Never had a greater experience as much as we did with this tour company. Proprietors Thinley and Jaya were always quick to respond to any changes in our plans or inquiries. ALWAYS accommodating with our needs.
There were 3 of us women travelling and we took a 7 night package. My 2 important things that had to be on our itin were to witness a festival and to climb the Tiger's Nest.....and we got MORE than what we bargained for; add the culture, the teachings of Buddhism, sharing of our personal views on family, politics, religion, culture, traditions and more from our guide Dorji and chauffeur Jigme was an eye opener. They provided us with such insights on Bhutan and its GNH, Gross National Happiness.
We started in Thimpu, then to Gangtey, then witnessed 2 days' worth of the Punakha festival, and finally Paro for THE climb!
But before I go into details, let me first tell you about Dorji and Jigme. They were very courteous, professional, accommodating and assisted in every way. We played our favorite tunes (they were well versed in western music!) and we sang along on every ride! I had to ask Jigme to stop the van once Bruce Sprinsteen's song "Dancing in the Dark" came along so we could all dance...and danced we did right on the shoulder side of the road between Punakha to Paro! What a riot!
As for Thinley and Jaya, they're most gracious in making the time to meet with us over tea/coffee. They gave us souvenirs of Bhutan and lent us costumes to boot, which we wore the first day of the festival.
As for the country and its people, need I say more, except that it's beautiful and so its people! The trip to Gangtey on zigzag road that just kept going higher and higher to see mountain after mountain, visiting temples which each had a character of its own, a Bhutanese meal at a family's farmhouse, a sip of their local wine, a bite of their dried yak cheese, seeing Nomads tending to their yaks, loud barking dogs into the night, the obvious equality between men and women (women as bellhops, lugging our heavy suitcases from the car to our rooms), crossing suspension bridges, hanging a set of prayer flags midway to Tiger's Nest, seeing men, women and children in their festival's best attires, being at the bottom of the biggest sitting Buddha and feeling small, having a candlelight dinner because our lodging had a blackout and it was at the coldest place but warmed in thick blankets, seeing black-neck cranes fly over us, eating mostly vegetable dishes due to their no-meat month, but some lodgings offered chicken dishes, seeing the King and Queen and their son's photos all over the country, spinning prayer wheels small and gigantic, dipping ourselves in a hot stone bath (not massage, but BATH), and being seniors, Dorji and Jigme helped us on our climb to the Tiger's Nest with bottles of water and a helping hand here and there up and down the path.....I can go on and on, but this was Bhutan we learned to love, live with and live in.
7 nights enough? Yes, to get a feel of the country and its people. Can you see more? Yes, indeed. Our trip was concentrated in the western part of Bhutan and from reading the DrukAir magazine articles, there's plenty more to see/do/experience in the country!
The country has zero carbon and seems to be progressive in sustaining its environment to continue to be healthy. Although its people (at least in the bigger towns/cities), one can see the westernization. I hope with that, their GNH will not be compromised.
Kudos to Bhutan Best Inbound for a memory of a lifetime, my sincere thanks and love (yes, you will love them by the end of the tour) to Thinley, Jaya, Dorji and Jigme!! We miss you and hope our paths will cross sometime, somewhere! God bless you!