October 3rd, 2019
AKD Travels
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AKD Travels: Bhutan

Today we are talking…

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Mark Your Calendars for the Shopping Event of the Season!

Who: You! And your best friend, and your husband, and your sister, and your parents, and your best friend’s friend and her husband…

What: The shopping event of the season! Choose gifts for your loved ones (and yourself) amidst curated artisan goods from all over the world including Morocco, Turkey, France, India, and new this year: Bhutan!

Where: The AKD Studio: 1804 Central St., Evanston, IL

When: “First Look” Event is November 21 | Pop-Up Shop is November 22-23

Why: To support the American Foundation or Suicide Prevention (AFSP). August 13, 2019 we lost our beautiful nephew, Stephen Koopman, to suicide. June 19, 2014, we lost my amazing brother, Mark Revers, to suicide.  Each year, suicide claims more lives than war, murder, and natural disasters combined. One death every 40 seconds, to be exact, yet suicide prevention doesn’t receive anywhere near the funding as other leading causes of death. For this event, 100% of the “First Look” Event ticket proceeds and 20% of the sale proceeds go towards AFSP. If you can’t make it to the “First Look” Event, don’t fret, you’re still doing good because 20% of the weekend sale proceeds still go towards this great cause.

So what are you waiting for? Grab your ticket to the “First Look” Event early because they are going to go fast!

Click here to purchase your ticket

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AKD Travels To Bhutan

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Bhutan, located in Southeast Asia and known as The Last Shangri La on Earth, is an ancient empire secluded high in the Himalayas with a unique culture and traditional people with strong beliefs.

The country is known for being really small and for being really happy, well actually the happiest place on earth.  How do we know this? Well, because Bhutan is the only country in the world to rank Gross National Happiness (GNH) above GDP.  Genius, huh? Here is a basic summary of what makes it the happiest place on earth:

  • They measure spiritual and material happiness equally
  • They practice Buddhism
  • They don’t care about TV, the Internet or Radio
  • 50% of the country is protected as a National Park
  • They have one of the fastest-growing GDPs in the world
  • There is a closeness between the high and low classes
  • They have less pollution than any other country
  • Plus, it doesn’t hurt, that they live in one of the most beautiful places on the planet
I am so excited to visit this country and learn about their culture and myself. Here is my itinerary:
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Paro Valley

Photos courtesy of Marriot

Our first nights in Bhutan are in this lovely riverfront retreat, Le Meridien Paro (pictured below) that offers stunning views of the Paro River and the Himalayas in the Paro Valley (pictured above). It is a historic town with many sacred sites and historical buildings scattered throughout the area. It is also home to Paro Airport, Bhutan’s sole international airport. That in itself is a story I am sure, as it’s one of the most challenging airports to land at, which is why only very few pilots are certified to land there. Fingers Crossed.

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Punakah Valley

Photo courtesy of Make My Trip blog

My second stop will be the Dhensa Boutique Resort (pictured below), which offers modern architecture that blends an open, airy style with the traditional motifs of Bhutanese design.  It’s home is in Punakah Valley (pictured above), which boasts to be home of the most beautiful Dzong in Bhutan.  AKD word of the day:  Dzong.  Dzong architecture is a distinctive type of fortress architecture found mainly in Bhutan and Tibetan areas of India. The architecture is massive in style with towering exterior walls surrounding a complex of courtyards, temples, administrative offices, and monks’ accommodation. And, you’re welcome.

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Thimphu

My third hotel, located in the capital city of Thimphu, the Taj Tashi (pictured below) blends Dzong architecture and modern design and is adorned with classical hand-drawn Buddhist murals.  The capital “city” itself is home to just under 100,000 people and is perhaps the world’s only capital without traffic lights. It is an important destination for people following the Buddhist faith, as it houses some of the most ancient and revered monasteries and temples (Buddah Point is one of them, pictured above).  Not to mention Thimphu is home to many of the best markets in Bhutan (Hello November Pop-up Shop!).

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Hotel Zhiwaling

Photo courtesy of National Geographic Lodges

Our last few nights in Bhutan will be spent back in the Paro Valley at Zhiwa Ling Lodge This hotel is a work of art, painstakingly constructed, carved, and painted by Bhutanese artisans over five years (you can see the detail in the photo above). It is not an old hotel—it first opened its doors in 2005 and is equipped with all the modern amenities you’d expect—yet the stunning architecture conveys an atmosphere of timeless tradition that fits right into Bhutan’s cultural landscape. The hotel’s temple exemplifies this emphasis on the authentic: it was built using 450-year-old wood from the original Gangtey Goemba monastery, one of Bhutan’s most cherished sites.

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If you want a daily escape to Bhutan while I am away, follow along with my trip through my posts on Instagram and Facebook. I will also be posting on Instagram stories as I go. You won’t be sorry.

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AKD Book Club: October’s Book

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The Silent Patient
By Alex Michaelides

Psychological Thrillers are not generally my genre, but I was immediately hooked and taken for a ride with this book.  I could not believe it was the author’s first novel as the story was so well crafted.  Fantastic story and fantastic storytelling.  I never wanted it to end.

Buy this book here

 

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