Whitewater rafting
Trekkers paradise
Picturesque glacial valley
Faces of Bhutan
Rich biodiversity
Biking in the Himalayas
Thimphu valley
Nomadic way of life
Paro International Airport
Tourists arrive at Paro International Airport
Black-necked cranes in Phobjikha
Explore beautiful valleys
Land of Festivals
Explore the trail less trodden
Unique architecture

Testimonials

Page 1

This was an amazing trip!

We recommend it to anyone who doesn’t have more days to spare and is wondering whether a 5days/4nights visit is worth the trouble. Although there was not much time to relax and absorb all the inputs, it was a really enjoyable experience. The view from the plane when landing to Paro was breathtaking. During our stay, we visited Paro, Punakha, Wangdi and Thimphu and stopped at several very interesting sites in between these 4 towns – all located at the North - West of the country. Sightseeing included temples and castles, museums, local markets and more. Our tour guide was very knowledgeable, providing us with very interesting information related to all the sites that we visited as well as the country in general, and flexible, willing to make adjustments to our itinerary at any point in time. We really enjoyed the hike to Taktsang Monastery (Tiger’s Nest) which we highly recommend! All the hotels chosen by the agency were excellent. Overall, this was a very well organised trip and a memorable experience.

Katerina Limenopoulou & Prodromos Parasoglou
Greece

Maebar Travel created a fantastic itinerary for our 7nights/8days tour cultural tour. We had an excellent guide, Chimi Rinzin and a very experienced driver. Finishing our tour with a hike to Taktshang Monastery(Tiger’s Nest ) was a highlight to our western Bhutan tour.

Murray + Angela Darling
USA

I have to say that the overall experience, I had during my first trip to Bhutan is great and memorable. Not just the fact that the kingdom is naturally beautiful and has breathtaking scenes but also the fact that Maebar Travel has given me a great service and ensured my trip to be as smooth as possible. From the very beginning when I applied my visa until the day I left. I am very glad and grateful for their services. I hope Maebar will always be able to maintain & improve their service for all the tourists to get their best experience during their stay at this beautiful Land of the Thunder Dragon. Thank you.

Andi Iskandar
Indonesia

We had a great time in Bhutan, and all thanks to the tour agency. Hotels were comfortable and inviting and meals provided were of good standard. Most grateful for meeting our tour guide, as she was the most pleasant one I have met. I really like the fact that she listened to our needs and tried her best to tailor the itinerary to our liking. She was also very informative and that allowed us to learn so much about Bhutan, Its people, and their culture. I would definitely recommend my friends to them.

Tricia & Valerie
Singapore

Had an amazing trip,Maebar Tours gave us one of the best trip ever. We want to say thank you to Mr. Pelden & Thinley who runs Maebar Travel for making excellent arrangement. We really enjoyed the visit and stay. Our guide was helpful, knowledgeable, friendly. And our driver Kinzang was a experienced driver. He was really good, smiled all the way through our journey. It was a lovely country to visit, beautiful valleys and nature friendly.

Once again thank you for all your help.

Tan Bee Keng
Malaysia

From the very first moment that we start to send e-mails inquiring about the trip to Bhutan, everybody was very attentive and helpful. All details about visa,ticket were arranged very fast and convenient. In our arrival, Chimmi received us and in all the trip, he was very helpful and nice with us.

In overall, we loved everything and we are very pleased to know this amazing Country.

Camila & Felipe Melo  
Rio De Janerio, Brazil 

We had a great time in Bhutan. It is a beautiful country and we hope to return again. Our itinerary was a good choice of activities and our guide was great. We were travelling with two small children ( Age 2 & 4 ) and every effort was made to keep them comfortable. Sangay was great with the kids and she was an indescribable help in getting us up to Tiger’s Nest - the highlight of our trip.

Nate Leupold & Sapna Leupold
Seattle. USA

Page 2

With the views of the Himalayas we knew from our flight into Paro Airport that our holiday in Bhutan was going to be something special, and it was.

The weather was clear and sunny as we were promptly met by our guide and driver and taken to our first stop at Paro. The hotel was of an excellent standard and in traditional Bhutanese style.

We had selected a seven nights, eight day cultural tour and our guide discussed our itinerary and asked if we had any special requirements which we did not.

After two nights in Paro we travelled to and stayed in Wangdue Phodrang stopping at many of the sights and visiting a number of Dzongs en route, including the magnificent Punakha Dzong. Our guide explained in detail the history and tradition surrounding each Dzong and gave us a real insight into Buddhism and of the customs and practices that are followed.

During the journey our driver took great care on the narrow roads with steep drops to the side and we were, of course, grateful of this. It also meant we were able to admire the views across the valleys and mountains which were quite spectacular.

