It is one thing to toot your own horn, but something else when some speaks for you. Following are unedited testimonials of some of our past clients, many of whom will vouch for us.
TID 710 Glimpse of Bhutan (19.07.13 – 24.07.13)
Hi Ugen, Thanks very much for your follow up on our trip. We had a really lovely time in Bhutan and the visiting your country was truly impactful. Thanks for helping us to organize this wonderful trip. Overall, we were happy with the service provided by Wind Horse. Some of the more disappointing aspects were the hotels and restaurants. While the standards were fine, there seemed to be a real lack of hospitality and personal experience in these hotels. It was clear in some hotels that the staff didn't care much about providing good service to customers. I realize that this is out of Wind horse’s control and that the tourism industry is quite young and small in Bhutan, but perhaps this is something that Wind Horse could consider urging hotels to invest in. In fact, it probably would have been much more interesting and memorable to stay in a very simple homestay then to have stayed in those hotels. It also would have been great to have the option to eat our dinners outside of the hotel...i understand that there is not a lot of selection, but it would feel much less confining to go somewhere new. Again, a meal cooked in a local home could be a really fantastic and unique experience for tourists.I hope some of these ideas might be useful to you. They are things that I have experienced in other countries that have worked very nicely. So thanks again for the wonderful experience and opportunity to visit your country. It was really a privilege.
Posted on Dec. 20, 13 Tiziana S
San Antonio, TX, United State.
We returned home on November 7th after a wonderful trip to Nepal and Bhutan. We enjoyed everything we saw in Bhutan - the country, culture, people and food. We must thank you and your team that planned our visit so well. You have excellent staff. Pema and Cheemi, our guide and driver are very nice persons and kept us in good spirits all the way. Please convey our personal thanks to them. Our stay at Gayul Home Stay was indeed unique and memorable. I would not hesitate to recommend Windhorse Tours to my friends.Hope to see you next time when we visit Bhutan.
Vasanthi & Subramany B
United State of America
TID 595 Bhutan Traverse from West to East (11.10.13 – 25.10.13) Dear Windhorse Tours We recently concluded our trip Bhutan Travers West to East (Oct. 11 – 25) with the Parnells. We were met at the Paro airport by our guide, Pema Tenzin, and taken to our hotel that exceeded our expectations. We were lead to believe from the Wind Horse newsletter that our accommodations could be “primitive”. Each hotel was far from primitive offering comfortable beds, bathroom facilities that were at Western standards and friendly and accommodating staffs. We were very pleased with what was offered.We found that the food was abundant in quantity; however, there was little variation in the menu over the course of the two weeks. We were not looking to be fed a Western diet and we never left the dining room hungry…there was always lots to eat.We enjoyed having the picnics. They provided some nice variation in location.Regarding the travel plan, we were mostly delighted with the locations and being able to stop to see some wildlife (Takin Sanctuary, some monkeys and langurs crossing the road), different vegetations and landscapes. We visited a large number of dzongs and temples which got to be a bit repetitive as the tour progressed. Each one had interesting features but there was a lot of repetition in seeing so many of them. However, it was a pleasure to meet some of the monks, senior and junior and visiting the two nunneries. We felt it a privilege to witness many of the ceremonies that were in progress when we were there. The religious festivals were also a highlight. Our guide, Pema, seemed well acquainted with the history of the dzongs and temples and could interpret for us the Buddhist stories as depicted by the wall paintings.The van was always comfortable, clean and well-driven by our two drivers, Goto (?) and Balli (?). They were both personable and drove carefully on the roads that were often treacherous by Western standards.A request was made to have a chance to participate in some archery but that never happened. We did, however, get a chance to see a tournament in progress so that was good.Some of the highlights were seeing the Himalayas, especially at the Dochula Pass (I think), going to the Tiger’s Nest, and going to the home of our guide’s cousin (?) and being welcomed with butter tea. It would have been nice to have more direct contact with people working at their day-to-day lives on their farms.If there was a downside to the trip it would include the condition of many of the roads and the amount of litter/garbage that was visible in many of the places we visited. Bhutan has so much natural, pristine beauty to offer that is was very disappointing to see garbage being dumped down the sides of mountains and littering roadside and rivers. Garbage was strewn about by people and animals that were rooting through the containers. Bhutan’s reputation is one of natural beauty but it is spoiled by the garbage. The tranquility of Bhutan is something remarkable. We have rarely experienced the profound silence that exists there. Even the barking dogs were noticeable only for the first couple of nights. After that, we remember the quiet. That was lovely.For us, Bhutan was a trip that we will remember for the rest of our lives in a good way. Our guide and drivers looked after us exceptionally well like we were family.
