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Our Heartwarming humans

| Guests Gallery

Karma Dorji, Travel Programs Coordinator

Tutored by Buddhist monks at a young age, Karma attended high school in India and studied journalism in Germany. In the early to mid-1990s, he traveled to all 20 districts of Bhutan to cover His Majesty the Fourth King, Jigme Singye Wangchuck’s visionary five-year plan for Gross National Happiness.


Following the footsteps of Bhutan’s visionary king, Karma trekked the remotest corners of the country, meeting many extraordinary people and profiling their lives in what he calls “the most formative years of my life.” In 1995, Karma received the United Nations Dag Hammarskjöld Award for Journalism from the UN Correspondents Association. Because of his unique experiences, Karma began sharing the beautiful landscape, people, and stories of Bhutan with the wider world of travelers in 1999.


Today, Karma divides his time between Bhutan and the rugged central coast of California (south of Big Sur Highway 1), where his American wife, Linda, grew up. They met in Bhutan while she was working with the United Nations to support and develop physical therapy and community (health) rehabilitation services. They have two sons, Mila Dorji, a graduate of the Yale Public Health School who works in Global Health; and Shey Dorji, a graduate of marine science from UC Santa Barbara, working to reduce the effects of climate change through marine research. Both young men are avid hikers, surfers, and free divers. They were raised bi-culturally in Bhutan and coastal California.


Karma has lectured on travel and Bhutanese culture at the Smithsonian in Washington D.C., and at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco (The Raven Crown: Royal Scepter of Bhutan’s Buddhist Kings). Karma’s book Dreaming of Prayer Flags: Stories and Images from Bhutan was released in July 2008 and launched at the Bhutan Folklife Festival, an event co-sponsored by the Smithsonian Institution and the Royal Government of Bhutan.

“Karma carries in him the spiritual heritage and wisdom of his Buddhist ancestors” ~Elvi Ruottinnen, Founder, Earthpeace Communications, (1995)

Travel Programs Coordinator Karma Dorji with his former tutor, the high abbot of Kurje Monastery, Lama Dorji Wangchuk ⓒ Bhutan Himalaya archives

Sangay Rinzin, Senior Staffing Coordinator & Leader

Sangay’s leadership, knowledge of the terrain and personal connections, especially in his home region of Eastern Bhutan, are crucial to the smooth running of our travel programs and featured trips. Resourceful and charming, Sangay brings a boundless sense of playfulness to our journeys. His natural exuberance and sense of humor combine to make him a quick hit among our guests. While he may be lighthearted, Sangay’s knowledge of Bhutanese culture, history and customs is deep. Sangay is one of our most valuable assets.

Sangay Rinzin, Senior Staffing Coordinator & Leader ⓒ Bhutan Himalaya archives

Tashi Wangdi, Senior Trekking & Motorcycle Adventures Coordinator

Tashi, a devil on a motorcycle, is a steady and respected hand in the Bhutan Himalaya team. His mission is managing intricate logistics of our trekking expeditions while keeping a sharp eye on discipline, morale and the well-being of our camp crew. But make no mistake, he is an exceptional cultural guide as well for us and led many cultural adventures as well. Whenever Tashi shows up, expect the vibe to tip into the fun zone. Tashi has been trekking in the Bhutan Himalaya for a long time and began his career supporting film and nature research expeditions, and later became an expert trekking guide for several tour agencies before we bagged him. Bhutan Himalaya Expeditions relies on him for the outstanding connections he has developed through the years within the high-altitude nomadic highlands of Bhutan, an essential ingredient for the smooth running of our trekking operations.

Tashi Wangdi, Senior Trekking & Motorcycle Adventures Coordinator ⓒ Bhutan Himalaya archives

Yeshey Wangchuk, Country Coordinator and Trip Leader

Our sweet-natured but immensely capable Country Coordinator, Yeshey Wangchuk (kneeling, front), has led some of the most challenging and exciting journeys for us. Yeshey is well-connected in Bhutan and his family members include current and former government and civil service figures and some of the most respected cultivators in western Bhutan. Gracefully efficient, Yeshey combines effortless Buddhist grace with an unflappable sense of direction, which is the influence of his guardian, His Eminence Lama Dorji Wangchuk, one of the highest-ranked Buddhist abbots in the country (see below: seated behind Yeshey). From arranging special entries to remote monasteries to securing our seats on the limited number of flights to Bhutan to smoothing over logistics feathers, Yeshey does it all, only ever revealing the very broadest of smiles!

