I particular we found the guiding services of Namgay and the driving service of Rinzin of very high quality.
Hotels Paro - Tenzinling Resort
Bumthang - Mountain Resort
Trongsa - Yangkhil Resort
Punakha - Punatsangchhu Cottages Hotel
Thimphu - Hotel Druk
Paro - Tenzinling Resort
TID 700 John Stirk family Grand Cultural Tour (10.10.13- 19.10.13)
We enjoyed our trip very much. I particular we found the guiding services of Namgay and the driving service of Rinzin of very high quality. Namgay was a very knowledgeable guide who made huge efforts to ensure that we had the best possible trip. And Rinzin showed an amazing ability to concentrate for long periods of time despite very difficult driving conditions. On one occasion we encountered a crazy driver coming in the other direction around a blind corner overtaking and driving on the wrong side of the road on the road between Thimpu and Paro. But Rinzin calmly swerved off the road and probably saved our lives. On many of the other roads the speed was generally slow but not on the road between Thimpu and Paro, the driver who was in the wrong was going at least 80kmph. So we were lucky Rinzin was driving so well. We enjoyed the things that were included on the itinerary and would not make changes to the places we visited. And we found the standard of accommodation to be high and liked all of the places selected. There were two things we found disappointing. Firstly we were not able to visit the tower museum in Trongsa. This was because we arrived on a Sunday when it was closed, and Monday the 14th was a public holiday and so again it was closed. It would have been nice if this was pointed out when the itinerary was devised so we did not look forward to something that never had a prospect of occurring. And secondly we found that there are some very nice restaurants in Bhutan but going to them was not part of the offered itinerary. For instance, Friday 18th October was my 41st birthday and I wanted to do something nice to celebrate. In the inflight magazine on Druk Air I found an advertisement for a restaurant called Bukari (located in the UMA resort in Paro). We asked to go there but initially found that it was booked out. Somehow Namgay managed to get us in there anyway (he was a very good guide) but it would have been nice if options like going to this kind of dinner were made available when we were organising the trip. It really did feel as though the standard itinerary was just being rolled off the shelf with no effort to customise it to our needs. Ok, I agree that in many of the towns in Bhutan there are no options available to the standard buffet dinner at the hotel but in Thimpu and Paro I found that there are. I know that your explanatory brochure says that meals will not be a highlight of our trip, and I can agree that by the end of the trip we were tired of eating rice and mixed vegetables but the thing is there are options available. Bukari restaurant is an international class gourmet restaurant and eating there was a great way to celebrate my birthday and finish the trip. It just would have been better if organising it did not cause any difficulties for the guide. Anyway, the negative comments at the end in no way mean that we were dis-satisfied with the trip. We enjoyed it immensely. Rather that there were a couple of things that could have been done better. The reason I feel that it would be good if try to tailor things like the Bukari restaurant or other options into the trip is because it is so difficult to find out what options may be available in Bhutan prior to arrival. I found the internet searches don’t always achieve good results yet when you arrive there are indeed some good options.
Thanks again for organising a very good trip for us.