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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 8511, Bhutan Private tour (1.06.14 to 15.06.14)

Hello to the  Windhorse team,

 

Thanks for the opportunity to give some feedback on our recent tour.  Back this past winter my daughter Leah and I were discussing where we might travel to celebrate her graduation from college.  We discussed a number of different locations bur were intrigued by the idea of visiting Bhutan and experiencing the culture, particularly as influenced by the underlying Buddhist philosophy as well as the beautiful landscapes.  As we looked at different agencies to arrange our tour, Windhorse was the only one offering a horse trekking tour.  Both of us love to ride, so this settled the issue and we set up a tour that included a horse trip in the Tang Valley.

 

Suffice it to say that our trip was far beyond any expectations we had beforehand.  From the moment we arrived in Paro it was clear we had come to a very unique place on the face of the earth.  We had hoped to leave behind the paraphernalia of Western Civilization and indeed we had.  One of the most significant factors in the quality of our tour were our guide and driver, Sonam Loday and Sonam Tenzin.  As time went on during the tour, our appreciation of their attentiveness to our needs and the detail  with which they filled in the history of the sites we visited only increased.  I know our experience would not have been the same without the rich and detailed narration by our guide Sonam.  He knew of our interest in Buddhism and was able to vastly enrich our understanding of this very important part of Bhutanese Culture.

 

Our accommodations were very comfortable and the food was enjoyable and satisfying.  The hotel staff were universally pleasant and anxious to please.  At no point did we experience a rude, angry or disagreeable Bhutanese person, which I think is quite remarkable and must reflect the depth to which Buddhist Philosophy has penetrated the culture of Bhutan.  The horse trek was amazing.  I will always remember riding through deep pine forests on inches of fallen needles, silent as ghosts or emerging into high passes with spectacular views in all directions.   We were made very comfortable during the camping and riding portion of our tour, all of our needs being anticipated and provided for.   

 

We did some walking after a chance to acclimatize and although demanding, was very much worth the effort.  Hiking on Dochula pass as well as the trip to Takshang will be experiences I will remember forever.    The visits to the Temples and the opportunity to participate in the ceremonies were a rare and wonderful experience for a westerner and remain my personal  highlights.  Sonam Loday went out of his way to arrange a visit and overnight stay at Padtseling Monastery as well as an audience with the Tulku Rinpoche, for which I will always be grateful.  

 

I will admit that this trip changed me deeply and in ways that will persist for many years, if not forever.   I am already thinking of how and in what capacity I might return to experience more of this wonderful culture and country.  I cannot say that there is anything specific that I would have wanted to change about our trip other than the cloud cover which obscured some of the views.  I hope that the tourism industry is allowed to grow at a sustainable pace and continue to provide visitors the same experience we had.  We did have a discussion with Mr. Rinzin at the office in Thimphu about our specific recommendations regarding the horse operation and again offer our help in finding needed supplies and tack to help develop it.  ( We have found a good used western roping saddle for a small framed horse which would be good for the current horses in Tang.  If you like, we could forward it to Ugen in Minneapolis.)   

 

Thanks again for the opportunity to visit your country and please feel free to contact us if there is anything we could help you with.

 


Posted on Mar. 07, 14
David L R
Franklinville, New York,14737,United States

 Three Himalayan Kingdoms, TID 8513 ( 12.0614  to 25.06.14)

Trip was wonderful.  All hotels had shampoo and soap so it would be better weight wise not to advise people to take their own.  Food at Thimphu hotel was not good.  Moldy bread etc.  The hotel it's self was nice.  All of our guides and drivers were very good. Only one day in Bhutan at the furtherest city we had nothing to do from 1:30 in the afternoon.  So that was too much down time.
The culture of both counties was amazing.  We are hoping many of our friends will travel with Windhorse.

Posted on Jan. 07, 14
Sandy L
Encanto, La Quinta CA, USA

TID 693 From 10.04.14 to 24.04.14

Dear Anand!

We are very sorry for our delay for writing comments and feedback.

