Up close with Tshering Denkar, Denkars Getaway

To start off, what inspired you to get into travelling and Vlogging?

The journey towards becoming a travel blogger and Vlogger started in the most unlikely of places “a prison”. I travelled to Thailand to volunteer as an English teacher and ended up staying longer to pursue a postgraduate degree. While volunteering, I got the opportunity to teach at a prison in the Phitsanulok province in northern Thailand. One day, an inmate asked me a question that would compel me to re-evaluate my life choices. “How is the world outside?” she wanted to know. I was haunted by that question and slowly began to cherish the things I had always taken for granted. The freedom to be outdoors, explore, travel, meet new people and have interesting experiences.

I ended up backpacking across Southeast Asia but never found a place like my home. I returned home after living in Thailand for five years. I decided to explore my own home country, Bhutan! And for the past two years, I have been travelling solo, living with locals across many dzongkhags (districts) of Bhutan, researching about places, sharing blogs about places I travel to and later I started to add virtual documentation in the form of travel vlog. That made me the first Bhutanese travel vlogger.

As one of the first Bhutanese solo travellers, how would you rate solo travelling experience for women in Bhutan and of course solo travelling generally?

 As a solo woman traveller, I do not hesitate to confirm that Bhutan is one of the safest countries to explore. For more than two years I have been travelling, hiking to places and into the wilderness on my own. I vividly recall my first solo trip in 2018. I bade goodbye to apprehensive friends as I boarded a local bus to Phobjika valley alone, with a one-way ticket! I was on a tight budget and had made up my mind to hitchhike and couch surf if I needed to.

As the bus winded along the gorgeous green mountains, I felt myself connecting with the wanderer within. I quickly made new friends, felt determined to chart my path and ended up staying longer than planned. And I have not looked back since. Phobjika became my first of many, many solo travel adventures across Bhutan.

Besides travelling solo I have trekked to places and spent nights at highland with the nomads and yak herders. One time I remember waking up, sharing nomad tent with five yak herders while trekking to Nuptsonapata. I never felt intimidated by the absence of girl partners, I felt safe and much cared for by the male friends.

You have been constantly on the move, making so many journeys in Bhutan. From all these journeys, which one has been the most fulfilling or special of all?

I often get asked this question. Well, of many places I have been to, a sojourn to these places and mountains have been distinctively memorable to me. Different places have a different identity and essence to feel, people from different region have different stories to tell, the tales of the places were unique from its neighbourhood, the difference was exactly what made me travel to these places and that is exactly why I don’t have a particular answer to choose the most fulfilling journey.

One of the memorable experiences is naming the baby Yak – Denkar. A yak was born the morning I couch-surfed in one of the nomad huts in Haa. I adopted the Yak Denkar. Today she is two years old. Every time I find myself going back to the mountains in Haa to my Yak Denkar. There are many beautiful anecdotes. To know more you need to follow my page (Lol).

The one place in Bhutan you have not visited yet and would love to do so? And why?

Well, there are so many places that I would like to visit. However, presently the Snowman Trek tops my bucket list. I love trekking. I have trekked almost all the popular trekking trails in Bhutan. However, trekking snowman route would be my dream come true. Trekking for 28 days has become my life goal for now.

Snowman Trek in Bhutan is one of the most beautiful treks in the whole Himalayas. Known as the most difficult trek in the world due to altitude, duration and distance, far more people climb Mount Everest in Nepal than complete this alpine quest. The trek starts from Paro and ends in Bumthang crossing 13 Himalayan mountain passes some as high as 5000m.

Give us three reasons why people should experience Bhutan?

Bhutan is known to rest of the world as carbon Negative Country, Place where Gross National Happiness was born, where Royal Families are admired deeply by its people. However, there is so much to see and experience Bhutan. Travelling to Bhutan is one of the means of cultural communication. It produces social and cultural benefits to both Bhutanese and tourist exploring Bhutan.

Aspiring traveller must trek in Bhutan. Perhaps it should be in the bucket-list of every mountain lover. Bhutan is one of the best mountaineering destinations. The mountains and its tales will fascinate you and enrich your knowledge about the locality, spirituality and natural topography.

As a Bhutanese travel blogger, I encourage Bhutanese folks to explore our own country better because we can be the best ambassador and storyteller to the rest of the world. To know stories, one needs to go out, delve into the locality, learn about the people and places.

Tshering Denkar

She is a full-time Bhutanese female solo travel blogger. In her blog, she shares personal experiences and narratives of traveling to various getaways within Bhutan. Follow her https://denkarsgetaway.com or @ denkarsgetway on Facebook and Instagram