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Festivals of Bhutan BI

Visiting: Nepal , Bhutan
Trip Duration 13 Days

Reviews for Festivals of Bhutan

Travellers were asked to provide a review of the trip, including highlights and tips.

Trip notes

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Festivals of Bhutan reviews verified by reevooReevoo

17 reviews

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Festivals of BhutanScores 8.4 out of 10 based on 17 reviews
(8 out of 10)


The tour was really interesting culturally and included good opportunities to see the beautiful landscape of Western Bhutan. The accommodation generally exceeded my expectations and was of a very good standard. There was a mix-up with accommodation as 3 of us had paid for single rooms and had previously been informed that these would be available apart from the 3 nights of the Paro festival. On our arrival we were informed by the tour leader that we would only have single rooms for the first night of the tour and would have to share from them on. When we queried this, he sorted it out quickly and efficiently, however, it did mean a change of hotel in Gangtey. The replacement hotel was of a lower standard than the other accommodation during the trip.
The food in the hotels and restaurants was much more varied than I had expected and was generally very good.
I would suggest that the trip to Gangtey should be extended to two nights to make the long drive there and back worthwhile. A longer hike on the extra day would be good as there is scenic countryside in the area and it would compensate for the time spent in the bus.
It would also be good to spend the time in Kathmandu at the beginning of the tour rather than the end.
Overall, however, I thoroughly enjoyed this tour. The Bhutanese people were warm, welcoming and friendly and our tour leader and his team were excellent. Their organisation of the itinerary, the logistics and the challenging driving meant that everything ran smoothly and seamlessly.
2 of 3 people found this review helpful
Confirmed traveller: 14 April 2017
Published on: 19 April 2017
(10 out of 10)


near Birmingham
The Punakha Festival is a photographic gem - bring a long lens as you may be stood at the back, (or sat in the front row) - nothing is guaranteed but the guides will direct you to the best vantages. Bring a foldflat mat - stone floors get hard after 3 hours !

Don't be intimidated by the hike to the Tiger's Nest, walking poles are NOT necessary (unless you regularly need them) and everyone makes it although you do puff and blow due to the altitude - plenty of time is allowed. Create iconic photos.

None of the monasteries and temples allow any kind of photography inside (so don't bother bringing flashguns), but the outsides are very photogenic and we encountered ad-hoc ceremonies there that we could photo easily.

As a change from repetitive Bhutanese food, try Lemongrass Thai restaurant, topfloor in the block beside the Meridien hotel in Thimpu - excellent
2 of 3 people found this review helpful
Confirmed traveller: 18 March 2017
Published on: 31 March 2017
(10 out of 10)


A wonderful opportunity to spend time in this unusual country, with its smiling people, against the backdrop of the Himalayas. Highlights were the flight from Kathmandu along the Himalayan range past Everest, seeing beautiful costumes at the festival, climbing to the Tiger's Nest Monastery - and tackling the mountain passes in snow! The tour guide, Tashi and his assistant Kuenzang were superb - attentive, informative and great fun. The driver was experienced and made us feel really safe. Hotel rooms were enormous in Bhutan, some even with wood burning stoves and hot water bottles or electric blankets. Food was ok, although we were glad of more variety at the end in Kathmandu.
Tips: be ready for extremes of temperature - Kathmandu was upper 20s in March. The tour there could have been spread over two days as we were exhausted after an early flight.
2 of 3 people found this review helpful
Confirmed traveller: 17 March 2017
Published on: 25 March 2017
(7 out of 10)


Hong Kong
Highlight was the Tiger's Nest...
1 of 2 people found this review helpful
Confirmed traveller: 17 March 2017
Published on: 20 March 2017
(10 out of 10)


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.
2 of 3 people found this review helpful
Confirmed traveller: 18 November 2016
Published on: 23 November 2016
(8 out of 10)


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.
2 of 3 people found this review helpful
Confirmed traveller: 17 November 2016
Published on: 22 November 2016
(10 out of 10)


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.
1 of 2 people found this review helpful
Confirmed traveller: 17 November 2016
Published on: 21 November 2016
(9 out of 10)


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.
1 of 2 people found this review helpful
Confirmed traveller: 17 November 2016
Published on: 20 November 2016
(8 out of 10)


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
1 of 2 people found this review helpful
Confirmed traveller: 17 October 2016
Published on: 25 October 2016
(7 out of 10)


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.
1 of 2 people found this review helpful
Confirmed traveller: 17 October 2016
Published on: 23 October 2016