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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.

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 Sep. 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 Sep. 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 Sep. 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 Sep. 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 Sep. 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 Sep. 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 Sep. 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 Sep. 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 Sep. 21, 14
Winnie S
Brasschaat,2930, Belgian

I enjoyed my trip with Wind horse Travel immensely.

The guide & driver were excellent.  I am still amazed at how Rajeem(sp.) was able to provide safe & secure travel in spite of bumpy roads, traffic, construction delays, animals on the road, people on the road, etc. Penjour was outstanding as a guide. Whenever there was the smallest problem he seemed to appear out of nowhere to resolve it.
 My favorite memories are of the interactions with the Bhutanese people - we stopped on the road to visit with schoolchildren, we met a young woman weaving at the Takin Sanctuary, watching the students work at the Art School, & watching the monks 'bless' your offices. This was unexpected & felt as if we had just 'stepped' into a part of your day.
 My favorite hotel was the Tashi Namgay Resort.  It had the best location, the best food & an excellent staff. I had a soothing hot stone bath here that I recommend to anyone.
 The National Museum, Paro festival & the Tatshang walk were highlights.  Penjour was very helpful in guiding us through these experiences.
 If I were to visit again, I would add a small trek in the beginning to see a little more of the countryside.

Posted on Sep. 21, 14
Pam B
Bloomington, Minnesota,55438, USA.

 Hi Anand,      Thank you for your email. There isn't much to improve on- the trip was wonderful. 

Jam bay may have told you I found the wait for confirmations of hotels and visas stressful. I am not used to travelling in packages, and more regular communication would have alleviated some of my stress, along with an initial email explaining the process and usual timelines. 

As you know, we were travelling with three children, and our guide was really great. If Windhorse has experience in dealing with families, I think you could capitalize on this more when advertising and when communicating with the families - kids don't like to do the same things as adults, and parents will be happy to know your company has this experience and can make itinerary suggestions based on this experience. Like taking horses up the mountain, going fishing or rafting - things that are available that will be of more interest to children. 


Posted on Sep. 21, 14
Meagan, Micheal & Kids
Gatineau, Quebec, J8X3L7, Canada

Dear Anand,     It’s very nice to hear from you, and, yes, the Queen was the icing on the cake!  You are most welcome to use pictures from the album, though I’m not sure they can be downloaded at decent quality from the site.  Tim can send you whichever ones you’d like directly.  Just let him know.  I’ve copied him here, so you have his email address.

Some feedback:

The trip and itinerary were amazing!  Leky and Chimi were excellent.  We’ve been to many places where we’ve had guides and drivers, and I have to say, these two men were by far the best we’ve had to date.  Chimi always drove safely and carefully along the crazy roads—both on the way to other towns and on the way to other unplanned destinations.  As a mother, I cannot ask for anything more!

Leky took us to a farmhouse outside of Wangdue where the girls enjoyed playing with a baby calf and watching the cows be milked.  His “auntie’ invited us to lunch.  All around an enjoyable experience.  I told Leky that we would have really enjoyed a farmhouse stay at her place, so maybe this is something you would want to consider in the future.  Her place was extremely clean and welcoming.  I mentioned a farmhouse stay to Jambay, but he didn’t think it would be a good idea with the kids.  Certainly, they would have complained, but I think they would have gotten something out of it as well.  Just a thought for the future.

Hotels:  Hotel Druk was superb!  Highly recommend.  As for the Tenzingling, a few things:  Beautiful buildings, beds were fine, but the pillows were very hard.  Bathrooms were cold and shower curtains were moldy.  Our last morning in the hotel, all of us woke up with many small bug bites on our legs, arms, neck and feet.  I cannot say for sure if there was a bed bug issue, but it’s something worth mentioning to you.  I came home and washed everything on very high temperatures and steamed our luggage just in case.  I think you need to know in case others find an issue.

We also did not enjoy/sleep well at the Punatsangchhu Cottages.  Both beds and pillows were very hard.  The breakfast options were very limited.  Knowing this, Leky took us around the corner to a family place for dinner which was superb.

Some of the highlights for us were not actually on the itinerary but arranged by request with Leky: the whitewater rafting, the visit to the primary school in Wangdue, the farmhouse visit and the archery practice.  On the itinerary, we loved Punakha Dzong and the National Arts and Crafts school, and of course, our favorite: Tiger’s Nest.  We found it an easy climb but were very grateful to have the horses for the younger two and to have left early.

So, honestly, everything else was top notch.  We knew going into the trip that the hotel options would be sketchy, and having the Hotel Druk break up the other two was lovely.  Communication with Jambay was always quick and clear.  I appreciate that.  Please clarify your wording on the children’s ages.  According to the tourism council of Bhutan, it’s "if a child is  5 plus and not 6 she/he  will not have to  pay the tariff, but have to pay the Visa Fee of USD 40 one time.”

I hope this helps.  I’ve already had friends who would like our tour and itinerary information, and I will certainly pass them along and highly recommend Wind horse.  I saw on Google+ that you followed HK Sprint.  I actually don’t run the program anymore as I’m working at the school  

Wind horse should consider yoga/meditative retreats.  I would definitely sign up for that, or better yet, you arrange it and I’ll lead it! ;) Let us know if you need anything else.


Posted on Sep. 21, 14
Heather, Tim & Family
Repulse Bay, USA

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