Poppy Love: Himalayan Trek In Fleeting Summer Beauty of Bhutan

What kind of solo traveler would a poppy safari in Bhutan attract? In other words, who else might you meet in a hidden, ultra exotic, miles-high Himalayan kingdom?  Someone for whom the lack of oxygen, the pummeling monsoons and the little leeches that appear would be fine?  Someone who yearns to see, feel, taste and smell the most far-flung corners of the earth? Someone for whom 3-4 hours of trekking sounds like fun?  Someone capable of fainting at the glimpse of the ephemeral beauty of blooming poppies, the national flower? Someone really rich? [Read on.]  Cameras!  At the ready to point and shoot?!

Blue, white, red, and yellow poppies, all rarely seen and only during the summer, May to July. These shy guys bloom once, seed, and die.

The insanely upscale, searingly chic Amanresorts is offering 6 or 7-night Poppy Treks from 10,000 to over 13,000 feet high in the Himalayas.  Walk along pastoral paths, vivid green rice paddies, past bright white dzongs (massive, awe-inspiring fortress monasteries), through forests of pine, and rhododendron and along glorious mountain passes where the elusive poppies nod in the breeze. No tulips to tiptoe through up here.

The plan: two or three days trek, sleep in elegantly simple and comfortable tented camps with private facilities and then two nights each in their perfect valley lodges, the Amankora Thimphu and the Amankora Paro.

Your choice: Red or Pink and White:

  • Red Poppy Haa Valley Trek – 6 nights during July, 2012.  Two nights Thimphu – two nights camp – two nights Paro. Start off with two days to poke around the Kingdom’s capital and acclimatize to the high altitude. Discover the astonishing variety of Himalayan wildflowers, quaint village hamlets, pristine forests, yak herder camps and mountain vistas, culminating at the Selela Pass, the only location in Bhutan where the wild red poppy is found. Then a relaxing wrap-up in Paro including one last leg-stretching hike up to the revered 7th century “Tiger’s Nest” Monastery. Figure: $8,000+ per person, single occ.
  • Pink and White Poppy Haa Valley Trek – 7 nights from June 1-July 15, 2012. Two nights Thimphu – three days trek and camp – two nights Paro. This trip ascends through rich forests and across high alpine meadows following mountain ridges to the home of the world’s only white poppies, and the even rarer pink. Bonus: a chance to spot the elusive and endangered blue sheep, unique to this mountain range. Figure: $8,200.+ per person, single occ.

Parting thought: Opium from poppies has been described as the world’s first antidepressant. Yay.

C u in Bhutan? To book, visit: Aman Resorts or, in the U.S. call 800-477-9180