“Being the traveller ourself first” is what Kinga Dechen advocates and guiding philosophy that define him. This trait and wanderlust in him droves him to many places trying to find expression and meaning to his travel craving . Once he said ” Travelling is the best education”. After passing his class 12 from Bhutan, and to take his disposition of travel further up, he enrolled for guide course conducted by Department of Tourism. After completion in 1995, and during the course of journey as a guide, to hone his skills, he relentlessly pursued further towards the new frontiers of Bangok, Thailand, Salburgs in Austria and Israel for training in the arena of Tourism.For him this open up flood gate of new perspectives towards tourism.
He joined office of Wind Horse Tours, Thimphu, Bhutan in 2008 as a local partner, a fitting tribute to company’s core philosophy. Now, he is man behind every tours that are conducted in Bhutan, in other words he is operational head.
During his formative year in his village, birds piqued his interest and mesmerise him especially by the birds distinct call and sound . He knew the name of birds locally by then, later he joined birding workshop and classes to delve deeper into his passion. Since then he has led countless number of birding tour across every nook and corner of the country.
More often than not, the call of the quaint villages, wilderness of trek is so intense that he set aside his desk works and leads the tour, this is how or the only way he knows to unwind himself from stress of daily life.
What Our Guest Says about the guide
ConnieOct 27-Nov 07
Amazing Bhutan Trip
I just returned from a 10-day trip to Bhutan with Wind Horse Tours. Our guide Kinga was phenomenal! I have spent a lot of time traveling around South Asia (both on my own and with groups), and this was by far one of the best experiences that I’ve had. Kinga was kind, extremely knowledgeable, and accommodating to all of the needs of our group. When unexpected issues came up that were beyond anyone’s control (such as traffic jams and rainy weather), he was quick to offer solutions, and worked hard to keep everyone in our group happy and safe.
I hope that I will have the opportunity to visit Bhutan again, and if I do, I will absolutely arrange my trip through Wind Horse Tours.
James & Thibaud AronsonMay 20-11,2015
Dear Kinga! Thank you for a fantastic time – 3 weeks! – in your beautiful country!
You were the perfect guide for us and we equally enjoyed and learned from your knowledge about Mahayana and Tibetan Buddhism and your skill at identifying bird songs!
You really went above and beyond the normal call of duty to help us out in everything we needed and wanted to see and taste and do.
We also appreciated your ability to adapt and modify the program depending on the conditions (though when it’s snowing heavily on your campsite, there aren’t that many options available!).
We would also like to warmly thank your fantastic drivers, who were willing to wake up at 3.30 am to go looking for pheasants, and your cooks worthy of Michelin stars.
Thank you for the beautiful memories, and when we come back, we’ll be sure to come to you!
Best, james & Thibaud Aronson
Steven McCullaghNov 26,2010
A journey is not completed when one arrives home, but rather, when one uses the experience as best one can.
It’s been almost six weeks since I returned from Bhutan. I want to thank you again for making that brief visit so special! A journey is not completed when one arrives home, but rather, when one uses the experience as best one can. Not one day has passed during the last weeks that I haven’t thought of Bhutan. Specific experiences and images rise to the surface from my memories and field notes and photos; as well as lots of questions. As you said, our brief visit was “intense” and I’m grateful for that. You presented Bhutan so well with your knowledge of the country and people, of Buddhism and of the birds and natural features. And I think you tried to present as realistic a picture as you could on a quick trip. I really enjoyed being there in a way that is different from my enjoyment of other places I’ve visited. Leaving Bhutan with so many good memories and so many questions might be good for tourism there….I may have to return for another look!
Wishing you all the best! Kadriche!
