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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
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.

Prayer wheels in Bhutan
Culture & Adventure in Bhutan - 7 Days

Travelers longing to experience Bhutan, the pristine and tranquil kingdom in the Himalayas, can see some of the country's best cultural sites on this 7-day itinerary. Begin your trip in the capital of Thimphu and learn how this country's ancient cultural traditions inform modern life before driving east across the spectacular Dochula Pass to the semi-tropical valley of Punakha where you will hike across suspension bridges and go river rafting. Then, continue to Ha Valley where you will sleep in a traditional farmhouse and experience Bhutanese family life before cycling to Paro and ending your trip with a tour of the famous Tiger’s Nest Monastery.

Taktang Goenba, or Tiger's Nest
Bhutan Highlights: Thimphu, Punakha, & Paro - 6 Days

Explore the most iconic highlights of Western Bhutan on this six-day itinerary. In the capital of Thimphu, you'll see how ancient traditions coexist with modernity, and learn about Bhutanese architecture and history. Then, you'll drive across the spectacular Dochu La pass to the semi-tropical valley of Punakha, the former winter capital of the Kingdom. The tour ends at the emerald-green Paro Valley, where you will hike up to the famous Tiger’s Nest Monastery—a quintessential Bhutanese experience.

Thimphu city
Bhutan in April: Travel Tips, Weather, and More

April is spring in Bhutan, and the middle of the peak tourism season. Temperatures are generally warm, and conditions good for trekking and outdoor activities. Read on for some helpful tips for travel to Bhutan in April.