Again and again, we have learned that carefully choosing a tour company/booking agent that “gets” you is the single greatest way to be sure that you have the trip you hope for…and then more. We did not do any research or make any requests regarding lodging or restaurants or food, and we trusted the tour company to match us to a suitable guide. As a result, we had a remarkable journey, full of unexpected beauty and warmth and insight. Oh, and we ate well, too.
Besides, it’s not an adventure if you plan every step of the way.
The sheer lack of publications to be found about Bhutan was attractive to us. Yes, Lonely Planet has a guide, but we better enjoyed the Footprint guide penned by Bhutanese native Gyurme Dorje. Because we expected to trek the majority of our time in Bhutan, perhaps the most indispensable was the Cicerone Bhutan: A Trekker’s Guide, by Bart Jordans.
Because you must book all travel through a government-registered tour operator, Trip Advisor: Bhutan forums were of great help in sorting out tour company and guide services.
But, once we chose a tour operator, our contacts at the company were the most invaluable in answering our 237,459 questions about the trip. After initially sending queries to four or five tour operators, we chose the operator who we felt “got” us: they had read our query, and made suggestions on potential itineraries based on our expressed interests, and not just suggest some standard itinerary that the company operated. Our heartfelt thanks go to Naomi at Blue Poppy Tours & Treks, who walked us through each step of the trip planning, and owner Choki Dorji for personally greeting us the first day we arrived. We felt very privileged to have Rinzin Dorji as our personal guide in Bhutan, as well as our drivers and trekking crew – all making sure that we had a once-in-a-lifetime experience during our 25 days in Bhutan.