Sonam Tenzin is versatile. Although his primary job is to driver, he started with Wind Horse Tours as a trekking cook in 2010. He is assigned as a driver cum cook, when he we require camping during cultural and birding tour for individual travels. He is nicknamed as Chagpala.
What Our Guest Says about the guide
Donald Robinson & his sonOct 15 -20, 2023
This is an excellent tour company for a Bhutan adventure. We did 6 nights, seven days, including Punakha. There was very clear communication with the owner, Mr. Tshering. He helped us customize the trip from the hotel quality we wanted to specific monasteries and other sites we wanted to see. Everything from the pickup at the airport to our trek to the Tiger’s Nest to airport drop-off went perfectly. And our guide, Tenzin, was the best. We told him we were interested in Bhutanese history and the history of Buddhism and not so much in shopping. He went out of his way to tailor our trip perfectly to those things. He even brought us a snack his wife made for us to have with a tea rest along the trail just before reaching the Tigers Nest. And he took us to a place where we tried the national sport, archery. So much fun with my son. This is a very reliable company with excellent communication to ensure that your once in a life time trip will be flawless and memorable. Thank you Wind Horse Tours!
Catherine B.L.B.Sept 4- 10, 2016
We did make it home safe and sound after a week in Japan and finally back to the US.
We had a wonderful trip! Our guide Sonam and our driver Sonam were both excellent. Our guide, Sonam, was very knowledgeable and took very good care of us. He listened to all of our requests and was very accommodating. Our favorite parts of the trip include the Haa Valley and the hike up to the Tiger’s Nest. We enjoyed seeing the sites and learning about the culture of Bhutan in Thimpu. Overall, we felt like the trip was action packed and exceeded our expectations.
We have 2 young children – a 10 month old and an almost 3 year old. Sonam was excellent with them and helped a lot with the kids. It was nice to have a break at meal times. They took the 10 month old to play while I ate. This was very helpful.
The best indication that we had a good trip is that we are already planning our next trip. We don’t know when it will be, but we’re thinking of places that we’d like to see. We’ll likely want to go to the center of the country or on a Trek for our next trip.
Thank you for the follow up! I will write a review on Trip Advisor in the next few days.
Thank you for an amazing trip!
Khalid W. N.Dec 03 - 06, 2015
Flexible Bhutan customised Trip
Thank you for your email. Our trip to Bhutan was truly an amazing experience.
I would like to thank you for welcoming us with hospitality into your country.
1.Warm on-time greeting at the airport by your professional tea
2.Extremely friendly, well-spoken, and very well-educated staff
3.Knowledgeable explanations for all sites and history
4.Diverse selection of visiting options – Tchencho sat with us and we hand-picked the places we would like to visit, then we made a day-to-day schedule that would match how much activity we liked to do and places of interest
5.Brilliant introduction to Bhutan’s delicious cuisine. We ate in restaurants that varied in how new or posh they were but all the food was delicious!
I honestly cannot think of any low points during the trip as your team were so helpful and made everything so easy.
I even bought a mobile phone from Thimpu as the camera on my phone broke the day before arriving in Bhutan and Tchencho helped get me the best price for a very good camera phone!
I would especially like to commend Tchencho and Sonam for their excellent work, their warmth of character, and professionalism. I will recommend Wind Horse Travel and Tchencho and Sonam personally to any friends I have who are visiting Bhutan in the future.
Thank you again for a wonderful trip.
Marissa W & Alex TApril 14 -29, 2015
TID 8716, April 14-29,2015
Hi Anand, We had a safe trip back home (via a couple of nice days spent in Thailand!) and are now stuck back into work. I just wanted to re-iterate the feedback we gave to you throughout our trip, that we had an incredible time visiting Bhutan and were very impressed by the service and experience offered by Wind Horse.
We had high expectations of what we hoped to get out of our trip and we can honestly say that we were not disappointed in the slightest. We left feeling like we had really been able to authentically experience the culture and beauty of the country and that what we did and saw was really genuine.
We cannot rave more highly about our guide Namgyel who was instrumental in us having such a great time. He was extremely knowledgeable, but more than that, he was fun to be around and became a good friend. Sonam, our driver, was also lots of fun and a very professional driver, which we very much appreciated on all the winding, bumpy and dangerous roads!
We also cannot thank Wind Horse (via Namgyel and Sonam) enough for helping to organise a special little celebration for our 1st year anniversary. It was a complete surprise and such a lovely thought. It really helped make the occasion very special for us.