Robert KeatleyNov-27, 2009
In late November, 2009, as members of a group of seven visitors on a ten-day tour, we had the rare privilege of being guided around Bhutan by Kinga Dechen. His impressive knowledge of his nation’s history, traditions, religion and social conditions gave us special insights into Bhutan and added enormously to what we were able to take away from our visit. His company made excellent advance preparations for our tour, and he adjusted these with efficiency and good cheer whenever we requested changes to meet new interests acquired along the way. By the end of our tour, the seven of us were unanimous in high praise for Kinga and what he added to the many pleasures of the trip. In addition—and any visitor will learn quickly the importance of this—Kinga employed careful drivers who increased our sense of security and proved to be good traveling companions as well.
My wife and I endorse with great enthusiasm the services of Windhorse Tours and of Kinga Dechen in particular. We would gladly expand on this theme if any prospective traveler seeks additional information.
Andrew P G HomesNov-19,2010
Rosie and i would like to thank you so much again for making our visit to Bhutan so fantastic and special. We reflect on the time together with you, the things that we saw, the people we saw and met, the places we visited, the festivals we were so privileged to have attended, and all we learnt…..not to mention the birds I saw, of course….and we cannot imagine that we could have had a more fascinating and enjoyable time. This of course is all down to you and your planning of the trip. It all went so very well, apart perhaps some rain on the trek….we will have to come again to see the views of the high mountains!! But maybe the weather made the experience more different and exciting…..it was certainly quite wonderful to be in those beautiful mountains and i loved every minute of it.
I dont think I have moved very far along the Bhuddist path to Enlightenment, but we have certainly taken some steps, possibly along the Middle Path> Rosie and I both feel that so much converges along the historically different paths leading towards an understanding of Buddha/Allah/God. As we walk along these paths up the mountain, perhaps we all slowly realise we are climbing the same mountain. An exposure to the faith and devotion evident in Bhutan was an inspiration.
So….it was also all so much fun and we had a terrific team with you as the leader. The more we think about it the more amazing it all seems. WOW…WOW….HOW BRILLIANT IT WAS
I will link up with Di about tents etc and let you know what the picture is.
Once again, very, very many thanks for your superb organisation and leadership of our trip….and of course thanks to the wonderful Dorji who is such a steady and excellent driver, apart from being such a very nice and serene person.
All the very best
P.S. On a more business note I received a mail from greenbee.com who organise specialist travel for the large John Lewis group who do specialist tours to N.India, Nepal, Sri Lanka…but no mention of Bhutan…..maybe a marketing gap you could fill (please make sure to use any testimonials from our team). If you do not get a follow up on the other people at Cazenove and Lloyd, Abercrombie and Kent…..let me know and I will chase it up
Beryl Donenfeld and Jack DonenfeldNov 20, 2009
Dear Family and Friends,
Jack and I just returned from Bhutan – the trip of my dreams. It really is impossible to describe the country, the people and the culture. It truly is Shangri La. The physical country is breathtakingly gorgeous, with mountain range after mountain range after mountain range until finally the highest snow covered peaks imaginable. Pictures don’t do it justice. Because Bhutan is so close to the equator, the tree line is incredibly high, so there are pine trees covering mountains at 14,000 ft. and beyond. There is no pollution and the air smells fragrant, almost peppery like the spicy szechuan pepper that grows there. The valleys are terraced farms and rice fields with the backdrop of mountains. The sky is impossibly blue and most of our days were cloudless, but the clouds high up over the mountains are the whitest, fluffiest clouds ever. Monasteries and temples are everywhere and many of them are high up in the mountains. Bhutan is a land of peace and serenity. And happiness!
The people are truly the happiest people we’ve ever seen. Everyone smiles. People are friendly – they love to wave and say hello. Kids walk to school in groups talking, laughing, playing and looking happy. Almost everyone (except for the elderly) speaks English. Parents spend time with their kids. The elderly are respected and included. The Bhutanese people are beautiful – smooth, clear skin, shiny black hair and big smiles. They are happy to smile and pose for the camera.
Almost everyone wears the national costume, a gho for men, which is like a robe, and a ghet for women, which is a long wrap around skirt with a contrasting jacket. The fabrics are colorful and rich – plaids, stripes and patterns.
