Bhutan and Mongolia tour recs?

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Hello! My husband and I, along with two friends, are thinking about travel to Bhutan and Mongolia in the fall of 2014. We are all reasonably fit (three folks age 65-70, me the baby at 55), so would be interested in some hiking/trekking, and cultural encounters. Menfolks are camera buffs, so a tour operator/photography safari option (with options for the ladies to do other things) would be welcome. I'm seeing Bhutan recs in past postings for OAT, Third Eye Travel, ElderTreks)... Is a week or so in each country sufficient to get a taste of them (without running from place to place very day) Appreciation coming your way in advance. Nancy C

Any tour company based in the US or Europe will contract with a local company for your actual on-the-ground travel, so you might do better to just book with a local company. There is a minimum amount you have to spend per day, regardless of how you travel, so you might as well spend it on a private tour. I went with Geographic Expeditions, but if I go back I'll pick a local company.

Something to consider. I've used both OAT and 3rd Eye and both have fixed itineraries, however 3rd Eye will work with you to customize your own trip based on your desires. So it pretty much depends on what you want to accomplish to know if a week in each country is sufficient. I would talk to 3rd Eye and tell them your wants and desires and let them work with you to see if they come up with an itinerary that works for you.

We just returned from Bhutan and had the best tour guide & driver. We went thru the company Highland Asia Travel they are located in Minneapolis, Mn phone 612-605-4428 ask to speak to Postak and if you can go during a festival it is well worth it. We told him what we wanted along with their recommendations. We spent 15 days and attended two festivals if you love photography you will want to take in a festival we love our photography also. Our guides name was Karma and the driver Dawa. Since we returned there has not been a day that I don't think about this incredible country of Bhutan and the great time we had, it is so peaceful & beautiful we felt so safe and well taken care of. If I can be any help please let me know.

We took a fabulous photo tour with Robin Smilie of Rainbow Photo Tours.  He has a website.  He guides tours twice a year and has done that for the last 12 years.  You will go into places that others do not travel to.  We had two private fesitivals that were just for our group and the local village with plenty of time to photograph everything.  We traveled in private cars (one couple, a driver and a guide in each car, and could stop wherever we wanted to.  They we all met up with our 8 cars for lunch and at the evening hotel.  The guides and drivers had a list of things that we might like to see, but everyday was flexible.  We drove completely across the country and exited into India.  The trip began and ended in Bangkok, which included the flights into Paro and out from India.  It was the best and most interesting trip I have ever taken and my husband and I came back with over 10,000 photos between us in this 19 day trip.

We just returned from the OAT trip to Mongolia.  It is two weeks in the country and visits ger camps in three very different regions.  It is well done and we found it to be one of our most interesting and unusual trips.

Wonderful two week experience from Nomadic Expeditions.Set up a two week trip in Mongolia.  Went for the higher level version that included 24/7 guide, plus a driver, plus a heavy four wheel SUV.  Also got higher end hotels included.  Drove over far reaches of Gobi, plains, mountains, etc.  xAlso Nomadic got us into the Mongolian Olymics in July 2013.  Amazing.  We also got to see first hand local Gobi village Olympic contests set out in the vast Gobi.  Meeting local people was an amazing experience.   xNomadic supplied us with VERY well qualified guide and a super skilled driver.  You need a skilled driver given the terrain.Recommend you rent a high end Motorola Satellite phone and take it with you.  Vital if something happens way out in nowhere.   xIt was a wonderful experience for us.  We have travelled to 82 foreign countries, some we have visited many times.  This Nomadic sponsored trip was one of our "A" class level quality trips.  We will use them again.By the way, we have subscribed to ITN for many, many years.  Throw in the Lonely Planet books and the two provide a lot of useful information.  

Autumn is the best time to travel Bhutan as there are many festivals taking place. I would recommend that you spend about 10 days in Bhutan to fully experience all the best of this country including some hikes to Trongsa, cultural festivals in Bumthang and some photo chances in Gangstey.I would recommend Blue Poppy Bhutan Holidays and Bhutan Senses Travel & Tours.Hope this helps!Dan

I'd like to reach out to them for a possible itinerary, but can't seem to find them on the internet.  Many thanks!Nancy C (original poster)