If I could give our guides / porter / driver 6 stars here I would. My fiance and I just concluded two tours with Breakfree Adventures starting with (1) a 9 day Cultural Tour of Bhutan and (2) an 11 day Annapurna Base Camp Trek in Nepal.
Im so glad I found and booked with Breakfree Adventures due to their excellent TripAdvisor reviews and value for money. But what really stood out for me was the warm service provided by their amazing staff all around.
Bhutan is a beautiful, unique and sparsely populated country and we were so glad we got to go while many of its customs are still preserved. Sometimes while standing in a medieval village surrounded by green hills and pine forests or inside the walls of a medieval dzong (Bhutanese fortress / temple / palace) I felt like I was in an Asian version of Game of Thrones. No dragons of course but they do have mythical-looking takins, an animal that looks like a moose with a guinea pig face.
Our guide Kesang Tenzin and our driver Tandin made our trip wonderful. They took care of everything and all we had to do was follow them, eat when told to eat, etc. Kesang is really funny and extremely knowledgeable about Bhutans culture and fantastical history, we nicknamed him the "Divine Madguide." We were also lucky to have Tandin as our driver (he was subbing in to help his brother), since he has excellent English as well and we got to talk about things like American movies and TV shows and generally get a perspective on how young people in Bhutan view the future. As Kesang says, Bhutanese mens hemlines are getting longer while womens hemlines are getting shorter.
We loved every sight and activity but our top favorite experiences were: (1) Visiting the Punakha Dzong during a once in a 400 year event when the Zhabdrungs relics were on display for the first time and hundreds of Bhutanese were on line to see them and hundreds more were inside the dzong courtyard chanting beautifully in unison. (2) White water rafting on Class III+ rapids in Punakhas male river (my fiance fell off the raft while riding over a set of rapids called Buddhas Wrath!) (3) Trying their national sport archery and eating a delicious traditional dinner with locals and other tourists at a 300 year old farmhouse in Paro.
We are excited to go to Bhutan again in the future and will probably explore the much less touristed eastern region with Kesang.
Kathmandu is an overwhelming place to land in for the first time (esp. coming from tiny, quiet Paro), so it was great that manager Bharat and our awesome guide Ramesh Duwadi picked us up from the airport and from then on helped us with anything and everything we wanted or needed in Nepal. On day 1, Ramesh helped us rent and buy our gear for the trek in Thamel. Giving realistic and good advice on what we need and dont need.
We are hopeless New York urbanites and this was our first mountain trek, and of course we chose to spend it in the highest mountain range in the world! Going from ~1000m to 4130m and back in 7 days.
The ABC trek itself was difficult, A LOT of up and down stairs for most of the ascent and descent days (days 2, 3, 4 and 5 were the hardest for us) but well worth it. Seeing the snow covered peaks was the highlight but we also had fun at the lower altitudes seeing all the Gurung villages, cute farm animals, relaxing at Jhinu hot springs and picking / eating elderberries. Noticing that my fiance was picking tiny wild strawberries, Ramesh introduced us to elderberries. The bushes are tall and full of thorns though both Ramesh and Dipak had no problem climbing up and picking handfuls of berries for us. They both went out of their way to make sure we were safe and had fun every day.
Ramesh warned us about stinging nettle at the start of the trek. Nevertheless, on day 2 I touched it accidentally when retrieving my dropped poles. I freaked out at the intense pain and Ramesh immediately found and picked a local plant, created a paste and rubbed it onto my fingers which neutralized the pain and he did this again later in the day when the pain came back. Later on the trek I got unpleasant stomach troubles which made me weak and in pain for 2-3 days, Ramesh gave me antibiotics from his first aid kit and even helped carry my day pack when i was struggling up a snow covered hill approaching ABC. The grips of my sneakers were worn out and I fell or slipped almost a dozen times on snow, mud or slippery rocks. I dont like asking for help but Ramesh helped hold on to my arm over particularly slippery stretches. And Dipak helped me up a few times even with a wobbly 30 kg on his back. Just for fun, my fiance and I tried on Dipaks pack and walked uphill for a minute. So tough! Incredible how Dipak carries this all day long, walks twice as fast as us and never loses his balance (even without any poles) and is never out of breath. It must be the legendary power of dal bhat! By day 6 we had soreness in our knees from all the descending and Ramesh led us in a nice mini yoga session. Definitely ask for him if you would like a yoga + trekking tour.
