Review: Village Tours & Treks, Bhutan

by Kara on October 11, 2009

VTT logo finalWe didn’t do a lot of research when we selected Village Tours & Treks to arrange our trip to Bhutan. The May/June 2009 issue of National Geographic Traveler magazine listed them in their 50 Tours of a Lifetime article. Despite, the lack of research, our decision to book our trip to Bhutan through Village Tours and Treks could not have turned out better. Our guide and driver were fantastic, the company was organized and responsive, and our trip was absolutely amazing.

After reading the article in National Geographic Traveler, I immediately contacted VT&T about arranging a tour. I heard back very quickly from the woman who represents them in the United States. She was extremely helpful in deciding on an itinerary and making suggestions. I told her what our main interests were (photography, animals, short hikes, archaeology), and she came up with a schedule incorporating these things. It was very quick and easy and she was great to work with.

The most complicated part was transferring the money for the tour to Bhutan’s Department of Tourism (which is necessary no matter which tour company you select). The woman at my bank didn’t seem one hundred percent sure what she was so I had a couple nail biting days where I wasn’t completely sure that the money actually went through. Once I had confirmation that the money went through, VT&T bought our Bangkok to Bhutan plane tickets and applied for our visas. We had to make our own arrangements to get to Bangkok. We selected Bangkok because it was necessary to stay overnight and Americans do not need to obtain a visa in advance before visiting Thailand.

Stephen, Kara, Pema and Ugyen on the hike to the Tiger's Nest.

Stephen, Kara, Pema and Ugyen on the hike to the Tiger's Nest.

Once we arrived in Bhutan, we were met at the airport by Pema, our guide, and Ugyen, our driver. I don’t know if we are just lucky, but we have always had great guides on vacation. However, Pema was even better than the best guides we have had – by the end of the trip, he felt like a friend. Obviously, he was extremely knowledgeable about all the things tourists might be interested in, or he wouldn’t be a guide. But what I liked he that he was very flexible, making adjustments to our schedule based on his knowledge and upon circumstances (such as torrential rains, or my upset stomach). He brought me cough syrup for my cold and a mask so I wouldn’t ingest dust and further inflame my throat. He made sure we didn’t make any cultural faux pas (ones which I did see other tourists make). One of the best parts was that we had so many interesting conversations about a wide variety of topics. Instead of us just asking him questions, he asked us questions too, and that made it as much a cultural exchange as a tour, which is much more interesting in my opinion.

Our driver, Ugyen, was pretty quiet, which is a necessity for concentrating on narrow, winding roads. He turned out to be a really nice guy too. I was pleased when he ended up hiking to the Tiger’s Nest with us near the end of our trip, so we got to talk to him a little bit more. Most importantly, he was an excellent driver in sometimes poor road conditions. He also won extra points with me for spotting monkeys on our drive back from Phobjikha Valley. If it weren’t for him, I wouldn’t have gotten to see a whole family of monkeys leaping through the trees.

UPDATE AUGUST 8, 2011: There have been some changes in management at Village Tours & Treks, and while I am sure it is still a fine company, I’d really like to recommend the company owned by our wonderful guide, Bhutan Creative Tours. Bhutan Creative Tours has been around since 2005, and there is no doubt in my mind they will do everything they can to make sure you have an amazing tour of Bhutan.

Bhutan Creative Tours
P.O.Box 1317, Norden lam,
Changangkha, Thimphu, Bhutan
Fixline +975-2-327604
eMails : bhtcreativetours@druknet.bt
bct@druknet.bt
info@bhutancreativetour.com
http://www.bhutancreativetour.com

Check out more of Stephen’s pictures of Bhutan.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Bhutan Village Tours and Treks January 4, 2012 at 4:39 am

Initiated by Mr. Chimmi Dorji (Chief Program Operator) and later accompanied by Mr. Rinzin (Chief Finance Manager), Bhutan Village Tours and Treks was successfully founded in 2006. Since then its management team has been rendering the best of services and the progress gathered thus far is immeasurable. Prior to adding the graduate training that provides Bhutan Village Tours and Treks with the professionalism and operational precision that is mandatory in the modern safari Industry today, spending the earliest years in the bush and their formative learning experiences outside of school have added a great zeal of flavor in attracting many more visitors to Bhutan via Bhutan Village Tours and Treks. The chiefs and staffs have hands on experiences of over many years and operational activity like festivals ‘tsechus’ that comes in different dates and months of a year across the country is considered to be very important and must-see event. We also entertain other activities like [Cultural Tour] and [Trekking in Bhutan]

We have our own hotel, Galling Resort (3 Star), in Paro. Not only does the Galling Resort render a quality service during the stay but it is also well designed and equipped in servicing Conference Booking and Management, Hotel reservations, domestic flight booking, all accommodation in Hotels, Safari Lodges, Resorts, Luxury Tented Camps, Adventure Camping Safaris, and many more. We are very careful in choosing properties to match each traveler’s whim and financial backdrop.

Bhutan Village Tours and Treks strictly adheres by the conduct of Tourism Council of Bhutan (TCB). Anything processed via TCB is in the interest and protection of nation’s identity, sovereignty, and security. TCB/Tour Operator will keep all your paper works/information confidential and will be disclosed only if the government demands under the circumstance that you are found guilty of violating any of nation’s law.

Should the Bhutan Village Tours and Treks ignite even a bit of your desire in visiting Bhutan, we highly recommend you to visit through Bhutan Village Tours and Treks.
and for your kind information the management has not been change, only the web site has been change.
Thanks

Bhutan Village Tours and Treks

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: