Dochula Eco Resort

Dochula Eco Resort is all about the view. Their guest rooms are large and clean, their buffet-style food decent, but it's the awesome vista of some of the highest mountains on earth that will stay with you. Built facing squarely north, the resort features many areas for taking in the long jagged line of 7000+ m (23,000+ ft) peaks of the eastern Himalayan range, including Gangkhar Phuensum, the world's highest unclimbed mountain. Obscuring clouds are commonplace, but the weather here changes ceaselessly and staying overnight yields the best chance of catching a clear day.

Dochula Eco Resort is located on the cross-country highway about a 45-minute drive east of capital city Thimphu on the way to Punakha, and just a few kilometers east of Dochula Pass. The 13 double rooms have attached baths, electric heaters and wood-burning stoves, electric blankets, bathtubs, and hot running water. Pinewood covers floors and walls in the living areas, and each room has a seating area with wicker table and chairs. The showerhead is attached to the bathroom wall, with no separate stall or curtain, so expect a wet floor after showering. Ask for a room in the main building on the second floor for the best views.

The dining room where buffet meals are served is heated with a small bukhari stove, essential with the resort's elevation of 3,150 m (10,335 ft) above sea level. Their gift shop is worth a stop even if you are not staying overnight: many of the handicraft items are made by the resort's owner, who is renowned for his hand-embroidered thangkhas (religious scroll paintings) that adorn fortress dzongs around the country. The paintings are expensive, but window shopping is welcome.

Large windows in the common areas of the resort face directly toward the Himalayas, and the outdoor terrace has a powerful binocular telescope donated by Japan's Kyoto University. The chance of seeing the spectacular view is greatest early in the morning, and if you take the short walk west to Dochula Pass early enough, you may have the 108 chortens and hundreds of prayer flags all to yourself. The serenity and solitude of the place have a striking effect. If you visit with a significant other, you may find the mountains giving rise to thoughts of eternity.