Jambay: It was a pleasure meeting you when we were in Paro in mid-February. We are back in the United States as of early March just in time for the end of winter in Maine with three late snowstorms totaling 65 cm of snow. But spring has finally arrived and temperatures are reaching 6 degrees Celsius during the day. The wonderful Wind Horse book on Bhutan that you gave us sits proudly on our coffee table. It’s a treasure and reminds us of our memorable trip every time we look at it.
First. Thank you for the help you, Anand along with Ugen put into arranging our 9 day tour. Having Ugen in the US made it much easier to communicate given the 12 hour time zone difference between us. The travel materials and final tour description and itinerary you sent us were first rate; as is your website.
Second. We appreciated the flexibility make reasonable schedule changes during our that our Wind Horse guides accommodated. It allowed us to visit the Uptal School for a friend and go to Taktsang a day early. I think it is a good idea to make the hike then and not wait to the last day based on our experience. It provides some leeway if weather conditions change and it gave us a day to wind down a bit before having to leave and catch our plane.
Third. There were many highlights during our tour. I will always remember the view of the snow capped Himalayas when we stopped to view them from atop the Dochula Pass, the haircut and head massage I got in Paro, our “short stroll” up to visit breathtaking Takstang, the experience of a stone bath, the black necked cranes we saw in the Phobjikha Valley, the famous Dzong in Punaka, yak cheese, looking at countryside from Khamsum Yuley Chorten, the village of Richengang, and not to be missed Dzongdrakha Gompa on our last day.
Fourth. As for hotels, overall they were fine. I put Hotel Gangtey in Paro at the top of the list. Best view, best food, best historic building, best grounds, its hot baths, and best staff. We gave it a 4+ star rating. At the other end of the scale we placed the Zingham Resort, primarily for its poor location and the fact that it seems primarily designed to handle group tours traveling by bus. But they did have the best gift shop. We rated it a 3 star..
Fifth. Lastly, our biggest thank you goes to the “Dynamic Duo”, Namgay and Sonam, for their tireless dedication during our 9 day journey. They made it interesting, educational, and fun. We very much enjoyed their company and conversation. Namgay is a outstanding guide, naturalist and most of all a wonderful teacher – not only of the places we visited and their history but also Buddhism which we learned is deeply ingrained into the very fabric of the country itself.
As for Sonam, what can I say. A knowledgeable guide in his own right with a keen eye, he drove us safely and cheerfully every day – long hours and facing challenging road conditions. We very much appreciate the special effort both he and Namgay made shepherding us up to Taktsang and back down. It made a difference. Please share the attached pictures we took with them.
Since our return home to the United States, we are taking great pleasure in talking about our trip to our friends and urging them to go – and to go with Wind Horse.