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My Bhutan trip happened so beautifully
Bhutan is indeed a very beautiful country. Just a week back and I am already missing the scenic views of the mountains, the valleys, the rice paddies fields and the Chhus.
Comments from the trip.
Guides and Driver
K.P. is a very good and informative guide. I was happy with his service for the first two days. He was a bit slow behind us during our hike up to Tango which I thought was rather surprisingly as I thought him being local and a guide would have most probably hiked up the same route many times. Back in the car, he explained about an injury which I then felt rather apologetic for. If I would have known before, I would have asked him not to do the hike as I could have follow the other group led by Chunjur. In my mind, I also have a concern about whether he will be able to manage the subsequent hikes.
That being said, I am still quite surprised at the change of guide on the third day the morning we were setting off to Punakha. There seem to be some miscommunication as I was made aware that I requested for a change of guide and I specifically requested for a female guide, which I did not. But anyway we later clarified that K.P.'s injury got worse after the Tango's hike. Do send my regards to him and I hope he get well soon.
Ms. Kuenzang Dema who replaced K.P. is a very friendly and polite lady. She was able to provide a very good general understanding of each place visited and its relevant history. Although she seem to pale slightly in comparison with Chunjur, the guide for the other group but I didn't ask as much questions either. I am sure, she will get better with time and experience.
During the hike up to the sky burial side, both guides were walking in front while we struggled to catch up behind. They did occasionally slow down to check on us behind or stop to wait for us but it would be nice if they were walking side by side or closer just in case someone fall and injure themselves during the hike.
Dorji is a very good driver, manoeuvring the hilly roads of Bhutan very skilfully. I have to give him 5 stars for his driving skills.
All the hotels were great. Hotel Norbuling arranged for a change of rooms when I informed them that the water heater in my room is not working. Great location within Thimphu. Hotel Lobesa was excellent. The view from my room isn't as fantastic as the other side, even though I do have a nice view of the rice paddies and the mountains and when I chatted with the owner about it, he did offer a change of rooms which was very nice of him but as it's already late and since we are leaving the next morning, I didn't see the need for it and didn't take up his offer. Metta was a bit out of the way, there isn't much to do around the hotel and not much of a view from the room to speak about and the downside is there is no Wi-Fi in the room so we are forced to hole up in the lobby to use the Wi-Fi. But the Asian food selection was a treat away from home.
We found the tips for the driver and the guide provided in the travel tips a bit confusing. We do not know whether to follow USD3 for driver and USD 5 for guide per day or USD 100 for guide and USD 50 for driver for the entire trip. You might want to provide more clarifications on that to clients in the future.
Otherwise, the itinerary was well planned, everything was well organized and food palatable (slightly salty). Well done to everyone both in SG and in Bhutan who made this trip happen so beautifully.