The country is Buddhist – and it’s much more than a religion – it’s a way of life that permeates the culture. People are gentle, respectful, hard working, friendly and playful!
We visited about a dozen monasteries and temples and each one was more beautiful than the next. The Buddhas and paintings and the actual structures were wildly colorful and decorative. Our guide told us so many fantastic stories. The monks are quiet and respectful, but also funny and very welcoming.
Bhutanese don’t kill to eat. They use cows and yaks for milk and chicken for eggs. Everything grown – every vegetable you can think of – is organic. The government makes sure that everyone has three meals a day. (The government also provides health care and education for all. In fact, we have never seen so many schools)! Meals typically consist of red or white rice, 3 or 4 fresh vegetables – spinach, broccoli, carrots, radishes, cauliflower, eggplant, mushrooms – you name it! And every meal has either chicken, fish or beef which comes from India. The national dish is chilis (which grow everywhere) and cheese. Very hot and very delicious – their cheese is very, very low fat, not heavy or thick.
Bhutan has only 27,000 tourists a year (compared to Bangkok which has 20,000 tourists a day)! and when you visit,you pay a fee per person to the government. For that fee, you get a guide, a driver, hotel, transportation and three meals a day. 37% of the fee goes to education and health care.
We were lucky enough to happen upon a local town festival. There are many festivals, some big and famous, and others smaller. But all festivals include colorful costumes, dancing, music, festivites. They are like outdoor, live operas. Everyone attends and watching the people is as much fun as watching the festival.
We fell in love with our guide, Kinga, who was so flexible and accommodating. He knew, after a day, the we were not “normal” tourists. On our second day there, he made sure to introduce me to the 2 men who started the Bhutan Climbing Club and off we went to the Thimpu “Nose” with 16 newly bolted routes! We did some extreme hiking – one day he hired a local guide because even he hadn’t done this particular hike. We found ourselves at about 12,000 ft, staring the awesome Jumolari peak! We walked and trekked for hours in valleys and up mountains to monasteries and beyond. When we climbed up to Tiger’s Nest, the most famous of all monasteries, our driver ( a 19 yr. old, by then very comfortable with us) suggested that we continue up past the famous monastery to the next highest one and down a much less traveled route. Six hours later we were bushwacking our way back to the car, delighted with ourselves for finding our way down. And on our last day, when we couldn’t decide whether to drive up to the CheliLa pass for the view or to go biking, Kinga suggested we rent bikes, drive them up so we could bike down, which we did! 5.000 ft. down! And then we continued to ride all over the valley for the rest of the day! At 5:30 when it was already dark, and Kinga looked at me and said, “OK, Beryl, what’s next?” I knew he had figured me out!
But even with all the activity, many of our hikes and drives were quiet. The scenery was so gorgeous, so pristine, so serene that often silence was best. Just having so much time to think, reflect, meditate was a rare luxury.
I cried as we said goodbye on our last morning in Bhutan, but the flight out was one of the highlights of the trip. First of all, the flight in to Bhutan was pretty amazing because looking out the window on the left was Mt. Everest – just about close enough to touch! But on the departure, on the right side of the plane, for about a half hour, we had the most amazing views of “the top of the world” starring right at the highest snow covered mountains I’ve ever seen! Magnificent, majestic, magical! Awesome! This was truly the trip of our dreams!
Here is the link to the Bhutan photos:
http://picasaweb.google.com/Jack.Donenfeld/BhutanOct22Nov22009?authkey=Gv1sRgCNjuh82vv9mHIw&feat=directlink – Beryl – Beryl Donenfeld www.Beryfit.com
Pascaline SSJuly 07,2009
Wind Horse Dear Kinga, thank you for being such a wonderful guide. We are all absolutely delighted with our trip, and with the quality of your services. We appreciated your knowledge, your boundless energy, patience and unwavering smile. You went out of your way to make this trip as smooth, enjoyable and interesting as possible. Dorji was a star driver, we all felt very safe on these treacherous roads. Please accept this picture as a token of our appreciation.
