Parting Shots: Bhutan (And More) With Jim Smith, Coda Tours

By @ 04/17/15 in Bhutan, Gay travel, Jim Smith, ManAboutWorld, Parting Shots, Travel
Phallus worship in Bhutan, ManAboutWorld gay travel magazine

That’s a big one

Jim Smith is the founder of Coda Tours, a leader in small group luxury travel for the gay and lesbian market since 1998. We asked him to provide photos of his recent trip to Bhutan for the Parting Shots section of this month’s issue of the magazine. Here are more of his photos and a Q&A with Jim Smith on his passion for that part of the world.

1. What do you love about travel to Bhutan, Burma and Southeast Asia?

The service! Five-star hotels in Asia have the best attention and service of anyplace in the world. I often end up searching local markets for unexpected, revelatory things in my hotel room to take back and integrate into my design theme at home. I could be very happy living the rest of my life in 5-star Asian hotels.

2. How far in advance do you plan your trips?

At Coda Tours, we plan trips one, or sometimes one-and-a-half years in advance. Advance planning is crucial and, even though our clientele often books within 90 days of departure, we are ready!

3. What are your groups like?

Our groups are small, 8-12 people, mostly male, mostly late 40’s to early 70’s and well traveled. Our clients are not just interesting but also interested. They travel with Coda to expand their horizons and learn about new cultures and areas of the world.

4. What surprised you most about travel in Bhutan?

The simplicity of the country — Bhutan is small and isolated and seems to have its own agenda, unaffected by the madness the rest of us live with as part of daily life.

5. What do you know now that you wish you knew before your first trip to that part of the world?

I wish I had known the true condition of the roads! In the eastern part of the country, roads are poor with long and sometimes uncomfortable drives. Luckily, the destination at the end of those roads is well worth it.

6. Favorite moment was…

The spectacular landing of the airplane in Paro. It’s a wild ride.

7. Best time to go …

The best time to visit Bhutan is in the fall (September to early November, when the weather is cool with little rain. Of course, spring (April & May) brings out the spectacular rhododendrons.

8. Gay Factor:

Bhutan is not a destination for a gay holiday. Alas, homosexuality is still illegal — despite the obsession with the phallus, which is painted on houses and buildings throughout the country. This is not the place to travel for those seeking gay activities!


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