The trip of a lifetime! In trying to coordina...
Bhutan | Sep 25 - Oct 1, 2022

Scott
Scott B.
Singapore | Reviewed on Oct 02, 2022

The trip of a lifetime! In trying to coordinating this trip with reopening of the Kingdom of Bhutan provided an extra challenge for Bas and his team, but they went above and beyond to ensure that I had the itinerary that I wanted. I will definitely travel with Kimkim again. read more

The trip of a lifetime! In trying to coordinating this trip with reopening of the Kingdom of Bhutan provided an extra challenge for Bas and his team, but they went above and beyond to ensure that I had the itinerary that I wanted. I will definitely travel with Kimkim again.

Hotel Reviews
Le Meridian Thimphu
Thimphu

The staff and service here are fantastic. The food was good and the location was central. However, being in the city center, there is quite a bit of noise like construction all day and dogs barking most of the night. If you are a light sleeper, I might look somewhere else.

Authenticity & Character
Very clean and modern.
Location
Walking distance to city square and restaurants. It felt very safe.
Staff
The front desk is welcoming and helpful
Cleanliness & Comfort
A very comfortable place to stay.
Dewachen Hotel
Phobjikha

This is only rated as a three star hotel, but it definitely deserves to be four or five. The location is remote but very comfortable. There are gorgeous views of the valley and exactly the kind of tranquility you travel to Bhutan to find. My room had candles and a fireplace which were perfect for the stormy evening I spent there. The bathroom was a little dated, but clean and practical. There's no WiFi in the rooms only the lobby and dinning area, which for me was an added benefit. The food was good and serving sizes were plentiful. If I ever make it back to Bhutan, this is the first place I'm booking. This place is leans heavy on charm and authenticity, but that's exactly what I was looking for. A great stay!

Authenticity & Character
This felt more like a mountain cabin getaway then a hotel experience. The staff was there when you needed them, and out of your attention otherwise.
Location
The views of the storm coming up across the valley were amazing. Likewise, the sunrise the next morning was equally as impressive. The grounds are simply stunning.
Staff
Caring and warm. They provided exactly what I needed without being too invasive or distant.
Cleanliness & Comfort
They were ready for the return of tourists and had obviously kept up the place during covid. It felt like they never missed a beat.
Zhinkham Resort
Punakha

Out of all the hotels I stayed in, this was the most disappointing. While the views are stellar, the service and rooms felt cold and impersonal. The food was likewise as it lacked any identity besides trying not to upset anyone. The walls were paper thin and conversations from down the hall or out on other balconies could easily be heard in my room with the doors closed. I wasn't sad to leave.

Authenticity & Character
This was a typical tourist hotel, the exact same that's found near every great sight. Impersonal and cool interactions and rooms define this place far more than the views.
Location
The view couldn't be better. The drive to up the hotel couldn't be worse. Once you are there, you aren't going anywhere.
Staff
The staff stayed in their assigned positions without ever trying to provide more than the basic service they were tasked with.
Cleanliness & Comfort
The rooms (specifically the bathrooms) had just been reopened after a two and half year covid closure. They could have used that time to update, or at least thoroughly clean.
Risum Resort
Ha

The Risum staff carry the reputation at this under construction hotel. From the very first interation to the very last, the staff was helpful and warm and welcoming. They obviously wanted to make a great impression. The rooms and dinning were nothing exciting (no WiFi in the rooms).

Authenticity & Character
I could tell the hotel was trying hard to improve the lodging for the guests. Lots of construction and projects happening. My room was adequate, although not impressive.
Location
Set outside of the main town of Ha, this hotel feels removed and remote.
Staff
If the rooms and location were one star, then the staff made this a three star hotel. Their service was five star. I would return here simply because they cared about me as a guest.
Cleanliness & Comfort
A work in progress, but progress is being made.
Le Meridien Riverfront Paro
Paro

Although not a nice as the Le Meridian in Thimpu, this hotel is near the airport and has a nice view of the river. It is more geared towards business than tourist travelers. My stay was adequate for a three/four hotel star but by no means exceptional.

Authenticity & Character
There are small touches which go a long way. The serving of hot apple cider upon arrival was nice, but didn't take away from the fact that the atmosphere was business.
Location
You're near the airport, but not near anything else.
Staff
Helpful but not warm or wanting to go above and beyond.
Cleanliness & Comfort
By far the best/newest rooms I stayed in. Very modern and professionally serviced.
Activity Reviews
Thimphu City Walk (Thimphu)
Thimphu

Arrived too late to for this experience.