July 7, 2009
James WeissApril 09-15,2010
James Weiss from 09-15 April
Dear Kinga + Pema
Thank you for the excellent trip that we had in Bhutan. First, let me say to Mr. Kinga that you found the correct balance between showing us your beautiful country and meeting our individual personalities and likes.
Mr. Pema, Thank you on your excellent driving skills around those sharp curves along the mountain roads.
Your travel customers + Friends
Jim Weiss + Gail Hochfeld
Dr. Vivien Helen & Mark WMarch -20,2009
I found your country fascinating from many angles: the natural beauty, the people, the religion and history.
Dear Kinga, You have beaten me to the email. We returned from Cambodia 6 days ago and I was planning to write today and tell you that I posted a CD to you 2 days ago with just over a hundred pictures. I have included some portrait shots of you and of Tashi as well as some of LB and the camping crew. I would be grateful if you could show them the photos and arrange for them to have copies if they so wish.
The rest of the photos are mostly scenery as you requested with a few of the people we met along the way which give an idea of the country as well. You are welcome to use any of my photos on your website or in your advertising material if you wish. I have sent 2 versions of the pictures, one as a slide show using Google’s Picasa and one as individual pictures which I think will be technically easier to copy without getting tangled up in Picasa. I expect that the parcel will take 3-4 weeks to get to you as my postcards appear to have taken almost 3 weeks to get to Australia. If you do not receive the CDs please let me know and I can either resend them or send you some pictures via email. I have included a couple of you with this email and a photo of a head that I saw at the National Museum in Bangkok. I had a feeling that I had seen your face before and half way through Bhutan I remembered where!Thank you, I thoroughly enjoyed trip to Bhutan, as did Mark. I found your country fascinating from many angles: the natural beauty, the people, the religion and history and not least your kings and your government’s attempts to rule benevolently and wisely in a rapidly changing and dangerous world. I know that no society is perfect and that yours has challenges and problems but I am vastly impressed by your leaders’ attempts to set a good and even handed example for your people. I was also impressed by your own palpable pride in your country and this reminded me of a trip we did in Botswana last year where our African guide was also hugely proud of his government which sets an almost lone example of good governance in the region. Botswana of course has also adopted the same successful policy that Bhutan has of low volume, high end, (attempted) low impact tourism to a very rural country. This sense of pride in the country could not have been more different to the next phase of our holiday after Bhutan, 8 fascinating days in Cambodia at Siam Reap. Here we saw many beautiful temples and fabulous stone artwork but our guides told us many stories of the corruption of the country’s “elite”. This of course permeates every level of the poorly paid bureaucracy and Mark and I had to pay a small “fine” or “tax” to get into the country because we had left our photos for our visas in the backpack. We weren’t photographed, the tax went into an open briefcase on the counter in front of a bank of customs officials, the proper money into a drawer and the visas were eventually produced.Siem Reap has had an apparently uncontrolled increase of 35% per annum in visitors over the last few years and everywhere one looks new western style developments are going up, some 5 star hotels with price tags of $1200 per night while Mark and I had a $30 air-conditioned room in a clean well run guest house. A traumatised poor country with very few old people to be seen, chaotic roads, children drinking filthy river water, ox carts next to Hummers and someone (always with government or army connections) making a lot of money. Our tour guides or tuk-tuk drivers would explain that this or that new development used to be a government site until sold to developers and that the government services had been moved out of town. Interesting.
