2 independent reviews for Cultural tour of Bhutan

Reviews for Cultural tour of Bhutan

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review 2 May 2016

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

I can't choose one particular highlight, just being in Bhutan was a truly unforgettable experience. Starting with the flight from Kathmandu to Paro with breathtaking views of the Himalayas,the amazing landing at Paro and then the adventure actually started. A warm welcome from the local agents, our guide and driver quickly became friends. The trek to Taktsang Palphug Monastery (Tiger's Nest) was a definite highlight as was visiting a local village festival in Dhomkar and a larger festival in Ura, Bumthang. Everyday was a highlight full of adventure and new experiences.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Enjoy every second! Might sound like a cliche but Bhutan is unique, soak it in, speak to the locals and embrace it all. Get a seat on the left if flying into Paro or vice versa on the way out for great views of the Himalayas. Bhutan is once in a lifetime, if you decide to go, coincide with a festival (recommend Bumthang) and go as far east as time and money can afford. Some degree of fitness would help but the pace of life is such that you can really take things at a relaxed pace, these treks aren't meant to be rushed! Try to stay in locally owned hotels, the staff are great and you are benefiting the local economy. If you visit a festival, take a small cup and try Arra (rice / wheat wine), get stuck in like the locals!

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

I hope so, I felt the trips helped the local people and I was very pleased to find that we stayed at locally owned hotels rather than international branded hotels. We opted for a hot stone bath with a local farming family in Paro (rather than a hotel) which was fantastic, especially after a day of trekking. We were invited to have dinner with the family afterwards which was a great experience - the food was great using fresh ingredients grown on the farm.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Absolutely fantastic, without a doubt, this was the best holiday I've been on! The people, culture, breath taking scenery and philosophy of Bhutan exceeded my already high expectations. I met so many warm, smiley people, it became infectious. I am still smiling now, weeks after my trip which is no mean feat for a Londoner!

review 27 Jul 2016

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

What a unique experience. A country with no smoking, anywhere. No traffic lights. No McDonalds. No Starbucks. No large tour buses. Only hardworking and seemingly contented people. Although the area available to most tourists is quite small, the relatively few 'sights' are very impressive and memorable. I normally have no interest in religious sites but the Buddhist sites visited were actively used by the monks etc and the atmosphere and fervour experienced were impressive. How some temples were built on the top of inaccessible mountains defies common sense.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

We were not warned that July is the rainy season. Heavy rain has fallen virtually everyday for the last 3 weeks. Even the local travel company does not recommend visiting Bhutan in July. We did benefit, however, in that there were very very few tourists around, even at the famous sites.The weather information given by the operator, including expected temperatures, was insufficient.There was also no advice given regarding local tipping levels.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

The guides and local operators were obviously nature lovers and very sensitive to local feelings. I am not able to say if the holiday benefitted local people. I am aware that part of the costs were donated to environmental and local causes.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

We had a wonderful week's experience in a unique location. The beauty of the country and the peaceful demeanour of the people will stay with us for a long time.

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