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Butter Tea at Sunrise: A Year in the Bhutan Himalaya

3.49  ·  Rating details ·  295 ratings  ·  36 reviews
Often seen as a magical paradise at the end of the world, Bhutan is inaccessible to most travellers. Set against the dramatic scenery of the Himalaya, this beautiful memoir reveals hardships and happiness in a land almost untouched by the West. When Britta, a young physiotherapist, goes to work in a remote village hospital, her good intentions are put to the test amid mons ...more
Published by Summersdale Self Help (first published September 13th 2006)
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Average rating 3.49  · 
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I think this is about the fourth time I've read this same recipe; young woman heads off to find herself by working in Bhutan just as it was beginning to open up, and ends up finding happiness. Nothing wrong with that. I've enjoyed them all, but in my view Linda Leaming did it the best.

In this offering, Britta Das volunteers to work as a physiotherapist/educator in the township of Mongar in Easter Bhutan. From Chapter 1 she establishes beyond any doubt that this is a remote posting, even though t
Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all)
In the 1980s when I was working at a language school, we had a lesson on Voluntary Service Overseas. The organisation wasn't very well described, but I got the impression that it was something like America's Peace Corps, so I was interested to read this book. Unfortunately, it didn't live up to...well, much of anything. You won't learn a thing about VSO here. We are told she was so eager to get started she convinced VSO to forgo her language classes. I doubt they would allow this, unless she had ...more
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
Britta travels to Bhutan to volunteer as a physiotherapist, and discovers a beautiful country with beautiful people amid the Himalaya Mountains.
Vishnupriya Sharma
I picked this book up as I was looking for some writing on Bhutan culture and life in Bhutan. It provides a whole lot more than that. Britta has written a very candid experience of hers. In addition to the life and culture in Bhutan, there are many stories layered very beautifully. There is the author-doctor who is striving for the health of the people in Bhutan, there is the romantic journey in flashes, then there is the intensity of the monks and the Buddhists or even the struggles of a Canadi ...more
Oct 06, 2007 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: travel, 2007
I have to say, I wasn't overly fond of this book. It really wasn't a travelogue as such and I found that it gave no real sense of the country. It also verged off into sentimentalism toward the end.