Terry & Carol T
TID 595 Bhutan Traverse from West to East (11.10.13-25.10.13) Let me first say that we enjoyed our trip immensely! The sight where nothing short of spectacular and although we were Dzonged out by the end of the tour it was very informative. Always our guide made the information we received interesting and spoke with great passion while relaying his stories. We realize this was a very active (always on the move) tour but would have appreciated some down time just to take in the views, shops etc.. When we (the four of us) discussed this back home I think Terry summed it up best "This was not so much a Holiday but rather an Adventure". We were quite surprised at our accommodations in a pleasant way as we had expected possibly something a little less. Of all the places we stayed I think our last night before leaving Bhutan was probably the worst but the food made up for that! As for the food it was ok and again our guide on more than one occasion arranged for meals at locations other than the Hotel. I'm not sure but I know we had a few picnics which were very nice. So when I say down time this is the kind of thing I'm speaking of, to sit back and take in the views, which can be very peaceful and relaxing.I would like to comment on one thing that I know is not really a Windhorse issue but feel it important enough to mention. To illustrate the issue I will use the hike up to the Tigers Nest. Along the way there are garbage containers that are full to over flowing. We read in many locations signs that said please don't litter. I understand that on trekking tours garbage must come back from the trip so there's no littering from those tours. Clearly this garbage along the way to the Tigers Nest is not picked up as often as it should be so why not remove them and use the same policy as used on Trekking tours. We all enjoy hiking in a pristine environment so anyone including the locals should adopt the policy of "Garbage in Garbage Out". We really enjoyed the clean air and the scenery. I hate to think of what the landscape will look like in another 30 years if Bhutan doesn't get a handle on this issue. Again I only mention this as you being a tour operator in Bhutan might be able to bring this to the attention of those in power to affect change!I will mention one other issue that is under your control. At first we didn't think anything of it until at the Guwati Airport. When getting our boarding-pass the official had issues with our passport and how it was stamped on entry into India. Not being familiar with the whole process I will attempt to relay our departure from Bhutan.Around 6:00am we were handed off to a driver (who spoke no English) from India who was to take us to the airport as this was to be safer for traveling though this part of India (first time "safety" was mentioned!). Our guide paid an individual and we were to make sure we tipped our Indian driver on delivery to the airport. The guide and driver for Wind Horse left us at this point. At the check point we gave our passports to the driver who went to have them stamped as our entry into India. I must say that is the first time I have ever had my passport stamped without verifying the picture to my face not to mention questions concerning the reason for entry into the country. We all checked our passports to verify it was indeed stamped which they were. The issue at the airport was trying to explain how we got into the country and from where. The stamp was a lot different in exiting than the one we got at the check point which we got after a considerable amount of explaining how we got there! This was the only time I can say we all felt vulnerable. Again not knowing the process if there was an area for improvement I would suggest you take a look at this.All in all it was a great trip and thank you for the experience to be part of another part of the world. Truly an education full of life long memories!Regards,
Grant & Judy P
TID 684 Drukyul Walking Tour (14.10.13- 27.10.13) Hello, I just want to let you know that your tour was superb. I am so very satisfied with your tour to my favorite country Bhutan. Prenjor, our guide was terrific, so very caring and fun and careful with us. The driver was superb. The only criticism is that the tip information in 2 different places is very unclear and I think Prenjor did not receive all the money he should have. I will be happy to speak to you about this. I wish you such good luck and health and continued growth in tourism in Bhutan. Thanks
Posted on Oct. 14, 13 Barbara T
