Wednesday, December 1, 2010
Friday, July 16, 2010
One World Trekking offers new research trek & cultural journey into Bhutan’s recently opened ‘Land of the Brokpas’
(TRAVPR.COM) UNITED STATES - 16th July 2010 - From May 8 to May 18, 2011, One World Trekking (http://www.oneworldtrekking.com) is offering a small group of twelve trekkers the opportunity to participate on a new trekking route into the remote Merak and Sakteng region of eastern Bhutan.
This will surely be a truly incredible cultural journey and nature trek into a region of Bhutan closed to foreigners for the past 30 years. Until now, Merak and Sakteng has been closed to protect the unique cultural heritage of the Brokpa people and in part to give the mythical Yeti some peace, whose tales of wandering in these secluded valleys are very popular among the locals.
The Brokpas (highlanders) of the Merak and Sakten regions of eastern Bhutan are semi-nomadic yak herders who speak a unique dialect and wear clothing unique to this isolated region of Bhutan. Known as the Highlanders, the people of Merak and Sakteng have their ancestral roots southern Tibet, entering eastern Bhutan around the 15th century. Similar to the people of Laya, Lingshi and Lunana, the Brokpa live a semi nomadic lifestyle, primarily depending on yaks for their livelihood.
Our 6 day trek visits both Merak and the Sakteng valleys and enters the pristine Sakteng Wildlife Sanctuary. It is one of nine protected areas in Bhutan and forms part of the Bhutan Biological Conservation Complex. The Sanctuary protects the easternmost temperate forest ecosystems in the country with endemic species like eastern blue pine, black-rumped magpie and many others found only in the eastern Bhutan.
The Sanctuary was set up to protect the elusive Megay, or yeti. Other wildlife living in the Sanctuary includes the snow leopard, red panda, Himalayan black bear, barking deer and Himalayan red fox. Fauna and birds include the Assamese macaque, blood pheasant, grey backed shrike, grey-headed woodpecker, common hoopoe, rufus-vented tit and dark breasted rosefinch. According to the surveys conducted by the World Wildlife Fund, the Sakteng Sanctuary is home to some 203 species of plants, 119 species of birds and 18 species of mammals, with the snow leopard and red panda being classified internationally as “highly endangered” species.
One World Trekking’s (http://www.oneworldtrekking.com) brand new Bhutan hiking vacation combines a unique opportunity to travel overland into a remote corner of the ‘Land of the Thunder Dragon’ on a cultural tour and short 6 day trek into an area of Bhutan that has never before been open to foreigners. We will begin our trip in Delhi in order to take advantage of the daily flights to and from Guwahati. From here we drive overland and experience an amazingly beautiful and little-visited region of Bhutan. Once on trek we will be afforded an opportunity to see, first hand, a way of life that has remained unchanged over centuries. Please contact One World Trekking (firstname.lastname@example.org) for a detailed trip itinerary.
Andy Crisconi - One World Trekking
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Monday, March 22, 2010
March 20, 2010
Aneva Borthwick relies on the kindness of strangers.
We are in Phobjikha, Bhutan, on a cold spring evening. One minute I'm walking down a steep and slippery path, next I'm in the air and then lying on my back in a hole. There is pain and my arms and hands are numb and tingling. I know my back is broken and I can feel blood trickling down my face.
If I lie still, the pain is bearable. Shortly, the numbness and tingles ease. What to do? I have on about five layers of clothing, including my favourite beanie, so I don't feel cold.
Somebody jumps into the ditch and tries to help me up. "Don't touch me," I say, "I have broken my back." The poor man moves away.
Others arrive and ask me what I want them to do. "You must make me a collar," I say and lie back and wait.
The collar arrives and is a work of art. They then ask what to do next. "You must get a door or plank for me to lie on," I say. After some time my travel companions arrive with a plank, which I later learn had been part of the front steps of the guesthouse at which we are staying. I roll to one side and the plank is placed under me as I roll back. It is hard and uncomfortable and not quite as wide as I am.
The local village health workers arrive and carry me along uneven paths and up stairs into the house. This journey is frightening; any movement causes intense pain and I am scared of being dropped.
It takes two days to get out of Bhutan with only basic medical care and inadequate pain relief. The roads have hairpin bends, with children, cars, yaks and cattle likely around any corner. I'm flown to Bangkok by air ambulance and receive first-rate care in the hospital, including surgery for a serious neck fracture. I'm on the way to a full recovery and indebted to my travelling companions.