Home · Register · Software · Software · Join Upload & Sell

Moderated by: Fred Miranda
Username  

  New fredmiranda.com Mobile Site
  New Feature: SMS Notification alert
  New Feature: Buy & Sell Watchlist
  

FM Forums | Trip Location Advice & Meet-ups | Join Upload & Sell

  

Bhutan trip advice
  
 
Michael Gordon
Offline
• • •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Bhutan trip advice


Trying to organize a photography- centric trip to Bhutan. Early investigations show one must go with an approved itinerary with some type of outfit. My wife is going and loves to photograph but perhaps a workshop might be too much --or perhaps not. This outfit looked interesting:
http://www.rainbowphototours.com/rainbowtoursArticles.html

Any suggestions or comments appreciated.



Oct 30, 2016 at 07:09 PM
tsinsf
Offline

Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Bhutan trip advice


All visitors to Bhutan must go with a Bhutanese guide and driver. Third party non Bhutanese vendors, ie western tour companies, also must use a guide and driver, so if you go with a "tour" you are paying twice: once for the Bhutanese, and once for the tour companies. My family went several years ago and we just googled Bhutanese travel and picked our own local company which supplied the guide and driver. If you stipulate you don't want to travel in a group, it will be just your family and the guide and driver, most likely in a small van. And for the same price as a group (the Bhutanese government sets the rates and the fee is the same if you travel in a group or just by yourself)! If you are traveling with just your family, most local operators will plan your trip any way you want. If you stipulate you want photographic itineraries, they will make it happen. We had a fabulous time! Our guide was great. Here is his facebook link if you want to contact him to arrange a trip:

https://www.facebook.com/dechen.wangdi.522?fref=ts



Nov 01, 2016 at 05:28 PM
Michael Gordon
Offline
• • •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Bhutan trip advice


Thank you for commenting and your suggestion. I will certainly investigate. I am very interested in any other comments of what not to miss from a photographic perspective or any other general comments. They do charge a steep price per day.


Nov 01, 2016 at 11:24 PM
Frogfish
Offline
• • • • •
Upload & Sell: On
p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Bhutan trip advice


Michael Gordon wrote:
Thank you for commenting and your suggestion. I will certainly investigate. I am very interested in any other comments of what not to miss from a photographic perspective or any other general comments. They do charge a steep price per day.


Hi Michael.

I recently spent 10 days there as part of a month long tour of Himalayan countries. Unless you are Indian/Bangladeshi or Nepali then you are going to have to pay the daily per person rate as instructed by the Govt. The amount varies slightly by season, around US$250 per day, but I'd assume you will pay the top rate (most popular times for festivals and good weather). If I remember correctly I didn't spend more than another US$200 the whole trip and that included all tips (I don't really spend anything on momentos).

The upside is this includes good (not fantastic) hotels (I also asked to stay at a farmhouse with a local family for a couple of nights, this was arranged and a very interesting and valuable experience it was) and all meals and a 4x4 plus guide and driver. But not tips and decent, but not extravagant, tips are appreciated as they mainly rely on those tips. I'd demand your own 4x4 since whether as a group or individual (I was by myself) you still pay the same and still get a 4x4. Make sure you clarify the type of car in advance - some are better, and newer, than others !

If in a group then certainly you'll want to base your trip around festivals and visiting Dzongs.

Personally I based myself (into and out of the country in Paro and not Thimpu. A much nicer little town and with easy access to Chele La and the Ha valley. It's literally right next to the airport too which helps a lot if you have a late arriving plane or early departure (both of which I had), alleviating the drive to Thimpu or potential worry about getting to the airport on time.

Hotels. The agency will usually put you into good hotels but check online to see what their reputations are. I insisted on one change due to feedback on Trip Advisor and even though they tried to put me into one hotel (that they likely had a connection for - claiming that they had already booked one night so they hoped it was OK) I insisted it was not OK and I wanted the hotel I had asked for. They had no problem changing the booking.

It's an easy drive to Thimpu from there and on to Punakha via Dochu La pass. I went much further East from there, to Bumthang and Yongkola, as I was looking for bird species.

I found the Bhutanese people to be generally very helpful and honest. However do be aware that some love their I used Sakten Tours and Trek and if you contact Thinley. She was amazing, extremely professional and great to work with (she also lived in the USA or UK for a while, I believe). If you do use them then please ask for Yonten - he was simply fabulous, I guess around 35-40 yrs old (their oldest guide) and seemed to know everything there was to know, great English. He really went out of his way to get me everything I was looking for / to do. Including going up to Taktsang Monastery late in the day, when everyone else was coming down, and descending in the dark ! If you need the contact details let me know.

I found a number of highly rated agencies via Trip Advisor (and many more tips). I contacted 7 or 8 of them and short listed them based on speed of response and customisation to the standard itineraries that they surely have. Some didn't take any note of my requests and just sent me a template - they were gone. Keys to Bhutan, Legendary Bhutan and Gangri Tours and Treks (who a friend used and found superb) were all great from the responses I got from them and being highly recommended on Trip Advisor. Snow White Treks on the other hand were not very helpful or amenable to my requested itinerary and told me to find another agency ! Note you can ask for a small discount for your group - some won't give them but some did.

Absolutely no need whatsoever to use an outside agency. Go direct to the Bhutanese. Absolutely no problem with unsecured payments either. The Bhutanese Govt are extremely strict with the agencies and keep an approved list (you actually have to use one of the agencies on this list so even if you use ABC in New York they will then go to one of these agencies and since their English and email communication is so good there is absolutely no need to use ABC). The agencies don't get all the payment if there are issues (you pay to the Govt. in the name of the agency you are using). You can find the official list of agencies on the Bhutan official tourist site to confirm you are using a bona-fide Bhutanese agency.





Dec 07, 2016 at 09:55 AM
Michael Gordon
Offline
• • •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Bhutan trip advice


Thank you for that detailed post. I am contacting that outfit directly.


Dec 07, 2016 at 08:52 PM







FM Forums | Trip Location Advice & Meet-ups | Join Upload & Sell

    
 

You are not logged in. Login or Register

Username     Reset password