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Forums » Bhutan » Exploring Bhutan with Bridge To Bhutan

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biscaynebaygirl

Exploring Bhutan with Bridge To Bhutan

by biscaynebaygirl »

My husband and I have just returned from a wonderful 12 day trip to Bhutan last month (October 2013), using the tour company Bridge to Bhutan.  They are a serious operator and they took wonderful care of us on our recent trip.  It is difficult to put into words the appreciation and understanding of the country and the people that we came to feel as our trip progressed.  This was in great thanks to our tour guide Sangay, Bridge To Bhutan's owner Lotay, and also to our expert driver Nidup.

 

Our itinerary consisted of Paro, Phobjikha Valley, Bumthang, Trongsa, Punakha, Thimphu, Haa Valley, and back to Paro.  The owners of Bridge To Bhutan are two brothers, Lotay and Fin, both born and raised in Bhutan, and both having completed graduate studies in the US.  They speak perfect English, are easy to communicate with, answer e-mails within a day or two and are able to provide plenty of information and expertise in helping you plan your trip and in maximizing your vacation time.

 

Our local guide Sangay and our driver Nidup, were our family for the 12 days that we were in Bhutan.  We were together every day, on the road, at the temples, fortresses, hikes and so forth.  Sangay was more than willing to share his knowledge of the history and rich tradition of the country and never objected to my constant questions regarding the people, education, lifestyle, religion, philosophy, government and so forth.

 

The local food was delicious, hearty and sustainably grown.  Don't think that everything is cheese and chilies!  It's not!  That is just one local side dish that is always offered and always optional!  We had the most delicious dahls, white and red rice, green beans, carrots, radishes, turnips, buckwheat, broccoli, potatoes, fruits and so on.  Good fish and chicken too.  If you have any dietary restrictions or requirements you can let your guide know and he will communicate with the kitchen and they will go out of their way to accommodate you.

 

October was good for us weatherwise; some rain but nothing to really interfere with your activities and some cool weather which was a nice change for us as we live in Miami.  Keep in mind that October is fine weatherwise but that it is Bhutan's busy season, so if that is not appealing or convenient for you, you should discuss with your tour company average temperatures and precipitation expected in the areas you wish to visit at the particular time that you plan to take your vacation.

 

As far as accomodations go, places are quite clean and very comfortable (especially the beds).  Three stars I would say, and even some four.  My husband and I do not require fancy accomodations, but if you do, there are some boutique/fancier types of resorts available for a higher tariff.  You can settle on this during the planning stages with your tour company.

 

You need to keep an open mind on the subject of plumbing and toilets.  Some of the hotel bathrooms, though quite spacious, have rather basic plumbing.  By that I mean----good flush toilets, plenty of good hot water for the shower,  but more often than not you will find a puddle somewhere resulting from a leak coming from the shower or sink plumbing.  Just remember, Bhutan is Bhutan, you are lucky to be there and you are also lucky to have hot water and plumbing!  More importantly, Bhutan does a spectacular job of conserving their resources including water, which is more than we can say for most other countries, including our own.  When traveling on the road during the day, nature is your best toilet!  There is always a clump of bushes somewhere just around the next bend.  Easy, quick,  convenient, readily available.  If you must have a proper toilet, there are some and your guide will know where they are, but remember you are out in the country and there are not so many, and what there is may be a little dusty, as there is no one out there cleaning them on a regular basis.  Try the nature route.  You'll get the hang of it!

 

Bhutan was an amazing experience and our guide from Bridge To Bhutan did an incredible job of taking care of us and ensuring that we were seeing what we came to see and learned about the things that we were interested in.  We were really "in good hands".   Each day was an amazing adventure in the breathtakingly beautiful Kingdom of Bhutan.  Please feel free to contact me at louisebiscbay@aol.com should you have any questions about our trip.

 

 

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biscaynebaygirl

RE: Exploring Bhutan with Bridge To Bhutan

by biscaynebaygirl »

Hi Joanna,

 

Of course every one pays the per diem/per person rate as required by the government.  You will find the rate on the various websites.  I understand everyone pays this whether they stay in hotels or whether they go trekking and camp out on the mountain. I think perhaps there is some small discount if it's a really big group.  We were just two of us traveling, so we paid the regular per person per day rate.  Also if you go in for fancy hotels there is an extra tarriff. 

 

Other than that we only spent for small crafts/gifts to take home with us and some donations for the temples (less than $100 for us for the 12 days).  As far as water goes, if what hotel provides is not enough, we would ask our guide to give us extra bottles for the night from their supply in the car, which they were happy to do.  Also, if you want some alcohol, available in some places, you must pay for that. 

 

Then of course you will want cash to tip your guide and driver on the last day.  You can use USD or Bhutanese money for that.  You can change money in the airport upon arrival and back again when you leave.  I was so surprised to find that they actually had one dollar bills (USD) at the airport so that when I changed back to USD as I was leaving Bhutan, I was able to change the full amount, not ending up with small small amounts of foreign currency they way we usually do.  Hope this helps.

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biscaynebaygirl

RE: Exploring Bhutan with Bridge To Bhutan

by biscaynebaygirl »

In Response to Re: Exploring Bhutan with Bridge To Bhutan:[QUOTE]

Thanks for this report. We've been thinking about Bhutan but knew you had to go with a company (by government regulations I believe) and weren't sure which to pick. Good to hear you had such a wonderful experience. And from your discussion of plumbing and the like, it seems clear that you don't work for the company (always a worry!). 

Posted by Abigail Pog[/QUOTE]

Hi Abigail,

 

Yeah, the plumbing was funny! Just have a good look in the bathroom before you go to sleep so you know where the wet spot are (wipe them up with towel).  Also, what I didn't mention is that a lot of the bathrooms have a step down from the room, so go slowly in the middle of the night.  Our solution was to leave the bathroom light on with the door slightly open.  Bhutan is awesome!  Hope you have a great trip!

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Joanna

RE: Exploring Bhutan with Bridge To Bhutan

by Joanna »

"Hope this helps."    biscaynebaygirl

Not really.  Let me rephrase...what exactly were the costs, please.  Yes, we can go to a website but it's always nice to get exact information from someone who's done the trip.  Bhutan is known to be an expensive destination and I'm sure I'm not the only one interested in the bottom line.

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Abigail Pog

RE: Exploring Bhutan with Bridge To Bhutan

by Abigail Pog »

Thanks for this report. We've been thinking about Bhutan but knew you had to go with a company (by government regulations I believe) and weren't sure which to pick. Good to hear you had such a wonderful experience. And from your discussion of plumbing and the like, it seems clear that you don't work for the company (always a worry!). 

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Joanna

RE: Exploring Bhutan with Bridge To Bhutan

by Joanna »

A useful addition to your report would be to tell us the costs involved for a trip to Bhutan.

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Mango

RE: Exploring Bhutan with Bridge To Bhutan

by Mango »

I got curious and so looked up this companies rates. If you're only two people it's $285 per night. If you have more than two the price drops to "just" $255 per night. That's a bit too rich for my blood, though I've heard Bhutan is very, very pricey. Would love to go someday....

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danny

RE: Exploring Bhutan with Bridge To Bhutan

by danny »

It is nice to hear that you did enjoy the trip, Louise! I hope to visit Bhutan someday, too.

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daren

RE: Exploring Bhutan with Bridge To Bhutan

by daren »

 It is amaizing report, evry detailed and very informative. You covered almost every aspect which is a major concern for those who want to visit Bhutan. Bhutan is really beautiful to visit.

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Ameray

RE: Exploring Bhutan with Bridge To Bhutan

by Ameray »

I am a tourist and I have visited the lots of places all around the world. Asia is an amazing and vast continent. I have visited it some countries such as China, India, Pakistan, Thailand and Malaysia but never visited the Bhutan because I had not have any information about it. After seeing the all above mentioned posts I have decided to must go there because it is looking a stunning place and I hope I will really like in real. 

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