On an epic honeymoon trip

Mike and Anne in Bhutanese national dress (Pic: HoneyTrek.com)

The couple puts Bhutan as the most culturally rich and heart-warming places

KARMA CHIMI

Thimphu

Just wed? No, they married a decade ago yet the couple is still on their epic honeymoon trip.

Meet Anne and Mike from the United States of America who have been on their honeymoon trip for more than a decade.

“We left our country on our honeymoon in January 2012 and have since travelled to 70 countries across 7 continents,” the couple says, sharing their long adventure which could easily be touted as the longest honeymoon trip in history.

“We’ve had the full range of experiences from working on farms to staying at five-star hotels; taking Spanish classes to teaching English, flying first class to hitchhiking on a banana truck. We are full believers that variety is the spice of life,” the couple adds.

The couple, with their tag ‘HoneyTrek’, began their honeymoon trip on 22 January, 2012 and since then their epic journey has continued as if they were married just yesterday.

The couple recently visited Bhutan and spent about 18 days touring the country. Anne and Mike said that of the 70 countries they visited, Bhutan truly stood out as one of the most culturally rich and heart-warming places they ever experienced.

The couple came up with this amazing idea after realizing how short life was and the vastness of the world to explore wherein their honeymoon around the world was the perfect way to start off their life together. “It’s the greatest bonding and learning experience,” the couple said.

Their blog HoneyTrek and social media channels, and their very own travel books Ultimate Journeys for Two and Comfortably Wild helped them in funding their epic trip. “We have learned to live with more simplicity while still living life to the fullest.”

Their time in Bhutan

The duo shared that it has always been a dream to visit Bhutan. They have great respect for Bhutan for staying true to its traditions and preserving its environment. “So many countries across the world have lost their culture and opted for western way of life,” they said.

“From architecture and dress to food and way of life, Bhutan is uniquely itself and doesn’t try to imitate anyone else. We found the people here to be incredibly kind and welcoming,” they added.

The couple shares one instance where they halted to take a photo of a family tilling the potato fields with their oxen wherein the family invited the couple for butter tea, biscuits, and a chat.

“Though our English interactions were limited, they were full of smiles and laughter and the most generous serving of cookies! We found this kindness throughout our journey.”

“Every guesthouse we stayed at treated us like family and our guides from Bridge to Bhutan did a wonderful job of helping us connect with locals for meaningful interactions.”

The pair placed emphasis to support small local family-run hotels and home stays as they believe it offers a deeper look at the raw and true Bhutanese culture.

On the transformative reforms of tourism sector in the country, they said, “We appreciate that Bhutan is taking measures to ensure their tourism offerings are top notch with hotel renovations, infrastructure upgrades, and personnel training.”

The couple added that they do not have issues with the concept of the sustainable development fee (SDF) and that Bhutan should preserve what they have and keep mass tourism at bay.

However they shared that the SDF is quite high. “Hope it doesn’t scare too many people away from this incredible place and reduce revenue for the small businesses.”

They suggested the tourism department for an easier way for people to search the wonderful guesthouse options and guides on their site so that future visitors don’t only stay in fancy hotels.

While on their honeymoon trip in the country they went to places in Thimphu such as the Postal Museum, Buddha Dordenma, and made stops at Clean Bhutan and the Bhutan Ecological Society to learn more about the ways they are undertaking to make Bhutan more sustainable.

Mike and Anne also witnessed an archery tournament and visited Jungshi handmade paper factory in Thimphu.

They even travelled towards Dorikha in Haa valley where they had glimpse of the local life and the couple appreciated how the locals included and welcomed them into their home and in the community.

They also undertook a trek to the mountains and visited the nomad’s camps to learn bits and pieces about their life and the beauty of such remote areas.

The couple also had river rafting experience in Punakha and witnessed mask dances at Gangtey monastery, Phobjikha.

Tiger’s Nest has been the highlight for the couple and they took it to greater extent by trekking farther towards Bumdrak. “We couldn’t believe how good the food was and how cosy it could be in a tented camp at 3,800 meters high.”

The longest honeymoon couple expressed that visitors should not come to Bhutan on a short trip just because the daily fee is expensive, but instead to stay longer so as to give themselves time to better understand the country.

“In order to encourage people to extend their trips, the way is to make the SDF cheaper,” said Mike and Anne.

While on their visit to the tiny nation of Bhutan, the couple made extensive tour in Thimphu, Haa, Punakha, Wangdue and in Paro dzongkhags.

Mike and Anne have already left Bhutan and they have ventured towards Europe for a boat journey with friends around Croatia. In the coming days, they will head for a road trip through Bosnia and Herzegovina, Slovenia, and northern Italy.

They will eventually need to get to the USA because the couple are speaking and signing their books at an outdoor hospitality conference, The Glamping Show.

When asked by Bhutan Times on their intention to come back to Bhutan, they said, “We would love to visit Bhutan again and we still have to explore and go to the central and eastern parts of Bhutan.”

To know more about Anne and Mike, click Instagram and visit their travel website HoneyTrek.com.