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Bhutan

Post Covid Bhutan Wellness Travel

Let me begin by stating that everyone, and when I say everyone, I mean every single one of us living on earth deserves a break from COVID-19. There is no denying that 2020 has been one of a kind year. Everything came to a halt, everything closed off; homes became the only place where one could freely move around, and honestly, that’s quite suffocating. After having to suspend all our travel plans, almost at year-end, there is a slight hope that this may all be coming to an end. Everyone is waiting to welcome 2021 in a different light while wondering how things will be and what will travel look like post COVID. And what better idea is there than looking to wellness to rejuvenate one’s mind, body, and soul after having to spend a year locked up in your homes.

And what better place than Bhutan, Bhutan has many activities available for those visitors seeking a place of solace, rest, and recuperation. Whether it’s a session of peaceful, contemplative meditation, a relaxing soak in a mineral hot spring bath or the all-natural remedies of our traditional medicine Bhutan has just what you need to revive and rejuvenate your body and spirit; it’s the perfect place to be after a Pandemic for a holistic break.

I say everyone must take this one chance in 2021 to take care of yourself and your loved ones because if anything, 2020 has taught us that life can be uncertain and we must take every chance to live our lives to the fullest. So I say you get a pen and a paper and start making a list of things you would like to do in Bhutan. Here is our list of Bhutan wellness treats to help you make your post COVID wellness travel list.

Post COVID – Bhutan Wellness Travel List

Nature-Based Wellness

Bhutan travel for post Covid wellness with Nature

Go Trekking/Hiking

Bhutan’s pristine nature and jagged mountainous landscape provide an ideal opportunity to trek across some of the most beautiful sceneries. Bhutan is a landlocked country, also recognized as one of the world’s hotspot biodiversity with a rich ecosystem and all these can be experienced by trekking in Bhutan. Trekking in Bhutan can offer a multitude of thrilling experiences such as fresh mountain air, outstanding views, and most importantly a great opportunity to immerse in the natural environment. Comparatively hiking offers a similar but less arduous option. Some of the most popular treks/hikes are the Jomolhari Trek, the Druk path Trek, and hiking to the Tiger’s nest.

Visit Phobjikha Valley

Amazing Phobjikha Valley of Bhutan

Phobjikha valley at an altitude of 2900 meters comes under the Wangdue district in Bhutan and falls on the edge of the Black Mountain National Park. The valley is home to the endangered bird species known as the black-necked cranes. These birds fly to Phobjikha from Tibet in winter and fly back in spring. The valley is also is one of the major tourist attractions in Bhutan. The visitors can engage in bird watching activities and observe the beautiful birds. The Black-necked crane information center is equipped with high power telescopes and binoculars for the best experience of bird watching. The center also educates visitors with information about the cultural history of the area. With its picturesque landscape and ever so beautiful pastures, the valley also offers the visitors to take part in nature trail hiking, village excursions, and many more activities to recharge one with energy.

Visit Chelela Pass

Chelela pass is located at an hour drive from the capital Thimphu and is also the highest motor-able road in Bhutan.  An early drive to the pass can reward you with a magnificent view of the sun rising timidly from behind the mountain peaks.  The whole pass is decorated with endless streams of fluttering prayer flags. You can hang up prayer flags and just enjoy the view and the amazing liveliness of the pass.

Soak Your Stress Away in a Hotspring

Bhutan wellness travel with hotspring

Bhutan is famous for hot springs and soaking in one can be very beneficial just to the body but to the mind as well. The wells of hot spring water are known for their miraculous healing properties.  The hot springs are known to be beneficial for joint pains, skin diseases, and a number of other ailments. The hot springs in Bhutan are situated beautifully among a lush green environment and a tranquil ambiance. The most popular one is the Gasa Hotspring located in Gasa.

