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We are tremendously impressed and satisfied with our tour operator DrukAsia
Kuzu zangpo la!! 😘
We just returned from Bhutan 5 days ago and we are tremendously impressed and satisfied with our tour operator, DrukAsia, and our hosts - Mr Dorjee/Dorji Tshering (guide), and Mr Chimi Rinzin - who possess the sweetest dispositions!
Booking & Communications
Booking of the tour was a breeze and the communications were excellent. The arrangements (confirmation of tour, visa application, booking of airline tickets, and travel insurance) were made in such short order, and could be done or coordinated conveniently online - we only made one trip to their office! It was a joy liaising with Ugyen Dema as she would respond to our queries promptly. She stayed in constant contact and would immediately update us on any changes. The information on the tour package provided was extremely comprehensive and detailed, thus really helpful if one's too busy to do any research beforehand! The overall programme was well-planned; highly customisable, always something of interest, but with enough down-time! 👍
Mr Dorjee / Dorji Tshering has this intriguing, calming aura and soothing voice which puts you at ease immediately. And one cannot help but gravitate towards him whenever he speaks. He is exceptionally knowledgeable and will take great effort to introduce and explain Bhutan's sights/attractions, religion, folklore, history and culture to us. Through his thorough sharing and story-telling, we were able to gain a deeper insight/understanding and appreciation of the Bhutanese traditions and way of life. He is very attentive and patient, and will always make it a point to check on you frequently, whether in the car or while hiking, to ensure you are fine. The highlight of our trip was definitely the trek to Taktshang Goemba (or Tiger's Nest Monastery), and throughout the 'epic' journey, Dorjee/Dorji would give us encouragements and remind us to "take it easy" and to take a break if we feel unwell. Many times, he would point out interesting flora or fauna along the path, as a way of 'distraction' from our 'pain' hahaha and/or to make us stop to catch our breath. He will miraculously appear whenever you need him and discreetly keeps his distance when he senses that you wish to have your own space. He always tries his very best to grab the best tables/seats for us at the eateries and even got us an 'upgrade' of our room to one under 'a million stars' and a fabulous view of the paddy fields, on the 2nd night at Hotel Lobesa, Punakha. He is exceedingly gracious and generous where food is concern as he would buy the different snacks like yak cheeses and rice crackers for us to try at the various markets. He also has immense respect and compassion for animals (he will rescue insects from harm's way i.e. from getting crushed or stepped upon by ignorant travelers), the elderly (he helped an old lady fix her broken garden sun-shade), and the environment (have witnessed him picking up litter/rubbish from the ground on numerous occasions!) He is truly the perfect ambassador for the company and his country! A true class act! 🥰
Do not be fooled by Chimi's youthful demeanor. He is an experienced guide too, who doubles up as a driver from time to time, and an accomplished professional archer - or some say the best in Punakha?! 😝 He is a fantastically competent and skillful driver who is able to maneuver the winding roads and hairpin turns without resulting in any of us turning green or throwing up. He also owns a huge, awesome collection of songs and hits for road trips, keeping us entertained and relaxed during all the car rides (unfortunately, we did not get to hear them sing even though they promised to hahaha). He is a very polite and hardworking guy with boundless energy, always ensuring the car is clean and in tip-top state, and that we have sufficient water at the backseats. He has a great sense of humour, is fun-loving, and sporting, and would offer suggestions and/or his views whenever appropriate. Both the pick-up and drop-off at the airport were very comfortable and punctual and the vehicle provided was superb and capable of handling the often-times less-than-ideal road conditions. 😻
Both Dorjee/Dorji and Chimi are some of the friendliest, humble, and most accommodating hosts we have ever encountered! We certainly felt safe (as well as privileged and pampered) with them around during the entire trip. We will be visiting Bhutan again in the near future and have made a pact with Dorjee/Dorji and Chimi that we will engage/request for them to show us the Central and Eastern parts of their lovely country, if possible!
Tashi delek and log jay gay!! 🙋♀️
Namgay Heritage Hotel - 4/5
Hotel Lobesa - 5/5
Gangtey Palace Hotel - 4.5/5
In my opinion, though Hotel Lobesa is considered a small B&B or Inn in Punakha, with just 14 rooms, it's one of the BEST accommodations we have ever stayed in! Our rooms were huge (even the bathroom!) commanding a spectacular view of the beautiful valley. It was here that we enjoyed the best Bhutanese cuisine (okay, on par with the dinner we had at the traditional farmhouse - both equally delicious!) The staff and services rendered were flawless and surpassed all expectations. Special shout-out to the owner/proprietor, Mr Passang Drukgyel, who is ever present at the 'reception' keeping a close, hawkish eye on the smooth operations, and making everyone feel welcomed with his broad, sincere smile and hospitality! It was so comfortable there - a cozy Scandinavian lodge/cabin feel - that I wish I could extend my stay, admiring the sunrise or sunset views, wake up to sounds of cows, chickens, birds, running streams, and - yes - the solar-powered dogs too! :)
Namey samey kadrin chhe la!! 🇧🇹🇧🇹🇧🇹