He was able to share important insights on local activities, history, current affairs, nature, etc.
Hotels Thimphu - Hotel Druk
Gangtey - Hotel Dewachen
Punakha - Punatsangchhu Cottages Hotel
Paro - Tashi Namgay Resort
TID 8525(Grand cultural tour with extension)
Firstly, we must note how our journey through Bhutan was made all the more special by our guide, Yonten Phuntsho (and the very able driver, Mr. Sonam). Yonten’s steady hand, patience, experience and broad knowledge allowed us to understand more about Bhutan that we’d hoped for in our tour. He was able to share important insights on local activities, history, current affairs, nature, etc. in ways that were heartfelt, thoughtful, and not “canned” tourist-talk. We all felt very fortunate to have their services during our time in Bhutan. Thank you, again, to him and Mr. Sonam.
Highlights along the way (in order of our itinerary): the Traditional Art School and the Textile Museum, Heritage Museum, the Takin Preserve, Giant Buddha statue (we’d love to see it when completed!), Tango Goemba, Gangtey Gompo, the Phobjikha Valley (though the crane center is closed for renovations), the small newly completed temple in the valley, monks practicing their festival dances with an instructor in the valley, Chimi Lhakhang, Punakha Dzong, Khamsum Yuley Chorten, Paro National Museum, Kyichu Lhakhang, Chele La Pass, Tiger’s Nest hike,
One thing we didn’t understand before arriving in Bhutan was that our guide and driver were, in the main, working from 9-5pm (during our recent visit to Africa, guides were with us from 8am to 8pm, with a break midday due to the heat). So I think one improvement that Windhorse and its guides might offer are some suggestions (in writing and with a local map) for restaurants in Thimpu and Paro. Especially, in Thimpu, where we were staying in the center of town at Druk Hotel. The itinerary says “In the evening free to stroll in Thimpu town” but we really were clueless as to what might be interesting to see at night, and would have liked some “pre-approved” alternatives on eating. We did some internet searching and managed to find a good pizza place, which was a nice break from local cuisine. Our Paro accommodations (Tashi Namgay) were pleasant enough, but far out of town so again, “evening free to stroll in Paro town” was not possible (or not made possible by suggesting a taxi service and/or restaurants in town for a change of venue).
And thank you for rounding up the walking sticks for us… though we didn’t need them all the time, it was so helpful to have them when we DID need them (Tiger’s Nest, etc.). SO much easier than bringing our own, and a special effort on your part that we genuinely appreciated!
With thanks for everyone’s efforts, and best wishes for a prosperous, safe, and healthy 2015!
Nancy Carmichael / Michael Washburn