Every night at the tea houses (lodges), we would collapse from exhaustion. We never had to wait for a room and our guide worked hard to make sure we would get a large room and not have to share with other trekkers for more comfort. Our guide and porter would patiently wait and make sure to serve us dinner before they would eat. Ramesh would cut us fresh fruits every night for dessert. None of the other guests would have this. Also these guys are hilarious, we would play Nepalese card games for hours every night: dhumbal which Dipak would suspiciously beat us at almost every time and donkey which results in a lot of slamming the table and each others hands (sorry other guests!). Day after day, they were becoming our good friends.
We were not the easiest customers because on day 1 we requested to change the itinerary so that we could stay 1 night at Annapurna Base Camp, meaning we had to be at least 2 hours ahead of the trekking schedule in the days before. And very last minute on the evening of day 6 we requested a change again to take the bus from Pokhara to Kathmandu one day early in order to spend 2 nights in Kathmandu instead of 1. Our guide Ramesh executed the plan immediately, he made a lot of calls (while we were still in a mountain lodge) to change hotels, cancel our bus and even arranged a heavily discounted private car to take us to Kathmandu on the afternoon of day 7. We were so glad he helped arrange all of this so that we could have a full day to explore Kathmandus top sights.
Ramesh and Dipak made our experience in Nepal seamless. While the 3-8 hours of hiking up and down every day was difficult (even for a marathon runner like me), everything else was made easy thanks to the wonderful people of Breakfree. In addition to the trek, we also had a fun tour of Pokharas top 4 sights and a nice farewell dinner on our last night in Kathmandu, both were with Ramesh. We want to come back to Nepal later to do the more challenging Everest Base Camp and will definitely request to have Ramesh and Dipak again, theyre the best.Mimi Wang May 04, 2016
My family has taken multiple treks with Breakfree and we wouldnt imagine using any other tour company. I do not exaggerate when I say that they treat you like family. Our wonderful guide Ramesh Duwadi, who we always request, has shown us the wonders of Everest, the Annapurna trail, and weve had wonderful times in Pokhara with him. I urge you to do business with Breakfree. Be sure to request Ramesh! He will take excellent care of you.Bruno W. May 01, 2016
I must start with thanking my friend for doing the research , and zeroing on Breakfree adventures.
It was a professional approach from the start of discussing the itinerary to finalizing it . and there by setting our expectations high . and Mr Bharat and team did justice to it.
From the moment we arrived at Kathmandu everything was taken care of. there were no glitches what so ever. everything booked during the itenary was planned and booked in advance . the hotels we stayed were among the best for the price we paid , a special mention to Mt Kailash Resort at pokhara, jus the perfect to place to stay during a vacation.
Mr Prashant , Our guide at kathmandu was very informative , well versed in English , and extremely polite.
Mr Ramesh , who was with us for five days , from kathmandu to pokhara to chitwan and back was again really good , spoke English and had good local knowledge and polite .
Mr Bharats way of running the show will make any traveler to come back to Nepal , a fellow traveler commented " first time you visit Nepal for the scenic beauty and second time u visit for the people " , I will say their hospitality will put anyone at ease . Everywhere people welcome you with a smile .
I am definitely going back soon .
Keep up the good work @Team Breakfree Adventures ,
Visited January 2016Ramkumar G February 05, 2016
Had an amazing 8 day sightseeing trip with Breakfree Adventures (in Jan 2016). Bharat was very professional, he responded quickly and aptly to all my queries (over email, WhatsApp). He also helped me in customizing my trip like I wanted and after finalizing everything, he sent me a detailed itinerary with clear inclusions and exclusions.
We visited Kathmandu, Pokhara, Chitwan and I must say our entire trip was comfortable and hassle free. We literally dint have to bother about anything. Everything was so perfectly planned and arranged by Bharath.
