Brief Exploration of Delhi, India -- BalBir Singhb
Bhutan - Hidden Kingdom Of The Himalayas -- Phuntsho Wangdi
Nepal - Kathmandu & Annapurna Mountain Trek -- Kunal Gurung
What trip leader did well:
Wangdi had the greatest leadership skills of any trip leader we have had in the recent past. He handled itinerary changes efficiently and effectively and made each of the 14 of us feel like he was helping us exclusively. Although he gave us all individual attention, he made sure we all bonded as a group.
When we first met him he knew each of our names and called us by name throughout the trip. He made us all feel very privileged to be on this journey with him.
What trip leader can do to improve:
Continue to be as intuitive and helpful as he was.
If you did not rate the quality of included features as excellent, please tell us why:
Our bus was small but due to the roads, it was adequate. With several large people and some people had many pieces of luggage, we were glad to have the small truck that carried the bags.
Please share your comments on your pacing, including opportunities for improvement:
The pacing was excellent and Wangdi offered many opportunities for other activities. The hikes were purposeful and the whole trip was very active.
Please tell us about your Learning and Discovery experience, including any opportunities for improvement as well as exceptional experiences you may wish to share:
Wangdi made sure that we experienced many modes of transportation and that we had access to authentic interactions with the local people of Bhutan. The very first day, we saw monkeys on the side of the road and he stopped so we could see and take photos of them. Our driver, Yenten's family was having their annual ritual and we were invited to join them in the food and celebration. What a great introduction to the trip!
Please share your comments about your Home-Hosted experience, including opportunities for improvement:
Our home hosted lunch was fine, it was tough for us with bad knees to sit on the floor, but Yenten, Jamyang, and Wangdi provided a few little benches so we could be more comfortable.
The food was basic, simple, but exactly what one would expect from a farm house visit.
Please share your comments about your Accommodation experience(s), including opportunities for improvement:
The Gokama Forest Resort was way too far away from the airport and the events planned in the city. The four trips back and forth to the airport on those terrible roads took more than an hour, sometimes two and we never had time to enjoy the actual grounds of the resort. The logistics of this post trip were terribly planned and although our post trip leader, Kunal did everything he could, we wasted SOOOO much time on the little bus on the bad roads.
Please share your comments on your optional tour experience, including opportunities for improvement:
For the first time on any OAT trip, all 9 of us took part in the Optional Experience. We had an early morning trip through Kathmandu and the flight was delayed, but after we started flying, all of us had great views of the Everest Range, we had a lot of fun with the flight attendant who took very good care of us, and it was a once in a life time experience.
There were not many opportunities for shopping and that is fine with us. Several times we had free time and Wangdi or Kunal helped us find our way to change money, use the ATM, and have time to wander in the shopping areas.
Post Trip Extension:
The logistics of going back and forth from the airport in Kathmandu to the Gokiarna Forest Resort were a nightmare. With the traffic concerns, the bad roads, and the distance, it was not worth the effort to travel that far, even though the resort was lovely.
On the day we got up at 4:30am for the Everest flight, we had the optional, then went into the city and then the tour of the Square and lunch, then more at the museum. We were beat after an 11 hour day on our feet and drive back to the forest resort.
Advice to others taking this trip...
We were never as cold as we expected to be, we were not prepared for the smog in Delhi to be as bad as it was, we had no idea that Kathmandu would be in as poor shape, roads, damage from the earthquake. Although we had researched all of the above, the extremes in pristine Bhutan which we loved to the rest of the trip were incredible. Nepal was nice in the country; too bad our experiences in Kathmandu colored the country's flavor.
Just before we were to go on our first journey of 2020, the COVID-19 virus hit and the world shut down for travel and adventure.
We have been working around the house, cleaning and sorting, and we replaced our deck. But the love...