On a more practical note, the hotel selection throughout the trip was great and it was nice to build in days where we didn’t have to pack up and move every day. The only hotel we thought didn’t have very good food was the last one in Paro, however we were able to have most of our meals in a nice local restaurant where the food was lovely. Also, the van we were being driven around in was quite comfortable (well, as much as it could be on those roads!) and provided lots of opportunities to see the scenery.
In terms of passing on some of the highs of our trip (there were no lows!):
– Being invited to share in a butter tea with some local elders at one of the temples
– Hiking up to Tigers Nest along with most of Paro (we went up on the National Holiday)
– Visiting Tang valley
– The Wind Horse walk up to the temple at Dochula Pass (through all the rhododendrons – it’s like a magic forest, despite the fact that it was raining)
Thanks again and look forward to staying in touch. We love the region and are hoping to make a trip to Tibet in the next couple of years and would love to go through Wind Horse again.
Marissa & Alex
Margaret & Carter TFeb 26-11 March, 2015
Dear Anand, I apologize for my slowness in answering your letter. Since our return from Asia some 10 days ago, we have been busy doing chores.
We loved our trip! It was everything we had hoped for. The itinerary allowed us to see many parts of your beautiful country and interesting culture. Attending the Tharpaling Thongdrel, while in the itinerary, was an unexpected highlight.
Tashi, our guide, and Sonam, our driver, were excellent. Tashi and my husband liked to joke with each other which made our hikes and walks extra enjoyable. Someday we hope to return to Bhutan to visit the eastern portion of the country and would again want to use Tashi and Sonam.
Sincerely, Margaret – TID 8634 (26 Feb – 11 March)
Susan ThomasDec 21- 29, 2014
Village Tour of Bhutan for Ms. Susan Thomas & Son TID 8626: Dec. 21 – 29, 2014
I just returned a few days ago. Bhutan was part of a 2 month trip. I do plan to write a review on Trip Advisor.
Both Tashi and Sonam were terrific. I have hired guides and drivers around the world and they rate with the best. We loved the entire trip, especially the Haa Valley. Lechuna Heritage Hotel is a gem.
The only problem we encountered was with Tashi Namgay Resort. We stayed there our first night in a new room with radiant heating in the floor. It was a lovely room so we were really looking forward to spending our last 2 nights there. Unfortunately we had a terrible room on our return. It was very large which would have been nice but it was below zero (fahrenheit) and they had one pathetic heater that you could put your hand on when it was “working.” Tashi immediately ordered us another heater which was much better. Unfortunately, the electrical system couldn’t handle two heaters so it blew a fuse during the night. Not knowing a fuse had blown, I spent the last half of the night shivering. Tashi got us another room for the last night which was better as it had electrical blankets. The fault was entirely the hotel’s.
I will post my review in the next few days. My name on Trip Advisor is Engphile.
Nancy CarmichaelOct 09-20, 2014
TID 8525(Grand cultural tour with extension)
Firstly, we must note how our journey through Bhutan was made all the more special by our guide, Yonten Phuntsho (and the very able driver, Mr. Sonam). Yonten’s steady hand, patience, experience and broad knowledge allowed us to understand more about Bhutan that we’d hoped for in our tour. He was able to share important insights on local activities, history, current affairs, nature, etc. in ways that were heartfelt, thoughtful, and not “canned” tourist-talk. We all felt very fortunate to have their services during our time in Bhutan. Thank you, again, to him and Mr. Sonam.
Highlights along the way (in order of our itinerary): the Traditional Art School and the Textile Museum, Heritage Museum, the Takin Preserve, Giant Buddha statue (we’d love to see it when completed!), Tango Goemba, Gangtey Gompo, the Phobjikha Valley (though the crane center is closed for renovations), the small newly completed temple in the valley, monks practicing their festival dances with an instructor in the valley, Chimi Lhakhang, Punakha Dzong, Khamsum Yuley Chorten, Paro National Museum, Kyichu Lhakhang, Chele La Pass, Tiger’s Nest hike,
One thing we didn’t understand before arriving in Bhutan was that our guide and driver were, in the main, working from 9-5pm (during our recent visit to Africa, guides were with us from 8am to 8pm, with a break midday due to the heat). So I think one improvement that Windhorse and its guides might offer are some suggestions (in writing and with a local map) for restaurants in Thimpu and Paro. Especially, in Thimpu, where we were staying in the center of town at Druk Hotel. The itinerary says “In the evening free to stroll in Thimpu town” but we really were clueless as to what might be interesting to see at night, and would have liked some “pre-approved” alternatives on eating. We did some internet searching and managed to find a good pizza place, which was a nice break from local cuisine. Our Paro accommodations (Tashi Namgay) were pleasant enough, but far out of town so again, “evening free to stroll in Paro town” was not possible (or not made possible by suggesting a taxi service and/or restaurants in town for a change of venue).
