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“Excellent Bhutan trip!”
Review of Far Fung Places

Far Fung Places
San Francisco, California
2 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Excellent Bhutan trip!”
Reviewed 17 June 2014

We travelled to Bhutan in May 2014 on the same trip as the previous two reviewers.

The trip was perfect and we had absolutely no problems arranging the trip or during it.

All of the folks at Far Fung were easy to work with, cooperative and very knowledgable. Both Kathleen and Denis have travelled frequently and extensively in Bhutan. Their in-depth knowledge of the country, culture and people drives the selection of sites to visit, hotels and activities that occur during the tour. Their personal contacts enabled us to have special events such as a private concert (for 6 people!) by Jigme Drukpa, and a wide ranging discussion with an ex-governor of the Jakar region.

I won’t go over the same items as the other reviews, but suffice it to say that everything exceeded our expectations.

A special call out to our guide, Tshering, and our driver, Ugyen. They were devout, helpful, friendly, knowledgable and funny!

Bhutan is a country in transition from traditional ways and lifestyle to the modern world. I agree with Braintreeboy when he says; “I would recommend Far Fung without hesitation, and my advice is go now to Bhutan before the 21st century intrudes.”.

Go! You’ll enjoy it and have a view into a world different from your own.

Visited May 2014
Helpful?
2 Thank SF_Traveller_596
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
aumkathleen, Owner at Far Fung Places, responded to this review, 29 October 2014
Thank you for taking the time to write about your wonderful May trip to Bhutan.
I appreciate your mentioning the excellent guide Tshering and driver Ugyen who worked to make your trip so successful. It's the little things that make or break a trip, and Tshering has such an eye for the details. Bhutan is changing to modern world, but they still adhere to their traditional values.
I'm so pleased you enjoyed your journey to the Kingdom, and hope others may come to know the beauty and spirituality of Bhutan.
Yours in travel,
K Zurich Fung
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39 reviews from our community

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  • English first
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English first
Hawaii
Level Contributor
7 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Far Fung Place Bhuta Ura Festival”
Reviewed 31 May 2014

We were on the same tour as "KenandGlenda" whose review precedes ours.

We have to say that the entire tour was outstanding. Bhutan has a minimum spend for visitors so the difference between a so-so tour and a great one is not much.

All our hotels were first class and comparable to any in the world. Even our one night "farm stay" was in a brand-new facility with all amenities. We were prepared for third world accommodations but found, to our delight, that our fears were unwarranted.

Far Fung had organized this tour with one-on-one interviews with prominent Bhutanese where we could ask questions and get a real flavor of the country rather than just sightseeing museums etc. This was a real look into the culture of the country and the difficulties it has being sandwiched between the giants of India and China.

We are strict vegetarians and Far Fung contacted every hotel in advance to advise them of our diet, and each hotel provided great food that we could eat. In fact, most of the buffets were practically vegetarian anyway, and even the meat-eaters in the group were satisfied. I especially liked the Bhutanese scotch whisky, Special Courier.

Also, I had a birthday during the tour and Far Fung made sure the guide knew so he could get a birthday cake (no mean feat) for me to celebrate at dinner that night.

There were six of us all together in a small bus that would normally seat about 20 people so we all had lots of room. Our group was very congenial and well-traveled, so nobody complained when things didn't go quite right (like road closures) and everyone always showed up on time.

The guide, Tshering, was really excellent, well-educated and fully conversant in English. English is the language of instruction in Bhutanese schools. You could tell that he took great pride in showing us the country. I don't know how he did it, but he seemed to manage to get us to places where unusual and untouristed things were happening, such as an unexpected festival.

A highlight of the trip was the Ura Festival which runs three days. Apparently most of the other tour groups come for days two and three because that's when most of the dancing occurs. We had already seen similar dancing, so we got to the festival on day one. This festival is a real local event; it is not staged for tourists. On day one the lamas bring down holy relics from the temple on a hill to the temple in the village. There is an almost medieval procession through the village with unearthly music; as the procession winds it way to the village temple, all the villagers line up to be blessed by the head lama. We got in the line and were blessed too. Then we were ushered into the temple itself and were seated among all the monks. We were allowed to partake of the saffron rice and the other rites in the temple just as if we were local people too. It was amazing to be accepted like that. We were the only tourists plus two others in the village that day.

Far Fung exceeded my expectations and Bhutan did too. We had heard so many favorable stories from friends who had visited Bhutan, our expectations were high, but were exceeded anyway.

I would recommend Far Fung without hesitation, and my advice is go now to Bhutan before the 21st century intrudes.

Visited May 2014
Helpful?
Thank Braintreeboy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
aumkathleen, Owner at Far Fung Places, responded to this review, 29 October 2014
Thank you for your positive review on your trip to Bhutan in May. We are very fortunate to have developed friendships with Bhutanese scholars who offer talks on so many subjects of interest to our travelers. I'm pleased you enjoyed these discussions which go far beyond the superficial.
And, a word on your dietary restrictions, I'm delighted to hear the hotels were able to prepare vegetarian foods to your liking. The Bhutan hospitality industry has improved over the years, and now many hotels are able to offer a range of cuisine to suit most travelers.

