What People Are Saying About The Finale Episode Of Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown: Bhutan


It was a bittersweet season finale for the late Anthony Bourdain’s show Parts Unknown.

(Source: CNN Parts Unknown)


By Kinley Yangden | Bhutan Times

The final episode of Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown featuring Bhutan as the late celebrity chef’s last destination was aired on CNN on June 24 (June 25 local time).

In this episode, Bourdain travelled the Kingdom with director Darren Aronofsky, and describes Bhutan as “a remote, relatively rarely visited kingdom of myth and legend.”

Here, the duo feasted on local cuisine in Thimphu, enjoyed a meal with yak herders, tried some cordyceps, and also had a hard time keeping it together when they saw houses adorned with phallic symbols in Punakha.

Video: CNN


Video: CNN

The scenes in the episode are stunning and portray Bhutan as a tranquil, meditative environment with breathtaking sights. To some, it inspires a trip here to what Bourdain describes as a “Buddhist wonderland”, but to others, Bourdain’s episode might be seen as an insight into his isolation and sadness. 


IndieWire described the episode as “heartbreaking”.

“The Bhutan-set finale of Season 11 feels like a farewell — wistful, sensitive, and rich with existential yearning, it encapsulates Bourdain’s underlying ethos while burrowing into a sense of isolation from the rest of the world,” reported IndieWire.

It wasn’t just heartbreaking. To some people on social media, it was emotional, dark and “gutting”.


Contemplation on Bhutan’s environment, spirituality and happiness

While feasting on local dishes in Thimphu, Bourdain and Aronofsky discuss with  the 'Godfather of Conservation' Dasho Benji Dorji about their contrasting cultures and happiness.

Video: CNN

When Dasho Benji compares Gross National Happiness to the “pursuit of happiness” in the American constitution, Bourdain chuckles and comments that “we don’t actually believe that”, a demonstration of his ever so cynical attitude.

In the episode, Bourdain also wonders about the future of Bhutan and if opening the country to the rest of the world could be “contaminating the values of local culture.”

His travel companion Aronofsky also reflected on Bhutan’s environmental initiatives: “Being in a country that has so far to go in development, yet they see the dangers and they’re working towards finding a balance.

“Doesn’t that give us hope that maybe that knowledge can be infectious, somehow inspiring. I do have hope that people will see that and start to realise that there might be a lesson here for the rest of us.” 

Video: CNN

Thinking about death

Perhaps the part that was heart-wrenching for some was the closing scene where they visited Mebar Tsho, or The Burning Lake, in Bumthang. Here, they filmed their final shot of Bourdain leaving an offering to the dead.

And on the subject of death, Bourdain also mentions the Buddhist belief on thinking about death.

“It is considered therapeutic to think about death a few times a day,” he said, which on hindsight now seems like a self-fulfilling prophecy of sorts.

Director Aronofsky later wrote a reflection in CNN about his experience with Bourdain in Bhutan and mentioned about their time together at The Burning Lake.

"It seems ironic now that on our last day of shooting we performed a Bhutanese death ritual. We debated the fate of the country, the fate of the world. He was perplexed as to how mankind's endless hunger to consume could be curtailed," wrote Aronofsky.

Although many took to social media to once again express their grief of Bourdain’s untimely death, some on Twitter expressed that the final episode of Parts Unknown was inspiring and that the journeys shared by Bourdain will be missed.


While it may be a challenge to watch this episode of Bourdain talk about death and spirituality, the timing of the finale is poignant and serves as an apt ending to his journey through the world and for showing us what it means to live. 

Video: CNN 

"Tony, your journeys to parts unknown will always inspire. Your shows bring the world closer together -- not by making easy similarities but by revealing how unique we all are.

"You loved the whole damn world (even the parts you despised). And the whole world loved you," concluded Aronofsky in his article.


Related Posts

Anthony Bourdain's 'Parts Unknown' Episode On Bhutan To Be Aired...

Bhutan will be the finale episode for Bourdain's 'Parts Unknown' Season 11.

