AITO: The Association of Independent Tour Operators
Mountain Kingdoms

Mountain Kingdoms Traveller Reviews

Reviews of Mountain Kingdoms

Overall Company Rating
96%
Excellent 76
Good 4
Average 3
Poor 2
Terrible 0
Reviews Submitted: 85
Reviews Accepted: 85
Reviews Rejected: 0
85 reviews
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Mountain Kingdoms by R, 28 Nov 2016
Holiday Rating:

Super trek in Nepal

We had a superb time on the Manaslu circuit. We were well looked after and the arrangements worked brilliantly.

We had a superb time on the Manaslu circuit. We were well looked after and the arrangements worked brilliantly.

Rating for tour operator:

Mountain kingdoms organisation is first rate. The companies they use in Nepal were all responsible and attentive to our needs.

Mountain Kingdoms responded to this review on 29 Nov 2016:

Excellent! I think - sad about the demise of the Annapurna Circuit, long live the Manaslu Circuit

Mountain Kingdoms responded to this review on 29 Nov 2016:

Great, thanks for this feedback!!

Mountain Kingdoms by Mr GR, 22 Nov 2016
Holiday Rating:

Three High Passes of Everest

This was my first trek at High Altitude - and it was exactly as they described , as strenuous. But thoroughly enjoyable. The two guides were superb and made sure we were able to get the most out of the three weeks. Their experience, knowledge, skill and care for us all in the party was exceptional,aided by by their lovely sense of humour. It was obvious from the looks on other trekkers' faces in the Tea Houses that they were envious of the way ...

This was my first trek at High Altitude - and it was exactly as they described , as strenuous. But thoroughly enjoyable. The two guides were superb and made sure we were able to get the most out of the three weeks. Their experience, knowledge, skill and care for us all in the party was exceptional,aided by by their lovely sense of humour. It was obvious from the looks on other trekkers' faces in the Tea Houses that they were envious of the way were were looked after. The Shangri-La hotel in Kathmandu was excellent, both staff and facilities.

Rating for tour operator:

First rate! All arrangements went exactly as described in their brochure (to some extent this is in the 'lap of the gods' as weather can play a large part in this, but the guides would have dealt with any difficulties) from being met at the airport at Kathmandu on arrival to (reluctantly!) leaving to come home. Staff excellent. The brochure giving advice on what to take, how to prepare etc was very detailed and helpful. All contact with staff at the office prior to departure was efficient and friendly.

Mountain Kingdoms responded to this review on 23 Nov 2016:

Great feedback - thanks Gordon!!

Mountain Kingdoms responded to this review on 23 Nov 2016:

Again many thanks for this Gordon!!

Definitive Cultural Tour Tibet by Lizw , 15 Nov 2016
Holiday Rating:

Cultural highlights of Bhutan and Tibet

Expensive holiday but worth every penny. 2 bucket list destinations that met all expectations. Very full itineraries with little individual exploration time, but in locations like this you need to see everything in one hit. Great detailed itinerary pack supplied by MK so we knew each day what was happening. If the tour guide missed something one day we saw it the next day. Extremely knowledgeable tour guide in Bhutan who was a storyteller ...

Expensive holiday but worth every penny. 2 bucket list destinations that met all expectations. Very full itineraries with little individual exploration time, but in locations like this you need to see everything in one hit. Great detailed itinerary pack supplied by MK so we knew each day what was happening. If the tour guide missed something one day we saw it the next day. Extremely knowledgeable tour guide in Bhutan who was a storyteller as well as a historian. Beautiful country with amazing temples and the top being The Tiger Nest. I lost 3 pounds in weight due to eating healthy vegetables and rice and walking miles. Tibet was more road travelling and built up areas. The tour was less free as we had to have a security guard who monitored the tour guide. Lots of security checks on the road. The Potala Palace was rushed due to the tour guide only having 1 hour per group to show us around which was disappointing. We did stay in a Tibetan hotel which was fabulous. I would without a doubt use Mountain Kingdoms again and highly recommend them.. Several other members of the tour had been on a few more holidays with them and constantly praised them..

Rating for tour operator:

Organised, informative and approachable

Mountain Kingdoms responded to this review on 15 Nov 2016:

Love this feedback .........many thanks indeed

Mountain Kingdoms responded to this review on 15 Nov 2016:

Again many thanks for your praise!

Mountain Kingdoms by Mrs P T 16, 8 Nov 2016
Holiday Rating:

A trip of adventures and extremes in northern Vietnam!

This 'Hill Tribe Trails of Northern Vietnam' trip was a holiday of adventures and extremes – from the first adventure of the overnight train to the hills; the comparisons of the varied ethnic minorities’ lifestyles; the contrast between the luxury (and peace and quiet) at Topas Ecolodge and on the Halong Bay cruise (a tourist trap, if ever there was one!) - and the privilege of being part of the remote homestay family’s basic way of life; the ...

This 'Hill Tribe Trails of Northern Vietnam' trip was a holiday of adventures and extremes – from the first adventure of the overnight train to the hills; the comparisons of the varied ethnic minorities’ lifestyles; the contrast between the luxury (and peace and quiet) at Topas Ecolodge and on the Halong Bay cruise (a tourist trap, if ever there was one!) - and the privilege of being part of the remote homestay family’s basic way of life; the delights of glimpsing Hanoi’s French colonial architecture; and the enjoyment of delicious Vietnamese cuisine. Congratulations: another great Mountain Kingdoms trip

Rating for tour operator:

Mountain Kingdoms offers walking and trekking, as well as luxury holidays, and in my view always offers the chance to interact with local people, with visits to villages, homes, to see 'how people live'. As a small independent company, they are a delight to deal with.

