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TID 140: Bhutan Tour for Pearson & Vincent Oct 6-21
Hi Ugen; Sharlene and I are home after our fabulous trip to Bhutan. We loved every minute!
When we had lunch with Rinzin Jamtsho in Thimphu, gave me an evaluation sheet to complete. I did not get it done, so will try to include the questions in this note to you.
Our guide was Tshewang Winchan and our driver Ugyen (we called him Rinzen).

On a scale of one to ten, they were both a ten. They met us at the airport, and within five minutes of leaving, Tshewang noticed a “blessing” nearby, so we stopped to watch. Our tour got off to a wonderful start. They were both exactly where they said they would be, on time, and worked hard to meet and exceed our every need. For example, we always had ample water in the car, and Rinzen would pick and buy interesting fruits, etc. for us to try. I have never ridden is a car that was kept so clean.

Tschewang is interesting, has a good education, his English is excellent, and he was knowledgeable about the history and current affairs of Bhutan. He gave us information is a factual, and in a way we could understand. We had wonderful discussions, and know our trip was enhanced with him as our guide.

Rinzen was a safe and careful driver. Tho he lacked English skills, we communicated easily, and he worked hard to see me were well taken care of.

If we forgot a hat or sweater, he was right there with them. He even carried a picnic lunch to Takstang, so we had a wonderful lunch on a lovely knoll on our way down the trail.

The itinerary was well planned, and we appreciated starting and ending the tour at lovely hotels. We like the Taj very much, and were even upgraded to a “suite” on our second stay there, and had a lovely dinner. But we loved the serenity of Uma resort. After our hike to Takstang, we appreciated the hot shower and lovely dinner we had at Uma. I would recommend both.

As it turned out, doing the Takstang hike at the end of the trip was good, as we had 11 days to walk, get used to the altitude, etc. In that way, our hike allowed us to appreciate Takstang without being tired or out of breath.

We liked the itinerary. It was complete, and, supplemented with Tshewang’s information and our guide books, kept us very informed. We did everything on it in a leisurely manner, and would not have left out anything. But it also allowed us to do much more. When we were at Trongsa, heading east, we met and talked to His Majesty V. Certainly a highlight of the trip, but everyday brought some new surprise. The King told Tshewang to “protect and take good care of us”, and I believe Tshewang took this seriously. We spent a lovely sunset at the Talo monastery listening to the monks chant evening prayers, and we were the only ones there. We saw the “sacred relics” at Gangtey, as well as a festival. We attended a total of four festivals and one blessing “longevity”. We spent several evenings listening to the monks chanting at different monasteries. We visited a school (Sharlene is a retired teacher), had tea and a long visit with Leki and her daughter, had buttermilk tea in a “typical” farmhouse, fried cheese in a “city” home, found a woman who showed us traditional dyeing techniques, took lots of walks and hikes, and often “stretched our legs” by walking when we were traveling. I am leaving out many things, but this will give you an idea of how special this trip was.

We found the food to our liking. It was, as you know, largely vegetables and rice, but that is what we like. Tshewang made sure it was not too spicy. We did not get sick!
It was also nice to have two special dinners at Uma and Taj, (where we enjoyed two dance programs.)

The accomodations were all fine, except the first night at the Mepham guest house.

There was no glass on the bathroom window, so we had to keep the door closed to keep out the cold and bugs. Tshewang got our room changed for the other two nights and it was fine. My only comment is that anyone who has allergies to mold and mildew would find it difficult to stay there, as the bathroom walls were black with mold. Fortunately that is not a problem for us, and the wood stove kept us toasty warm. The staff at every hotel, including the Mepham, were wonderful, and accomodating.

We would, of course, like to return to Bhutan in the spring to enjoy the flowers. But we have no immediate plans. I will recommend Windhorse tours, and Tshewang to anyone I meet who is interested in traveling to Bhutan. I will also make a short presentation to my Weavers guild in the next couple of months.

Thank you for your efforts on our behalf to make our trip wonderful and memorable. You succeeded!!!

Jacquie V

Sharlene and I are home after our fabulous trip to Bhutan. We loved every minute!

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