We have just returned from our too short 6 day trip organised by Chen Ray travel.
We met Mr Sonam at a travel fair in Bangkok about 2 months ago. He was very warm and talked to us at length. Because he was our first contact I decided to research TA for other companies and contacted 4 other companies recommended by other travellers. I must say that all of them seemed very very good and 2 really stood out. In the end we stuck with Chen Ray partly based on costs. It seems that whichever operator you choose you are likely to follow the same tour.
During our planning I had a million and one questions to ask and sent many emails. I rarely had to wait more than a few minutes for a reply.
We were offered a choice of hotels in each of the places we were going to. Mr Sonam made all the bookings for us and booked our flights too which cost slightly less than if we booked by the airline website.
On arrival we were met by our guide Yoisil and driver Rinzin. I must admit that we had been slightly anxious that we were about to spend 6 days with 2 people we didn't know and there was a chance we might not like them or get along with them. That passed very quickly and we very soon felt like we were travelling with friends. There was no language barrier at all. They are both knowledgable and both excellent drivers. Nothing was ever any trouble and if we needed them they were there.
Our first day was relaxed with lots of sightseeing after checking into Norbuling Hotel. Hotel was great, very good location and good food. Second day was also around Thimphu. I won't go into too much detail about the sights because you will certainly be doing your own research
On the third day we left for Punakha which although only around 70km away is a long journey. The road is being widened and is vey bumpy almost all the way. There's a stop at the Duchela pass for lunch which was good. Even though it's a tough journey it's great because of the stunning scenery.. We made the wrong choice of hotel here, Meri Puensum was just ok. I believe there must be better choices. Hiking to Khamsum Yuelly Namgyal Chorten was quite easy and a good way to train for the major trek to Tiger's Nest.
The last full day our guides suggested leaving quite early for the hike to Taktshang and that was definitely good advice. Leaving later means it's warmer and busier. It's by no means an easy hike. It took us 2 hours in total. The altitude makes a real difference and really affects your breathing. For those who like me have an issue with heights, I'd say give it a go! The final stage which is all steps, first steeply down then up, has railings all the way and although I was a bit anxious I was able to do it.
After breakfast the last morning we were taken to the airport. We actually felt quite sad saying goodbye. Yoisil and Rinzin had been better than we could have hoped for and Sonam called to say goodbye. Without doubt the trip was made memorable for us and i don't believe you could prove on the service we got.
Please feel free to contact me privately if you have any questions or would like contact details