Being born in the lowlands of Holland, my passion for mountains may not seem logical. However, my parents took me to the European Alps before I could barely walk and I can't remember any family holiday we didn't spend in the mountains. By the time I was 15 years old I would hitchhike to the south of France and spend the entire summer rock climbing in the Provence with friends.
As a teenager, this gave me an ultimate feeling of freedom, joy, and adventure. And every time I get a chance to go to the mountains - whether it is the Alps or the Himalayas - I still get this same feeling. During my early twenties I started studying Tibetan Buddhism and after completing a degree in Ecology it was time to make a life-long dream come true: see the highest mountains on earth. So I booked a ticket to Delhi and traveled for a year in the Himalayas. My life was never the same after that...
What places and activities do you specialize in?
"Wind Horse Tours tries to facilitate travel experiences in Bhutan in the broadest way possible. Of course most of the trips we organise for our guest would involve cultural sightseeing, dayhikes and/or trekking. But there is really a lot more to Bhutan you would think. If you are interested in things like birding, nature, meditation & buddhism, traditional medicine, textiles, Gross National Happiness; or in activities like biking, rafting, motor cycling... we always try to find a way to give our guest what they want to see or do. With nearly 20 years of experience in Bhutan we feel confident that we can organise exactly the holiday you want."
How did you get involved in travel?
"After coming home from my trip to the Himalayas, the only thing on my mind was how to go back there as soon as possible. So instead of applying for an office job as an ecologist I applied for a job as a tour leader, and the next years I spend leading trekking groups in Nepal, Tibet, India and Bhutan. I was lucky to see many beautiful places and remote corners of the Himalaya, but what I also learned during this time is that it were the people around me - both locals as well as the tourist I was guiding - who really touched my heart. My 'clients' were telling me: "this is the most beautiful place I have ever seen", and the local people would tell me: "thank you so much for visiting our home". Then only I realized how rewarding a 'career' in tourism can be. Enriching peoples lives by offering amazing travel experiences, and enriching local peoples lives by giving them a means of livelihood. After a couple of years of guiding I started working in the office with a large Dutch trekking company and soon after that I joined Wind Horse Tours in Bhutan. And by now I know for sure that I would never wanna do anything else!"
Please share a unique travel experience you will never forget.
"I love the overwhelming silence of these majestic Himalayan mountains, just sitting somewhere and quietly gazing at a distant peak. For me, similar feelings pop up when I visit buddhist temples. I remember visiting Kyichu Lhakhang, one of Bhutan's oldest temples, and sitting there on the old wooden floor. Everything came together in that moment. For me, the people of the Himalaya are very inspring. They are kind, friendly, hospitable, humble, pure, strong, and easygoing. And their religion encourages them to develop their mind in such a way. When I was sitting in Kyichu Lhakhang I could feel this tiny spark of clarity in my mind of who I am and how I want to be as a person. That felt even more special than any Himalayan mountain view I ever saw."
Featured trips & expertise
Take in the best Bhutan has to offer, from culture to mountain scenery. Visit the impressive dzongs of Thimphu and Punakha, see the real Bhutanese countryside, and set off on day hikes before embarking on the arduous 7-day Jomolhari camping trek. Soak in the world of stunning snow-capped mountains, takins, Himalayan vultures, and even encounter the elusive snow leopard.
With customs and traditions still going strong after centuries and an environment rich with diversity, Bhutan is a country that is completely unique. On this journey you will explore the wonders of Western Bhutan from the ancient capital of Thimphu to the spectacular Dochu La Pass and semi-tropical valley of Punakha. Take in the great Himalayan views and experience Bhutanese family life before hiking to the famous Taktsang, a hike light of any Bhutanese adventure.
Longing for an adventure that's truly off the beaten track? This immersive, culturally rich tour of western Bhutan is just the thing. Fall in love with the capital, where ancient traditions go hand-in-hand with modern life. Explore the beautiful glacial valley of Phobjikha. And don't miss out on a mountain hike to a peaceful monastery.
Perfect for nature-lovers, this nine-day excursion into western Bhutan will take you to both well-known and off-the-beaten-track birding zones in search of Bhutan's 770+ avian species. Fall in love with this wild country - where 72% of the land is covered in forests - and its colorful, majestic wildlife.
The kingdom of Bhutan remains one of the last unspoiled gems of the Himalaya. Closed to foreign visitors until the 1970s, Bhutan has an amazingly preserved traditional Buddhist culture uniquely blended with modern sensibilities. On your five-day journey, you'll visit monasteries, fortresses, and enjoy stunning views as you hike through the mountains.
Get an inside look at the fascinating culture of Bhutan on this two-week cycling adventure. Closed to foreign visitors until the 1970s, the Buddhist kingdom offers a glimpse into the past with exquisitely preserved traditions, monuments, and natural wonders. You'll traverse the story-book landscape of this Himalayan gem, experience authentic rural life, and visit the cultural highlights.
Recent trip reviews for Bas
Trip to bhutan, Bhutan - Mar 31 - Apr 5, 2018
I have traveled a lot--around 130 countries--and I almost never use an organized tour. I thought I didn't like them. But this trip changed my mind. Mr. Pema, my guide, was impeccable, as was my driver, Mr. Ugee. They anticipated my every need, were beautifully friendly and polite and quite interesting people. I felt like I was traveling with friends. Mr. Pema was very skillful and knowledgeable as a guide to both the sites and the culture, and we had philosophical as well as historical... read more
Snow leopard photography, Bhutan - Jan 30 - Feb 8, 2018
Our journey in the mountains of Bhutan was richly rewarding. A gift not wrapped in paper but bound instead in the thread of discovery and the characters we were blessed to encounter along the way. A journey of reflection and life in focus - so generously mentored by the welcoming will and inspiring talents of the Bhutanese people, Like our fabulous guides Yonten and Pema, who helped us climb higher..beyond....as each new step took our breath further away. Thank you!
And also thank you to... read more
Bhutan trip for nat, Bhutan - Jan 6 - Jan 10, 2018
Trip was better than we could have ever expected. The entire process from the first messages with Bas till the fairwell hugs with tashi and Jigme at the airport and everything in between was beyond words! Tashi as a guide is phenomenal, can’t fault him. And Jigme was his perfect side kick. Nothing was too hard for the boys. Thank you for a wonderful trip!