Time now is a bit more relaxed, summer holidays already started and for the next 2 month sometimes even you are not on holidays you think somehow you are. You try to call someone or send an email and you get the response that the person you wanted is on holidays for 2 or 3 weeks.
First of all thank you to Windhorse travel and all persons involved for the perfect planning, realization and finish of your trip.
We could it make us simple and easy with our comments and just say, it was wonderful, excellent and we can recommend you in all conscience.
But that would be too easy.
So we will start with our comments:
Booking procedure: best score
I sometimes was a bit nasty with my questions and all were answered in the best way, thank you J
Welcome in Paro: best score – what a surprise to meet with the people we exchanged so many emails
Treasures of the Thunder Dragon: very interesting book and a wonderful memory of Bhutan
Invitation to the evening event: we enjoyed it a lot to meet all of you and had a really nice chat with the Australian couple. Good food, nice drinks and wonderful mask dances
Tenzingling Hotel:
Good hotel, nice and big room. One problem is the heater, which has not the power to warm up the room. We were happy with our sleeping bags, without I would have killed you J.
The Studiosus group also complained about the cold rooms.
Why not to mention that it could be a good decision to bring a sleeping bag in case you are a person who is bit chilled through.
The food was excellent, we enjoyed it very much.
Festival:
If you have a thermo cushion with you, you would feel comfortable. There were a lot of tourists equipped with cushions. So why not to mention it in the tour program.
Tiger Nest:
Bhutan is a country where environment protection has a high value. So why there are no dustbins on the way to the Tiger Nest or if you find one, it is awfully cramped and no one takes care to empty them. Not a very pleasant impression.
Hotels in general: 
We were very satisfied with all the hotels we have had.
Tour guides and drivers:
Excellent, reliable, handsome, good drivers, skilled tour guides.
Kalimpong: We were there on a Sunday and most of the shops were closed and also the orchid garden, which was in the tour program. Would be nice to mention, that shops are closed on Sundays and try to check if this kind of gardens are open.
Photos: As promised, we will send the one or other not common photo. But Franz is still in working process and not finished with brush them up with PhotoShop.
Well, I hope I have done a good job in commenting and hope to hear from you.
Please say hello to Jambay.
Best regards from Vienna

Posted on Feb. 07, 14
Mrs Gabriel K
Im Gestockert, Vienna, Austria

I had a fantastic holiday. The pace was relaxed. I am pleased we managed to get a couple of long walks in, as they were very enjoyable. Everything went smoothly and our guide and driver were both excellent, flexible and had a good sense of humor. 

My least enjoyable part was going to the Thanka shop, paper factory, painting school etc as it felt as if we were being taken to places to shop. However, that only happened on the one day and there was no pressure on us to buy. 

Accommodation was very good. Food in the last venue was the least good. 

A great trip!! 


