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TID 595 Bhutan Traverse from West to East (11.10.13 – 25.10.13)
Dear Windhorse Tours We recently concluded our trip Bhutan Travers West to East (Oct. 11 – 25) with the Parnells. We were met at the Paro airport by our guide, Pema Tenzin, and taken to our hotel that exceeded our expectations. We were lead to believe from the Wind Horse newsletter that our accommodations could be “primitive”. Each hotel was far from primitive offering comfortable beds, bathroom facilities that were at Western standards and friendly and accommodating staffs. We were very pleased with what was offered.We found that the food was abundant in quantity; however, there was little variation in the menu over the course of the two weeks. We were not looking to be fed a Western diet and we never left the dining room hungry…there was always lots to eat.We enjoyed having the picnics. They provided some nice variation in location.Regarding the travel plan, we were mostly delighted with the locations and being able to stop to see some wildlife (Takin Sanctuary, some monkeys and langurs crossing the road), different vegetations and landscapes. We visited a large number of dzongs and temples which got to be a bit repetitive as the tour progressed. Each one had interesting features but there was a lot of repetition in seeing so many of them. However, it was a pleasure to meet some of the monks, senior and junior and visiting the two nunneries. We felt it a privilege to witness many of the ceremonies that were in progress when we were there. The religious festivals were also a highlight. Our guide, Pema, seemed well acquainted with the history of the dzongs and temples and could interpret for us the Buddhist stories as depicted by the wall paintings.The van was always comfortable, clean and well-driven by our two drivers, Goto (?) and Balli (?). They were both personable and drove carefully on the roads that were often treacherous by Western standards.A request was made to have a chance to participate in some archery but that never happened.

We did, however, get a chance to see a tournament in progress so that was good.Some of the highlights were seeing the Himalayas, especially at the Dochula Pass (I think), going to the Tiger’s Nest, and going to the home of our guide’s cousin (?) and being welcomed with butter tea. It would have been nice to have more direct contact with people working at their day-to-day lives on their farms.If there was a downside to the trip it would include the condition of many of the roads and the amount of litter/garbage that was visible in many of the places we visited. Bhutan has so much natural, pristine beauty to offer that is was very disappointing to see garbage being dumped down the sides of mountains and littering roadside and rivers. Garbage was strewn about by people and animals that were rooting through the containers. Bhutan’s reputation is one of natural beauty but it is spoiled by the garbage. The tranquility of Bhutan is something remarkable. We have rarely experienced the profound silence that exists there. Even the barking dogs were noticeable only for the first couple of nights. After that, we remember the quiet. That was lovely.For us, Bhutan was a trip that we will remember for the rest of our lives in a good way. Our guide and drivers looked after us exceptionally well like we were family.

Our guide and drivers looked after us exceptionally well like we were family.

  • Hotels Paro - Tashi Namgay Resort
    Thimphu - Namgay Heritage Hotel
    Punakha - Punatsangchhu Cottages Hotel
    Gangtey - Hotel Gakiling
    Bumthang - Mountain Resort
    Mongar - Wangchuk Hotel
    Trashigang - Druk Doethjung Hotel
    Samdrup Jongkhar - Tashi Longched Trokhang (TLT Hotel)
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