2 independent reviews for Western Bhutan walking holiday

Reviews for Western Bhutan walking holiday

SHOW
0
2
0
0
0

review 9 Dec 2012

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

Bhutan was just so beautiful. We travelled at the best time - end of November when the skies were blue and the nights not too cold. It enabled us to really appreciate Bhutan's scenery and natural beauty. The forested mountains and tumbling rivers were wonderful to experience - good for one's spirit. The apparent simplicity of life in Bhutan is admirable, and the Bhutanese people are really decent and hospitable to visitors. One feels very safe and at ease there.

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

November was a lovely time to travel. Getting from one valley over into the next takes patience as roads are quite precarious and villages are remote from one another. Getting a real feel of this magnificent part of the world therefore has to be a key purpose for being there - one needs to relish the driving. Even when not doing organised hikes, build into the day as much walking as possible. We would stop at the top of a mountain pass and then walk downwards for half and hour or so - just to stretch our legs and enjoy the scenery on foot - before being picked up again by our driver. A half-day hike from one monastery to another, and to other places of interest in the vicinity of a village, is such a nice way to explore - rather than driving from one place to another.

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

Bhutan has so much to lose and it would be such a pity if visitors to the country helped this to happen. Tourism is (apparently) their 2nd largest contributor to the economy so there is no doubt our visit would have assisted in some way but one fears the country could become like much of the rest of the visited world. The country's leadership appears, however, to be strategic in its approach to managing this challenge. We relished the natural surrounds - it was wonderful for our appreciation of the world-as-it-should-be.

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

Our trip was very well planned - structured without feeling rushed or impersonal. Our guide and driver were most reliable, caring and were good company. We loved our 9 days in Bhutan - we were able to gain insight into the country, its history and its current position in the world. We feel admiring of Bhutan and trust they chart their course forward with care and precision. It really is a special place and travelling there was a delight - slow paced, beautiful and inspiring. On my next visit I will build in an organised hike - within the distant mountains! They beckoned us.

review 3 Nov 2012

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

The Jakar Festival in Bhumthang Valley.

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

Definitely get the flight back from Bhumthang to Paro if its running as otherwise the return journey is very long and on the same route as the outward, so you miss out on extra walks/activities that could be enjoyed in that time. Also there is no need to upgrade the hotels form the basic government ones, Aman option outrageous and rather scoffed at by the locals. Worth one upgrade at the very end to the fabulous Zhwi Ling hotel in Paro.

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

Not sure of this apart form that by booking with a local tour operator, rather than using a UK travel agent, they get more of the little profit that is generated (as Bhutan has a set tourist price per day you can easily see how much is being creamed off the top!)

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

Excellent; loved the Buddhist culture of peace and tranquillity and want to bring it home with me!

Read the operator's response here:

With regard to Vicky's trip benefiting local communities I'd like to let you know that as indicated by her we used local accommodation all through the trip bringing direct income to local accommodation providers. All meals we arranged at small but tasty and clean local restaurants that serve traditional Bhutanese meals blended to western taste. Vicky wrote to tell me that the group enjoyed the meals a lot since they all loved chillies. The Bumthang community is a far away from Thimphu the capital city. it is a remote destination but very beautiful and is also the spiritual heartland of our country. Therefore we brought Vicky and group to Bumthang although it meant enduring long road journeys. The group sacrificed luxury for an authentic Bhutanese experience and they loved It. At Paro we have five star luxury accommodation in the international como chain of hotels as well as the aman hotels but we encouraged the group to stay at the Zhiwaling hotel which is the only Bhutanese owned and run luxury hotel in Bhutan. This we recommended at the end of the trip after 8 days in local hotels that come neat and clean but with very basic facilities and has been appreciated by guests tremendously, for after all most people travel to Bhutan not for an international experience but more so for true Bhutanese experience.

Holiday Reviews

You can trust Responsible Travel reviews because, unlike many other schemes, reviews can ONLY be written by people who we have verified have been on the holidays. In addition, we don't run these holidays ourselves - our only interest is giving you the best independent advice.

Read our review policy

Convert currencies