I have just returned from some volunteer work in Bhutan. – 6th time there. On my last two days there I wanted to get away from work and visit some friends and some sights. Pema Wangyal was recommended to me by colleagues. I gave him an outline of what I wanted, and he arranged the trip for me. I was delighted with him. He is a most careful and sensible driver, and made my journey very comfortable and enjoyable. As an older person I appreciated his kind and gentle manner, and while he knew a great deal about the history and culture of Bhutan, he did not bore me with unnecessary details; I believe he shaped what he shared after working out my interests. We also spent time going off the beaten track, and I saw a lot of Bhutan I might never have seen otherwise. The important places and structures are great, but I also like to see things not on the usual tourist routes. That is what happened, and I have wonderful memories of drinking tea with a monk and Pema at a monastic school above Punakha at 10,000 feet while the sun set on the Himalayas! I would certainly recommend Pema Wangyal to anyone wanting more nuanced and less typical journeys in Bhutan.
Dr John Howard,
Sydney Australia. March 2017
‘In January this year I was fortunate to travel from Thimphu to Punakha, Wangdi and then to the beautiful Phobjikha Valley with Pema and Kencho. It was my 8th trip to Bhutan – lucky me, and my fourth visit to the spectacular Phobjikha Valley renowned for being the place where the sacred black-necked cranes fly in from Tibet. It is a place of what can only be described as celestial, pristine beauty. Pema has founded his own company now and I have no hesitation in highly recommending him as an expert guide, charming companion, and first class driver on Bhutan’s winding roads!
We were travelling during some snowy weather, gorgeous to look at, but slippery underfoot, so Pema and Kencho’s expert guidance, personal kindness and assistance at all times made the trip happy and hassle free. Nothing was too much trouble so I felt very spoilt! We did a variety of things from visiting lofty monasteries and nunneries, bounding up wooden staircases in local farmhouses, hiking the beautiful trails in the various valleys, and being directed to great restaurants for delicious meals.
Pema is highly intelligent, and well read, and very interested in environmental issues. He has travelled to Canada and other parts of Asia. He is warm-hearted, welcoming and very knowledgeable about his beloved Bhutan. Pema’s ready smile, gentle nature and great sense of humour were a bonus throughout the trip. And he is used to working with foreign tourists and catering to their requirements over and beyond the call of duty. Lunch at his own family’s private home was a memorable bonus.
I am aged 62, and can unhesitatingly recommend Pema’s company Red Rice and Red Chillies for first rate, unforgettably wonderful tours in Bhutan – of short or longer duration. You will start out with a wonderful guide to Bhutan and I am sure along the way make a special new friend in this unique Buddhist kingdom in the heartland of the Himalayas. I am sure you shall yearn to return to Bhutan, once is never enough for this magical place which has so much the rest of the world can learn from’.
Ms. Margaret Gee, Literary Agent , Sydney, Australia