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Reviews for Festivals of Bhutan

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Festivals of Bhutan reviews verified by reevooReevoo

12 reviews

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Festivals of BhutanScores 8.2 out of 10 based on 12 reviews
(10 out of 10)

Simon

Mitcham
An excellent tour, although coming back to Kathmandu is a bit of a culture shock to the system. Bhutan is clean and quiet and Kathmandu just isn't.
The highlight of the tour was the Black Crane festival and the people of Bhutan. Our tip for the holiday would be to take plenty of long sleeved tops or short sleeved tops that have collars and long trousers to wear to the Dzongs and temples.
Confirmed traveller: 18 November 2016
Published on: 23 November 2016
(8 out of 10)

Jenny

Yeovil
The Bhutan part of the trip was superb. The leader and his team wanted us to see as much as possible of the country, looked after us diligently and were very caring. Bhutan is a very special place, which we loved as soon as we arrived. The Kathmandu part, however, was disappointing. Instead of a full day tour, as detailed in the trip notes, we had a rushed late afternoon tour of three sites including visiting Durbar Square, a highlight of the capital, in the dark. Walking to and from the coach we took our lives in our hands trying to avoid the chaotic rush hour traffic. A better possibility might be to visit only Bhutan and travel via Delhi. Kathmandu destroyed all the good "karma"a visit to Bhutan provides.
Confirmed traveller: 17 November 2016
Published on: 22 November 2016
(10 out of 10)

Janet

Devizes
Bhutan Comments
The trip exceeded our expectations in every way. The country & people of Bhutan, accommodation, fellow travellers and guide team were all brilliant.
The only comment we have is that it would have been better to transfer from Thimphu at around 5pm to get to Paro at about 7pm on the day before the Tiger's Nest trek to allow an earlier start on the morning of the trek. This would also give us 2 nights at the same hotel at the end of our Bhutan trip.
The Tiger's Nest trek was one of the most memorable moments.
Our guide, Sinje, was excellent and even understood our British sense of humour, when some in the group had trouble with Indian rupees he sorted it at the local bank.
Our driver, Danni, must have a mention too, so careful and considerate. The road to the Black Crane festival is not good as they are resurfacing so a long slow journey and when he had to reverse with sheer drops at the side his mantra was 'Don't panic it's normal'
We loved the traditional hotels especially the farmhouse and lighting the wood burning stove in the bedroom.
We also thought Sinje was joking about the 5star hotel meal on the last night but it was a superb ending. Food was good throughout the trip and it was great to have the continuous supply of bottled water on the bus.
Our best trip ever and we have travelled a lot.

Kathmandu Comments
When we arrived from Delhi, we had to wait at least an hour and a half in a hot and smelly car park before transfer to the hotel. We understood there might be a wait of up to an hour but after an hour we were still the only people on the bus and we asked to be transferred by taxi and wish we had just done it ourselves now.
On arrival at the hotel there was no obvious Explore rep or the usual meeting. Fortunately, there were other members of the group waiting around and we all got together. Later, someone did come to let us know the time of departure the next morning.

When we got back to Kathmandu at around 1pm we were put on a coach and much to our surprise taken straight on a tour . We had no water or time to use toilets etc. It was a very fast track tour and we were all exhausted by the time we got to Durbar square in the dark.
In our notes it says we had a day's tour of Kathmandu.
We did enjoy Kathmandu the next day as we found the garden of Dreams a little bit of heaven.
We don't want to end on a negative as it was such a brilliant holiday. We want to visit Bhutan again and noticed at Delhi airport that you can transfer straight to Paro from Delhi. The flight to Paro was incredible especially seeing Everest.
Confirmed traveller: 17 November 2016
Published on: 21 November 2016
(9 out of 10)

Evelyn

Asbury park
This is a fabulous introduction to the area. It's wonderful to explore the gross national happiness of Bhutan and learn about their life and culture. And hiking to Tigers nest is amazing. Beware though, the trip notes are misleading. It's warmer in the days than they lead you to believe and almost all meals are included. And you don't handle your own luggage so don't let that put you off.
Confirmed traveller: 17 November 2016
Published on: 20 November 2016
(8 out of 10)

Michelle

Edinburgh
b=Beautiful country - stunning scenery and varied itinerary. The guides and drivers looked after us all very well. Really enjoyed the Thimpu festival - majority of local people were dressed in their traditional clothes and didn't seem to mind all the tourists

Make sure you come prepared for ONLY buffet lunches and dinners (usually at hotels) - the food was the only disappointment on this trip, it was very bland and often served warm. Some of us broke away from the group when we reached Thimpu to seek out restaurants from which we could choose our meals & they were delicious - recommend doing this for some variety
Confirmed traveller: 17 October 2016
Published on: 25 October 2016
(7 out of 10)

Jane

sydney
I had really high expectations for this trip and whilst a lot of the tour was amazing there were a couple of things that really made me think I would have been better off booking a private guide rather than going on a group trip.

I didn't have access to money until 2/3 through the trip which was horrific. I couldn't buy so much as a drink with the rest of the group. I'd taken USD as recommended but they hadn't specified that you need high denomination notes or you can loose 25-30% of the value of the note on exchange (I hate being ripped off). The guide had access to an ATM earlier on in the tour but didn't provide access to that ATM to the group - only "black market" exchange which was fine where the rate was good but not so good for me with my $20 notes. I felt we should have been given the ability to change money in Paro before we went into the country - this can't be the first group to have come across this issue.