The next stop was Phobjikha, where we were lucky enough to see one of the rare Black Necked Cranes. Following a short trek in this valley, we stopped at a farmhouse and enjoyed the hospitality of the farmer and his wife with whom we shared a mug or two of the local salt butter tea.

After a night in Phobjika, again at an excellent hotel, we drove back to Thimphu, unfortunately it rained this day which shrouded many of the mountains in cloud. It made the drive interesting with the roads sometimes blocked due to road improvements and clearance of a minor rock fall or two!

In Thimphu we spent time visiting arts and craft centres and markets which gave us a greater insight to the traditions and culture of Bhutan. We were also shown the main sights of the capital including the Dzong and the King’s residence.

Our final day was the challenge of the Tiger’s Nest which we had read so much about. Our guide asked if we thought it would be helpful if, for some of the climb, we went by pony and my wife opted to do this. I decided to climb on foot which was exhausting at the higher altitude but did give a sense of achievement when we eventually reached the destination. The visit to the Tiger’s nest temples was certainly worth it and we could only admire the skill and belief in its construction.

Throughout the whole visit we were given a very personal and friendly service by both our guide and driver who regularly ensured we had all that we needed. Each hotel was of a good standard, very traditional in style and the food was plentiful.

We would highly recommend a visit to Bhutan and the confidence of being well looked after by ‘Maebar Travel’.

Pauline and Alan
London, UK.

Page 3

Here are some of the things I have written during my journey. I also have written a small testimonial about Maebar Travel. I hope it will please you.

The Kingdom of Bhutan is a small country just as big as Switzerland but much less populated (700,000 inhabitants), wedged between India and China. It is a Himalayan country and the only Tantric Buddhist kingdom called by the local Druk Yul, the land of thundering dragon whose inhabitants are themselves Drukpas, meaning dragons. The national flag is indeed a dragon on yellow and orange, colors of the King and the highest Lama. It is a country where the sale of cigarettes is prohibited. It is a country where wealth is measured with an incredible index called Gross National Happiness. It is a country where official history is about mythology and facts. It is a country where the national dish is Ema Datse, chili and melted cheese.

Departure from Kathmandu, I have a seat on the left of the airplane so I may have a glimpse on the Everest. No luck it's full of clouds. But the arrival in Paro is wonderful with a landing between mountains, very (very) close to mountains. I arrived in Bhutan and immediately it's a new world. All Men and women wear traditional dresses: customs, warehouse workers, cleaning women. My guide, Wangchuk, is about my age (30). He introduces me to the driver, Pema, who will lead us the next 2 weeks in the Kingdom. We arrive at the hotel which is of good standard. We then start exploring the city which is quite nice. People seem very timid. The architecture follows a very specific charter and is mandatory for all new building so that even new buildings look like the old ones. It's beautiful. After visiting the small town we leave the restaurant and we eat a meal fit for official dinners. More than 6 curries, red rice, soup. The traditional dish called ema datse, which consists simply of chili and melted cheese. It's delicious, except when you chew a red pepper and small, that's a bit too much .... The next day, no chance it rains, it changes the program and we will visit a monastery in the valley of Haa, 3 hours drive, not on the touristic route. The road is also very pretty. This is the highest in the country and the pass is 3988m. The forest is dense and the trees very high. The Monastery is the first one I visit and it's love at first sight. The monks play their musical instrument, the ***** that accompanies the ritual songs. It rains. It's a little cold. We still eat a regiment and off again for Paro. We visit on the way back one of the the most sacred temples in Bhutan which is supposed to cover the left foot of an ogre defeated by a king who built 108 temples in 1 day. The next day we go to the Tiger's Nest which is the icon of the country. It rains. We climb for 2 hours. The clouds are thick and we miss most of the points of view. The last one reveals a monastery perched on a cliff high above 1000m. We enter the monastery and visit the cave where Guru Rimpoche meditated (barefoot, wet, in a cellar in 3500 ....) then the main Longhka. After that we visited the museum and the Paro Dzong. A Dzong is a fortress that is still active generally Longhka and officials. Here is also the residence of the envoy of the King. The museum contains an impressive sculpture representing the 4 branches of Buddhism with a thousand details. We reach Thimphu 2 hours later.

We are therefore in the capital, Thimphu. This is the only capital in the world not to have traffic lights. The two crossings of the city are held by 2 men in white. We start the morning with a view and a mini zoo where one can see takins, animal emblems of Bhutan, half-goat, half cow, charming. We then go to a nunnery, the nuns are about to finish reading a million mantras. In addition there is a reincarnation of the Buddha. My guide and I will be blessed and we admire the fervor of believers. We visit the afternoon 2 Dzongs and a traditionnal hospital. The oldest of Bhutan and where the King has his offices. Both are beautiful, especially Longhkas. What impresses me most here is how religion and power are inseparable. The Lamas have senior decision-making authority in the Kingdom. I also realize (and my guide will confirm this) that mythology and history of Bhutan are inseparable. It's exciting. The next day for lunch we eat at the stalls (finally) and Tibetan momos to taste it. The afternoon is free, I visit the city, the Chorten in homage to the previous king and admire the fervor of believers who circumbulent around constantly and turn the wheels of mantras. The night I met the brother of Wangchuk, Pelden.