TID 700 John Stirk family G Cultural Tour (10.10.13- 19.10.13)
We enjoyed our trip very much. I particular we found the guiding services of Namgay and the driving service of Rinzin of very high quality. Namgay was a very knowledgeable guide who made huge efforts to ensure that we had the best possible trip. And Rinzin showed an amazing ability to concentrate for long periods of time despite very difficult driving conditions. On one occasion we encountered a crazy driver coming in the other direction around a blind corner overtaking and driving on the wrong side of the road on the road between Thimpu and Paro. But Rinzin calmly swerved off the road and probably saved our lives. On many of the other roads the speed was generally slow but not on the road between Thimpu and Paro, the driver who was in the wrong was going at least 80kmph. So we were lucky Rinzin was driving so well. We enjoyed the things that were included on the itinerary and would not make changes to the places we visited. And we found the standard of accommodation to be high and liked all of the places selected. There were two things we found disappointing. Firstly we were not able to visit the tower museum in Trongsa. This was because we arrived on a Sunday when it was closed, and Monday the 14th was a public holiday and so again it was closed. It would have been nice if this was pointed out when the itinerary was devised so we did not look forward to something that never had a prospect of occurring. And secondly we found that there are some very nice restaurants in Bhutan but going to them was not part of the offered itinerary. For instance, Friday 18th October was my 41st birthday and I wanted to do something nice to celebrate. In the inflight magazine on Druk Air I found an advertisement for a restaurant called Bukari (located in the UMA resort in Paro). We asked to go there but initially found that it was booked out. Somehow Namgay managed to get us in there anyway (he was a very good guide) but it would have been nice if options like going to this kind of dinner were made available when we were organising the trip. It really did feel as though the standard itinerary was just being rolled off the shelf with no effort to customise it to our needs. Ok, I agree that in many of the towns in Bhutan there are no options available to the standard buffet dinner at the hotel but in Thimpu and Paro I found that there are. I know that your explanatory brochure says that meals will not be a highlight of our trip, and I can agree that by the end of the trip we were tired of eating rice and mixed vegetables but the thing is there are options available. Bukari restaurant is an international class gourmet restaurant and eating there was a great way to celebrate my birthday and finish the trip. It just would have been better if organising it did not cause any difficulties for the guide. Anyway, the negative comments at the end in no way mean that we were dis-satisfied with the trip. We enjoyed it immensely. Rather that there were a couple of things that could have been done better. The reason I feel that it would be good if try to tailor things like the Bukari restaurant or other options into the trip is because it is so difficult to find out what options may be available in Bhutan prior to arrival. I found the internet searches don’t always achieve good results yet when you arrive there are indeed some good options. Thanks again for organising a very good trip for us.
Lincoln road, Singapore
TID 689 Bhutan Tour for Christos and friends (6.10.13-15.10.13).The trip over all was very nice. Your country is very beautiful, with great landscapes and nice monuments. People are very friendly, everywhere we felt safe and warm. The only problem was the roads, especially the road from Punakha to Bumthang. This kind of roads need better cars to be comfortable for clients. So, I think if you can use a better car, then it will be better for the trip.Your driver was very friendly, and careful on the road. Your guide Namguel, in total was good. He gave us adequate information about the places we visited, but at the end he gave us a bad feeling, maybe because the clients don’t give him big tip. When we arrived to Paro Airport for our departure, he left us out of the airport and didn’t follow us inside the airport, at DrukAir desk to check if our flight finally happened or not (the weather was bad and the possibility for cancellation was big).Overall, our trip was perfect and I am waiting for my next clients to visit you again.I hope to see you in my next trip.
