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Vishal Pradhan

I am a local bloke, born and bred in Bhutan. Post obtaining a Master's degree in International Tourism and Hospitality from Australia, I started my career in Bhutan tourism in 2003. Since then I have had the opportunity to specialize and curate bespoke tailor made holidays for many clients. Bhutan is a unique destination, the way we lead our lives, our pristine natural environment, the way our tourism policy is positioned, all makes for a memorable travel experience.

Moreover, the government takes lot of initiative to protect and preserve the unique cultural heritage and fragile natural environment of our country. Therefore, it is essential that clients experience Bhutan the way we locals do, encompassing the philosophy of preservation for future generation. I feel extremely blessed to be doing, what I love most (promoting our unique little country to the world and supporting our local communities). I encourage you to visit Bhutan, rest assured the rustic unchartered destination will not fail to amaze you.

What places and activities do you specialize in?

"We specialize in curating bespoke tailor-made holidays to Bhutan vis-à-vis Cultural tours, Festival tours, Community based tourism,Trekking, soft adventure - rafting, fly fishing and cycling, Food tours - Bhutanese cooking class, Honeymoon & Wedding."

How did you get involved in travel?

"My stint as a tourism professional started, when I was hired as the only Bhutanese to set-up and open the sales and reservation department of ultra-luxury COMO hotels & resorts in Bhutan. Since then there has been no turning back for me. Post my experience in high end hotels in Bhutan and my passion for Bhutan, paved the way for me to join the family business, Trophel Tours. Since then I have been curating bespoke tailor-made holidays, extending end to end travel solution for bhutan and travelling the world to promote Bhutan. Now when I look back at this amazing journey, I gather, I would not have wanted it any other way."

Please share a unique travel experience you will never forget.

"My journey as a travel designer has been full of learning. While there are many experiences, we have had the opportunity to create, the one that lingers most in my mind, was the organization of an intimate Bhutanese/Buddhist ceremonial wedding. This may sound funny; however, we Bhutanese don’t perform or have ceremonies for wedding. As such, once a man and women choose to stay together, we are considered married. In this backdrop, in early 2003, this sort of experience was virtually done by none. Consequently, we consulted a few learned Buddhist scholars or lamas and was recommended a series of prayer for the ceremony, which were apt for new wed couples, such as prayer for longevity, wellbeing and luck. With this breakthrough, we were able to create an intimate wedding experience, at 7th Century local monastery, kyichu Lhakang. "

Featured trips & expertise

Sunset on Dochula Pass
Bhutan Highlights - 7 Days

Explore the enigmatic kingdom of Bhutan and its magnificent landscape of soaring mountain peaks and lush green valleys. On this seven-day excursion, you'll visit its famous fortresses and monasteries, gain insight into the country's fascinating history and culture, and do some light hiking in the stunning countryside.

Jumolhari Round Trek and Cultural Tour - 17 Days

This itinerary combines wild adventure with Bhutan's unique culture. The trek, though challenging, is highly rewarding and one of Bhutan's best. En route, catch glimpses of the spectacular Mount Jhomolhari, which straddles the border between China (Tibet) and Bhutan. In Thimphu and other small towns, learn about Bhutan's unique form of Tibetan Buddhism and the culture that was cut off from the rest of the world for so long. In short, this trip has it all!

Nature and Culture in Bhutan - 10 Days

From the famous Tiger's Nest Monastery to the sleepy streets of Paro, visiting Bhutan is all about the simple pleasures of natural beauty and a distinctly preserved culture. Experience this long-isolated country's stunning mountains, colorful architecture, and lush countryside on this comprehensive 10-day tour.

Himalayan Highlights - 5 Days

Explore mystical, naturally resplendent Bhutan - also known as Druk-Yal, the land of the thunder dragon - as it emerges from the mists of its self-imposed isolation. From museums to monasteries, this tour will guide you through some of the best of Bhutanese life, culture, nature, and history.

Dagala Thousand Lakes Trek - 12 Days

Trek through an area adorned with a multitude of pristine, crystal clear lakes, and Bhutanese villages. As you walk, you’ll be treated to stunning views of the entire Himalayan mountain range and some of the world’s highest peaks - including Mt. Everest, Jomolhari, Masang Gang, and many more.

Traditional Bhutanese dancers in a street performance
When is the Best Time to Visit Bhutan?

With restricted tourism numbers, Bhutan is never a busy destination. But there are distinct high and low seasons, and times when the weather is most favorable. So when is the best time to visit?

Recent trip reviews for Vishal

jumolhari round trek and cultural tour - 17 days, Bhutan - Jun 3 - Jun 14, 2018

Traveler: Ellen C. - Local specialist: Vishal Pradhan

Wow where to even start. Our time in Bhutan was so incredible we are still dreaming about it, and it would not have been the same without the amazing care from Vishal and Sonam.

