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We had a wonderful time, thank you for arranging the tour for us!
My friends and I have just returned to Singapore from Bhutan. We had a wonderful time - thank you for arranging the tour for us!
I'm not sure whether there's a more "official" way of giving feedback, but if not, here's what my friends and I want to say of our tour guide Ugyen. (Please feel free to use these feedback for any publicity by Druk Asia.)
Quite simply, Ugyen was a fantastic guide. I'm not exaggerating at all when I say that having travelled to many countries around the world and interacted with so many tour guides, Ugyen is by far the best guide I've ever met. Let me explain why we found him so good.
He was supremely attentive. From day 1, every time we set off, he ran his eyes discreetly across our attires to make sure we were suitably clothed. If our clothes were not warm enough, he'd advise us to wear more layers; if our shoes were not suitable, he'd advise us to change a pair. When he realised some of us were prone to having motion sickness, he took care to ask our driver Tandin (who was also excellent, by the way) to drive slower. One of us fell ill one night and couldn't join in for dinner, and Ugyen took the initiative to ask the waiter to pack food for her.
On one occasion we drove past a group of Bhutanese men having an archery competition, Ugyen sensed that we were interested, and stopped the car so we could observe the competition. We ended up chatting with the archers and taking pictures with them. It was a wonderful moment because that was us experiencing Bhutanese culture in its purest form.
Ugyen also went out of his way to make our trip pleasant. I believe some things he did were way beyond what a tour guide was expected to do. For instance, every day we made numerous requests for toilet stops, and at each stop, Ugyen would walk into the toilet first. At first we didn't know what he was doing, until once we saw him flushing a toilet, before gesturing to us that we could go in now. That was when we realised he was actually looking for a clean cubicle and making sure even our toilet experience was pleasant! I've never in my life met a tour guide who went to such lengths.
After Ugyen realised our interest in archery, he borrowed archery equipment from his relatives (his nephews I think) and let us have a go at the sport. On the way down from Tiger's Nest, when one of us lost the hiking stick, our driver Tandin went into the vegetation to find a thick tree branch as a substitute, and Ugyen took a knife and sharpened one end so that the stick would grip better. When helping us take photographs, it was clear Ugyen wasn't just trying to help us take pictures; instead, he was trying to help us take the BEST pictures - he checked the lighting, the angles, our poses, and took multiple shots to get the best one (actually he was even more concerned about our pictures than me!). He struck us as a tour guide who was doing all he could to help us have the best possible experiences and memories of Bhutan.
Perhaps here's the last thing which showed how attentive Ugyen was: by the 3rd day, he had observed us so carefully that he could answer on our behalf questions about our preferences. Upon reaching each restaurant, we'd always be asked whether we wanted coffee or tea, but we'd say hot water. By the 3rd day, Ugyen didn't even need to ask us, and he could tell the restaurant to serve us hot water. Ugyen also realised we were asking for many toilet stops, and by the 3rd day, he was proactively telling us at every point how long would it be to the next toilet. Finally he knew our fear of motion sickness, so by the 3rd day, he was proactively informing us how long the car ride would be to the next destination so that we could prepare for the journey ahead.
So all in all, my friends and I have nothing but great things to say of Ugyen. He was a fantastic guide and we couldn't have asked for anyone better. Each of the above points I made may not be a big deal because I'm sure some tour guides would do them, but when ALL are done by ONE tour guide alone, I think that's extremely rare and commendable. My friends and I can't over-state how impressed we were. We totally understand now why you say Ugyen is one of your most sought-after guides and we would strongly recommend him to others who are keen to visit Bhutan.
Thank you once again, and may you and everyone at Druk Asia have a great year ahead!