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Drukyul Walking Tour with Jampay Festival : Oct 17 2010 – Oct 30 2010
Ugen, my wife Carolyn and I arrived safely home last night on our Cathay Pacific non-stop flight from Hong Kong, after a wonderful 45-day trip to Nepal, Bhutan, Bangkok and Siem Reap, Cambodia. I wanted to send you a note immediately to let you know that all of our arrangements worked out perfectly, regarding flights, tours, hotels, guides, visas and the myriad other details that helped to make it such a wonderful experience for the both of us. I sincerely appreciate your patience with me as we made all of our arrangements together. That time and effort ensured that the trip was perfect in every respect. I have 90 pages of notes in my diary.We knew going in that it would not be an easy trip and it challenged us both physically and mentally but it was a trip that we will remember for the rest of our lives. I was very pleased with the hotel choices and the arrangements in both Nepal and Bhutan were just what we were looking for. Your agent in Nepal was excellent. We both felt completely safe and well cared for throughout. We enjoyed Kathmandu and the temple visits there. Although the climbing, impacted by the altitude, was strenuous at times for us and Carolyn felt the change in water and food during the first few days, our guides were very sensitive to both our needs and to how we were handling the trip. The routing for the Everest view trek was perfect! We thought that Tengboche at 4,000 metres was amazing as we sat for 2 hours at dawn in the monastery, watching and listening to the prayer service of the monks. This was the beginning of a festival and the service was a special one, complete with “yellow hats” being worn by them at one point during the service. The accommodation there was the most basic of the trip but the impact of the monks at prayer and seeing Everest in the sun as we came out made it very special indeed.

The internal flights in Nepal worked well and the weather cooperated. Our stay in the remote village at a Ghurka home was totally unique and the warmth of the welcome that we received from the villagers was exceptional. Being also able to stay at Fishtail lodge and to climb up to the viewpoint to see the sunrise on “Fishtail” was another highlight. Our room looked out on the lake and up to the mountain and we could see it clearly when we came back down for breakfast. We also enjoyed our stay very much at the Rhino Residency Resort. Our guide there was also very good. Everywhere we went, people were eager to be of help, exactly on time and wonderfully supportive. We had a great time.

Bhutan worked out very well. The “A” and “B” groups interacted and we enjoyed each other’s company. The bus for our group of 7 was very spacious and comfortable and our driver was excellent. We always felt completely safe and his driving skills were amazing. Our guide was very good as well. I particularly enjoyed seeing the restored Tower at Trongsa and bought the outstanding book published late last year to bring home. It is a beautiful souvenir. I also bought a Dorje (diamond sceptre) and bell at the festival at Bumthang as another very meaningful souvenir. We were very sorry to hear of the fire there the night after we left and saw the convoy on the road, with the King’s father, (K4), the Queen mother and a cabinet minister going to lend aid. The climb up to Tiger’s Nest Monastery was another major highlight of the trip. The weather that day was absolutely perfect with a clear blue sky and an ideal temperature. It was a truly gorgeous day and an incredible experience. The only suggestion that I could make re Bhutan is to ensure that your clients take lots of U.S. dollars with them. With our time in Nepal, I did not have as many as I would have liked and with no ATM’s or ability to get cash advances on a credit card I had to watch what I spent.After leaving Nepal and Bhutan, our trips to both Bangkok and Siem Reap continued to be very special. We stayed on the river at a very small hotel in Bangkok (the Arun Residence) at the tip of the Royal Island and it was magical. Our deck looked directly across at Wat Arun and we could sit and enjoy it in the moonlight! We were 2 minutes from Wat Pho! Our accommodations in Siem Reap were also perfect at a small hotel (Pavillon d’Orient) with outstanding service and touring the Angkor ruins was another major highlight of our trip. We stayed at the Bangkok Novatel Airport hotel the last night – that hotel and the airport are outstanding.All in all, a very special trip with enough memories to last a lifetime. We are now adjusting to the time change and will soon begin to sort out our photos of which there are hundreds.

Ugen, I wanted you to know how much we enjoyed working with you and Windhorse. Thanks again for all of your help with setting this up, p.s. I found one more souvenir in Bhutan – a copy of a printer’s block, that is used to make/print prayer flags. This one has a “Wind Horse” with the bag of jewels on its back. Another unique souvenir that will always remind me of your company, our trip and the prayer flags of Bhutan.

k Sincerely, Ken and Carolyn Whiteside.

I wanted you to know how much we enjoyed working with you and Windhorse.

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