Posted on Oct. 21, 14
Clare D BP
16 York Avenue,Liverpool, UK

 Ugen,

I want to thank you again for arranging our recent 14 day trek in Bhutan (April 2014).  The whole trip was absolutely superb!  The "Above the Clouds Trek" through Laya was just the right choice for us - challenging (but not too much) and beautiful.  My ideal was to enjoy the trek while it was happening - not just in recollection afterward.  As it turned out, my ideal was exceeded.  I enjoyed every single day as it came.  After breakfast each day it felt good to be moving again and seeing new sights.  The Himalaya mountains were beautiful beyond my anticipation and the people we met were friendly and wonderful.  Our guide, Pema, was knowledgeable and a pleasure to work with.  He was also extremely competent.  The cooks and other crew were also professional and fun to be with and get to know.
You and Windhorse provided excellent service from my initial contact a year ago through the end of the trip.  I remember making inumerable phone calls with long lists of questions to you when I first started considering Windhorse.  I appreciated both your patience and knowledge.  As arrangements progressed (deposits, airplane reservations into Bhutan, acquisition of visas, food requests, etc.), you kept track of details and sequencing in a very cooperative and professional manner.  Based upon our experience, I would recommend Windhorse very highly for others seeking treks or other kinds of trips in Bhutan.
It was delightful, though coincidence, that you came to Bhutan a couple of days before we started our trek.  This gave us the opportunity to meet and to talk for a while.  I enjoyed that.  It is always nice to be able to put a face with a name and get to know you some.
Because some other of your potential clients may be a little older, it may be helpful that I mention that I am 71 years old.  Indeed, I have been a hiker and an athlete for all my life and continue to have good health.  But one of my initial questions had to do with age - was I up to it?  In asking around (to Windhorse and others) I asked about their experience.  All said that they had good success with older clients - older people tend to be experienced, know their limits and are self-disciplined in dealing with those limits.  I did two things that helped.  (1) I accelerated my conditioning hikes starting about 4 months before the trip and ended with doing 13 mile hikes, gaining 3,000 ft in 5-6 hrs on each of two consecutive days two weeks before leaving for Bhutan.  I never had any difficulty with leg strength or endurance on the trek.  If anything I was a somewhat over-prepared.  (2) Living near Seattle, we had no opportunity to condition to altitude (Mt. Rainier is too stormy except in the summer).  We (my son and three friends, ages 28-54 - a group of 5) therefore resolved to start out slow on the trek.  At Windhorse's suggestion we stayed in the Paro, Bhutan area for three days (7,000-10,000 ft. elevation) before beginning the trek. Although our trek took us to 16,000 ft twice, I had absolutely no difficulty with altitude and a few others in our group had only minor symptoms all of which were transitory.  When approaching the first high pass, I kept thinking that every step was, for me, a personal best in terms of altitude and, because my 28 year old son was with me, it had an extra feeling of magic.
Whether you have a "Bucket List" or not, a trek in the Bhutanese Himalayas is magic - and especially so if you can bring one of your children.
I will be forever grateful for the experience you have given me.


Posted on Oct. 21, 14
Jon W
Woodinville,WA, ZIP 98072,USA

 Dear Ugen, Namgay, and Anand,

Thanks to all of you for making our trip to Bhutan so special.  My husband is finishing up his last few days at the hospital in Thimphu and has found his month's volunteer work to be rewarding and hopes helpful as well. I feel fully re-integrated into my life in the US but remain deeply moved by my experience there. 

In your previous email you said you would be pleased to hear from me about our experience overall which I am happy to do.

The first thing that comes to mind is that we had the most special person, Tashi Gyeltson, guiding us.  The itinerary you worked out for us was perfect. Our days alternated between exertion and rest either at a restaurant, picnic or relaxing in the car. Tashi's knowledge about various sites, geography, botany and wildlife was deep. He shared information with us both in the car to make the ride interesting and as we hiked. He prepared us for what we were going to see beforehand with background information about the history of various temples and monasteries. When at the sight he pointed out things we might have missed and reported the significance of various things. He recounted myths, and since I am a Buddhist he made sure I felt welcome doing prostrations and receiving blessings. Tashi's interest in people was charming. There was not an elderly person sitting at a prayer wheel or young child playing alone he did not briefly speak to.  We grew very attached to him and he was willing to talk about himself, his life and his family. I would like to think he felt the same attachment to us but he has many good memories of various clients so perhaps we weren't as special as we felt. It is an unusual situation...to spend many days with people and then perhaps never see them again. But we cannot say enough about his knowledge, his way of imparting it, his personality, sense of humor and thoughtfulness.

Dawa was a perfect driver...careful, collected, unruffled, extremely polite, and helpful. The car was always clean and filled with petrol while we were otherwise occupied. The only time he was a bit late picking us up was when he had a flat tire! Other than that, they were there when expected and we were always ready, excited at the prospect of the day. When we met him after being in Thimphu a couple weeks later it was like seeing an old friend.

We were happy with all of our accommodations and food. We learned enough about the cuisine to be able to be adventurous when buying at the market to cook for ourselves or visiting Bhutanese restaurants. The lodge in Haa was very special and the chef prepared the best food we had anywhere. Not only was it delicious, it was presented in an artful manner. The people we interacted with were helpful, kind and unfailingly polite. Tashi and Dawa were wonderful company the entire week and we felt well cared for. It was effortless for us to be happy and accommodating in their company.

