CarlosMeliaBlog OUT OF OFFICE till 2014

CarlosMeliaBlog OUT OF OFFICE till 2014 by www.carlosmeliablog.comCarlosMeliaBlog OUT OF OFFICE till 2014  |  Dear friends, colleagues and followers. This is an OUT OF THE OFFICE message. CarlosMeliaBlog will remain closed till January 2nd, 2014. I am heading tomorrow to Berlin, Germany, where along with my partner Rubin Singer, and another 15 friends, we will be receiving the 2014. Of course, as usual, upon return, I will be posting all our experiences, restaurants, tips and more. We will be staying, at my favorite hotel in Berlin, the Hotel de Rome by Rocco Forte Hotels. I want to take this opportunity to wish you all a belated Merry Christmas and the BEST wrap-up of this amazing 2013 and an even more fantastic 2014. And as I always say …” Be careful with what you wish, IT MIGHT COME TRUE…” Destinations to come to CarlosMeliaBlog in 2014 are, Iceland, Greenland, Ireland, Japan, Canada more of India and plenty more… Happy 2014 and see you back next January 3rd to resume a year full of luxury and adventures around the globe In the meantime you may follow my path through Berlin New Year Eve at Carlos Melia Recommends, Twitter or InstagramCM @ Carlos Melia Recommends

 

(*) Follow me around the world curating the best on Luxury Travel and Lifestyle by subscribing to my Facebook Page Carlos Melia Recommends, liking my Facebook Page, following me on Twitter, InstagramYouTube and/or pining me on Pinterest. And if you want to travel like me, or would you like to join me, check Coups de Coeur.

Happiness High Bhutan

Happiness High Bhutan by Pink EscapesHappiness High Bhutan  |  Bhutan  | Guest blog post by Bhuvan Mehta at Pink EscapesIn Bhutan in High Spirits Bhutan to some, is earth’s last Shangri-La; a pristine jewel nestled in the Himalayas, east of Nepal, north of India and south of Tibet. Its landscape is dotted with a myriad of spiritual symbols. Chortens rise high from the hillsides, prayer flags flutter in the breeze, many a smiles turned by the rushing waters of mountain streams, and the colourful prayer wheels stand as sentinels to many monasteries. Known for its culture and spiritual heritage – this is a land where its people are fiercely independent and proud of their traditions. Religious festivals and pilgrimages fuel the spirit of the Bhutanese and provide time for both rest and celebrations.

Happiness High Bhutan by Pink EscapesThis enchanting Buddhist kingdom is situated in the Himalayas between India and China. The country was practically untouched by the outside world until very recently. Television and Internet, for example, were only permitted in 1999. Visiting Bhutan can still feel like going back in time and entering another universe. Its residents hold on proudly to their rich cultural heritage and continue to dress in traditional Gho and Kira robes as they have for centuries. Every building follows a charming old-fashioned architectural style, so walking down the streets can feel like entering a child’s fairytale book. Bhutan is a remote Eden like none other on this planet and hopefully it will retain its idyllic charm for a long time to come.

Happiness High Bhutan by Pink EscapesGross National Happiness The fourth King of Bhutan, Jigme Singye Wangchuck, coined the phrase Gross National Happiness (GNH) when he emphasized that progress should not only bring about material development but also social well being and happiness. Today, Gross National Happiness is the yardstick for measuring development in the country rather than Gross Domestic Product. Gross National Happiness as a development philosophy over the years has under gone massive alterations as researchers and scholars have worked to make it practical, measurable and implementable in other parts of the world.

Happiness High Bhutan How many times in life have you longed for tranquil moments away from the chaos? How many times have you wanted to be free? How many times were you actually happy? Find the answer in ‘Pink Escapes’ travel experiences to Bhutan, designed by purely concentrating on happiness and the freedom of mind, to create a tranquil blend!! Feel the Bhutanese hospitality amidst unique culture and undisturbed nature and get lost in a lifetime experience. Travel worry-free and feel the calming silence within!!

Happiness High Bhutan by Pink Escapes

Suggested Itinerary 05 nights BHUTAN teaser:

02 Nights in Thimpu
Druk Air Flight brings you to Paro. Request your seats on left side of the aircraft to catch a better view of the Himalayan ranges. As the aircraft enters the Paro valley, look down and you will see the Paro Dzong on the hillside overlooking Paro Chu (river) with Ta Dzong, formerly a watchtower and now the National museum, above it.

