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