Bhutan is the remote forbidden kingdom in the Himalayas, isolated from the outside world for three centuries. Ten years ago, the west of the country opened to limited group tourism, but the east still remains closed. Katie Hickman is one of only a handful of foreigners ever to penetrate these eastern lands.
Her trip to Bhutan with photographer Tom Owen Edmunds took a year to set up. They journeyed from the capital Thimphu in the west of the easternmost borderlands and the remote mountain-top retreats of the barbarous Bragpa people.
Mostly they travelled on horseback, the only feasible means of transport over forbidding terrain ranging from high mountain passes to the leech-infested jungles of the semi-tropical valleys. They lived as Bhutanese, taking refuge with village chieftains, in yak sheds, in Dzongs (the vast fortress monasteries from which the country is still governed), in the shadowy temples where Buddhism is still mixed with magic. They met the rulers of the Dzongs, merchants, abbots and wandering priests, lamas, hermits, a reincarnation of the Buddha and a sorceress. Many had never seen foreigners before-one girl mistook them for fairies.
Katie Hickmans wonderfully entertaining book brings vividly to life the mystery and remoteness of the country, the unexpected and humorous aspects of travel, but, above all, it is about people.
Dreams of the Peaceful Dragon contains 23 photographs in full colour by Tom Owen Edmunds.
About the Author
Katie Hickman was born in 1960 and has been travelling all her life. Her childhood was spent in Spain, the Far East and southern Ireland, Chile and Ecuador. After reading English at Pembroke College, Oxford, she has been a freelance travel writer contributing articles to The Guardian, Daily Telegraph, You Magazine, Vogue and Womens Journal among others. And over the last four years she has made extended journeys to Indian, Pakistan, Egypt, South America and latterly Bhutan.
Table of Contents
1. In the Beginning page
2. Eastern Promises
3. The Door Opens
4. The City of Light
5. The Dragon Awakes
6. The Valley of the Enchanter
7. Into the Hills and Far Away
8. The Sorceress and the Silver Sword
9. Jabberwocks and Flibbertigibbets
10. The Path with No Name
11. Miss Livingstone, I Presume?
12. Lullaby for a Lama
13. Strange Encounters
14. The Uttermost East