asked whether we want to sit down and relax at the cafeteria but we decided to continue with the hike. Seems like so persistent and determine, right? Oh well, both of my friend and I try our best to finish the trail as possible as we could. 

Bhutan Day 3 - Paro Taktsang Tiger Nest 4
#5

Sooner, the view of the monastery getting clearer and closer. This indicates we are almost there. We have a quick stop here for photo opportunity cause we found out this spot gives the perfect view overlooking the iconic monastery. And we happened to meet the owner of the local tour company we signed up with. He told us that he's currently living and staying in the United States of America with his family. 

Bhutan Day 3 - Paro Taktsang Tiger Nest 5
#6: A mandatory shot with the monastery.

Bhutan Day 3 - Paro Taktsang Tiger Nest 6
#7: A photo with the owner of the local tour company we signed up with.

#8: Paro Takstang, or widely known as the Tiger's Nest Monastery

The final stretch that one need to get through is that there are more than 700 steps of stairs to be conquered before reaching the monastery. I'm not sure which is more difficult to get through - the very steep trail or the 700 steps but what I know, I shouldn't give up and must keep going. I have to admit that I almost thinking to give up cause first, I wasn't reasonably fit and secondly, like I mentioned earlier I was having problem with breathing. Probably due to high altitude exposure. But then, when figured it out I already in Bhutan, no matter how hard and tough this climb, I shouldn't give up and must keep continue until I reach this monastery. It was really pain in the ass but it's the most rewarding journey and experience in my entire life

Bhutan Day 3 - Paro Taktsang Tiger Nest 8
#9: The final stretch where one need to conquer the 700 steps.

Bhutan Day 3 - Paro Taktsang Tiger Nest 10
#10: Across the bridge before reaching the monastery.

Once arrive at the monastery, visitors are not allowed to bring along any backpacks and cameras into the monastery and these are placed with the security staff. Even you need to take off your shoes before entering. And this means that photography is not allowed within the monastery. We didn't stay long in the monastery - roughly around 10-20 minutes before we continue to head down to the parking lot. 

Bhutan Day 3 - Paro Taktsang Tiger Nest 9
#11: Finally we arrived the majestic Paro Taktsang

Bhutan Day 3 - Paro Taktsang Tiger Nest 11
#12: One final shot with one of my best travel buddies

Overall, we took almost 5 hours to complete the whole journey. And guess what the tour guide told us? He told us that both of my friend and I hiked pretty fast cause initially, he thought that we will take 7-8 hours. Our tour guide actually been to Paro Takstang countless of times and he said that two of us are among the fastest group he ever accompanied with. I think one of the reasons is because we didn't stay long in the monastery. 

Bhutan Day 3 - Punakha Dzong 1
#13: Our final pitstop before check-in into another hotel - Punakha Dzong

Punakha Dzong is the administrative centre of Punakha District in Bhutan. Not just being the second oldest but it is also the second largest Dzong in Bhutan and arguably to be the most beautiful Dzong in the country, especially in spring when the lilac-coloured jacaranda trees bring a lush sensuality to the Dzong's characteristically towering white-washed walls. For many years, Punakha Dzong served as the seat or the central location for the Government of Bhutan, before they relocated to Thimphu later. All of the 5 Bhutan's Kings have been crowned here.

Bhutan Day 3 - Paro Khangkhu Resort Room
#14: Our crib for the night in the quiet town of Paro.
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