Hotel Karmaling

After a hard day of chorten circling and monastery mayhem, there’s nothing like a cellar temperature beer and some fresh, hot fries to drive out the demons of the day’s travels. We found ourselves in this remote corner of Eastern Bhutan, actually all of Eastern Bhutan is remote, with our stop for the night at the Karmaling. It had to be good with “karma” in its namesake. Of course, there was no power in Trashyangtse the afternoon we arrived, typical, and a town without electricity that is normally pretty quiet, is really quiet. The propane was still working at the hotel and the fries were hand-cut and served with a homemade ketchup. The place was really quite comfortable and the owner, very accommodating. The town is home to Chorten Kora, a stupa style normally found in Nepal; revered here and well preserved. The Himalayan south slope seems close enough to touch with the river Kulong cutting through the valley and picking up speed. There is the Rodungla trek west to Tangmachhu with its twelve thousand foot pass, but we couldn’t find anyone to talk with that had done it. A short day hike up out of the valley was enough of a persuader to send us back to town with a sense of having done enough. The Karmaling is a sweet spot at the end of the road north. The road east leads to Arunachal Pradesh, India and the birthplace of the sixth Dalai Lama. We couldn’t talk our guides into sneaking us into India for a quick visit; instead sending us south with the mountains in the rear view.

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