Trying out bicycles
Thimphu

Arrived too late for this experience. I took the bicycle I was offered.

From Thimphu to Phobjikha by car and bicycle
Thimphu

Good climb out of Thimphu, the weather held off but the clouds obscured any views. The road was wide and traffic was light. 99% of cars and trucks gave us lots of room on the road. The descent from the pass was smooth and fast. We got off the bikes in Wangdue and took the truck up to Lawa La Pass. The road was very narrow and under construction. From Lawa La Pass the ride down into the valley was easy and beautiful. A good day on the bike.

Quality of Experience
Great way to get acclimated to the elevation.
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Guide struggled with the climbing at points. Blamed the bike, previous injuries, weather, gear, but really, I don't think he was expecting me to be fit enough to ride at these elevations.
Transport
Felt safe even on the narrow roads.
Gangtey Goenba (Phobjikha)
Phobjikha

Gorgeous temple. Worth the stop!

Quality of Experience
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Very knowledgeable guide. Enjoyed learning from him.
Transport
From Phobjikha to Punakha by bicycle
Phobjikha

Great climb on quiet road going back the way we came into the valley. The descent from the pass was a bit hair-raising at points as the speed of the traffic and the narrow road made this no place for beginner road cyclists in some places.

Quality of Experience
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Transport
Punakha Dzong (Punakha)
Punakha

This is why you travel all this way. A stunning fort and temple rich with history and culture. I enjoyed every minuted here.

Quality of Experience
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Very knowledgeable.
Transport
Prayer ceremony at local nunnery (Punakha)
Punakha

We missed this because of a change in our schedule. While the views from the nunnery were spectacular, I don't think this was worth the time to get up to the site.

Quality of Experience
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Transport
From Punakha to Thimphu by bicycle
Punakha

Huge climb! Loved every pedal stroke. The roads were in good condition and we made great time up to the Dochula Pass.

Quality of Experience
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Again the climb was too much for my guide who abandoned after 19km. I climbed the rest of the way solo. He supported from the vehicle every 3-5km, but I would have felt more comfortable riding with someone on the busy highway.
Transport
Trashichu Dzong (Thimphu)
Thimphu

We did not make this stop because of schedule.

Memorial Chorten (Thimphu)
Thimphu

We did not make this stop because of the schedule.

From Thimphu to Ha Valley by bicycle
Thimphu

By far the longest day on the bike. The guide said it was downhill, an uphill, and then flat. But it was really hilly the whole way with over 1200m of elevation gain in the first 75kms of the 105kms. From 50km the road was under heavy construction and turned from a decent highway into barely passable farm/back road comprised of a single lane of mud and rough riding.

Quality of Experience
Guides, Drivers and Staff
My guide rode the downhill section and got off the bike at 19km when we started the climb. At 50km the truck stopped for the restroom and that was the last I saw of them for 25km as there was a series of bottlenecks and moving road closures. If I had known I wouldn't see them again for 2 hours, I would have taken on more sunscreen, water, and food at 50km when we stopped together. Both the guide and driver seemed surprised by both the extent and magnitude of the road construction work too.
Transport
Driver did the best he could under the circumstances to stay with me as I rode, but the conditions did not allow him to keep up with me.
From Ha to Paro by bicycle
Ha

Big climb up to majestic heights! I loved every second of this ride. Stunning views and a real sense of accomplishment to crest over 3990m. I'd come back to Bhutan just to do this ride again. We covered 60km and climbed 1100m in just over 3 hours. A great day on the bike.

Quality of Experience
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Transport
Hike to Tigernest Monastery aka Taktshang Goemba (Paro)
Paro

Stunning views and the temple visit is well worth the big hiking effort after the ride.

Quality of Experience
Guides, Drivers and Staff
Transport
Local specialist: Sebastiaan Naus
Sebastiaan
Sebastiaan Naus
Local specialist in Bhutan/Netherlands | Reviewed on Oct 03, 2022

Dear Scott,
So nice to hear you had a trip of a lifetime in Bhutan! Thanks for your your kind words and detailed feedback, much appreciated. Hope to see you again some time in Bhutan!
All the best and many greetings,
Bas.