The immaculately-dressed immigration officer stopped me with a friendly smile on his face.  “Sir, cyclists must wear helmets to enter the Kingdom of Bhutan.”

“Sweet, this might just work,” I thought to myself.  I turned around, pedalled down the wrong side of the road for 30 seconds, ran up to my hotel room, grabbed my helmet, raced back out, and sped back to the Bhutan gate.

“Sir, you also need a visa.”

Shit, I guess not.

I thought of using the “Hey, you let my friend sneak in last night* and wander around and didn’t ask HIM for a visa or a helmet, what do you have against me?”* line but I didn’t want to cause a ruckus.

So much for my dream of sneaking into Bhutan and cycling what might be the most pristine country in the world.  Still, I got my back wheel past the far side of the giant gate before they turned me away, so I’m counting it as my 13th country.  At least I’ve got a story (…now you’ve read all of it) and some souvenirs.


2014-08-21 to Jaigaon 003 (res) (res)

So close and yet so far!


2014-08-21 to Jaigaon 004 (res)

Welcome!  Unless you’re a foreigner.  Then it’s $40 for the visa and $250 (Yes, USD) per day for guide, transportation, fooding, and multi-star accommodation.   Fauxbos need not apply.

(Photo Courtesy of Chris Buchman @





2014-10-05 to Tandi 001 (res)


In order to preserve the memories from the whole five minute ordeal, I bought some Bhutanese Buddhist cards and taped them to my bike frame.  Several locals have already commented that the gods’ proximity to my feed is fairly insulting.  Whoopsies.  I can kind of see why they don’t let people like me in.




2014-10-05 to Tandi 002 (res)

Between this shemale, my OM coconut, my Tibetan prayer flags (also insensitively placed under and in line with my groin), and the Thai Buddhist monk dangling from my backpack, I should be pretty much invincible.




2014-10-05 to Tandi 003 (res)

Also picked up: a pair of lucky dangly balls.

The square tapestery-looking thing on the right was given (sold at $2) to me by a monk in Sikkim.  The mantra wrapped inside the string is suppose to protect me from food poisoning…but it loses its power if I wear it while copulating.  Better hang it on the bike, in that case!

2014-10-07 to Mango Tree 037 (res)

2014-10-07 to Mango Tree 038 (res)

It’s all about the Ngultrums, baby.

Flag on Flag

Finally, to add insult to other insults, I’m going to brazenly add a counterfeit Bhutanese flag (custom ordered and handmade in Kathmandu) to my “countries conquered” banner.


Been there, done that.





*You can read about his bizarre experience somewhere at, but I won’t provide you with a direct link because I’m too bitter.

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