Yours in travel,

K Zurich Fung
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Fort Myers FL
Level Contributor
24 reviews
14 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
“Far Fung Places Bhutan 11 day tour (FABULOUS!!)”
Reviewed 27 May 2014

All tour operators are not equal. It was our luck that we booked through Far Fung! Bhutan was on my bucket list for 16 years. We finally booked an 11 day tour through Far Fung and it was absolutely the best trip of our lives. Prices can be pretty standard, what makes the difference on a Bhutan tour is how much profit the tour company takes out for themselves vs. what they give you in accommodations, food, transportation, etc. and perhaps most importantly, what local contacts they have to arrange very special additions (at no extra cost). I had read that food and lodging in Bhutan were not so great. Our worst meal was very good, our worst hotel was very good, and most of the meals and lodging were absolutely fabulous. Special meetings and lectures for our small group were pre-arranged with cultural shows, a talk on Bhutanese government (by a retired diplomat who owned one of the hotels), a talk on customs, a private traditional music recital with a well-known Bhutanese musician (for our party of six). A private tour of the family home-now museum (think old castle) of the family that used to own the whole valley was conducted by the lady who's family has been there since AD 1400. We had two meals prepared by locals in two different homes. Our guide, Tshering, is university educated and was able to get us to some places early so we could make a slight change of plans the next day and see more than we bargained for. (He also found out about a festival not on our agenda and got us there). He got us into places not usually seen by tourists. His knowledge and local contacts were invaluable. Every hotel exceeded our expectations. Our bus was an almost like new 20 passenger Toyota diesel with plenty of room. Our driver, Ugyn, cleaned the bus every night and maneuvered through very tight places with unbelievable skill. We are very well-traveled and have extensive experience traveling internationally. We know of what we tell.

Visited May 2014
Helpful?
Thank KenandGlenda
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
aumkathleen, Owner at Far Fung Places, responded to this review, 30 October 2014
Thank you for taking the time to write such a comprehensive review of your trip to Bhutan in the Spring. I'm delighted to know you appreciated the lectures and the private recital of Bhutanese music, and the special arrangements made by our guide Tshering to make it such a personal journey. I think that's the difference between a good guide and a great guide. I appreciate your mentioning the service of your driver Ugyen in Bhutan. With the road widening project, a driver's skill and knowledge is of utmost importance to the success of any Bhutan trip.
Kadrinche-la! (thank you in dzongka)

Yours in travel
K Zurich Fung
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2 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Bhutan 2014”
Reviewed 7 May 2014

Kathleen arranged a fantastic 11 night package for our group of 10. Bhutan is a gorgeous Himalayan country with mountain and valley scenery galore. Our tour was led by Karchung, who is outstanding. He has an excellent command of English and takes great pride in introducing his guests to his wonderful country. Weather was cool and comfortable. Our hotels ranged from good to exceptional. Food was plentiful and spicy. It was very good. We planned this trip so as to be able to attend an annual Buddhist festival in Paro during which time a gigantic religious scroll is unfurled and displayed on the side of a wall. Thousands of Bhutanese in intricate silk native costumes participated in the ceremony which was a highlight for us. Another highlight was our 3 mile climb to the most famous religious temple in the country called the "Tiger's Nest."

Far Fung Places arranged an intricate, interesting and full itinerary. We had a great guide and driver. I could not be more thrilled with our trip of a lifetime.

Visited April 2014
Helpful?
Thank jameslesser
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
aumkathleen, Owner at Far Fung Places, responded to this review, 30 October 2014
Kadrinche-la (thank you in dzongka) for your positive remarks about Bhutan, the Paro festival, and Karchung, your Bhutanese guide. I am delighted your group got up so early to see the unfurling of the thangka, the sacred tapestry that releases all devout Buddhist from the cycle of reincarnation. The hospitality industry is improving all the time in Bhutan, so I am pleased to hear you and your group of ten friends enjoyed the hotels and food, too!


Yours in travel and Bhutan,
KZurichFung
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Holliston, Massachusetts, United States
1 review
“17 days traveling West to East in Bhutan”
Reviewed 22 November 2013

My thank you to Kathleen Fung: I have to say I have never been treated so professionally by any service-related group. From the first time I made contact with you months ago when I decided to visit Bhutan, to the day I hugged Karchung and Tenzin goodbye. The four of us traveling together jokingly called ourselves the four queens, but in the end we really did feel like royalty in the hands of these fellows. They always wanted to please. Our favorite talent: they could make us laugh from morning til night. I felt sorry for those other travelers who did not have the attention that our special guide and driver provided. I went to Bhutan anticipating the exquisite beauty of the Himalayas and came away with a special understanding of the culture and its citizens as shown to us by Karchung and Tenzin.

Visited November 2013
Helpful?
Thank Christine R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
aumkathleen, Owner at Far Fung Places, responded to this review, 4 November 2014
Christine,

Thank you for your five-star review! I know my team in Bhutan especially Karchung and Tenzin
work diligently to make sure everyone has a smile on their face when they leave Bhutan. It's very difficult to find places that are truly unique in this world and virtually untouched by westernization. Bhutan is one of those places that needs to be preserved. Although Bhutan is modernizing, they still adhere to their traditional values. I'm pleased you were able to see the beauty of Bhutan both physically and spiritually through Karchung's and Tenzin's care and perspective.
Tashi Delek!
KZurich Fung
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