Ugyen is the inspiration behind Yangphel, the company he founded in 1988. A true cosmopolitan, Ugyen combines a deep respect for Bhutan's traditions with a genuine open-mindedness towards other cultures. Possessing a keen interest in all things Bhutanese, he has toured and trekked the furthest reaches of the country. A love of travel (and some good fortune) has also taken him across the world. These experiences together have provided Ugyen with a rare sense of perspective and depth of understanding into his own country, and a vision of how to present Bhutan to an outside audience.
Besides his responsibility as the Executive Chairman of Yangphel Private Limited, he is the Chairman of the Royal Society for the Protection of Nature (RSPN) and also serves as the honorable Board Director of the DHI – Druk Holding & Investments in the Kingdom of Bhutan.
He is also an avid fly fisherman. Just ask him to tell you about the one that got away
Karma Lotey hails from Trongsa in Central Bhutan. He studied in Bhutan, India & in the United States. This assorted upbringing has given him a good appreciation of how things work throughout Bhutan and abroad. Using his outdoor skills in combination with his management professionalism, Karma helps to create adventure programs that will provide you with the most satisfying use of your precious time in the Kingdom. Whenever the opportunity allows, nothing will stop him from getting outdoors to "guide trips" and "conduct more research". He takes personal interest in each and every trip to ensure that your stay in Bhutan is a rewarding one.
Karma currently serves as the Chief Executive Officer of Yangphel. He is also the Vice President from Bhutan for the SAARC-Chamber of Commerce & Industry. His previous responsibilities include being the President of the Association of Bhutanese Tour operators (ABTO), Board Director of Drukair (Royal Bhutan Airlines), Tourism Council of Bhutan (TCB), Bhutan Insurance company, the Bhutan Chamber of Commerce (BCCI) & Board Director of the Druk Holding & Investments.
Karma Choden's inexhaustible energy comes close to being legendary.
As well as being our marketing manager, Karma oversees every
meticulous logistical detail - processing visas, booking tickets
and obtaining scarce reservations - working night and day
to make sure that everything falls into place. During the
season, when our other managers go as guides, Karma Choden
is the anchorperson in the office, bringing to bear a discipline
that could only have been gained through a Darjeeling convent
education. If you don't believe that she is a workaholic,
put her to the test by calling our 24hour hotline.
Sonam acquired a Bachelors Degree from the Lady Shriram College of Commerce under the University of Delhi in India. After graduating, she worked at the Amankora for a year before joining Yangphel Adventure Travel. She is currently the Executive Travel Manager overseeing the overall aspects of ticketing, hotel reservations, visa processing, in addition to her role in marketing & communications.
Born in 1986, Sonam hails from a small hamlet in the far eastern district of Trashigang and is the only daughter of three siblings. She has an inexhaustible energy at work and runs a tight-ship within the office, perhaps a trait she possessed from her father who was a retired army officer.
Brent Olson is our indispensable partner in the United States.
Brent has a long history and close association with Bhutan
that started in 1986. Brent is one of the few Westerners to
have lived in Bhutan (he worked with its government in the
creation of a photographic archive of the country's rich artistic
heritage). A veteran of 40 (and counting) trips to the remote
Himalayan kingdom, member of the advisory board of the American-Bhutan
Council (in addition to a number of Bhutan-related board memberships)
he is unquestionably one of the United States' ranking experts
on Bhutan. Brent has presented numerous slide shows and talks
on Bhutan around the U.S., including a slide presentation
for the Smithsonian Institution seminar on Bhutan at the Textile
Museum in Washington.
Kencho was born in his ancestral home in the lush valley of
Shengana that is nestled along the upper stretches of the
Pho-chu river in Punakha. Shengana is fabled for producing
the finest red rice in all of Bhutan. After his studies in
Punakha and then college in neighbouring Sikkim he pursued
the career of a trekking/touring guide at an early age. Using
his considerable local knowledge and his extensive network
of friends Kencho has risen through the ranks to prove himself
one of the foremost trek or tour leaders in the country. His
enthusiasm and knowledge in local history and folklore have
ensured that Kencho has received the highest praises from
all those that have had the opportunity to tour or trek with
him. An avid and accomplished fly fisherman Kencho has explored
practically every lake and river in Bhutan that holds trout.
Ugyen Yoesar is a native of the Bumthang Tang Valley in Bhutan,
one of the most scenically beautiful valleys in the country.
He has successfully completed the Department of Tourisms
courses in cultural and trek guiding and a course in field
bird watching. Ugyens true passion however is mountain
biking and so eventually found his way to Belmont, MA, USA
to the famous Wheelworks to study maintenance of bikes, as
well as organizational logistics and environmental education
awareness on biking trails. Ugyen is far and away the most
knowledgeable biking guide in Bhutan. During off seasons Ugyen
can be found in various parts of Bhutan exploring the country
for new biking possibilities. Equally comfortable on and off
wheels Ugyen has a solid record in both trekking and cultural
tours and has built an impressive reputation during the ten
years of his guiding career.
Namgay Tenzin is born in the fertile village of Shengana under the Punakha district. He is one of the first guides in the country to be formally trained by the Tourism Council of Bhutan as a trekking leader and since then has attended numerous classes and field courses in first responders course conducted by NOLs & Geographic Expeditions from USA. He also attended tour leading training course in Delhi (India) conducted by Explore Worldwide Company from United Kingdom. Namgay has successfully led groups of various nationalities on the Snowman trek (24 days) and has just completed his eighth visit in this remote region of Bhutan as recent as October of 2012. Quietly informative, always ready to help, and armed with his experience on the trekking trails and impressive knowledge of the history of the country, Namgay is a model of Bhutanese hospitality.