And thank you for rounding up the walking sticks for us… though we didn’t need them all the time, it was so helpful to have them when we DID need them (Tiger’s Nest, etc.). SO much easier than bringing our own, and a special effort on your part that we genuinely appreciated!
With thanks for everyone’s efforts, and best wishes for a prosperous, safe, and healthy 2015!
Nancy Carmichael / Michael Washburn
Janet SNov 18 - Dec 04, 2014
TID – 8607 (Nov 18 – Dec 04, 2014)
Attention Ugen I want to thank you for putting up with my questions and phone calls. They were well worth it for me, as I think that Jon and I had a perfect trip. Our guide and driver,Duba and Sonam were the perfect choice .They couldn’t have been more obliging, sensitive to our wants and needs, and helpful in customizing the trip to our interests. You certainly have a couple of true winners in them. Jon and I both fell in love with Bhutan, the countryside and the people.We feel that this trip gave us a unique opportunity to visit the villages meet the inhabitants , and truly gain a knowledge of the culture. My interests in the art sand crafts, particularly the weaving, and Jon’s in photographing people were more than fulfilled, thanks to Duba and Sonam. My thanks again, best wishes,
David L RJune 1-15, 2014
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. – TID 8511, Bhutan Private tour (1.06.14 to 15.06.14)
Alyssa liangMay 09-18,2014
Bhutan tour for Alyssa & her friend TID: 8544
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
Anna D HMarch 07-13,2014
We had a wonderful time and the care and kindness shown to us by Penjor and Sonam could not be improved upon
Glimpse of Bhutan Hudson & Friends TID 751 (March 07-13,2014)
Dear Anand – First and foremost all four of us wished to thank you all at Wind Horse for a most enjoyable and well run trip. We had a wonderful time and the care and kindness shown to us by Penjor and Sonam could not be improved upon. The hotels that you chose for us were excellent too, very comfortable and the food good. However, you asked me if there any things we could think of to improve your service in the future. Obviously you would not want to repeat our experience of the mini bus breaking down, so perhaps your drivers should check oil water tires etc. every morning before starting? On Bhutan’s bumpy roads 2 or 3 small cushions on each bench seat would help protect the boney bits and possibly seat belts or grab handles to help one from sliding around on the many sharp bends? Better still if you are buying new vehicles at any stage, if you could have ones with individual seats with folding arms such as the white ones that (?)
Bhutan Travel Bureau have, it would solve all those problems and be far more comfortable and secure. One problem we did have was being able to hear what our guide was saying over the noise of the engine so perhaps the guides could sit in the back of the vehicles……. amongst the guests to overcome this? Lastly, Penjor was very helpful and patient in explaining the finer points of the Buddhist faith to us but we were still confused with all the different saints and stories. If we could have had an ‘idiots guide’ to Bhutanese Buddhism to print out and study before we came and be able to refer to while we were looking at all the Temples and Stupas it would have been a great help! I hope these points are helpful, and thank you all again for your excellent service.
We will not hesitate to recommend you to our friends should any of them be lucky enough to be able to visit your beautiful country.
Oliver D LNov 12 - 23, 2013
TID 681 Bhutan Tour (12.11.13 – 23.11.13)
Rating of the Trip Below:
1 means “far under our expectations”
2 means “under our expectations”
3 means “responding to our expectations”
4 : “above our expectation”
5 : “far above our expectations”
General rating of the trip : 4
Guide Yeshi : 4. Commentaires intéressants. Très prévenant et attentif.
Driver Sonam: 4: excellent conducteur, très prudent. Sur les routes du Bhoutan un vrai plus que nous avons tout particulièrement apprécié. Également prévenant et attentif.
Programme bien organisé et intéressant: 4
Hôtels: 2/3. The level of comfort is good, but almost all of them have some problem of maintenance, isolation or electricity. Food is basic, even in 4* hotels. On n’attendait pas des hôtels de type européen mais dans l’ensemble ils avaient presque tous un ou deux défauts portant sur des éléments de confort essentiel. Problème général de gestion de la chaleur: isolation, portes ouvertes…ou eau chaude.