Yeshey Wangchuk, Country Coordinator and Trip Leader with His Eminence Lama Wangchuk ⓒ Bhutan Himalaya archives

Tashi Namgay, Bhutan Birding Expert ⓒ Bhutan Himalaya archives


Additional trip guides, leaders and support staff may vary from trip to trip. Meet some of the exceptional people who have staffed past journeys and expeditions for an idea of who you might have on your trip. 

Tashi Namgay, Bhutan Birding Expert 

While Tashi can be relied on to ably lead any type of journey, his true passion is reserved for birding. In the course of a decade or more of leading birding trips to Bhutan, Tashi worked his way up as an apprentice guide to independent Trip Leader. Tashi has amassed a wide-ranging and keen first-hand knowledge of when and where to spot the most colorful and exotic birds of Bhutan, making him a natural choice whenever we have guests who are birding enthusiasts.  

Rinchen, Guide ⓒ Bhutan Himalaya archives

Senior Guide Dorji Phuba explaining a temple mural to guest ⓒ Bhutan Himalaya archives

Rinchen, Trip Leader, Eastern Bhutan

Born and raised among the high nomads of eastern Bhutan’s fabled Merak-Sakteng region, Rinchen has deep roots in far eastern Bhutan. A journey with Rinchen, especially in the east, has the air of a homecoming with a native son. This self-effacing young man is wise beyond his years and guests quickly discover that Rinchen’s humility masks an immensely broad knowledge of the customs and landscape of his birth.

Dorji Phuba, Senior Guide, Western Bhutan

With youthful flair and fun, Dorji has become a past favorite of many Bhutan Himalaya guests. He comes from a prosperous farming family in Paro, Bhutan’s ‘rice-bowl.’ His tendency for amusing anecdotes and playful antics hides an extensive knowledge of the history, culture, and customs of Bhutan and the Himalayas. His ‘lay-of-the-land’ expertise is something he gets from his family’s close connections to the land. In fact, the fastest way to find Dorji is to visit his father’s beautiful estate by the Pachhu river, where they grow golden delicious apples, Bhutan’s famous red rice and, as often as they can, play the national sport of archery.

Pema, Transport Logistics ⓒ Bhutan Himalaya archives

Pema, Transport Logistics

Although intimidating at first glance, Pema (foreground, sunglasses) grasps the precise humor of almost any situation, and quickly share his jovial insights with hapless bystanders. From tour buses to four-wheel drives, he has been one of our most stalwart and reassuring drivers. A native of western Bhutan’s Paro valley, Pema’s wonderful sense of humor is rivaled only by his immense skill & captainship negotiating our vehicles as we travel overland on the long and winding roads of Bhutan.

Chencho, Senior Trekking Guide ⓒ Bhutan Himalaya archives

Chencho, Senior Trekking Guide

Chencho (sitting), our senior trekking expeditions guide for many years, was an instant hit with many guests. After decades covering the major trekking routes of Bhutan, Chencho has left the country to pursue other career choices. He once walked five hours out of the mountains near the end of a trek to satisfy a guest’s thirst for Bhutan’s local Red Panda beer. Following his reappearance at camp later that evening, he learned the guest only mentioned it in jest. Chencho was an important member of our team and his cheerful presence on our expeditions will be missed!

Staff with guests, 2016

So which staff members will you have on your trip?

That varies on the time of your booking and our changing roster of staff for each trip. But no matter who they are, rest assured they will be knowledgeable, splendid company, and good fun! We choose our trip guides to meet the four pillars of traditional Bhutanese hospitality: likeability, dependability, fun, and dignity. In addition, they meet the rigorous testing and licensing requirements of the Tourism Council of Bhutan, so no matter who you meet, your trip will be in expert hands. If you have further questions regaring trip staff, please reach out using one of the contact forms on this website. We look forward to hearing from you! The Bhutan Himalaya Team.

AT BHUTAN HIMALAYA Expeditions, we believe the people who power our trips are our most valuable assets. We guarantee you will fall in love with our singular, caring, and thoughtful individuals. Say hello to some of the fabulous, heartwarming people behind our journeys.


Meet some of our wonderful field staff!

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