Nima Dhondup Bhutia
Nima Dhondup Bhutia is the senior most guide for Darjeeling, Sikkim and Doars Tour. From past political turmoil to changing tourism scenario in the region, he has seen it all from close quarter. His career as guide started from 1980, and going great gun still. His experience along with amicable nature and soft-spokenness brings forth a subtle difference in every tour that he conducts.
He was born and brought up in Tibetan Self-help camp in Darjeeling, when it was still quaint and serene towns unlike now. He still remember fondly the days of yore and growing changes that the time dictates. He graduated from one of prestigious school – Mt Hermon school in 1977. You will still find vestige of old school of English in his accent.
What Our Guest Says about the guide
Ernst GassmanOct 11 -Nov 11, 2017
We very much enjoyed our travel through Sikkim/Bhutan. All was perfectly organized and everything met our expectations. We are happy to talk to you on the phone to give you some more details.
Dr Lorenz CueniApril 3 -19,2017
I’m writing at the end of a very busy week at my hospital; let’s see how far I get before my energy and memory are failing.
I’d like to break the trip into 2 segments: Bhutan and Sikkim/Darjeeling.
I liked Bhutan. The country has a fascinating history based on it’s religion. This is shown very clearly in every corner we visited. Yet, there is also a strong movement forward, in a diligently controlled way, for which the king probably deserves most credit. The trip showed this in an intelligent way, not the least through our excellent guide who embodied both worlds, the old and the new one. The People’s devotion to the religion and tradition of their country was an “eye opener” for me. People were kind and generous to us foreigners, forgiving our ignorance of customs and history.The only aspect I didn’t cherish was the long drive over the mountain passes on treacherous roads. Yet, we survived and our sense of comradery with the driver became stronger. I guess this can’t be changed until we all fly on the back of a tigress (or in a helicopter). Just PLEASE keep the countryside clean,tell tourists and natives alike to treat it with utter respect.
I was less enthusiastic about Sikkim and Darjeeling. First, we spent essentially three days (out of five) on the road. I understand that the distances are enormous, that the means of transportation are limited. Still, it was “torture”. The noise and stench of the Darjeeling train was unbearable for me and I had difficulty coping with the trash in every corner. Also, why spend a long morning to see a sunrise (mostly getting up the mountain and back)?
This raises the question whether an alternative (e.g. flying to an other site) or “scrapping” these places altogether would be better. For example, I would have preferred to visit Agra and theTaj Mahal instead of a tea plantation or a distant view of some Himalayan mountains in a haze. I have seen many mountains, having lived in Switzerland for the first 28 years . Seeing some Himalayan Giants close up, even some hiking there would have been much more exciting than looking for monkeys at the roadside. Visiting the Tibetan colony in Darjeeling was interesting, though; particularly as our guide was the son of a refugee and gave us some intimate looks at the colony’s history and continued coherence.
The experience was unforgettable, both the good and the “not so good”. It gave me a glimpse into the life and culture of another people, far away from my “westernized” world.
I hope that these comments are valuable for the Windhorse People. Your comments will be valuable for me as well.
Best wishes and kind regards,
AvrilApril 05 - 16, 2015
Dear Anand – Thank you so much for your email. I was planning on writing and giving my thoughts, but you prompted me to get started.
Firstly, I would like to thank everyone for their help in such a splendid trip. We thoroughly enjoyed every moment.For the sake of simplicity and time, I will condense my comments instead of in a paragraph form. ORGANIZATION
Excellent. Over the course of the past year, my questions were always answered promptly and professionally.
Excellent. Very attentive and wanting to please.
Excellent. I still admire the way they navigated the mountain turns!
Excellent. One exception being Hotel Y.T. Punakha. Not because there was anything bad, but it totally lacked any kind of charm. The ladies at this hotel were particularly lovely.
Generally good. It was basically hit and miss, but this did not bother us.
I thought the itinerary was very good, but if I planned such a trip again I would do it as follows.
Darjeeling 2 nights.
Kalimpong 2 nights (Would love to have stayed here longer).
Phuentsholing 1 night.
Thimphu 2 nights.
Panakha 2 nights (My favorite area)
Paro 2 nights.
