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Mieke Arendsen

It's hard to explain the deep love that I have for Asia and the Himalayas specifically. It already started long before my eyes caught sight of these magnificent mountains, when I read about these distant places and diverse cultures in college. It inspired me to study anthropology, thus gathering more knowledge about these isolated cultures. And after my first actual visit, some two decades ago, it was unstoppable. There's just something tranquilizing about the crisp mountain air, the magnificence of the vistas and the peacefulness and friendliness of the local people that blow me away every single time I visit.

What places and activities do you specialize in?

"Bhutan has a very special place in my heart, being a country where you can experience an almost-isolated culture in a very pure form. "

How did you get involved in travel?

"I have been in the travel business exploring remote corners of Asia for about two decades and still I am surprised every time."

Please share a unique travel experience you will never forget.

"If I must highlight one small anecdote of what I find so typical about travelling in the Himalayas I'd like to tell about one thing that happened while trekking in Ladakh in july. As you might know, this is supposed to be the dry season. Packing lightly, I didn't bring rain gear along. You guessed it.. we were surprised by some very heavy rainfall. After an hour of trekking through the rain we reached a few farmhouses. Our guide Tashi told us it so happened that his aunt lived there. Unfortunately, she didn't seem to be at home. That did not stop Tashi to invite us into her home (of course unlocked) and to put the kettle on. He went through her storage room and just when we felt uncomfortable about him offering us her cookies, she entered the kitchen. A stunning old lady with a face so hardened by this climate. I half-expected her to scold us for invading her house, drinking her tea and eating her cookies. But her face just cracked into the biggest slime I have ever seen, delighted with the sight of her guests and her nephew. After having enjoyed her hot butter tea and completely warmed up, we moved on, but not without her insisting (and believe me, she was quite persistent!) that I took her rain coat. I staggered of course, because how would she get it back? No problem at all, she said, because another nephew would be going to the village where our cook lived, to visit the weekly market in a few days. And so it happened. Meetings like these do more than just warm your cold body - they warm your soul!"

Mieke is part of the following groups: Bhutan Travel Agents
Cyclists in the Phobjikha Valley, Bhutan
Bhutan Cycling Adventure - 14 Days

Get an inside look at the fascinating culture of Bhutan on this two-week cycling adventure. Closed to foreign visitors until the 1970s, this Buddhist kingdom offers a glimpse into the past with exquisitely preserved traditions, fascinating cultural monuments, and a wide range of natural wonders. You'll traverse this Himalayan landscape on two wheels, visiting the country's top highlights along the way.

Dramatic landscapes in the Paro Valley
7 Days in Bhutan - 4 Unique Itinerary Ideas

With a week to spend in Bhutan, many travelers choose a highlights tour that includes visits to monasteries and the opportunity to do some hiking in the mountains. If you're interested in a more active trip, consider an itinerary that combines outdoor activities—including a rafting trip and a cycling tour—with cultural sightseeing. For even more of an adventure, try a trekking trip through the Himalayas, or go off the beaten path with an itinerary that focuses on the ancient temples and quiet valleys of Western Bhutan. Read on to learn more about your itinerary options.

Chimi Lhakhang (Monastery of Fertility) in Bhutan
10 Days in Bhutan - 4 Unique Itinerary Ideas

With 10 days to spend in Bhutan, your options are plentiful. Explore the country's top attractions, from fortresses to mountain trails, on a highlights tour, or focus more exclusively on outdoor adventure with a trekking itinerary around Bhutan's dramatic landscapes. Bird lovers might opt for a guided adventure around Bhutan's top bird habitats, while travelers with children will love a family-oriented tour that includes whitewater rafting, archery, and hiking. Read on to learn more about the best 10-day itineraries through Bhutan.

View over Paro Valley
Bhutan Highlights & Druk Path Trek - 9 Days

The best way to experience the unspoiled natural beauty of Bhutan is on foot, and this active 9-day itinerary combines cultural outings with a trek through the popular Druk Path. You will start your trip in Paro, where you will visit the National Museum and hike to the famous Tiger's Nest Monastery. Then, transfer to the Druk Path trailhead and begin your 4-day hike to the capital of Thimphu. In Thimphu, enjoy a short tour of the city's top sites before ending your trip with excursions to ancient temples in Punakha and Paro.

Punakha Dzong
Highlights of Western Bhutan - 6 Days

Enjoy centuries of traditions set amid views of forests and mountains with this trip through western Bhutan. You'll start in the capital city of Thimphu to experience Bhutanese traditions as they've evolved into the modern era, then descend into the glacial valley of Phobjikha, the winter home of the black-necked crane. End your journey in the emerald Paro valley with a hike up to the famous Tiger's Nest monastery in its cliffside home.