Kinga thank you for your wonderful tour of your country. I thought that the tour was very well thought out and arranged and included a wide range of interesting things to see and do. I enjoyed the opportunities to walk. There was so much competing for my attention that I barely had time to look at the birds and I am pleased that I did not go on an exclusively bird watching tour as I would have been very frustrated wanting to see everything else. I thoroughly enjoyed your calm company and your teaching which I found fascinating. We were all very sorry to see you go and I had tears in my eyes. I hope that your explorations in the east were successful and I am pleased that I could be of some assistance to you in matters of your health.
Tashi did a good job. He does not yet have the breadth of knowledge that you have but he is a kind hearted young man and I had some very interesting conversations with him about his childhood in the monastery. LB is a masterly driver and your camping crew were good. Under Tashi’s leadership they danced and sang for us the last night in the HAA valley which we all enjoyed. I thought your cook managed to produce very good food under difficult circumstances. So all in all it was definitely worth travelling to Bhutan and we are finding widespread interest in your country amongst our friends and acquaintances. We have told friends about it at a meal last night and will be telling other friends about our trip and your country at meals tonight and tomorrow night. My parents have already booked me to give a 2 hour talk to over a hundred people at their “School for Seniors” next year. I don’t think that there are any as fit as Nixie and Gwen so I don’t think you’ll get any customers from this group but I’ll have fun talking to them and telling them about the integration of elderly people into Bhutanese society.
My best wishes to you, your wife and family and every success to you and your partners.
Vivien (and best wishes from Mark too who is gardening and who I am about to join)
Marie LippensApril 20,2006
In French, one says : Jamais deux sans trois, which means Never two without three,and I am already contemplating a new journey to be organized by Windhorsetours
Pour un futur voyageur au Bhutan.
Je recommande vivement Kinga Dechen et son agence WINDHORSETOURS. En janvier 2006, j’ai passé 12 jours au Bhutan et ai visité Thimphu, Punakka, Paro et environs avec un guide épatant, KINGA DECHEN. Grâce à sa connaissance remarquable de l’histoire, de la religion, de la nature du Bhutan ( et des régions avoisinantes) , grâce aussi à sa présence toujours pleine d’attention, à son intelligence et à son excellent sens de l’humour, j’y ai fait un séjour inoubliable.
je m’étais promis de revenir et c’est chose faite. En novembre (2008), j’e suis venue de Gauhati, dans l’Assam, en Inde, et j’ai traversé le pays d’Est en Ouest, un voyage passionnant de 1200 km à travers une région beaucoup moins connue et visitée. Dans chaque hôtel où nous descendions, Kinga Dechen était acceuilli chaleureusement car il est connu comme étant un agent de voyage particulièrement honnête et un homme toujours prêt à aider et des plus aimables. Ces contacts personnels m’ont toujours fait offrir la meilleure chambre !
On dit : “Jamais deux sans trois”
et déjà je contemple un nouveau voyage que je ferai organiser par Windhorsetours, la très sérieuse agence de Kinga Dechen que je recommande chaleureusement.
To whom it may concern – To future travellers wishing to really discover Bhutan.
I spent 12 days in January 2006 visiting Thimphu, Punakka, Paro with a wonderful guide, KINGA DECHEN whom I had the luck to be accompanied by.
He made my stay unforgettable by his knowledge of history, religion, nature pertaining to Bhutan ( and the whole region) , and by his friendly, helpful presence, and by his personal intelligence and great sense of humor.
I had promised myself I’d come back and this I have just done, coming from Gauhati in India, and travelling East to West thru Bhutan, a fascinating journey of 1200 km which I enjoyed immensely. In every hotel we went, Kinga Dechen was welcomed warmly across the country he is known as a particularly honest travel agent and a friendly, helpful man. Thanks to these personal contacts, I always had the best room .
In French, one says : Jamais deux sans trois, which means Never two without three,and I am already contemplating a new journey to be organized by Windhorsetours, Kinga Dechen’s very serious and trustworthy travel agency which I recommend heartily.