Restauration: globalement nous ne nous attendions pas à une cuisine très raffinée mais tout de même à mieux que ce qui nous été servi: 2
J1: Voyage aller avec le transfert et l’hôtel Uppal à Delhi :3: accueil et prestations parfaits 4
J2: voyage de Delhi à Paro: l’avion avait une heure de retard. Sur place pour le transfert à l’hôtel Druk à Thimphu notre guide Yeshi et notre chauffeur Sonam nous ont pris immédiatement en charge avec beaucoup de gentillesse. L’hôtel Druk offre des chambres + salon+ dressing particulièrement spacieuses et confortables. Seul bémol l’eau chaude est “capricieuse”. Service attentif et agréable. En synthèse : 2 ( uniquement à cause de l’eau chaude, le reste était bien). Dîner: 3
J3: visite de Thimphu très intéressante. Les 9 points de visites étaient parfaitement agencés pour rendre cette journée aussi passionnante qu’agréable.
J4: de Thimphu à Punakha. Temps clair pour un trajet magnifique. Balade et visites merveilleuses. Hôtel Meri Puensum Resort, magnifique vue mais juste correct :2 mais il semble que la région n’offre pas d’autres choix. Repas corrects: 2
J5: merveilleuse ballade au temple de Chimé. Route longue mais grandiose vers Trongsa. Déjeuner médiocre : 1,( plats souvent froids comme la salle à manger). Visite du Dzong superbe. L’hôtel Yangkhil est bien, vue superbe:3. Dîner correct: 3
J6: Trongsa-Jakar. Très belle journée. Programme intéressant et varié. Déjeuner 3 ( le 2ème meilleur du séjour ). Hôtel Yugharling est bien, avec une vue superbe: 3. Dîner: 2. Avec le recul, le meilleur hôtel de notre séjour au Bhoutan.
J7: Vallée de l’Ura. Très agréable ballade dans deux villages typiques intéressants. Sympathique pique-nique avec de vrais plats dans cadre grandiose. Dîner: 2
J8: Nord de Jakar. Magnifiques visites. Déjeuner: 1 mêmes remarques qu’au jour 5 (même restaurant) . Les grues noires sont au rendez-vous. Hôtel Dewachen : 2: rustique et amusant , magnifiquement situé, mais plutôt plus spartiate que sur le descriptif ( par exemple: ni tapis de bain , ni verres dans la salle bain, chauffage “modeste” 18° dans la chambre,16,5° dans la salle bain (14° le matin car nous avions fermé la porte) , coupures de courant fréquentes. Dîner : 2
J9: retour vers Paro. Déjeuner sur la route:3. Hôtel Nak Sel: apparence plutôt luxueuse, une vue magnifique. Jolie chambre, mais très “fraîche” 17°, baignoire sale, La présence d’une souris doit sans doute être comprise comme accidentelle ? Très bonne réaction de notre guide qui a exigé une autre chambre pour nous, très bien. Abstraction faite de l’incident ci-dessus: 3. Repas:2 pour ma femme, 3 pour moi.
J10: visite de Paro, de ses temples, Dzong et musée très intéressante. Encore une excellente journée. Déjeuner bon: 3 ( le meilleur du séjour )
J11: randonnée au Tiger Nest: magique! Nous profitons du massage et Spa de l’hôtel: 4
Nancy LSept 28 -Oct 02,2013
TID 644 Bhutan Tour from 28 Sept – 02 Oct 2013
Bhutan was one of the places I visited on my trip around the world. It was not only the most beautiful country, it was the best experience I had. With the most pleasant people and the best service. Your selection of hotels were good although I liked Hotel Druk better. The guide and driver Mr Soman and Mr Soman were outstanding and were largely responsible for providing a world class experience When I return I will be calling Windhorse and will recommend you without reservation to anyone who asks.
Thank you again for a wonderful trip
PIERRE H.Sept, 4-11 2013
TID 695:Introduction to Bhutan Tour from 4-11 Sept 2013
Dear Jambay,We arrived back in Paris there was two days ago.The weather is not so good, but that is the weather of Paris.We will to thank you, for the management of our tour in Bhutan,All was good and we have enjoyed your country.Sonam the guide, and Sonam the driver are very kind and performant and found always the good solution.
All the best,
Karen E & Anthony HOct 25- Nov 04 2012
Bhutan Festival tour for Karen & Anthony (25th Oct-04 Nov 2012)
Hi Ugen and Jambay,
We are on our final night in Bhutan and just wanted to thank you for a fantastic trip that you organised. The trip went like clockwork and our driver Tensin was very good as well as Jamtscho our tour guide who was exemplarary. We will treasure the many memories we have gained here,