I would not include Sikkim. The roads in Bhutan gave us more than enough mountain driving for such a brief visit.
Thank you again and let me know if I have missed anything!
TID – 8553, Guide (Bhutan) – Penjor Lhendup, Guide (Sikkim& Darj) – Nima Dhondup Bhutia
Peter WrightOct 03 - 19, 2014
I am so pleased that we chose a tour group that is not only run by Bhutanese but also has a strong track record and an office presence in the United States
TID 781 (Oct 03 – 19, 2014)
My partner and I recently participated in the Windhorse Tour to Bhutan, Sikkim and Darjeeling. We had a marvelous time. We were both extremely impressed with the knowledge and enthusiasm of our Bhutanese Guide, Sonam. And our bus driver, Arun, did an amazing job keeping us all safe amidst the traffic on the curving mountain roads. Our guide in Sikkim and Darjeeling was excellent as well. Plus, the Windhorse office staff was efficient and did all they could to make the appropriate arrangements for the trip in a timely fashion. I am so pleased that we chose a tour group that is not only run by Bhutanese but also has a strong track record and an office presence in the United States. We had an excellent experience not only in Bhutan, but also in Sikkim and Darjeeling. I strongly encourage you to book your tour through Windhorse.
Peter WOct. 03 - 19, 2014.
Bhutan Festival Sikkim Tour TID 781 Oct. 03 – 19, 2014.
My partner and I recently participated in the Wind horse Tour to Bhutan, Sikkim and Darjeeling. We had a marvelous time. We were both extremely impressed with the knowledge and enthusiasm of our Bhutanese Guide, Sonam. And our bus driver, Arun, did an amazing job keeping us all safe amidst the traffic on the curving mountain roads. Our guide in Sikkim and Darjeeling was excellent as well. Plus, the Wind horse office staff was efficient and did all they could to make the appropriate arrangements for the trip in a timely fashion. I am so pleased that we chose a tour group that is not only run by Bhutanese but also has a strong track record and an office presence in the United States. We had an excellent experience not only in Bhutan, but also in Sikkim and Darjeeling. I strongly encourage you to book your tour through Wind horse.
Michele H3 to 14 Oct, 2014
Bhutan Festival & Sikkim Tour ( 3 to 14 Oct, 2014) TID 781
Dear Wind Horse and future Wind Horse travelers,
I would like to start off by saying thank you for providing such an amazing trip!
Touring Bhutan and India with Wind Horse was actually my first experience out of the country. I was provided with an abundance of information from the company, from helpful packing tips to how to obtain our Indian and Bhutan visas. Any questions that my travel partner or I had were answered in a very quick manner, which was greatly appreciated.
Sue GlassfordMar. 22-Apr. 07, 13
Bhutan Festival & Sikkim Tour TID 598 (Mar. 22-Apr. 07, 13)
Have returned home from the above trip which was enjoyed immensely. It was also nice to have met you after so many emails back and forth over the last few months! I enjoyed the trip very much indeed; it was a great experience to spend time in your wonderful country.
Penjor was a delightful guide who was very efficient and unassuming. I liked him very much indeed! I did find that he struggled a bit with his English and consequently did not always offer the information that he would have done otherwise. For example he could have described in more detail the education system, or the houses or more about the upcoming election or customs such as marriages and how you welcome people into their homes. A suggestion would be to help overcome this could be an organized visit to a school or perhaps to have visited a house or farm during which we could have then asked pertinent questions which I’m sure he could have answered. I ‘m sure his character is typically Bhutanese in that he doesn’t need to fill every moment with information as probably we do in the west, but I think there are ways around this. He is such a lovely man who was very caring especially when Marj was not well and certainly was one of the best guides that I have met. There was a traffic jam for over 3 hours when a lorry got stuck and somehow he managed to get us through before all the other cars and lorries (a little embarrassing as we did not deserve preferential treatment ) but we were very grateful non the less! I was very sad to say goodbye to him.Dorje the driver was superb! The whole trip could have been spoiled if he had not been such a brilliant driver. He took great care and consideration to the whole group and just got on with his job. He cared about the bus and kept it immaculate and after a hard day was immediately up the ladder to get our bags down. Absolutely fantastic!
