Bhutan has been called by many mysterious and enchanting names. This captivating country is often touted as ‘the world’s last Shangri-La.’ The ancient temple fortresses clinging to cliff sides, valleys carpeted in rhododendron, dizzying snow-capped peaks, the country’s landscapes alone seem too beautiful to be true. But is it also true that this country can offer more than just a tourist destination?
Let’s take a look at the story of this Australian born woman named Karen Lim, who fell in love with her tour-guide and found her happily ever after when she traveled to Bhutan for a week.
Karen Lim had been living and working in Singapore as a digital journalist and editor. In 2017, she had decided to go for a one-week trip after going through a “turbulent” period in her life.
After taking up meditation, which led to her interest in spiritual healing, she felt compelled to visit the country of happiness.
She was choosing between India and Nepal, but after some considerations, she eventually chose Bhutan as the destination for her cultural solo trip in August 2017.
When she arranged her travel, Karen requested for a senior tour guide with extensive knowledge of the country’s culture and history.
During that one week in Bhutan, she immediately fell in love with her surroundings, saying the country made her feel at peace with herself.
“That kind of peace is something you’d probably experienced while you were a child: worry-free, no anxiety, calm, simple and seeing the beauty in the tiniest things,” Karen wrote on her blog, Life in Bhutan.
The pair fell in love with each other after hiking up to the world-famous Tiger’s Nest, a Buddhist sacred site, this is the iconic cliff-hanging temple that many tourists and pilgrims hike up to.
“Magic happened. And I’m very lucky to have found her,” her tour guide, Ngawang, said.
After that, Karen returned to Singapore, but she had left her “heart and soul in Bhutan”.
“I was no longer the same,” she wrote on her blog.
Karen and Ngawang kept in touch, and in February the following year, she returned to work in Bhutan for a year. Then after that, Ngawang asked her to marry him.
According to Karen, “We fought to be together despite all the obstacles in our way and will continue to fight side by side. Because we both believe that love is not giving up on each other when times get tough.”
Last October 27, the couple finally tied the knot in a mixture of traditional Bhutanese, Chinese and Western wedding in one.
Karen quote a small part of her wedding speech:
“Your quiet strength is one of the many qualities I admire and together, I know we can take on the next phase of our lives with courage, grace, kindness, and togetherness.”
Today, the newly wedded couple is happily living in Bhutan’s capital, Thimphu.