A week in a fairy tale – unforgettable!
Bhutan is a must-see country if you have seen many and would like a totally different experience. It is a country with history, strong traditions and breath-taking scenery. There are no traffic lights, no buildings higher than 5 floors and no international fast food chains – so refreshing! Traditional clothes are worn by local people because it’s a part of their culture, not to impress tourists, and actually, there are not many tourists in Bhutan . Ancient legends live in modern day life and are part of peoples’ every day existence. Having spent a few days there I had a feeling that the fairy tale does exist, contrary to what we’ve been told when we were kids!
When we landed in Paro, our hosts, Jamie and Ugyen, the owners of Butan Your Way, met us personally at the airport, handed over a “welcome pack” – a beautifully crafted folder with all the necessary paperwork and itinerary (which we’ve agreed upon with Jamie beforehand) and a mobile phone with a local sim card, so we could be in touch with them and the rest of the world. Our personal driver and an English-speaking guide were waiting nearby and Jamie and Ugyen introduced us to them and wished us all a nice trip, as our first destination was Thimpu.
I would not go into details about the trip and the places we’ve visited, I would rather whoever reads this, experience it yourself, but I would like to mention that the trip was perfectly organized, we were so well looked after! We even got a bottle of local wine (tasted like Japanese sake, to my opinion), another present from Jamie and Ugyen. Jamie and I were in touch all the way through our journey, we made a few amendments to the trip, which was absolutely fine by our hosts and all our special requirements (in terms of food, for instance, if we liked some local restaurant, we could always ask to go back there) were taken care of.
The guide, as well as the driver were very courteous and attentive to details. We had a lot of laughs throughout the journey. The car was in perfect condition, a 4-wheel, almost brand new, very comfy. We also had a choice where to stay, and as we didn’t know what to expect, we relied on our hosts’ judgement. We had no complaints about places we’ve stayed in, and a special comment should be made about the place we’ve stayed in while in Paro, it was magnificent, a former residence of the queen turned into a hotel!
Highlights of the trip? Seeing this amazing country, having Jamie and Ugyen as hosts and… meeting Bhutanese Minister of Health on our way down from Taktshang monastery.
An couple of advices? Go to a karaoke club with your guide and driver in the evening, you’ll see some amazing performances. Walk the streets at night, you’ll meet some friendly locals (all of them speak English) and don’t forget to learn a few words in Dzongkha, always helps!