On arrival you are met with a Pink Escapes Representative. A traditional welcome awaits you with ‘Bhutan Flag’ and ‘Khadar’ – a kind of scarf put around the neck with a silent prayer for your wellbeing. Your tour director meets you and accompanies you for the entire trip.
Start a short and scenic drive to Thimphu. The road runs down through the valley to Chuzom – the confluence of Thimpu River (Wong Chu) & Paro River (Pa Chu). Glimpse the three Chortens on the riverbank at this site, each in different style; mark the meeting of two rivers.

Shortly before reaching Chuzom, you will see on your left Tschogang Lhakhang, ‘the temple of the excellent horse’. It is a private temple, built in 15th century, as the result of the visit of Balaha, the excellent horse, a manifestation of Chenrezig – the compassionate Buddha. The road passes along a narrow valley with high, rocky cliffs on the left, and then the valley opens out into farmland on the way to Thimphu.

Happiness High Bhutan by Pink EscapesOn arrival in Thimphu, check–in at the hotel and unwind. Later, drive down to visit the biggest Statue of Buddha being erected in Thimphu on a hilltop and soak in the city views!! Visit the Tashichhodzong, seat of the Royal Government and Central Monastic Body; it was rebuilt in the early 1960’s after a fire destroyed most of the building. The amazing thing about this building is that it was built without a single drawing or a single nail!

Proceed to light a butter lamp at the Memorial Chorten, built in memory of the late King in the end of 20th century. In the evening explore the city on your own or unwind at the hotel.

It can be interesting to visit the farmer’s market (only on weekends) which is buzzing with locals going about their shopping for the coming week – an insight into the Bhutanese Culture!!

Next morning after the breakfast, proceed for a full day tour of Thimphu city. Visit the Changgangkha temples – set in tranquil setting and famous amongst the local to name their new born!! Don’t be surprised if you are lucky to see the Archery match at the open air grounds in Thimpu City centre!!

Visit the Institute of Zorig Chusum, where the 13 traditional arts like Thangka painting, sculpting, sewing, etc, are being revived by the government and the student are being trained to take up these as a means of livelihood. Also visit the Traditional Medicine Museum, where herbal medicine, acupuncture and the ancient art of healing that was passed down from Tibet is still being practised today.

Proceed to the Folk Heritage Museum and after a short tour about the traditional Bhutanese way of living, proceed for a cooking demonstration and Bhutanese lunch. After lunch, spend time at the Drubthob Goemba Monastery, which houses the Zilukha Nunnery and enjoy the sunset view from Zilukha as you descend down. Return to the hotel for leisure time or shop at the local markets.

Happiness High Bhutan by Pink Escapes

Dochula Pass & overnight in PunakhaAfter an early breakfast, take a scenic drive on the mountain route to Dochula pass. As soon as you reach Dochula Pass at 10,000 feet, a large Chorten and a forest of prayer flags greet you. On a clear day you can view an endless chain of Himalayan Peaks such as Gangar Punsum (24,000 ft) – the highest unclimbed peak in the world, Ganchenta, Teri gang, Table Mountain among others, all above 20,000 ft. From here you descend 5500 ft through temperate forests coloured with rhododendrons and magnolias down to the semitropical zone of oranges, banana and cactuses.

Time permitting stop at Dochula pass for a cup of tea / coffee! On a clear day your eyes can feast on the mountain peaks – making it an experience to remember!!

Happiness High Bhutan by Pink EscapesVisit the Royal Botanical Gardens located below the pass and gaze at the distinct flora and fauna of the land. Continue to Punakha and en route hike through the paddy fields to Chimi Lhakhang (about 30 minutes) situated near the river on a small plateau. It was built by the famous ‘divine madman – Drukpa Kuenley’; a famous pilgrim site for infertile women who wish to bear children. You will spot many child Monks memorizing their scripture as they are partially amused by your visit – an amazing blend of nature, spirituality, innocence and purity. Return to enjoy a lunch at the Chilmi Lhakhang Cafeteria – offering mesmerising vistas.
On arrival in Punakha, the capital of the kingdom in olden times, visit the Punakha Dzong, the winter residence of the Je Khenpo and the monks of Tashichhodzong. The Dzong is situated at the confluence of two mighty glacial rivers, the Mo Chu and Pa Chu, which descend from the lofty heights of the Himalayas. Early evening check–in at the resort and spend leisure time at your scenic hilltop resort.

Happiness High Bhutan by Pink Escapes

02 Nights in Paro
After an early breakfast and drive to Paro. On arrival, check in at the hotel and proceed to hike up to the Taktsang monastery (The Tiger’s Nest). For people unaccustomed to the altitude, it takes about three hours at an average walking speed to reach the temples (Pony ride is available only for uphill – recommended). En-route, make a stop at a teahouse for a refreshing drink and have an excellent view of the monastery. The path may at times appear to be somewhat hair-raising but it is well defined and there is no danger of falling off the path. Taktsang monastery is one of the most venerated pilgrim sites of the Himalayan world and it contains 13 holy places. Taktsang, the “Tiger’s Lair”, gets its name from the story of its foundation. In the 8th century, Guru Rinpoche came to Taktsang in a miraculous manner, flying on the back of a tigress from Khenpajong in the region of Kurteop. According to Bhutanese tradition, the tigress was a form taken by one of the Master’s consorts for the occasion. Guru Rinpoche meditated for three months in a cave at Taktsang and converted the Paro valley to Buddhism.
On the way down, enjoy lunch at Takstang cafeteria. Return walk is all downhill and takes about an hour and a half. Return to the city for leisure time. Enjoy optional SPA activities or a traditional stone bath or venture out shopping.

Happiness High Bhutan by Pink EscapesNext day, take a short drive to northern part of the valley to visit to Drukgyel Dzong ruins that was once a strategic post to withhold invading Tibetan forces from the north. Also visit Drugyel School which houses a special training institute for children with special abilities. Proceed to see the Kichu Lhakhang temples, some of the oldest temples built in Bhutan. In the afternoon, visit a Bhutanese farm where you meet a monk, light a lamp in the private temple and receive the blessings. Enjoy a tour of the farm followed by Ara – a local alcoholic drink made from rice & Bhutanese tea (salted), served with puffed rice. Savor traditional lunch before making headway to explore more wonders of Paro.

Visit Paro Dzong, one of Bhutan’s most magnificent and grand ones, the finest example of Bhutanese architecture. Its massive walls that tower over the town are visible throughout the valley. Located inside the renovated Ta-dzong building in Paro, National Museum of Bhutan is a cultural museum that displays the antiques gathered from several parts of Bhutan. The exhibits include bronze statues, paintings and handicrafts that include history and cultural heritage of around 1500 years.

Walk across the colorful handicraft bazaars of Paro and stop by at the Khachodling Temple, a small tranquil temple, ideal for meditation.

Time to say Bye to Bhutan. This morning, proceed to the airport to board your Druk Air flight!! Itineraries by Pink Escapes. CM @ Carlos Melia Recommends

 

(*) To book your own travel experience, do not hesitate to contact me either by email carlos@carlosmelia.com or phone # 917.754.5515. Check our schedule bespoke groups, escapes and retreats at Coups de Coeur. I am an experienced Travel Agent with over 25 years of experience, member of LGTNetwork, IGLTA, First in Service Travel, TZELL Travel Network.

 

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Pink Escapes Bespoke India Experience

Pink Escapes is a ground breaking and affordable ‘Bespoke Pink Luxury’ travel boutique. They are committed to show the Indian Subcontinent in style whilst entwining Pink Experiences to make sure travelers have well-rounded and enjoyable ‘Experiences to Love’ forever. They are passionate about putting together a Signature Dream Journey for their clients and while doing so their Experience Designers take care of client’s interests and travel preferences to create an exceptionally enchanting lifetime experience!  Continue reading Pink Escapes Bespoke India Experience

Varanasi, luxury on life experiences

Varanasi, luxury on life experiences  |  429 MAGAZINE  |  by Carlos Melia Varanasi, is a city located on the banks of River Ganges, known to be one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world and the oldest in India. A destination were tradition, legend, mysticism, and deep religious believes by Hindus, Buddhists, Jains and Muslims all coexist right before your eyes. Varanasi is also known as Benares or Kashi. Continue reading Varanasi, luxury on life experiences