Posted on Dec. 24, 13 Lampris C
TID 663 Three Himalayan Kingdom Our general view is that our trip was great and exceeded our expectations in terms of sightseeing and accommodation. The trip was also flexible enough, and the guides were trying to do their best in showing us their respective countries and organizing our daily activities. There was also a lot of personal attention from local tour operators, and all our requests were promptly addressed and answered. Thank you very much!These are the weak spots which need improvement:Tibet - the local guide's (first name Nima) command of English needs to be improved. He had a good knowledge, however, it was difficult fro him to explain certain things in English.Bhutan (Druguel) - it would be nice if both historical and cultural aspects of the tour would be covered more comprehensively (at least at the level of the Lonely Planet guide book, and ideally - better).We would definitely recommend your agency to other people, and would like very much to travel with you again.Thank you and kind regards,
Posted on Dec. 20, 13 Olga k & Mikhail P
TID 720 Nithya & group tour to Bhutan and Nepal (6.10.13-21.10.13)Thank you for your email. We had a great time in both locations (although all of us felt that 8 days in Bhutan was beyond what was necessary- perhaps 4 or 5 days was closer to what we needed). The tour was well organized and our guides and drivers were all great! High Asia Tours in Nepal had mentioned that we were going to 'settle the money 'issue re: flight from KTM to Pokhara (which we did not take b/c of closure of the Pokhara airport). I believe we are owed some money since we used a driver and car vs. flying. We did not hear from them and I forgot to follow up with them as we were leaving. Do you have any news about that? When organizing people to travel in Bhutan, I would recommend inquiring about tendency for motion sickness. The roads in Bhutan were worse than I imagined. While I expected windy roads because of mountainous territory, I did not expect extreme bumpiness for extended periods of time. This affected the health of my mother even though she took Gravol to prevent nauseousness. People with back problems would also find the driving difficult and even painful. In the event a group (or a few people in the group) are sensitive to these issues, I would modify the trip to include as much flying as possible and include a warning about long stretches of bumpy roads. We thought Paro, Thimpu and the Do Cha La Pass were well worth seeing, but could have skipped Trongsa and Wangde. We also liked the festival in Bhumtang. This would have minimized the driving. Additionally, I would warn travelers about heating in hotels. I had asked Ugen about heating in all the hotel rooms before we left and he assured me there was heat in all hotels. While this was technically true, I think it's important to let travelers know that some hotels have wood stove heat only requiring hourly refueling even in the night. I would advise travelers to ask the front desk for heaters that are electric (not all have enough for the number of people staying in the hotel). If you could provide feedback to the hotels, I would ask them to purchase more heaters for rooms. Nepal was fabulous and our guide was amazing! Highly recommend Vishnu for all travelers. The drivers were also very good here. We enjoyed all the places we stayed and visited. Thank you again for your followup questions and I look forward to hearing from you re: our flight refund for Nepal (KTM to Pokhara).
Posted on Jan. 05, 14 Nithya S
TID 697 Thornton Bhutan Tours (5.10.13 -10.10.13)
Posted on Dec. 20, 13 Thomas T
Hi. The trip went well, I really enjoyed Bhutan. I sense the philosophy of the people is one that highly values kindness to all things, people, animals, and the environment. I had no complaints about anything on the trip. I'd love to return to see and experience more of Bhutan but the high costs are prohibitive. Thanks so much for a wonderful experience Wind Horse,
TID 671 Culture Scapes Bhutan Tour from Sept 10 to 22 Sept 2013 11 Days of Journey in Bhutan were organized and carried out by travel company WINDHORSE. They knew how to match our preferences and special requests. It was a legendary journey. The best representatives of this legendary country were Mr. Sonam Pelden, the guide and Mr. Tshering Jamtsho, the driver. They succeeded to make those fascinating legends become reality. Sonam, an Oxford-English speaking guide, led us to this wonderful country. We met with him what Buddhism means in Bhutan. Mr. Tshering, the driver, who remained silent and smiling all the way, led us skillfully winding roads and sometimes shabby, of Bhutan.
Sonam Pelden, our guide, felt like a member of the family within the first couple of days. His nuanced English was invaluable in helping us understand the complexities of Bhutanese Buddhism and culture -we also laughed a lot! He gave us good suggestions and guidance. It was clear that he was respected by the hotel and restaurant personnel where we stayed. He was a delight.
Chimi Rinzin, our driver, had a smile that light up the car and our lives. He is a careful and experienced driver who actually made the rough Bhutanese roads seem less arduous. We felt completely safe with him at the wheel
Spokane, WA. USA