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Trip to Shangri La
Nice to hear from you! Though I'm back from Bhutan for 3 days already, my heart has been left there .. Hahaaa
I have lots of positive things to share about my Bhutan trip but I'm taking my time to sort my photos & upload albums on my FB account. Once I'm done, I'll share them with you.
In the meanwhile, my travel mate Janice & I would like to express our most heartfelt appreciation & commendations to our Bhutanese guide Kinley Gyeltshen & driver Sangay who took such good care of both of us throughout the entire trip. Both of them are more than guide and driver, they are just like our friends & brothers! Kinley is very knowledgeable and shared so much with us about Bhutan from the cultures, food, lifestyle, royal families, Buddhism to anything we want to know. We are also thankful to Kinley's patience & encouragement in allowing us to achieve the almost impossible tasks (at least for me who haven't exercised for a long time) of conquering the Phjoding trek followed by the Bumdra Trek & camp which was the highlight of our trip! I almost wanted to give up at the first trek which was the Phajoding Trek when I felt that I wasn't physically up for it. Kinley was very kind and made me a very good & sturdy walking stick from a suitable branch he found. Sangay who also joined us for the trek tagged to me so that Kinley could tag to Janice who could move at a faster pace. After Phajoding, it was a great sense of success for me but all these wouldn't have been possible without the encouragement & support from Kinley & Sangay! Hence when Bumdra trek came, I was so much more prepared & assured that I could do it too!
Kinley and Sangay were a great team, at times when Janice and I wanted to do different activities, they split up to each accompany one of us, such as when we were in Punakha, Kinley accompanied me for white water rafting along the female river while Sangay accompanied Janice on a trek up to a monastery. Janice loved to go for walks and Sangay offered to accompany Janice for an early morning walk at 5.30am on the day we stayed at Lobesa Hotel! Kinley also brought us to visit his grandmother's house in Punakha when I expressed my interest to see a real Bhutanese household family. All these activities were not in our itineraries.
Though this season that we traveled in Bhutan do not have major festivals for us to catch, Kinley knew from our conversations that we were a little disappointed but to our surprise, the night when we were in Gangtey, he asked if we would mind waking up a little earlier the next day to drive back to Punakha where there would be a 4th Annual Rhododendron Festival held at the nearby Royal Botanical Park. We were so elated & of cos won't mind waking up early to leave Gangtey at 6am the following morning! Along the way to the festival, Kinley arranged for us to stop at Lobesa Hotel for breakfast and got one of the hotel female staff Yeshi to help Janice & I dress up in our Kira so we could join the festival in Bhutanese style! I have attached a photo of us in our Kira with Kinley & Sangay in this email
There's so much I want to share here about how grateful & blessed Janice & I are to have Kinley & Sangay as our guide and driver but it will probably take me hours or even days to type out all the things that they had gone to the extra miles to make our trip in Bhutan so enjoyable & memorable! Hence, I could only conclude that no words could express how happy & blessed are we to have gone for this Bhutan trip and to have met Kinley & Sangay!
Thanks too to you, Sangay from the Druk Asia Singapore office for making all the travel arrangement for us prior to our trip! You have always been very patient & prompt to our email queries!
Please feel free to share any of my comments in this email. I'll be most happy to let others know of our happy experiences in the Land of Happiness!
PS.: I used to think Bhutan will be my once in a lifetime trip but not now anymore cos I must go back again to find my heart which has been left there!