Varanasi Luxury on life experiences by Carlos Melia

Varanasi Luxury on life experiences by Carlos Melia  |  429 MAGAZINE  |  Hi there everyone, like every week, my column on Luxury Gay Travel for 429 MAGAZINE is OUT and  ONLINE. This week I take a different meaning of luxury, the life experiences, and where better than India. Read my chronicle on my last visit to the holy city of Varanasi and mother River Ganges. Varanasi, Luxury on life Experiences. Hope you like it. Till next adventure in full luxury. CM @ Carlos Melia Recommends

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My 07 days in India portrayed by 30 Postcards Project


My 07 days in India by portrayed by 30 Postcards Project  |  India  |  Great video by friend and colleague Kevin Richberg on his project 30 Postcards around the world. This time of our trip together to the north of India. You can see me in a few scenes, specially the one being harassed by the street vendors ” Hawkers “, just look at my face priceless. After a week of travel, I was kind of OVER them. Great work Kevin. Cheers CM @ Carlos Melia Recommends

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Ganga Arti Varanasi India by Carlos Melia at GayTravel.com

Ganga Arti Varanasi India by Carlos Melia at GayTravel.com  |  GayTravel.com  |  Thank you GayTravel.com for sharing another of my posts. Everyone, you can read my travel experiences and logs twice weekly at GayTravel.com. This time at Varanasi, India where I was invited by Out Journeys and Community Marketing. Read the full post on Ganga Arti at GayTravel.com or here at CarlosMeliaBlog.com. Till next Tuesday. CM

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Ganga Aarti Ceremony at Varanasi

Ganga Aarti Ceremony at Varanasi   |  Varanasi, India  |  India always has that way to challenge, move and shock you with its harsh reality and traditions. During my visit to Varanasi, almost a month ago, I was lucky enough to experience a true Aarti ceremony, a Hindu religious ritual of worship, which took place over the stream of the holly river Ganges thus Ganga Aarti. One of the most interesting things I have seen and experienced during 2011. Varanasi is a very special, spiritual destination. I have never felt so much peace, mysticism in one place, but at the same time I connected with a very dark and evil side of the Hinduism believes which far from scaring me, created a very particular bond with their believes. Continue reading Ganga Aarti Ceremony at Varanasi

Thailand a very strong case on LGBT Travel by CNN

Thailand a very strong case on LGBT Travel by CNN  |  Asia  |  According to CNN GO with base in Asia, Thailand is a very strong case on LGBT Travel compared to other Asian destinations. And I am happy and honored to say that CarlosMeliaBlog.com has a big part on that. Last week during the 1st. Asian Gay and Lesbian Tourism and Hospitality Symposium, together with the Marketing team of the Tourism Authority of Thailand with base in New York, we showed to the attendees and the international press the work we have been doing in mutual collaboration to position Thailand as the top LGBT friendly destination in Asia and among the top 10 in the World. India was the host country of this Symposium, which took place in New Delhi, mainly supported and coordinated by the private sector, with complete absence of the Indian Tourism Office, which put a big question mark into many of us. Completely different is the case of Thailand, where the Tourism Office has joined the private sectors to promote and potentiate the arrival of regional and international LGBT travelers from all over the world with main focus on Luxury, Gourmet, Wine, Culture, Religion, Beach and Adventure. I was appointed by TAT New York to be the person to research and communicate this message through my blog and other various international media outlets. Proud and honored to have such and important network like CNN recognize the work and effort that together TAT New York and myself have been working very hard for the last few months. Thank you CNN GO for empathizing with our project. You may read the full article @ India: Unofficially ready for gay travelers. Mai Pen Rai Thailand. CM

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Street Indian magician pulls two Rupees from my pants

Street Indian magician pulls two Rupees from my pants  |  Jaipur, India  |  Tell me he is not talented and extremely cute. He came into our bus, while touring around Jaipur in the northern region of  India, and performed to amaze us all with this tricks and charm. For the rest of the trip we were all playing his voice and the constant YA!!!!. What amazed me by this kids in India, is the power to survive they have, which indeed I call, quoting Herbert Spencer‘s , “The Survival of the Fittest concept. I think I should hire him to pull coins and bills out of my pants  everyday and make me rich. All the way from Jaipur in India. Continue reading Street Indian magician pulls two Rupees from my pants