They put in so much attention to customize the perfect trip for your needs. (They even know which room in the hotel has the best views!) Vishal and Sonam will go out of their way to ensure your stay in Bhutan is comfortable.

Our guide, Tek, was very accommodating. My boyfriend and I were doing our first multi-day... read more

Wow where to even start. Our time in Bhutan was so incredible we are still dreaming about it, and it would not have been the same without the amazing care from Vishal and Sonam.

They put in so much attention to customize the perfect trip for your needs. (They even know which room in the hotel has the best views!) Vishal and Sonam will go out of their way to ensure your stay in Bhutan is comfortable.

Our guide, Tek, was very accommodating. My boyfriend and I were doing our first multi-day backpacking trip, and Tek was supportive through the whole journey. He gave us the perfect balance of personal attentiveness and space, had answers to all our questions, and also was very easy to get along with.

I am definitely coming to Trophel tours for our next trip to Bhutan- :)

Vishal Pradhan, local specialist, responded to this review:

Dear Ellen,

Thank you for your lovely feedback and that we were able to make your trip to Bhutan a memorable one. Sonam and I, are very glad that we could meet with you and Jonathan after all the interactions that we have had long before your trip. We will make sure we share your thoughts with Tek and rest of the team.

I hope everything went well in Mongolia and that you enjoyed the beautiful wedding in Bali.

Till we meet again.

With lots of love and prayers from Bhutan

Vishal

Trip to bhutan, Bhutan - May 1 - May 6, 2018

Traveler: Hilary M. - Local specialist: Vishal Pradhan

Bhutan has a special place in my heart, not least due to the superb, seamless organisational efforts of Vishal and Sonam at Trophel Tours, and the excellent, informative and gracious care of our "walking encyclopaedia" guide UT. Pre-trip communications built an impression of courteous, lovely people who know their country intricately, and I felt in capable hands before we even set foot in beautiful Bhutan. Such a relief to have all the administrative intricacies of permits and visas dealt... read more

Bhutan has a special place in my heart, not least due to the superb, seamless organisational efforts of Vishal and Sonam at Trophel Tours, and the excellent, informative and gracious care of our "walking encyclopaedia" guide UT. Pre-trip communications built an impression of courteous, lovely people who know their country intricately, and I felt in capable hands before we even set foot in beautiful Bhutan. Such a relief to have all the administrative intricacies of permits and visas dealt with fully and efficiently on our behalf. All t's crossed and all i's dotted. Given our relatively short time there (only 5 days of activity), we packed in a huge amount without feeling squeezed and rushed - many thanks for all the suggestions and working them into a terrific short itinerary. Bumdra Camp, "sky burial", the wonderful hot stone bath (what a lodge!), CheLa Pass, the forest/rhododendron walk to the nunnery and the exhilarating downhill cycle were unforgettable, ditto the visit to Tigers Nest monastery, without which no trip to Bhutan is really complete! So lucky also to be there for the final of the national archery competition. The cultural visits and museum are fabulous (and I'm not generally a museum person). UT's knowledge brought everything alive - a big thanks to him, and for the careful driving by our lovely driver in a superbly comfortable vehicle. The food - well, yum! I would happily travel with Trophel Tours again; many thanks to all concerned.
On a general note, I hope that Bhutan develops a strong policy to take care of its pristine environment well at this relatively early stage in its touristic development - it was sad to see a large quantity of toilet paper and human waste scattered amongst the trees and bushes around Bumdra. Could something be done about this by the local and tourism authorities so it doesn't become a huge problem like on Mt Everest and parts of Nepal? I hope so!

Vishal Pradhan, local specialist, responded to this review:

Dear Hilary

Great hearing from you and thank you soooo much for the lovely feedback.

I believe, it was you and all the ladies, who helped us to make this trip special. We are so fortunate to have been able to build lifelong friendships with you, Pat, Mary and Karen.

Duly noted the constructive feedback on the Bumdra Camp. Rest assured will be sharing the feedback with folks in Tourism council of Bhutan.

Till we meet again ! Take care, blessings from Bhutan & stay healthy. Sonam

Bhutan adventure, Bhutan - May 2 - May 12, 2018

Traveler: Simons A. - Local specialist: Vishal Pradhan

We could not have been better paired with our guide and driver - Yenten and MigMar. Yenten was excellent company throughout the trip and was able to explain complicated subjects clearly and easily to us.

Vishal Pradhan, local specialist, responded to this review:

Thank you, Simon, for the wonderful review. Will make sure to let the boys know about your feedback. They will be happy to find out.