Nima ‘s English was very good indeed but he didn’t have the caring quality that Penjor had. He was prone to disappear as soon as he could, on the occasion below and in Darjeeling when we were waiting for the train in Darjeeling for 2& half hours when he was waiting in Ghum for us. There were other occasions as well. There was an incident at Gantok after a very long day when Marj and I were given our room keys saying that there was only one room with twin beds which were to go to Greg and his daughter and in so many words said we would have to put up with it. I didn’t make a fuss as often there are two beds together which would have been fine. Our bags were taken up and we realized that it was most unsatisfactory so we went back to the reception to ask if they had another room. They said they hadn’t but we rather suspected that they had. We were even shown to a store room where we could have had a ‘put you up bed ‘ transferred to our room! We asked him to get in touch with Nema who proved to be difficult and it took three quarters of an hour before he was found. We were very cross by this time and it was only because of our persistence we were ‘ upgraded ‘ to the room next door to ours! Nema could have got this organized in a few minutes but he wasn’t there. In addition the man on reception was not very pleasant saying that we would have to pay for the upgrade and kept saying he hadn’t got anything else. The rooms were very poor and the towels and linen were disgusting and looked although they had been used to wipe the floor. The rest of the staff were trying very hard and were pleasant but didn’t know what they were doing. (Lack of training!) I think that if it is possible to get a better hotel in Gantock then it would be appreciated by your guests. All the other hotels were fine. The most important thing is that they are comfortable and clean. (We did like the Mayfair!) but we were very happy with the more simple ones.The two drivers of the cars in Sikkim and Darjeeling were also very good and again we felt quite safe on very difficult roads!
I would certainly recommend others to ‘Wind horse’ and hope that you go from strength to strength.
My very best wishes and thanks
Carol and JMarch 22 -April 7 2013
TID 598 Bhutan Festival & Sikkim Tour (March 22nd to April 7th 2013)
Jim and I have traveled to 106 countries. The Bhutan Festival & Sikkim tour we booked through you was fantastic and ranks as one of our favorites. It was truly a journey of discovery.
The small group size (9 pax) was manageable and made for a more personal experience.
We were pleasantly surprised with the quality and abundance of food along with the choice of accommodations. All were more than we had expected.
Penjor, our Bhutan guide, was one of the most considerate, caring guides we have ever met. He handled everything so smoothly and efficiently from personally seeing that we were settled in our rooms, calling ahead from the bus about our meals, to freeing us from a road jam in the mountains. He went above and beyond what was expected. He is a gem!!
Nema, our India guide, was a great disappointment. He was very aloof and cold. Although he traveled in our vehicle every day, he never talked to anyone unless someone asked him a question.
Moreover he was at times very impatient and rude. For example, because he walked very fast, he had a habit of explaining things before all the members of our group caught up to him. When I asked him to repeat what he had said, he snappishly said “Well, you weren’t listening were you?”
I was very offended and told him I couldn’t possibly have heard him since he began talking before our half of the group had even gotten close to him.
Additionally, he always appeared in a hurry to leave the group at the door of each hotel and never stayed to make sure that we were all checked in. In fact, the two English ladies on our tour had a problem with their room at one stop and no one could locate Nema. Even the hotel desk could not reach him and had to call the India office to get a message to him to return to the hotel and help correct their room situation.
And unlike Penjor, Nema never called the hotels during the day to make sure the correct number of single and double rooms were available. Neither did he call ahead to check on lunches, which resulted in our showing up at one location to find that no meal had been prepared for us. This resulted in a long delay before we could eat while the restaurant began cooking for us. This is inexcusable.
Except for Nema, the tour of India was was wonderful. And the Mayfair Hotel was a luxurious way to end the tour!!
Thank you again for the opportunity to experience your beautiful country and the pageantry of the Paro Festival!
All the best,
Kathrina & Douglas M,Sept 28-Oct 14, 2011
Bhutan Festival & Sikkim Tour Sept 28-0ct 14, 2011
Hi Ugen,We are still digesting our trip – we had a great time and will write you a favorable review. The trip was very well organized and we liked the guides as well as the hotels.
Kathrina & Douglas M, Atlanta, GA, USA