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Bhutan (Bumthang Trek) Oct 2007

Dear Ugen, Lloyd, Gayle and I returned to Honolulu yesterday from our trip to Bhutan.

We went to Anghor Wat for a few days after our trip to Bhutan ended. At your suggestion, we went to Anghor Wat after rather than before the Bhutan trip. The weather in Siem Reap was perfect.

I wanted to take this opportunity to thank you personally and your staff for a wonderful trip. Your work in the US (via e-mail and telephone) made it possible that the travel arrangements went very smoothly and efficiently.

Since we had not traveled to Bhutan before, we have no way to compare Windhorse with other companies but we were extremely happy with our trip to Bhutan. We felt that Pelden and his staff were very professional but by the end of the trip we also felt like they were also our friends and family. Pelden (our guide), Do-ji (driver), Ming-jeu (head cook and guide by necessity) and Nee-ma (assistant cook) were the personnel on our trip and they all did an outstanding job. Pelden was our encyclopedic guide to Bhutan, its history and culture. He answered all the questions we peppered him with and made alterations to our original itinerary to accommodate our desires. Lloyd got “Zhonged” out after a couple of days and asked Pelden to add more day hikes which he did with ease. I often sat in the front passenger seat as I am prone to motion sickness and I must say Doji must be the most skillful and safest car driver in all of Bhutan.

He also took wonderful care of the new Toyota minivan we were in. I can’t give enough thanks to Ming-jeu who cooked very good meals for us on the trek but who also became our principal guide when Pelden suddenly became ill the night before we started on our trek in Bumthang. Pelden was very apologetic about his illness the morning of the trek but looking at him, we all agreed that he should stay back in Bumthang and recover.

Although, he sent Do-ji in his place and Doji tried to do everything he could, Do-ji was clearly not in his element. During the trek, we found out that Do-ji had never been on the trek before but that Mingjeu had done the trek many times. So, Ming-jeu not only cooked for us, he was our principal guide so we didn’t take the wrong turn on the trail.

Since we were a small group of three and we had all trekked before (Nepal), I hope your staff felt that we helped make an unforeseen circumstance of Pelden’s illness easier on them.

I think we either wrote or expressed to Chimi some suggestions about the trip but I do know that Lloyd felt that a trip to farm, school or something like that in present day Bhutan would have enhanced the trip. In the planning of this kind of trip to Bhutan particularly for a small group, you might ask the possible participants what they would like to do in Bhutan in addition or instead of the regular sightseeing … day hiking, visiting present-day Bhutan such as a school or farm so that the guide does not have to improvise like Pelden had to do with us. One minor suggestion of mine would be to provide and place some sort of hand sanitizer (eg Purell) next to the toilet roll in “potty” tent so that you could wipe your hands easily even in the middle of the night.

Things beyond your control is the complete disregard for litter I saw among the Bhutanese. In the streets and on the trails, it was common to see empty plastic containers or wrap that people just left to litter the beautiful countryside.

Again, thank you for making our trip to Bhutan a very memorable trip. If you would like to use me as a referral, please feel free. If you have any questions of me, please just e-mail me.Finally, please extend my personal regards to Pelden, Doji, Mingjeu and Nema when you e-mail your staff in Thimphu.

With warmest regards,

Thank you for making our trip to Bhutan a very memorable trip.

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