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Hi Doug,

Brilliant trip.

Constantly making comparison with values back here- , am getting into the groove here at work, and at home , and here in Rotorua, it’s a great place to be. Really making the most of the altitude advantage , and the realisation that it will only be a few more days before it goes caput.

Highlights were the amazing entry into Bhutan- whisking through the clouds, with what almost felt like wingtips touching the valley sides- then landing. A feeling of calm embracing me- in the Paro airport- pinching myself- and saying: “I am in an Airport and I am feeling totally relaxed”. First and last place in the world that this is going to happen.

Then moving on through the country and being delighted by the people- their aura – their calm- no raised voices- being entranced by the architecture and the landscape and the Bhuddhism prevailing and that utter belief their society has.

Moving across country and being challenged by innumerable passes- energy waning- grimaces on the face ( give me Gu- and thanks for it Doug in that time of real need on the pass adjacent to Pele La- our big mistake- should have taken some electrolytes- the coke and Pepsi was great).

Tang Valley – a highlight- postcard pretty- beautiful people- a privilege to meet and eat with Ugyen’s Mum.

The return journey, back to where we started from- the challenges before us on the Big Day Out and the longest downhills in m y life. Breathtaking Takthsang- some puffing to get up there, would hate to think what it would have been like if we had attempted it 2 weeks earlier, and the ultimate accommodation at Zhiwa Ling.

Punakha Dzong- wow- Trongsa Dzong –wow-Simtokha dzong-wow; the Kira and the Go- beautiful faces; amazing crafts, and the enjoyment of biking beside the people- overtaking buses/cards and Tata trucks- being a part of it.

Ugyen- the Cultural guide extraordinaire- ask him anything and everything and he will tell. The food – beyond expectations- not just edamatse.

You- thanks you- for your guidance, your patience, being there.

Thank you to all the team- what a group- could not have wished for more.

Thank- you.


Jeanne, buying local fruit to try!

Doug Hamilton and Black Peak Travel

In May 2019, my partner and I were part of a 10 person group who undertook a three week mountain biking trip in Bhutan. This trip was organized and run by Doug Hamilton of Black Peak Travel, Wanaka.

Putting a trip like this together from a logistical perspective is fraught with potential difficulties. The distances that needed to be covered and the need for appropriate vehicles to facilitate this; the need for a level of accommodation that met the group’s needs; managing the daily cycling program taking into consideration the distances between accommodation, terrain, high altitude and the accumulating fatigue; and importantly, having knowledgeable and capable local guides that were able to deal with whatever is thrown up on a day to day basis.

I can confidently speak on behalf of the other 9 cyclists that our Bhutan trip was an outstanding success. For me personally it exceeded my expectations. I can’t fault the organizational aspects. The Bhutanese guides and team were outstanding. Knowledgeable, helpful and always at hand to ensure that our experience was paramount. The accommodation throughout the trip was totally appropriate with many very pleasant surprises, particularly one night tenting in the middle of a mountain meadow. That was quite a logistical feat to pull off. The biking itinerary was very well thought through with the right distances and daily climbing ensuring that everyone was able to fully participate, yet knowledgeable that there was always a backup vehicle following should the legs or lungs give out.

And finally Doug was a fantastic tour leader. He made certain that everyone’s needs were being met, that our bikes were maintained daily, liaised with the local guides and made fine adjustments to the itinerary when appropriate, and worked tirelessly to ensure that everyone was getting the most out of the experience.

I would have no hesitation in approaching Doug to organize a future biking trip.

Alan McChesney

Alan with local kids, Eastern Bhutan.

I joined Doug for a 17 day mountain bike ride from east to west Bhutan in May 2019.  I was dubious about whether I could afford the time, given my business schedule. However, I’m glad I did as the trip changed my life.  Bhutan was a stunning place to visit and journeying by pedal power was a once in a life time opportunity.
Doug put on a unique trip, assisted by two key local guides, Rinzin and Uygen.  Doug is humble and understated, very much like the Bhutan culture itself. It wasn’t hard for me to see why Doug and Bhutan go well together!   Doug has a no nonsense, practical nature, and this ensured that the whole trip went smoothly. He has strong ethics about what its right and wrong for the culture and this was valuable for us as guests.  I’d recommend Doug for anyone seeking a customized trip and who really wants to get below the surface of the Bhutanese culture.
Matt Chapman.
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