Wangchuk greets me the next day with Pema our driver and we start towards Punakha where there is one of the finest, if not the most beautiful Dzong in the country. In fact I finally understood what a Dzong is. It's like a State Office with a monastery inside. The Dzong is at the junction of 2 rivers and many jacarondas border the river. After visiting the Dzong we go to visit the Temple of the Divine Madman. In fact, this guy was revered because he was a little off the mark. Moreover, according to the Himalayan Buddhist philosophy, madness is not far from enlightenment. We are reaching Wangdue Phodrang evening and visit the Dzong tomorrow. The Dzong is charming and is the only one not to be restored. We go then to Phobjikha. The valley is actually very high and it is very cold. We walked into a forest of blue pine and we walk too far. We must cut through the field, which is great. We come then to a farm and our host offers us the local alcohol (ara). Wouhaou is strong but the preparation is funny.

We start the day at Trongsa. The city is beautiful and the Dzong one of the most impressive because of its strategic location, perched atop a cliff. All Crown Princes has to govern this province, which gives it a particular role. The museum is very beautiful. We proceed then to Bumthang, the cultural capital of the country which is the centre of many pilgrimages, but also many festivals. The Dzong is supposed to be the largest in the country. The next day we go to visit the area. We visit a Goemba, one of the oldest in the country, as old as in Paro and this one covers the left knee of the ogre. It is a holy place and luckily there are ceremonies. Buddhist monks chanting and conches are part. We then visit another Lakhang where Guru Rimpoche meditated. We saw the cave where the founder of Buddhism in Bhutan has meditated. The rest of the morning we walk through fields and visit the Goemba. I even have the chance to wear a jacket channels created in the fifteenth century by Pema Lingpa, the greatest treasure hunters as the Bhutanese Buddhism has discovered many hidden treasures in the sixth century by Guru Rinpoche, regarded as the second Buddha of our time.

Today we go towards Mongar. The road is really beautiful but if we fall, we fall from high. Some roads are on cliffs 1000m peak. The highest pass is at 3750m today and it's cloudy. The hotel is occupied by monks who bless the house. The ceremony lasts three days and the next morning at 4:30 songs begin with trumpets and bells, of course. The road to Trashigang is long today and the air is warmer. India is not far away and the faces are changing slowly. On the way we visit the most important monastery in eastern Bhutan, Drameste Goemba. We arrive at Wangchuk's family family in the afternoon. This will be our base for days. I am greeted by the whole family and it's a pleasure to arrive in a home. I'm trying to learn to cook local. Wangchuk's family continues to tell me their story. The Tibetan father died in the 90s and his own monastery in Tibet has become a favorite meeting place of tourism there. The grandfather is a reincarnation of a great Lama and a temple was erected 3 days walking from here, into a national park. The next day we leave for Trashi Yangtse. A little village 3 hours away. There is a copy of Bodhnath stupa in Kathmandu here, only smaller. The reason is that a Lama came to Bodhnath and saw the temple, he bought a model in radish (weird) and the radish got smaller on the way ... The next day, it's with pleasure that we start hiking after 3 days of intensive car ... We go to the village above Kanglung and we walk for 3 hours. This is the last day of school and students are very happy to see me. I joke a bit and we start eating near a lake. After lunch we start hanging Tibetan flags to wish me a good and safe end of traveling. In the afternoon we returned slowly home via the University, the oly one of the country, and it is in this village.

I have 2 days left in Bhutan and we move at 9 o'clock this morning. Only 5 hours drive to the border and my guide is trying to find things to do. The first temple was really nice, there are plenty of people as it is full moon. Last village before the border, there is a festival. Bhutan celebrates Buddha's birthday a month after Nepal. There was a crazy dance of the Buddha, with the Tantric tradition on the only street of the village. The rest of the journey to the border is easy going and the plains of Assam are becoming increasingly clear. The end of the Himalayas is near. We arrive in Samdrup Jongkar at 4. The air is warm and syrupy, people are a little different even if the buildings are similar to those seen above 3000 meters, chaotic and dusty India is a few steps away.

What I have enjoyed the most in this journey through Bhutan is that my guide Wangchuk always tried to do his best to please me. If something was not possible to do, then he would have a plan B. Always. Things were always taken seriously and the flexibility of Maebar Travel is the best asset of this travel agency. It will guide you in a country where you don't know nothing and will adapt to your convenience.

Matthieu
France

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