Spirituality Based Wellness

Meditation

Meditation while taking wellness vacation in Bhutan

As one of the last strongholds of Vajrayana Buddhism, meditation and mediation retreats are a common practice amongst Monks and Buddhist practitioners in Bhutan. Small retreat centers and hermitages are located all over the country, usually next to temples, monasteries, and monastic schools. Many tourists come to Bhutan for meditation and retreat tours. You can engage in meditation programs for a few hours in the high hills and temples where the serenity and beauty of nature can be appreciated in undisturbed silence. This does a lot of help to the unsettling minds and the lifestyle or environment that we are usually surrounded with.

Temple Stays at Phajoding

The monastery is located above Thimphu town at some 4 hours of walk from the base at Sangaygang. Spending some time off the regular touristy destinations in a quiet place like the Phajoding monastery can be a life-changing experience.  You can spend a night or two and explore the surroundings and actually experience the secluded life as a monk does. You can do meditation, attend talks on Buddhism, and engage with the monks. You can also engage in a light walk around the monastery and explore the temples at the site. There are about some ten temples at Phajoding all of which were built in the 13th century.

Let me know if you knew the list of Bhutan wellness travel treats or if you were completely surprised with this list.

Categories
Covid 19 Cultural Tourist Attractions United States Virtual Tours

Missing Out on a Trip to Washington DC? Check Out These Virtual Tours Immediately!

Washington DC is a massive city and it is incredibly difficult to see all the attractions and landmarks during just one visit. If you have always wanted to see as many sights as you can, you may want to take a virtual tour of some of the best places in this area.

Check Out These Virtual Tours in Washington DC Immediately

Virtual Tours in Washington DC

1. Mount Vernon

George Washington’s home is not too far outside Washington DC, although it can take forever to get there thanks to the plethora of traffic on the roads. A virtual tour will have you seeing a lot of the first President’s home, as well as the grounds.

President George Washington Home At Mount Vernon In Virginia
President George Washington Home At Mount Vernon In Virginia

2. US Botanic Gardens

It can take hours to wander around the US Botanic Gardens, but you can see the botanic garden, conservatory, and even parts of Bartholdi Park in no time at all with a virtual tour. You can choose between an audio or video tour, although, I prefer the second. After all, isn’t the whole point of wandering through a garden being able to see it?!

The National US Botanical Gardens in Washington, DC, USA.
The National US Botanical Gardens in Washington, DC, USA.

3. Capitol Hill

You can’t do a true virtual tour of Capitol Hill, but you can easily learn more about each building during this unique virtual tour option. You can explore each building on the hill, even the ones you would not normally be allowed to enter.

United States Capitol Building At Sunset, Washington Dc, Usa
United States Capitol Building At Sunset, Washington Dc, Usa

4. Tidal Basin

A virtual tour of the Tidal Basin will have you seeing the Jefferson Memorial, Washington Monument, World War II Memorial, and Lincoln Memorial in addition to the walking paths and the basin itself. You can also see the Reflecting Pool during this little tour.

The tidal basin in Washington DC with the Washington Monument in the distance.
The tidal basin in Washington DC with the Washington Monument in the distance.

5. Library of Congress

Anyone who loves to read will want to visit the Library of Congress in person, but since that is currently not possible, you must make do with a virtual tour. This is an amazing three hundred sixty-degree tour that will show you all the must-see details of this gorgeous building.

The Library of Congress in Washington, The library officially serves the U.S. Congress
The Library of Congress in Washington, The library officially serves the U.S. Congress

6. National Air and Space Museum

There are a couple different virtual tours through this museum, but a favorite is going to be the Out of This World Exhibit. Go back in time and see what you remember about space and those who explored it with this virtual tour.

Visitors enjoy The National Air and Space Museum of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC.
Visitors enjoy The National Air and Space Museum of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC.

These are some of the best virtual tours of areas throughout Washington DC, but you will find many more. I recommend starting with these and then checking to see if your favorite spot in DC has a virtual tour you could watch to see if anything changed.

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Airlines Covid 19 Popular for travelers

Airlines and the Fallout from COVID 19: What Aircrafts are No Longer in Service

It is not surprising that airlines are suffering from the COVID-19 pandemic, because not too many people are traveling. What may surprise people though is that some airlines have retired certain aircrafts permanently. While we do not know what this will mean for future flights, we can share which aircrafts have been grounded permanently.