The hotels went from specatcuar to not so good. Some were so new the staff were still finding their feet and apart from Thimpu they were miles out of town. The last couple were dirty, one didn't have enough lights in the room to pack your bag, two of them the baths didn't drain properly. I don't minds simple hotels but I do like things to be clean.

The itinerary could have been better - I would have put one day in Thimpu away from the festival - everything that we'd looked up to see in Thimpu was either closed or had restricted hours through the festival.

More than anything else I didn't like the fact that we did everything as a group. There was no chance at all to get out and see the things that you wanted to. We were ushered from one spot to another as a herd and there was very little opportunity for getting out into the community and meeting people or just hanging around a city. I'm guessing this is a restriction that the Bhutanese government puts on tourists but for this reason I really would suggest to anyone going to get a private guide. Also until the roads are better I think smaller cars are easier to get past the landslides etc.

Our guide was wonderful and I felt really did look after us and want us to have a good trip. He was personable and kind. He could have been a little more detailed in his information on areas and sites and a little louder. The money issue really was a big thing for me though.
Confirmed traveller: 17 October 2016
Published on: 23 October 2016
(2 out of 10)

A

My advice for someone booked on this trip would be to cancel (even if you lose a deposit) and wait for a few years for the conditions to improve and for someone from the Explore product team to go on the trip.

Unfortunately you do not see Bhutan on this trip other than from the inside of a coach and characterless resorts.

There was one day where we spent a total of 10 hours on a bus for an hour hike and a twenty minute video. The return trip was about 6 hours to a different destination but along the same road. This amount of time on horrific roads for an hour and a half of result is simply poor planning (at best) and incompetent at worst.

At such a high cost (the daily charge to be in Bhutan is significant) this isn't just wasted time, but actually a really uncomfortable experience that you are praying will end soon.

The other days also feel extremely controlled and you have little time to actually explore Bhutan.

Nepal, on the other hand was amazing, as was the group!
Confirmed traveller: 17 October 2016
Published on: 21 October 2016

Hi A, thank you for your feedback. I am sorry to see you had such a poor trip experience. Please be assured, our Product Manager for the area planned and reconnoitred the trip himself – as well as our local agent. Due to the very unusual October rains there were a significant number of road blocks and delays causing longer bus journeys than we would have liked, as there is only one main road through Bhutan there sadly is no way to work round this.

(9 out of 10)

Cuba

Bhutan is wonderful. A country full of charm and quiet serenity. Th great plus was that everything was included in the price: breakfast, tea and coffee, lunch and dinner. No messing about with separate bills and wasted time looking for restaurants, that is until we were in Kathmandu. Given the opportunity I would have skipped Kathmandu and just focused on Bhutan. Sad to say, Kathmandu is getting steadily more crowded, with increased refuse and pollution problems: to enjoy Nepal you have to get into the countryside and away from the urban sprawl. We were told that much of the sewage still flows untreated into the rivers. The atmosphere in Kathmandu is frantic with beggars and street sellers crowding around tourists - as in India. In Bhutan this never happened and I didn't see anyone begging, or hassling people to make a sale.
Bhutan itself is not crowded with tourists and until we did the Tigers Nest walk, we hardly saw other Europeans. The towns and countryside are quiet and clean, the hotels we stayed in were good with some being excellent. The food was often very good and vegetarians are well catered for.
I enjoyed the 'all- inclusive price', the lovely people of Bhutan, the friendly guide and the courteous service provided by the people we met. I also enjoyed the Paro Festival although some of the dances became repetitive, it was different just being with the locals. We also saw the King a few times and yes, he really does mingle with his people. Importantly, I have never experienced such a relaxed holiday. The pace is leisurely and there are very few early starts to the day, the scenery is interesting and the culture is sufficiently different to that of India and Nepal.
The quality is reflected in the price and although the holiday might seem expensive, it offers a unique opportunity to visit a nation measuring its prosperity through its 'Gross National Happiness - GNH. Go before Bhutan becomes the next 'must see experience'.
Confirmed traveller: 27 March 2016
Published on: 06 April 2016
(8 out of 10)

Ulrich

Elsau, Switzerland
The tour was a full success mainly due to the fantastic company and guidance from Namgyel and Tashi.
It's impossible to mention all the colourful and heart touching moments they gave us.
Slight critic: 2 days at the end in Kathmandu hard to bear contrast to the peace of Bhutan. Instead of Kathmandu walking tour and Pashupatinath do Bakhtapur and Swayambunath! People who want to walk Kathmandu can do so from the very good and central located Annapurna hotel anyway.
Confirmed traveller: 27 February 2016
Published on: 08 March 2016
(9 out of 10)

Confirmed traveller

Bhutan is such an unusual country and has so many positive aspects (though the roads are not good). The Paro Festival provided ample opportunity for people watching as well as enjoying the festive atmosphere of the dancing and religious ceremonies. The Bhutanese multi-coloured national dress is stunning. The Paro Festival and Tiger's Nest Hike were both memorable. I enjoyed all 3 hikes and it was a bonus to see daphne, rhododendrons and primula growing wild. The dzongs and monasteries were far more colourful than I'd imagined and there were ample opportunities to take photos of monks who were very photogenic.Singye was knowledgeable, competent, helpful and sensitive. A modest man, his knowledge seemed encylopaedic and he coped admirably with our questions and requests.
Confirmed traveller: 15 April 2015
Published on: 07 November 2015