When we travel, most of us try to plot a schedule of where we are going to be and when, what time we arrive, and where we are going to stay. It’s tight, without much flexibility and tends to have us in a panic when things don’t go according to plan, and at most times this is due to a scheduled flight that we have to catch at some ungodly hour or a tourist bus warming up its engine again ten minutes after you get off.
Why not try wherever possible to travel overland locally. It’s a lot more fun, freestyle travel, when you arrive in a destination bhutan tour agency then get your accommodation, a lot of us will throw a Lonely Planet into our bags, however, in the spirit of adventure travel, why not take a chance and see what the taxi driver, rickshaw, or tuk tuk man has to recommend, sure he is getting commission off a friend or hotel manager, but is that really such a bad thing? Are you out to deprive the locals of a little extra cash?
Travelling overland can be exciting, unplanned, and offer you experiences you may just miss as you are rushing to the airport to get that plane. It offers you more flexibility to stop for longer in a favorite place, or whip through one that’s not so pleasant! You can experience the local transport on offer this way, meeting like-minded travellers and interesting local characters. Try the trains, boats, buses and slower transport like a peddled vehicle when cruising around the cities, you will be surprised where your driver can get you when you are not being ushered off a tourist bus and around for twenty minutes to be ushered back on.
Your personal driver will be happy to wait with his buddies while you amble around markets, or perhaps sit down with him and enjoy some local tea and broken conversation. If he isn’t there when you get back, then there are fifty others waiting to take you back to the hotel or somewhere else exciting. You need to take little risks to find out what the real local culture has to offer, remember to be a little wise, and most of us can tell when we are getting a bum deal, or lead into something a bit odd. But if you think that about everyone out there you may as well stay at home behind locked doors.
Using a locally operated tour company can be a great way to experience all this with a little more peace of mind. Find one that is dedicated to showing you true local culture, use local transport, accommodation and a local guide.