What Aircrafts are No Longer in Service After the COVID-19 Pandemic

COVID 19 Fallout

Delta Airlines

Delta Airlines was not supposed to retire its MD-88s and MD-90s until a much later date, but they are now exiting by the beginning of June. By the end of this year, all their Boeing 777-200s, of which there are eighteen of, will be retired. This is how big the Covid 19 fallout.

Delta Air Lines McDonnell Douglas MD-88 was taking off from Detroit Metropolitan Airport.
Delta Air Lines McDonnell Douglas MD-88 was taking off from Detroit Metropolitan Airport.

American Airlines

American Airlines was planning on retiring many different aircrafts by the end of this year, but they are moving up their timeline now. The aircrafts they are retiring include all their Embraer E190s, Boeing 757s, Boeing 767s, Airbus 330-300s, and Bombardier CRJ200s.

American Airlines Boeing 757 passing over Maho Beach
American Airlines Boeing 757 passing over Maho Beach with tourists posing for photos enjoying vacations. Airplane registered N200UU on final approach.

Singapore Airlines

Singapore Airlines will be retiring all their B777-200/ER aircrafts. While some of them are in Alice Springs, NT, Australia right now, they will be moved to their final destination once it is safe.

Austrian Airlines

Austrian Airlines is starting to retire some of its fleet. They are starting with all their A319s, as well as three of the six of their B767-300s. In 2022, the rest of this airline’s Dash 8 fleet will be retired.

Air Transat

Air Transat was not supposed to retire its last A310 until its last scheduled flight at the end of April. However, COVID-19 wreaked havoc on those plans and caused this airline to retire it early.

Air Canada

Air Canada is currently retiring seventy-nine of its aircraft. The retired aircrafts include Boeing 767s, Airbus 319s, and the Embraer 190s.

Covid 19 fallout on Air Canada
Air Canada Boeing 767-375 (ER) takes off from Schiphol Airport.

IAG Group

The IAG Group will be focusing on the possibility of retiring their BA B747s and their A340s early. No final decision has been made, but the prospects of keeping them up in the air are slim.

British Airways Boeing 747-400 airplane London Heathrow airport (LHR) OneWorld special livery in the United Kingdom.
British Airways Boeing 747-400 airplane London Heathrow airport (LHR) OneWorld special livery in the United Kingdom.

Virgin Atlantic

Virgin Atlantic Airlines recently announced that they will be retiring all their B747-400s and A330-200s. They also retired their last A340-600 at the end of March.

Air France

The A380s of Air France are no longer in service. These aircraft have been slowly retired since the beginning of January, but the speed has been ramping up with the current circumstances.

This Airbus A380-861 type code A388 is Operation by Air France. The registration number is F-HPJG. Take off from Paris (Charles de Gaulle Airport).
This Airbus A380-861 type code A388 is Operation by Air France. The registration number is F-HPJG. Take off from Paris (Charles de Gaulle Airport).

KLM

KLM recently retired all their Boeing 747-400s, which was a year earlier than planned. There are still three of these aircraft in flight, but they are only being used to transport cargo over to Shanghai.

A KLM Royal Dutch Airlines Boeing 747-400 taking off on April 21, 2015 in Amsterdam. KLM is the largest airline of the Netherlands with its hub at Amsterdam airport.
A KLM Royal Dutch Airlines Boeing 747-400 taking off on April 21, 2015 in Amsterdam. KLM is the largest airline of the Netherlands with its hub at Amsterdam airport.

Lufthansa

Lufthansa is planning to use less aircraft in the near future and that is why they have been retiring many different aircrafts. Their Airbus A320s are being phased out, as are some of their Airbus A380s, Boeing 747-400s, and Airbus 340-300s. Some of these may end up returning in the future, but for now they are listed on the retired list.

There will be fewer aircraft in the sky once travel fully resumes after COVID-19 and it is unknown how long that will be the case. However, we do know that these aircrafts will be retired, and that new aircraft will be needed if, and when, these airlines determine they need more planes in the sky.