Tshering hails from Gaselo village in Wangiphodrang district.
A long held fascination with outdoor adventure meant that
he had scouted almost all the trekking routes in the country
when still at school. Becoming a guide was an easy decision.
Fluent in English, Japanese, Hindi, Nepali and Dzongkha, Tshering
specializes in bird-watching, fly-fishing and trekking. He
has just returned from a bird-watching course with the South
Fork Natural History Society in Amagansett, New York.
Sha Phurba Dorji
Sha Phurba has been working with Yangphel for the last 19 years. In that time he has become an extremely knowledgeable and experienced tour leader and an advisor to our trekking & touring department. He has completed Department of Tourism schooling in tour and trek guiding & among the top five to be licensed as senior tour leader in Bhutan. In 1998 he traveled to the United States to receive training in wilderness survival from the Pacific Crest Outward Bound organization along with an extensive training in the first responders field course from the National Outdoors learning School (NOLs from the USA). Phurba hails from the village of Sha in western Wangdiphodrang district.
Tsewang Rinchen truly prides himself in being Bhutanese. This is evident in the traditional attire he always wears and the respect he gives to elders in the society.
Born to a father from the west and mother from east in Bhutan, he is aware of subtle cultural differences within the country and can work and play fortlessly in both eastern and western Bhutanese. Because of his upbringing, he can speak several local dialects. He is proficient in Dzongkha, English, Nepalese, Hindi and several other dialects including Sharchopkha (the language of the east)
Tshewang excelled & stood first in the guiding course conducted by the Department of Tourism in 1998. He is an avid reader, with interests varying from philosophy to quantum physics. He has cultivated a positive outlook towards life and when not guiding or leading trips, he is actively involved in volunteer work in providing awareness to the Bhutanese youth about drug abuse.
Tandin Gyeltshen is from from Nobgang village at. After his high school in Thimphu higher secondary school, he went to pursue his studies from in North Point College in Darjeeling, India where he graduated in commerce. As a student, he had the passion to become a tour leader to serve as the ambassador of the country interacting with tourists that visit his country, which led him to pursue a tour guide license from the Department of Tourism, and successfully obtained it. He prides himself as being a fine resource for Bhutanese culture, Buddhism and ancient folk tales of Bhutan. There are hardly any treks or cultural trips in Bhutan that he has not been on. He speaks about five languages including Japanese. He was instrumental in assisting John Berthold who wrote the guide book of Bhutan, “The land of Thunder Dragon.” When not guiding, he spends time taking part in his favorite sports like Basketball, Table tennis & Archery.
Tashi Namgay is a native of Trongsa in Central Bhutan. After his high school in Paro, he went to Sherubtse College where he earned an English Honor’s Degree. He started his career in guiding since high school days and is passionate about sharing the Bhutanese culture, tradition & Buddhism to his guests. His local knowledge comes from the earlier job he held as the assistant curator of the National Museum in Paro Bhutan. He has done extensive research on Iconography of Buddhist Art for Buddhist scroll paintings. He has fond memories of his fellowship at National Gallery of Art in Washington DC and being involved in the WWF - International Tiger Conference.
Tashi has trekked and toured all of Bhutan season after season. His ability on the field has become unquestioned. Extremely knowledgeable, and alert to any situation he ranks among the top guides in the kingdom.
Lotey completed his schooling from Drugyel High School in Paro. He pursued his higher education in the Institute of Tourism & Hotel Management in Salzburg, Austria. Lotay has a contagious enthusiasm and his experience in a range of adventurous disciplines that ensures a successful trip for the travellers. He has an inborn talent in effective communication & people skills and is employed with the company as the Operations Manager (looking after trekking, transport & special programs). He has undergone many intensive courses in camp management; wilderness training and some of his hobbies include playing soccer, archery & spending time on scouting new treks in Bhutan. He is the main proponent of the International SOS office in Bhutan..
Kezang (meaning born Lucky) was born and raised in the countryside of Paro Bhutan. He grew up with nature, and developed a deep appreciation for it. After high school (2005), he fell in love with the tour guiding and officially became a trekking & tour guide having received his license from the Tourism Council of Bhutan. He loves guiding and is always excited about beginning a new trip to the mountains—above all, he loves being in nature and meeting new people. He has undergone the first responder's course along with an extensive tour leading training. Kezang was also the youth coordinator during the first democratic national elections in 2008 due to his leadership skills. When not guiding, he loves to engage in soccer, cricket and archery.
Jigme Tenzin began his career as a trekking guide in 2010. Previously, he served for 7 years as the chief technician of the only archery outlet in Bhutan. He has completed a number of leadership training seminars, including a seminar on high altitude medicine and a first responder’s course by NOLs. He is an amiable person with keen interest in trekking & culture of the country. He believes that “small things can make a big difference” & that outlook has made him a proficient & detailed oriented person allowing him to excel in his tour-guiding career. He has a true passion for singing and even produced an album several years back.
Singye Wangchuk has over 11 years of experience leading cultural and trekking tours in Bhutan. Over the years, he has completed several training courses, including a cultural and trekking guide course by Tourism Council of Bhutan, an advanced tour leader training course in Delhi (India) and attended a senior level trip leader course organized by explore Worldwide in London. He excelled in the first responder course by the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLs) from the United States, and a diverse array of Yangphel training workshops. His hobbies include traveling, reading and praying.