Marie Lippens, Belgium
Pasé 12 dias en Enero del 2006 visitando Thimpu, Punakka y Paro con un guía maravilloso. KINGA DECHEN con el que tuve la suerte que me acompañara. El hizo de mi viaje una experiencia inolvidable con su conocimientos de historia, religión, naturaleza de la región de Bhutan, con su inteligencia y gran sentido del humor.
Me prometí a mi mismna volver y esto es lo que he hecho viniendo desde Gauhati en India, y viajando del Oeste al Este a través de Bhutan. Un viaje fascinante de 1.200 km que disfruté en todo momento. En cada hotel donde nos alojábamos, con Kinga Dechen era un contacto con el que siempre tenía un recibimiento caluroso, al conocérsele como a un agente de viajes honesto , cariñoso y muy valioso. Gracias a sus contactos personales siempre tuve la mejor habitación!!!
En francés se dice : No hay nunca dos sin tres.
Ya estoy pensando en mi próximo viaje, con la organización ” Windhorsetours “, la agencia seria y capaz de Kinga Dechen, a la que puedo recomendar de todo corazón.
— Marie Lippens, Astridlaan 4, 8300 Knokke Heist, Belgique. N’imprimez ce message que si vous en avez vraiment besoin
Aan alle belangstellenden
Aan de toekomstige reizigers die het “echte” bergkoninkrijkje Bhutan (Bhoetan) wensen te ontdekken
Gedurende 12 dagen in januari 2006 heb ik het geluk gehad Thimphu, Punakka en Paro onder de deskundige leiding van een uitstekende gids KINGA DECHEN te bezoeken. Door zijn kennis over de geschiedenis, godsdienst en natuur van Bhutan (en omgeving), zijn vriendelijkheid en behulpzaamheid, zijn intelligentie en goede zin voor humor werd mijn verblijf aldaar onvergetelijk.
Ik had mezelf beloofd om naar Bhutan terug te keren en dat heb ik net gedaan. Vanuit Gauhati in India, van oost naar west doorheen Bhutan, heb ik ten zeerste van deze fascinerende reis van 1200 km genoten. In alle hotels waar wij verbleven werd Kinga Dechen met open armen ontvangen, daar hij als eerlijke, vriendelijke en behulpzame reisagent alom bekend is. Dankzij deze persoonlijke contacten heb ik altijd in de beste kamers mogen logeren.
In het Frans zegt men : Nooit twee zonder drie. Ik denk nu al aan de organisatie van een derde reis bij Windhorsetours, het zeer betrouwbare reisagenschap van Kinga Dechen dat ik hartelijk kan aanbevelen.
–Marie Lippens. Heist, Belgique. N’imprimez ce message que si vous en avez vraiment besoin –
Valerie & MiguelApril 18 -21,2002
Trip of a Life Time: 18-21 April 2002 Going to Bhutan was like going back in time, a gentle country and gentle people, where one encountered peace, and tranquility, as mists intrigue settles in at eventide later hiding a happy good morning where the sun rises over the pine clad mountains. We thoroughly enjoyed our trip arranged by Wind Horse Tours, Treks & Expeditions. Feel free to contact us for any comments.
Don RiedelApril 25 -29, 2002
25 – 29 April 2002
I traveled alone as a visitor to Bhutan in 2002 with Wind Horse.
Upon my arrival, I was greeted by a warm and friendly guide and driver with a nice car to travel in. For the next four days, every wish that I had was fulfilled. I enjoy photography and at my request, my driver would stop to allow my taking of pictures. The people I met along the way greeted me in friendship and provided warm hospitality.
My lodging was first rate and the meals served to me were delicious and beautifully presented.
I always felt that my happiness and enjoyment were the number one priority of my personal guide and driver.
We saw many interesting sights and also had the opportunity to spend time in Buddhist monasteries and given the opportunity to visit with the Monks and young people studying for monkhood, and to take photographs.
I continue to communicate via the Internet with friends I made when I visited Paro.
I will want to visit Bhutan again soon.
Thank you for your kindness to me during my visit.