Categories
Covid 19

Summer Activities and Their Level of Risk for You and Your Family

Almost the entire world has been in a quarantine of some form or another for at least two months now, so we completely understand why you want to get out and live life like you normally would. However, any actions that you take can increase your risk of becoming infected with COVID-19. Of course, your risk is dependent on many other things like your age, health, the number of cases where you live, and the precautions you take every time you leave your home.

It is a known fact that the fewer people you are around, the lower your risk will be and vice versa. According to Dr. Emily Landon, who is a epidemiologist and infectious disease specialist at University of Chicago Medicine, “Always choose outdoors over indoor, always choose masking over not masking and always choose more space for fewer people over a smaller space.”.

Summer Activities and Their Level of Risk for You and Your Family

Low Risks Summer Activities

Exercising Outside

It is quite easy to stay socially distanced from others while you are exercising outside, unless you are trying to play team sports. As long as you are walking, running, riding a bike, or doing another activity on your own, your risk will be very low. Team sports like tennis and golf can be done practically risk-free if you follow the guidelines and limit your contact with others.

Basically, the more people you are around, the higher your risk will be, so it is best to limit yourself to a group of one for your workouts. You should also have a mask handy in case you end up getting closer to people while you are exercising. Among all summer activities personally I like this the most.

Exercising outdoors is very safe and it's unlikely one would catch Covid19.
Exercising outdoors is very safe and it’s unlikely one would catch Covid19.

Enjoying Time at a Local Pool or Beach

The risk of spending time at a local pool or beach is quite low, but you must use common safety precautions during your visit. The water will dilute the virus, so the chances of you being infected while in the water is slim. However, if you are standing directly next to a person and they start coughing or talking, you will have a higher risk.

Your best option is to stay at least six feet from other people who are not in your immediate group. This includes the time you are waiting to enter the area and using the bathrooms. The best time to visit these two locations are either early in the morning or later in the day, because those are considered the off-peak times.

Camping

As long as you are just with your immediate family, camping is an excellent way to get out to enjoy the outdoors. Since this is an outdoor activity where you can isolate yourself from others, it is considered lower risk. The risk increases when you are at popular campgrounds where it is more crowded.

It is best to camp in an RV since you will have your own bathroom. However, you can be safe using public restrooms if they are cleaned regularly and properly, as well as using proper social distancing while you are in them.

Going camping is a safe way to enjoy time with family or friends while more than likely avoiding Covid19.
Going camping is a safe way to enjoy time with family or friends while more than likely avoiding Covid19.

Allowing People to Use Your Bathroom

Your own personal bathroom is easy to clean quite well, so there is little risk to allowing people to use it. All you need to do is clean all the high-touch surfaces, like toilets, sinks, and the door, really well afterwards.

Vacationing at a Vacation Home with One Other Household

Going to a vacation home with another household is not as risky as it may appear, especially if you all have been staying away from other people. The risk only increases if at least one person in one of the households needs to go into work every day or hasn’t been practicing social distancing.

It is best to go over all the necessary precautions before the trip, so everyone has the same expectations. You should also make sure that no one has a temperature, or signs of any illness, before departing for your time away from home.

Staying in a vacation home is relatively low risk.
Staying in a vacation home is relatively low risk.

Low to Medium Risks

Backyard Gathering with One Household Other than Your Own

It is not too risky to have a get together in your backyard if you are only with one small group of people, but there are risks involved. It is best to invite a family who has been following all the social distancing guidelines instead of one who has been going everywhere without masks.

You should also have everyone bring their own food and drinks, as well as plates and utensils. This will ensure that everyone isn’t touching the same items in the middle of your party. If you can stay six feet apart from each other, you will not need to wear masks. This is best, because it is impossible to eat and drink with a mask on anyway. However, if the kids are playing together, they should wear a mask for the safety of the entire group.

Using Public Restrooms

People have had risks of contracting many different diseases in restrooms over the years, but the way all restrooms are designed ensure that transmission is low. The risk of using a restroom is going to be dependent on how often, and how well, the restroom you are using is cleaned.

