Customised Bhutan Tour
Bhutan is my favorite country now, taking that spot from New Zealand. I felt at home almost immediately. Everyone is friendly and interested about where I’m from, what things are like there….strangely, things are very similar where I live. Albuquerque is a larger city than Thimphu but is about 1700 meters above sea level with beautiful mountains in many areas of the state. They just don’t go up to 8,000 meters, is all.
Kinley Wangmo was my guide and she was fantastic. She took me to so many places and seemed to know everybody, and everyone all knew her. she made sure I had interesting things to eat, and different chiles to try. We also eat chile at home, most every day, and while our chile is spicy, it’s not as spicy as some of the chile I had in Bhutan. We also roast our chile and take the skins off, but other than that, it was very much the same. Kinley had me trying things that weren’t on the buffet.
All the hotels and Lodges were very nice, clean and roomy. In some the hot water was difficult to obtain at times but everything was acceptable. All the hotel staff, wherever we were, were friendly and helpful. The food got to be a bit tedious after the 5th day, but I understand why things are done in this fashion, so as you say, I’m not there for the food. It was nice to have a real salad at the Hotel Osel in Thimphu, and the food was much better than the other hotels.
The worst part of the trip was the driving back to Paro via the East West highway where major reconstruction is ongoing in all areas. That was just uncomfortable for everyone. I will be going back to Bhutan, but not until all the construction work is completed.
Kinley was very flexible with the schedule and there were things that I had no interest in seeing and so we skipped that. It would have been helpful for me to have had some familiarity with the Tibetan/Bhutaneese form of Buddhism and it’s unique iconography, but as we went along seeing different temples I began to get a rudimentary understanding of what I was seeing.
I enjoyed Kinley’s guidance very much. She always took the time to explain things to me, and answer any questions I had. I especially enjoyed meeting her aunt and uncle on the family farm and having lunch there. It gave me an example of how most people live in the countryside. Kinley went out of her way to make sure I was exposed to much of daily life instead of traveling around in a big bus on a busy schedule. She was very patient with me, my wants, and desires. Everything worked out extremely well, very professional.
As to my dealings with WIND HORSE TOURS, everything worked out pretty much as it was laid out and things were well organized before I arrived and while I was on tour. Tashi, my driver, did an excellent job driving safely around the country and was always courteous and friendly.
High points were the festival dances and the visits to the Dzongs and temples. Highest point was probably the hike to the Taktshang Monastery but I suffered for the next day or so. Also the farm visit. I spent some time looking around in shops for various gifts and things and found lots. I also bought a gho to wear to the festival and when it came time to go I told Kinley I had changed my mind…..she insisted I needed to wear the gho, and so she and Tashi dressed me and I had a great time.
Low point was driving into Punakha in the dark after all day on the brutal road.
A great trip, all told. Better organized than most I’ve been on. Thanks for making Bhutan tour a truly special experience.