Bhutan adventure, Bhutan - May 2 - May 12, 2018

Traveler: Jacqui W. - Local specialist: Vishal Pradhan

OK. Firstly Bhutan. ..... What an Amazing country.
Our trip was very well designed by Vishal. I gave him information on What exactly I wanted to do & he designed a wonderful 10 day journey which included more than I expected......
Our Guide & Driver (Younten & Migma) were the most beautiful souls one could ever want to share time with....
Our guide was well extremely well informed about the Bhutanese Buddhist Culture & also a very experienced Mountain Guide.... They both gave us a humbled ,... read more

OK. Firstly Bhutan. ..... What an Amazing country.
Our trip was very well designed by Vishal. I gave him information on What exactly I wanted to do & he designed a wonderful 10 day journey which included more than I expected......
Our Guide & Driver (Younten & Migma) were the most beautiful souls one could ever want to share time with....
Our guide was well extremely well informed about the Bhutanese Buddhist Culture & also a very experienced Mountain Guide.... They both gave us a humbled , interesting & heart warming experience of Bhutan.
Every day we were exposed to new, unexpected & intersting experiences. The programme was well designed , with unexpected extra experiences added.
Our Tour designers (Vishal & Sonam) gave us first class attention, from meeting us at the airport on arrival to inviting us to dinner with them .
They were friendly & helpful making sure that our Bhutan Experience was the best it could possibly be.

Vishal Pradhan, local specialist, responded to this review:

Dear Jacqui,

Many thanks for sharing your trip report on your Bhutan adventure.

Vishal and I had a great time hosting and interacting with you and Simon. And it is such a nice feeling to hear that arrangements had been well executed, especially after working on it for soooooo long. I will be pleased to pass on your compliments to the boys. As we always say kindness beckons kindness and I believe this has made all the difference in your trip.

Till we meet again, Take care & stay healthy. Sonam.

Surprise trip for husband , Bhutan - Mar 22 - Apr 2, 2018

Traveler: Sarah G. - Local specialist: Vishal Pradhan

Working with Vishal and Sonam in planning, booking and enjoying this trip was great from start to finish. They provided good advice on what to do and see during the given time of year and the duration of our trip. We had to chop and change the trip as we had some members of our party drop out and some new people enter during the planning portion. They were very patient and flexible during the whole process and were consistent in their expert professionalism. Our guide, Tek, was very... read more

Working with Vishal and Sonam in planning, booking and enjoying this trip was great from start to finish. They provided good advice on what to do and see during the given time of year and the duration of our trip. We had to chop and change the trip as we had some members of our party drop out and some new people enter during the planning portion. They were very patient and flexible during the whole process and were consistent in their expert professionalism. Our guide, Tek, was very knowledgeable, punctual, and had the bonus of being fun to be around. Vishal and Sonam actually took to the time to check in with us personally multiple times during the extent of our trip, to ensure that everything was to standard and to see if there were any reasonable ways to improve the trip. Bhutan is an extraordinary place and Vishal/Sonam's exceptional customer service made it easy and comfortable the whole way through. I was dubious of the guided nature of this trip as I usually travel freestyle, however Tek and the team made this one of the best trips I have ever embarked on!

Vishal Pradhan, local specialist, responded to this review:

Dear Sarah, Shannon, Josh, Emilio,

First and foremost, thank you ladies for doing this for the boys!

And Thank you again for giving us this opportunity to showcase Bhutan to Josh and Emilio.

Me and my team thoroughly enjoyed the interaction and glad to hear that we able to cater to your expectation.

We look forward welcoming you again in too not distance future, till then Take Care and best regards from Bhutan.

Sonam

Surprise trip for husband , Bhutan - Mar 22 - Apr 2, 2018

Traveler: Emilio V. - Local specialist: Vishal Pradhan

Great. Tek was an amazing guide out in the mountains and in the cultural tour too.

Vishal Pradhan, local specialist, responded to this review:

Dear Emilio,

Great hearing from you.

It was a pleasure for me and our team to host you in Bhutan.

We are delighted to hear that Dagala Trek adventure lived up to your expectation.

Thank you once again for this opportunity and look forward to yet another adventure.

Sincerely,

Sonam

Trip to bhutan, Bhutan - Feb 19 - Feb 28, 2018

Traveler: warekois W. - Local specialist: Vishal Pradhan

All was great-both the driver (Nema) and the guild(Lobzang) did as I asked. I like to see the real world so I tend to travel to places off the beaten path. They showed me the back places of your lovely country. Plan to return. The only mess up was the amount charged per day but Vishal explained the situation and all was straighten out. Well done to all that welcomed be to Bhutan.