Namgay, special thanks to you for helping me change my reservation and listening to my tale of woe. It was a smart thing for me to return I was truly needed at home. I enjoyed 12 hours showering (HVO provided house ran out of water a few days after we arrived), sleeping and eating at the luxurious hotel in Delhi and ended up catching Lufthansa flights home at 2:35 the next morning. 

While in Thimphu I asked directions to a bank from a gentleman...we ended up spending the entire day together. A few days later he met David and we all drove to visit Cherie and Tango monasteries. He took us home to meet his family and last week he and David ate dinner together one last time. His name is Gem Tsering and he is executive director of GAB. He was interested in my brother's books so I hope to send him one and include something for Tashi which he would deliver to your office in Upper Motithang. 

Thanks to all at Windhorse. We will recommend you highly to anyone thinking of visiting your most special country!

 


Posted on Oct. 21, 14
Laurel L
Cambridge, USA

 Hi, Anand. Thank you for the following-up email.My sister and I had a great time in Bhutan thank to Windhorse Travel and its tour guide Sonam and driver Sonam. We were very happy with the service and the arrangement of the tour. Some special points I would like to mention:

(1) On the second day when we were at Paro Airport waiting for the flight to Bumthang, the flight was 5 hour delay, but we were very touched by the fact that we were the only 2 out of 20 passengers on the flight had hot lunch delivered to the airport by our tour guide. All the other passengers asked us where we got our lunch, we proudly said that Windhorse Travel tour guide did it. We really appreciate the fact that your company had the tour guide taking care of us outside the Paro Airport, at the same time having a tour guide and a driver waiting for us at Bumthang. We felt extra special.

(2) Our tour guide Sonam and driver Sonam are very responsible and entertaining. They made the trip extra special.

(3) We did some extra things making the tour much more fun: We experienced Bhutanese real cooking at Yan Yang Restaurant in Thimphu, and trying to see a doctor in the traditional hospital.

 

(4) The hightlights of the whole grand tour: 1) Gangtey Nature Trail, 2) Punakha Dzong, 3) Hiking to Lungchuzekha, and the best of all, 4) hiking up to Tiger's Nest.

In general we were happy with the Grand Cultural Tour. If there is anything we could have done differently to make it even better: 

(1) Stay in Thimphu for 1 night instead of 2 nights. Because Thimphu is really the low point of the tour: a new capital, not much to offer comparing to Paro, Bumthang, Trongsa and Punakha. 

(2) Hotel buffet every night is getting boring. They offered almost the same thing night after night in every hotel. The last two nights I hardly could eat anything. Maybe it would be nice to arrange one or two nights to have some real Western food in some fine dining restaurants. 

I have made 15 short films about the whole tour and posted on Youtube. I have attached the links in the following for your reference. You are more than welcome to use them as a reference to your company and the tour.

(1) Arriving at Paro:                      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kz049V0rX04

(2) Paro:                                         https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GeWi5QBjC2s

(3) Bumthang:                               https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6zZ3qv-ASRE

(4) Domkhar Festival:                  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qK-mTEpq69Q

(5) Wangdichholing Palace:       https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j3AMqaSpwyY

(6) Trongsa:                                   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zVfolM3IbW0

(7) A winding road to Gangtey:   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZlaOCCBAv_8

(8) Gangtey Nature Trail:             https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XpIccY92CRQ

(9) Punakha:                                  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mPvBxU0sAJM

(10) Punakha Dzong:                   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=THjkYsGhO9w

(11) Lungchutse Hiking Trail:     https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2VuTpe5dMMA

(12) Bhuttanese Cooking Lesson: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X9xmrha8kLs

(13) Thimphu:                                https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6q65jrdOL8U

(14) Back to Paro:                         https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NoUS24PQbOE

(15) Tiger's Nest                           https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dLA9VncyVWg

 


Posted on Oct. 21, 14
alyssaliang@gmail.com
Cameo court, Hongkong

 Hi Anand

The trip was amazing....there was the right balance of standard itinerary and free time....the guide Pema was excellent. Everything was organised professionally! If I could do my own itinerary, I would have squeezed the two days in Thimphu into one long day....it would have allowed an extra day to see another part of the country.
that's the only thing I would change
There really were no complaints...very happy with everything.