Jun 14, 2018 19:48

One Third Of The Hindu Kush Himalayan Glaciers Could Melt By End...

Bhutan will see a rise in temperature higher than the regional average of the Hindu Kush Himalaya.

Feb 13, 2019 17:56

To Eat ‘Snacks Or Snakes?’ Discover The Idiosyncrasies Of...

Bhutanese English differs from standard English not only in terms of its accent and pronunciation but also in the usage...

Feb 12, 2019 18:52

Three Black-Necked Cranes In Bhutan Tagged With GPS Transmitters...

The data collected, officials say, will be invaluable for the protection of this endangered species.

Feb 10, 2019 19:11

Green Road Project - An Innovative Way To Pave Roads Using...

Bhutan aims to cut the amount of plastic waste going to landfills by 30 to 40%.

Feb 06, 2019 17:54

41 Girls Successfully Completed The Winter Weaving Program At...

The products - which are mostly scarves, are sold to tourists through the Academy’s Museum shop.

Feb 05, 2019 15:35



Largely Funded By The Asian Development Bank, Bhutan’s First Mini-Dry Port Is Now Completed

The Asian Development Bank funded 81 percent of the total budget as grant while the Bhutanese government funded the rest.

Feb 15, 2019 11:35

Highlights Of The Year Long Bhutan-India Golden Jubilee Celebrations Which Wrapped Up On 8 Feb 2019

“The events reminded us how deep our economic, spiritual and cultural links are,” said the Indian Ambassador to Bhutan, Jaideep Sarkar.

Feb 09, 2019 19:07


One Third Of The Hindu Kush Himalayan Glaciers Could Melt By End 2100: ICIMOD Study

Bhutan will see a rise in temperature higher than the regional average of the Hindu Kush Himalaya.

Feb 13, 2019 17:56

To Eat ‘Snacks Or Snakes?’ Discover The Idiosyncrasies Of Bhutanese English

Bhutanese English differs from standard English not only in terms of its accent and pronunciation but also in the usage of words while...

Feb 12, 2019 18:52


Bhutan’s HRH Princess Eeuphelma Choden Wangchuck Attended The General Assembly of the Asian Paralympic Committee In Dubai

The General Assembly is the highest decision making body of the Asian Paralympic Movement.

Feb 08, 2019 18:15

9-Year-Old Boy From Bhutan Completes Gruelling Cross-Country Cycling Race

While many thought that the boy would give up after 5 to 6 kilometres, others were concerned that he might get injured.

Feb 01, 2019 16:52


Bhutan Shortlisted As A Finalist For The Intellectual Property (IP) Sharing Project 2019

Bhutan has been selected as one of the four finalists out of 13 countries.

Feb 14, 2019 18:38

Bhutan Records Lowest Inflation Rate In 2018 At 3.13 Percent

For the measurement of the current Consumer Price Index, prices are collected from a sample of 557 outlets.

Feb 11, 2019 18:42


Revival Of Khurul Lake In Lhamoidzingkha – A Special Lake Where One’s Wishes ‘Can’ Be Fulfilled

Today, the lake is fast becoming a tourist spot for both Bhutanese and tourists from abroad.

Jan 20, 2019 15:47

Here’s What It’s Like Inside Asia’s Best Hotel - COMO Uma Punakha In Bhutan

Luxury resort COMO Uma Punakha was awarded best hotel in Asia and third best hotel in the world, by Conde Nast Traveler's Readers Choice...

Jan 18, 2019 17:05


Tshering Zangmo Represents Bhutan At The 5th Young Chef Olympiad In India

Tshering Zangmo has successfully made it to round two of the Olympiad.

Feb 04, 2019 16:35

Bhutanese Boyband O'Strangers To Play In Pattaya For 2 Months

They are the first Bhutanese rock band to perform at Hard Rock Cafe Pattaya in Thailand.

Jan 04, 2019 15:13

Subscribe to our newsletter

Never miss out on new happenings and news stories!