Smaller restrooms are going to be riskier to use than larger bathrooms, simply due to the space constraints. It is best to only use restrooms that look clean and are stocked with extra paper towels, toilet paper, and soap. As you are using the restroom, practice social distancing, and then wash your hands well before you leave.

Staying at Hotels

Simply checking into a hotel and going straight to your room will allow you to face minimal risks. However, higher risks come into play when you begin to use all those common areas like the swimming pool, fitness center, and the lobby.

To minimize your risks even more, we recommend using disinfectant wipes to clean all the common surfaces in your hotel room. The bedspread should also not be used as a covering since they are often used for multiple guests. Most hotels are implementing new cleaning protocols, so you may want to check them out before reserving your room.

Checking into a hotel is relatively low risk if everyone is using a mask.
Checking into a hotel is relatively low risk if everyone is using a mask.

Medium to High Risks Summer Activities

Eating Indoors at Restaurants

One of the higher risks you can have right now is dining at a restaurant while sitting at the indoor tables. Not too many people rush through their meals at a restaurant, so you will be exposed to people for a much longer period of time. Plus, if the heat or air conditioning is on, it can blow droplets of the virus from table to table.

Some restaurants will be safer than others, but it is dependent on what precautions the restaurants have put into place. Spaced out seating, single use condiments, servers wearing masks, and multiple handwashing stations can reduce the risk greatly. If you want to lower your risk at a restaurant, you may want to find one that offers outdoor seating.

Sitting indoors poses a greater risk of catching covid19 if not vaccinated.
Sitting indoors poses a greater risk of catching covid19 if not vaccinated.

Outdoor Gatherings with More than 10 People

There are so many gatherings during the summer months, and you are going to want to attend all the graduations, weddings, birthday parties, and other special events. The larger the guest list, the higher of a chance you have of getting too close to a person who has been exposed to the virus.

If you must have a gathering, you should limit the number of people in attendance. You should also avoid traveling long distances to go to gatherings and avoid inviting people from out of town to your gatherings. Older relatives, and people with underlying conditions, may want to avoid these types of gatherings as well.

Visiting a Salon or Barber

Unfortunately, getting your haircut involves a person being quite close to you. It is impossible to avoid being in close contact with a person during a haircut, so you must use proper protection if you want to keep everyone safe.

You, and the person cutting your hair, should wear masks and make sure everyone washes their hands in between customers. It is also best to not have long conversations when you are getting your hair cut.

High Risks Summer Activities

Indoor Religious Services

All religious services require people to meet in a sometimes-small space for long periods of time. Those cramped quarters, and larger numbers of people, can create outbreaks at a much faster pace. This is especially true when people are singing, because droplets can be released from a person’s mouth.

Reducing the crowds inside and making sure people are wearing masks can be helpful during religious services to avoid spreading the virus. You should also avoid sharing hymnals and any other worship items.

Partying at Nightclubs

Almost every nightclub has tons of people in close quarters and everyone is singing, dancing, sweating, and staying in close contact with each other. All those things put this summer activity higher up on the risk level factor. There really is no way to make this experience safer at the moment, so this is one activity you should probably check off your list for a while.

Multiple Risk Levels

Going to a Mall

There is really no set risk level for shopping at malls, because every mall is different. Some malls have very few people shopping in them, while others are always packed with people. The good news is that most people do not stay in one place for too long, so that helps lower the risk level.

If you want to have the lowest risk possible, you must go to an outdoor mall instead of an indoor mall. Skip the food court and instead focus on getting in and out with exactly what you went there for. It is best to go during off-peak times, but still wear a mask and either wash your hands frequently or use hand sanitizer.

As you can see, there are a few summer activities that are safer than others on this list. It will be up to you to decide which risks you are willing to take and which ones you want to avoid for now. Whichever risks you decide to take, it is going to be important to practice social distancing and wear a mask whenever you cannot stay at least six feet away from people.

Let us know if you knew the summer activities or if you were completely surprised with this list.