Posted on Oct. 21, 14
Furkan J
Hounslow, United Kingdom

 

Thank you for requesting feedback Anand.

I would like to start by sayings I greatly enjoyed visiting your country and found your compatriots to be very friendly and helpful while we were there. Our guide, Karma, was very helpful and did his best every day.  He was flexible and allowed us to make minor changes to the itinerary to improve the visit. The trekking crew was very good.  Our chef and assistants were excellent and very helpful.  We did not have a bad meal the entire trip. From arrival to departure, karma and the drivers were always punctual, had a smile on their faces and were happy to be with us.

A few thoughts about areas that could be improved.

- Auto safety: neither of the vans we used has safety belts for the guests

- Trekking safety: the brochure stated that there would be a decompression bag for parties of 4 or more, and we did not have one.  I recommend the trek leader carries an oxygen bottle and mask.  Several of our party had problems with the 4890m pass and required oxygen.

- Rhododendron festival: do not advertise it.  It was a huge disappoint

- camping equipment: the tents are very old and not 4 season.  These tents are the same model I used 20 years ago.  I would recommend upgrading the tents.

- The first 2 days of the trek need to be combined into 1.

 

These are suggestions for improvement.  We had a wonderful time and I would use Wind Horse again and would not hesitate to recommend them to friends

 


Posted on Oct. 21, 14
Patrick A M
Kansas, 67401, USA

Hello Jambay and Ugen,

we have just returned from Bhutan and wish to thank you for a very enjoyable and well organized trip. Our guide and driver were both excellent. Bhutan is indeed a wonderful country

Unfortunately I was remiss in paying the $25 outstanding to our guide and apologise for this. Is it possible to pay by credit card. If so let me know the easiest way.
It was also great to meet you both at the dinner in Thimphu.

Posted on Oct. 21, 14
Alan & Gayle F
Greenwich, NSW, Australia

 Dear Anand,

My sincere apologies to reply to you so late! These past weeks have been quite hectic for Andre and I. Andre is already in Brazil working and I am in China preparing to join Andre as soon as I can.

Honestly, it was such a pleasure to meet you. It was so nice to talk to you and share our experiences. It really felt more like we were meeting a friend of a friend.Apart from being so astonished with the beauty of Bhutan and its people, it was such a pleasure to travel with windhorsetravel. It was a unique experience and most of all we felt like we were travelling with good old friends. It was so special for us to travel with Leiki and Kinley (I am sure I am still not getting the spelling of their names right!).

We shared so much together in 5 days. Our schedules were flexible and they were very detailed in proposing activities that would suit us particularly. Since the first time we eat the famous chili-cheese dish, we could not stop saying how much we loved it. On our last night, Leiki and Kinley had dinner with us in a charming restaurant and organized with the chef to teach me how to cook the chili-cheese dish.

Our experience with the windhorsetravel was very professional, yet very personal. We will never forget our experience and will always recommend you to friends who are planning to travel there.Most importantly, our hearts are with Leiki and Kinley through their stories and future life plans.

We also discovered that our lucky number is 9, which it has always been for me, and that our first son's Buddhists name will be Kinley Wanchuk ;)


Posted on Oct. 21, 14
Alejandra F B L
Beijing, China

 Dear Mr Thapa

Thanks to our daughter Kirsi we have been able to make the trip to your beautiful country. We came home yesterday after a stay in Malaysia.
I must say both our two guides and the driver were perfect!!!!We really hope you can keep the traditions in your country going for a very long time.We were very satisfied about the hotels and the programme except for the last hotel in Paro. We thought the room was rather outlived and the food was not so good. Sonam arranged for us another place for dining!
Moreover the hotel was situated too far from the Centre. Besides that, we have no complaint if that was a complaint.We shall certainly recommend your organization but I am sure our daughter will do more and she is young!
Best regards, also to Mr Jambay who was so kind as to come and meet us.


Posted on Oct. 21, 14
Winnie S
Brasschaat,2930, Belgian

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