We have nothing but praise for the way Windhorse organized and handled our two weeks in Bhutan.From the initial planning of our custom itinerary for a group of eight, the visas and airline flights, the hotel reservations, the week of touring and finally the week on the Jhomolhari/Snow Leopard trek; every aspect of our trip was expertly managed by Ugyen in the USA and Jambay in Bhutan.
First and foremost we would like to recognize the excellent guidance of Pema Namgyal who trained our eyes to the majestic beauty of his country. From historical dzongs to spiritual sites, from mountain passes to rhododendrons fields, Pema was always at the ready to clearly explain, to highlight and to advise when necessary. His experience on the trail proved invaluable and his concern for everyone’s safety and well being made for a seamless and rewarding experience.
Over the course of our trip, we had two excellent drivers, Gudud and Baliman (sorry for the spelling of your names) who navigated the challenging roads with a sure hand. And how could we thank enough the friendly and hardy trek staff who became our “family”for a week: our cowboy chef and his assistant who consistently served us hot, healthy and plentiful meals, the always smiling ponies wranglers and our “young ones”, Somten and Kinsan, light footed companions on the trail and the morning “bed tea”providers.
The outstanding event of our first week had to be the festival in Thimpu (Tsechu) with the riot of colorful traditional garments worn by all, the imposing backdrop of the dzong and the spectacular costumes and masks of the dancers. It also led us to experience first hand the friendliness of the Bhutanese people and to appreciate the reverence and respect they hold for their country and their king. We traveled across Dochu-La pass to Punakha and visited its impressive dzong; we also drove to Chele-La pass where we had our first sighting of Jhomolhari and hiked to the Kila Nunnery.
The trek designated by Windhorse as the Snow Leopard trek is in fact the Jhomolhari trek 1. It offers amazing vistas and is somewhat challenging because of the terrain and the elevation gain. Everything was done from the moment we arrived in Bhutan to facilitate and adapt us to the high altitude we would have to manage on the trek i.e. frequent day hikes and a rest day at base camp. The camping equipment provided was adequate and in good standing; we brought our own sleeping bags.
Bhutan is indeed a magical destination and we feel fortunate to have attended one of its main festivals, to have visited its glorious dzongs and experienced the serenity of its mountains. Trust Windhorse to make your visit to this Himalayan kingdom a memorable adventure.