My husband and I took our first trip to Bhutan with our 20yr old daughter.We chose Wind Horse as our guide service via Kimkim travel service.
I was more than happy with our team. We were well taken care of and came to appreciate all the preparations and in spite of our apprehension about being led around by guides it actually was one of the highlights.In the 8 days we spent together our guide Pema Namgyel and driver Sonam Tenzin came to feel like travelling companions rather than hired travel company employees. Pema’s professionalism and knowledge of the history and culture and Sonam’s calm and skilled driving on washed out roads and sketchy driving conditions made us feel secure and in good hands.
We had some reservations about going during monsoon season in August but other than some rain at night and light rain on our hike to Tiger’s nest, the weather was no problem and we far preferred some clouds to the crowds of high season.
Accommodations: Highlights were Ugyen Homestay in Ha Valley, Gangtey Palace in Paro and Hotel Dewachen in Phobjikha..
Food: Loved it. I am going to attempt to make “chilly cheese” at home. We appreciated the hotels serving Western breakfast but we particularly enjoyed trying the local cuisine. Least favorite was the largely empty road house lunch stops that looked to be set up for large volumes of tourists. Since we were usually the only group eating there it seems that we could have gone to someplace more local. However, we understand the logistics of setting up ongoing relationships with the restaurants.
As we were asked to provide constructive criticism I would just say that we saw many temples and it was very hot. Felt only able to absorb so much but Pema had so much information I had to listen. However thanks to Pema, I was able to identify Guru Rinpoche in the temple above Tiger’s Nest on my own. Maybe include some more secular sites. For example, we enjoyed poking our heads into the many “general” stores to see what was for sale.
-the first night in Thimphu we wandered down to the National Stadium right by our hotel and caught the second half of the Nepal v Bangladesh women’s football (soccer) match.
-driving over Dochu La Pass in the mist, stopping to watch Gray Monkeys in trees next to the road. Stopping for specialty rice balls sold at roadside stands on the road from Punakha. But the ultimate had to be the spectacular hike to Tiger’s Nest on our last day in Bhutan. A once in a lifetime experience not to be missed.
Bhutan, we will miss you.intro
Lisa, Grant and India