Every day was a new and amazing experience and although sad to leave Gasa we were looking forward to our trek up to Rukha. The pack ponies and our group made our way over the second longest suspension bridge in Bhutan which passed over the roaring waters of the Puma Tsang Chhu River. Rukha is appoximately 10 miles from the road so the only way up is to walk. The headman (Tashi Dorji) from the nearest village of Samthang came to guide us so we took the local short cuts! They might have been shorter but they were certainly steeper than the usual path! As it was October it was hot and humid but it was truly amazing walking through the rain forest. The sights and sounds will stay with us forever. We stayed at Tashi’s house that night and again what a privilege to be staying with the family. All visitors to the area have to sign into the book. Most of them were government officials, not many tourists such as ourselves. How wonderful to be able to experience village life in such a remote area.

We had hoped to be up at 6.00am to walk to school with the children but needless to say our breakfast and trek took far longer than it did for the children. They are used to the ups and downs, the rickety bridges and babbling streams but we had to stop often to gaze in awe at the River far below and listen to the birdsong and giant cicadas (well that was our excuse!)

Diary extract from Pat Barlow’s Bhutanese Tour with Panoramic JourneysHidden Bhutan, 2011. To find out more about this group journey , family holidays to Bhutan or Tailormade journeys to Bhutan with Panoramic Journeys, call +44 (0) 1608811183.

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