Kan Bhalla
Jun 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Britta's memoir throws a light into the incredible lives of people in this gorgeous country in the 90s. While sharing intricate details about unique lives of the people here, she keeps the reader engaged with interspersed stories of her personal life and her romance with her future husband.
Overall a satisfying read that leaves a smile on your lips as you turn the last page.
May 04, 2011 rated it it was ok
This one falls into the category of "books-that-are-ostensibly-about-women doing-awesome-things-but-that-are-actually-about-a-very-typical-romance." I cannot fathom how you could spend a year in Bhutan - which is one of the most fascinating and forbidden regions on the planet - and write primarily about yourself. It's a pity, because when she does write about Bhutan, some of it is pretty good, and definitely evocative of the feeling of being there, but when she's writing badly, it's sentimental ...more
Connie Dyer
Jul 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
Most travel books are written by professional writers, journalists or scholars who like to travel. Every once in a while an ordinary person simply tells the story of their stay in a world very different from their own because it seems worth sharing. This is one of those books. Just a window into an otherwise private person's life upended and transformed by going to live and work in a remote Bhutanese village. I couldn't put it down! And a month later i had arranged to spend a substantial chunk o ...more
Krishna Sruthi Srivalsan
This could have been such a good book if only it hadn't been all about 'I, me, myself'. Thought I was settling to read an interesting account of life in Bhutan; turned out to be an insipid romance. Meh. ...more
A very special book. A riveting story beautifully told. The story takes place in a small Irish town and is told from the point of view of several of the townspeople. The way of telling the story reminded me of Olive Kitteridge.
Jane E
Jun 21, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, bhutan
Not high literature and not written with great or even good understanding of Buddhism or many other things but a reasonable attempt to write about her year in Bhutan from a personal perspective. Other reviewers have complained that the book didn't have enough about Bhutan but it isn't meant to be a travelogue. It is a memoir of time spent in an unusual and difficult place that is perhaps a little too sanitized but good enough to be worth picking up if nothing better comes to hand. My only real c ...more
2.5 star
I am a physiotherapist and recently returned from travelling in Bhutan (for pleasure, not as a physio); thus, I thought I would find this book riveting. Unfortunately, I did not… and this is not to take away from the author's experience there - however, while it is great that she chose to share her experiences, I did not feel that her writing style captured my attention as much as it might have. However, the book does do a great job of describing the countryside and customs of these wond
May 10, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars. About the author's year in Bhutan, the book is relatively straight-forward and easy to read, and some of the descriptions are quite well-written. It isn't particularly engaging though, and it can be hard to keep track of all the names of the people the author met in Bhutan. Still, it is a good read if you have been to Bhutan or are intending to travel there. For me, having been on a trip to Bhutan just the previous year, this book brings back fond memories of the time I spent there. ...more
Mar 20, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I started reading this on a trip to Bhutan, and then when I got home I got busy and forgot about it. I finally finished it a year later, and it was nice to get a reminder of this beautiful country. I enjoyed the story, and it gave me an interesting perspective on the country and a look into a section of the country I didn't get to visit during my trip. ...more
Jan 26, 2017 rated it liked it
While the first half of the book got a little monotonous, the second half of the book was as captivating as it could get. Not just could I identify with the thoughts and emotions of the stories, the simplicity of the text resonated to a great extent.
Cody Jackson
Started it off really well! And as the story turned to her and a romance developing I decided to give it up. Would have rather heard about Bhutan and her interactions with the locals and culture.
Mohit Rauniyar
A decent light read!
Jane Spencer
Dec 27, 2010 rated it liked it
There is always something to gain from a book, and in this case, I got a "feel" for remote Eastern Bhutan, but this book is more about Britta Das than Bhutan. Her story is interesting, and I'm always respectful of a person who adapts to a foreign way of life with few resources, but it definitely left me wanting. The book was published in 2007, though the story unfolded years prior, so I wonder how much has changed in eastern Bhutan since her experience. One thing is for sure, I won't travel to B ...more
Mohi Uddin
Jan 08, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 11, 2013 rated it liked it
Probably more a 3.5. I enjoyed this book but I didn't think it was as well written as the last two books I read on Bhutan. It was set primarily in one village where the other two books gave a broader description of the whole country of Bhutan. Reading these books has increased my enthusiasm for our trip in October. ...more
Jill Lucas
This memoir of the authors single year in Bhutan was charming, if a bit disappointing. I don't doubt that the experience of living in and experiencing Bhutan was so unique that she wanted to share it, so wrote about it. For that reason alone, I applaud her, but I'm not a fan of her writing style. That said, what a cool adventure :) Bhutan is on my list of places to go.
Jan 26, 2009 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed Buttertea at Sunrise and was disappointed when I reached the last page... as that I did not want it to end. Now I am including Bhutan on my long list of places I want to visit... Darn that wanderlust I have.
Jan 07, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: unfinishables
If in the past 2 months, I did not feel like getting back to finish reading this book even once , you get the drift, right? Yes, I cannot finish reading this book.

The style of writing is lost on me, its a drone, and the plot is plain insipid. And so, marking it as give-up. :)
Georgie Mathew
A bittersweet tale of a physiotherapist finding roots in an ancient Himalayan kingdom. Coming from a foreign land, this is the story of her struggle to find acceptance and love, and her success in finding them. Do visit for some images, which go very well with the book. ...more
Jan 22, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I picked up this book while we were on holiday in Bhutan and found it charming, but that was probably because I was experiencing many of the same things as the author. Charmingly written and a quick, atmospheric read.
Shirin bagchi
Feb 03, 2010 rated it liked it
an engaging book on customs, norms of bhutan, a little like seven years in tibet. Worth reading to know the ancient customs of bhutan
Mar 24, 2011 rated it really liked it
The book just brought another thousand reason to me for explore this am all charged up for my bike trip during May......
Jul 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ebook, bhutan
Loved reading this book just before traveling to Bhutan.
Sep 14, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm completely fascinated by Bhutan and the Himalayas. Highly recommended. ...more
Aug 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
Lovely account of a foreign doctor's year in Bhutan, falling in love with another doctor and with the rustic culture of the country. ...more
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