I visited Bhutan Oct 21-24, and i had emailed Gawaling tours at the beginning of October – I was worried I won’t be able to get the visa approved since it was on such short notice, but Tshweang was prompt in email responses (he will email you back fast and on the weekends) and I got my visa approved – also Gawaling was very honest with the trip quote, other 4-5 agencies I had contacted asked for $50-100 more than Gawaling (even though the tour rates are fixed and is already expensive for a young solo traveler like me in Bhutan, so I went with Gawaling knowing that its a honest agency)
During my 4 nights and 5 days, I visited Punakha, Thimpu, and Paro with Nala (Tshering) and Jigme (Jimmy). I visited all the main Dzongs and hiked to the Tiger’s Nest; the trip was fun because Jigmi and Nala are extremely responsible driver and tour guide, they will take care of your trip and try their best to accomodate to your requests, they were also really funny to travel with.
Nala is an experienced tour guide, he will take you to the best landmarks in Bhutan, he’s a great photographer, he knows the shortcuts during our short treks to Dzongs, and he also knows the best photo spots! Whenever we ran into his friends during the trip, they all spoke very highly of Nala and Jigme! Jigme is also a responsible and a safe driver – he drove so well I would sometimes nap away in the car, even though Bhutan is so scenic!
Food and hotels: the hotels and home stays were so wonderful. On the last day, I stayed at Paro village view and had helped cook and picked tomatoes in the garden (it was a fun authentic village experience- if you are into that you should ask if you can help!). The restaurants are usually authentic Bhutanese food, which were delicious. I didn’t pay extra for 4 or 5 star accommodations, but I was very happy with my 3 star hotels (the rooms were extra clean, hot water, heated/warm, comfortable beds, and no bugs at all).
I strongly recommend Gawaling Tours and please message me if you have any questions!