Vishal Pradhan, local specialist, responded to this review:

Dear Will,

Thank you for penning down this feedback. Great to hear that our services were up to your expectations. Lobzang and Nima would be pleased to hear about it. These feedbacks are very critical to the service we strive to deliver and Thank you once again for your thoughts.
Very best to you and see you soon ! Sonam.

Paro, Bhutan - Oct 24 - Oct 26, 2017

Traveler: kamran a. - Local specialist: Vishal Pradhan

The hotel was not really up to par. We had hot water for showering, only if it could have been done in 30 seconds. Meal arrangements were done by the team. They will take you to the cheapest possible place. They made us pay extra since we wanted real meal.

Vishal Pradhan, local specialist, responded to this review:

Dear Kamran,

Thanks for your review. I am most concerned to hear about the glitches on your hotel room and food. I’m looking into the issues with the hot water and meals, as this isn’t the type of feedback we typically receive nor like to hear from our guests. If we receive this feedback during the trip, we’ll also do whatever we can to address and improve the situation. Nonetheless, much appreciate your concerns, as these feedbacks help us to improve our services.

As indicated in our... read more

Dear Kamran,

Thanks for your review. I am most concerned to hear about the glitches on your hotel room and food. I’m looking into the issues with the hot water and meals, as this isn’t the type of feedback we typically receive nor like to hear from our guests. If we receive this feedback during the trip, we’ll also do whatever we can to address and improve the situation. Nonetheless, much appreciate your concerns, as these feedbacks help us to improve our services.

As indicated in our earlier discussion trips to Bhutan are regulated by the government at a minimum daily tariff ( USD 250 per person per day) , which entitles one to tourism council of Bhutan approved 3 star hotel, meals in this hotel or local restaurant, guide, vehicle & driver, entrance fee to monuments, local sightseeing’s, government taxes and levies. Based on this we had booked hotel Olathang for you, as Hotel Olathang is one of the most popular 3-star hotels in Paro. However, I will certainly take up the hot water issue with the hotel team.

In regards to your meals, I am sorry you felt that we were trying to take you to a cheap restaurant. Rest assured this was not the case at all. Please allow me to explain - Your first day you arrived late and had the option to eat dinner in the hotel; however, you wished to try the Bhutanese food in local restaurants. Bhutanese food is very basic fare and not very evolved. Your breakfast on the second day, due to your early hike to Tigers nest ( 5.00 am) you were unable to have breakfast at the hotel and therefore you had to ‘make – do’ at Taksang Cafeteria. Please note there is no other restaurant or café en route to Tigers nest. Post your hike you went to Thimphu for lunch and went to Galingkha hotel (This was the restaurant of your choosing and you had al carte meals). Dinner, that day, you wanted to have in Uma Paro, a 5-star hotel. As communicated to you on that day our budget did not cover meals beyond 3-star hotels and local restaurants. Dinner charge at Uma was USD 102 per person ( 3 people cost = 306), therefore you had to pay extra. Based on our discussion we refunded you USD 153, half of the cost, although it was above our budgeted meal allocation (We noted that you did not have lunch the first day you arrived and you were entitled to dinner that day).

Given the short duration of your tour (2 Nights), we did not get much time to interact. However, we look forward to yet another opportunity to host you in not too distant future. And most importantly, now that we have understood your preference, we are hopeful that we will be able to execute your next tour as per your specifications.

Thank you
Sonam & Vishal

Bhutan, Bhutan - Oct 6 - Oct 16, 2017

Traveler: Ben A. - Local specialist: Vishal Pradhan

The first thing is that I had never done an organised tour before. Of course with the regulations in Bhutan it is the only way to see the country that I had wanted to visit for so long.  In my early exchanges with Vishal he made me extremely comfortable that a tour did not mean bus rides with many people; controlled timings on visits to places; and having to ensure we experienced the country at the pace of the slowest person in the group. Vishal carefully asked me what it was I wanted to see... read more

The first thing is that I had never done an organised tour before. Of course with the regulations in Bhutan it is the only way to see the country that I had wanted to visit for so long.  In my early exchanges with Vishal he made me extremely comfortable that a tour did not mean bus rides with many people; controlled timings on visits to places; and having to ensure we experienced the country at the pace of the slowest person in the group. Vishal carefully asked me what it was I wanted to see in Bhutan, which Places drew me to the county, and what kind of experience I wanted to take away.  He built an itinerary that combined my need to experience the history, the landmarks, the culture and the trekking, suggesting timeframes that would encompass all of these things without needing to rush, and giving me options throughout the itinerary that gave complete flexibility for us to enjoy. The planning became an exciting part of the trip (as it should be) and was an excellent experience.

Vishal Pradhan, local specialist, responded to this review:

Thank you Ben for visiting us. We are glad we could make this trip a success and an adventurous one for you.