+ David Tang
David Tang, entrepreneur and founder of luxury goods retailer Shanghai Tang, tells PAUL EHRLICH how he celebrated his 50th birthday in the reclusive Kingdom of Bhutan
My favorite place, if tortured to choose one, is Bhutan. It was August and it was my 50th birthday. I gathered 50 of my friends together and we had a wonderful adventure. I was so chuffed that so many arrived to join in the celebrations.
My friend and hotel genius Adrian Zecha had just opened his first hotel in Bhutan, the Amankora, in Paro. Indeed, I begged him to have it finished for my birthday party. We arrived as the first guests, taking over all of the 25 suites at the resort. It was perfect—and glorious.
For the week we went walking and hiking, and ate and rested. The highlight had to be the scaling of Tiger’s Nest, a wondrous monastery perched precariously on the edge of a mountain, 3,500 meters up. The climb was not easy and some of us were offered ponies (mine threw me out of my saddle). It took me hours to climb on foot to the top and towards the end I thought I would collapse under my own weight! But our spirits were high.
On the night of my birthday on August 2, the heavens opened and we were all soaked walking up to my party venue—a marquee next to an ancient temple. But with a huge bonfire and delicious food, and each of us decked out in local gear (bespoke measurements were sent ahead), we had a ball. I will never forget the laughter, friendship and affection. The atmosphere captured in the pristine environment of Bhutan offered a perfect balance between our mundane urban sensibilities and a spiritual sense.