Hotels we stayed were actually great, they all served decent breakfast. All transportation like mountain flight, buses, taxis were taken care by Bharat. Must mention about Ramesh, our guide who spent 5 days with us in Pokhara and Chitwan. At the end of the trip, he was not just a guide but our good friend. Am not giving out much details of the trip because I don’t want to spoil your excitement and thrill. Just close your eyes and go with Breakfree Adventures, they are really reliable.
Thanks to Baharat and Ramesh, keep up the good work.Shivaa ami January 30, 2016
In 2014, my wife and I did the Annapurna Base Camp Trekking. We were so enthralled by landscapes, people, colours and light that we had to return to Nepal and to attempt the Annapurna Circuit. We were thrilled but also anxious about trekking over 5,416 m altitude (the target altitude on day 11 of the trek), whilst at home in Germany we live just at 45 masl.
We booked a package containing two porters and one guide (all English speaking), accommodation and meals, and transportation with Breakfree Adventures. Breakfree Adventures was recommended by my companys office in Kathmandu. After the sudden and tragic events at the circuit in October 2014, we did not wish to do any compromises with the company organising the trek (the readers may recall that a cyclone over India caused heavy snowfall in the Himalaya and trapped trekkers at and around the Thorong-La Pass; it was a sad tragedy and the news went around the world). Our intention was to go with an absolute professional company and experienced and English speaking guide. We checked various sources of customer reviews, including Trip Advisor and all feedback on Breakfree Adventures read impressively positive. Hence, we decided to test Breakfree Adventures. The correspondence was quick and informative. Rates were competitive, and when eventually planning the programme and trekking schedule, Breakfree Adventures was very flexible and included all our suggestions. And indeed we were not disappointed. Guide and porters were professional, very kind and polite, and extremely attentive throughout the trek. We could not have made a better choice. The accommodation arranged was always top range of the guest houses; the budget for food was generous and we were taken well care of from the first day until the last day. We have no hesitation to recommend Breakfree Adventures as a trekking tour operator and organizer for any such tours in Nepal.
As most trekkers, we did the Circuit anti-clockwise. We started on Nov 23 for a 14-day tour inclusive travel from Kathmandu to Besi Sahar (by vehicle) and return travel from Jomsom to Pokhara and the day thereafter from Pokhara to Kathmandu (both by air). The trekking itineraries of the Circuit are all similar but the breath-taking part of the Annapurna Circuit definitely starts in Upper Pisang with beautiful vistas of the mountain range and the valley (Annapurna II is just opposite). Photographers can live out all passion and take beautiful night and early morning shots of the Annapurna range (ideal before sunrise). Note, Upper Pisang is definitely worth staying a 2nd day. There is much to see and to discover. The Himalaya Hotel (just below the monastery in Upper Pisang) is a very commendable choice to stay. The views from their balcony and dining room are spectacular.
Another stop to remember was Brakha, which is just about 30 trekking minutes before Manang. No question, Manang is a must town to visit and most trekkers stay in Manang. But our reason for staying in Brakha and not in Manang was the easier access and ascent to the Ice Lake (a climb of 1,200 altitude meters) and on the other side of the valley the reach of the Milerepa Cave and the Glacier Viewpoint. When staying in Brakha, an excellent choice to stay is the Himalayan Lodge, a superb guest house with comfortable rooms (toilet and bathroom attached to the rooms) and an exquisite cuisine with surprising international flair. It out-rated all guest houses we stayed before during the trek.
Yak Kharka is another perfect spot for night photographers. It is just one night before Thorung Pedi and Thorong-La Pass next morning. I took a series of good shots of the Milky Way before midnight (a tripot is a must). The lower mountain range in Yak Kharka is a fantastic foreground for astrophotography and the clarity during the night was fantastic (early December).
Overall the Annapurna Circuit is doubtless one of the world’s most spectacular treks and we will long remember the days. If you have the time, take a rest day at the Fishtail Lodge in Pokhara, a superb hotel on an island in the Phewa Lake and near the main commerce street in Pokhara. It is a beautiful spot to find the sense of time again after having lost it during the trek.Peter K - Dusseldorf, Germany January 20, 2016
We wanted to see Mt Everest close from the base camp without the 14 day trek. And this is the most exciting way to go, by helicopter. Early morning start from Kathmandu (1364m) to Lukla airport to refuel (altitude 2860m) and then to the Everest Base camp 5290m with…Read More