Mountain Kingdoms responded to this review on 09 Nov 2016:

Many thanks for the feed back Mrs Turnbull

Mountain Kingdoms responded to this review on 09 Nov 2016:

Thank you so much for your kind comments!!

Mountain Kingdoms by jpf, 24 Oct 2016
Holiday Rating:

Walking on Singalila Ridge

Despite torrential rain for 36 hours at the outset of our trek we had a wonderful time. Our guide was able to adjust our itinerary so that, although we missed one day's trekking, we still were able to enjoy the fantastic scenery. The climax was seeing the sunrise over Kanchenjunga and Everest.

Despite torrential rain for 36 hours at the outset of our trek we had a wonderful time. Our guide was able to adjust our itinerary so that, although we missed one day's trekking, we still were able to enjoy the fantastic scenery. The climax was seeing the sunrise over Kanchenjunga and Everest.

Rating for tour operator:

A well organised trip. We were met, as arranged, and all our transfers happened seamlessly. The tour leader was very experienced. We had a wonderful cook and a happy band of porters (one of whom was an Everest summiteer).

Mountain Kingdoms responded to this review on 31 Oct 2016:

Glad to hear you had a great time. October weather was very bad this year in Sikkim and Bhutan - very unusual. Next door Nepal enjoyed excellent weather!

Mountain Kingdoms responded to this review on 31 Oct 2016:

All good stuff. Thank you for your compliments and feedback.

Luxury Lodges to Machu Picchu by JohnO, 21 Oct 2016
Holiday Rating:

Combined trek to Machu Picchu and Ausangate

A trip of a lifetime! A wonderful mixture of terrain, scenery and cultural experiences, guided by people who are happy, well looked after, and care that their clients are safe and having a great time

A trip of a lifetime! A wonderful mixture of terrain, scenery and cultural experiences, guided by people who are happy, well looked after, and care that their clients are safe and having a great time

Rating for tour operator:

This is the second Mountain Kingdoms trek that I have been on, and I can honestly say that the service they provide is faultless. Their staff in the UK are extremely friendly, helpful and efficient, and being well-travelled themselves, they can offer first class advice. At your destination, everything seems to 'work' and run smoothly, with transport, accommodation, food etc usually exceeding expectations. Best of all though, Mountain Kingdoms always seem to employ the very best local guides and support staff, who are knowledgeable, entertaining and most importantly, also make you feel safe and looked after at all times. A first class service all round

Mountain Kingdoms responded to this review on 31 Oct 2016:

Excellent!! That's what it's all about

Mountain Kingdoms responded to this review on 31 Oct 2016:

Thank you very much for your great feedback Mr Osbourne!!

Everest Base Camp in Style by GLS, 9 May 2016
Holiday Rating:

Wonderful experience

I did a 14 day trek to Everest Base Camp. The holiday was well organised and was a wonderful experience - challenging at times, but that was the intention! All in all it was a very rewarding travel experience.

I did a 14 day trek to Everest Base Camp. The holiday was well organised and was a wonderful experience - challenging at times, but that was the intention! All in all it was a very rewarding travel experience.

Rating for tour operator:

Mountain Kingdoms were responsive, helpful and efficient and provided a well-run trip.

Mountain Kingdoms responded to this review on 09 May 2016:

Yes, we all have preconceptions of what something is going to be like but the trek to Everest never fails to 'wow' people, and just getting to Base camp and Kala Patar are very fine achievements in their own right!! Well done that man....

Mountain Kingdoms responded to this review on 09 May 2016:

Thanks ....... as we should be!!

Great Wall of China by J&T, 15 Apr 2016
Holiday Rating:

Beijing and the Great Wall of China

In early April 2016 we started a 6 day trek of The Great Wall with some trepidation. It all just seemed up! But what a wonderful, exhausting, brilliant time we had. We saw the wall in all its guises from earthen bank to full restoration. At times we walked on sections of the wall that few other visitors ever see. This was enhanced by the magnificent wild fruit blossom of the peach, cherry and apricot trees that we saw on the way. In places ...

In early April 2016 we started a 6 day trek of The Great Wall with some trepidation. It all just seemed up! But what a wonderful, exhausting, brilliant time we had. We saw the wall in all its guises from earthen bank to full restoration. At times we walked on sections of the wall that few other visitors ever see. This was enhanced by the magnificent wild fruit blossom of the peach, cherry and apricot trees that we saw on the way. In places the trees had been cut down to enable access to the wall but in some sections (at Jiankou a virtually deserted section of the wall) we meandered through the blossoming trees, smelling their fragrant scent as we walked and clambered along the Great Wall in its largely original condition where the vegetation was allowed to flourish. A truly memorable experience that will stay with us forever. We also enjoyed a whirlwind tour of Beijing and X'ian to complement the tour.

Rating for tour operator:

Great at communicating, providing relevant information and taking care of us throughout the entire process. Highly recommended.

Mountain Kingdoms responded to this review on 15 Apr 2016:

Excellent!!

Mountain Kingdoms responded to this review on 15 Apr 2016:

Thank you for your comments, and hope you will travel with us again!!

Gentle Walking Bhutan by travellingpat, 25 Jan 2016
Holiday Rating:

Fascinating country

Bhutan itself was very different from India and Nepal, quite fascinating. I enjoyed the holiday and opportunity for some walking, even if I, along with others in the group, couldn't do all of it, rather than sitting in a tour bus most of the time.

Bhutan itself was very different from India and Nepal, quite fascinating. I enjoyed the holiday and opportunity for some walking, even if I, along with others in the group, couldn't do all of it, rather than sitting in a tour bus most of the time.

Rating for tour operator:

Booking and communications efficient. Hotels of not so good to excellent. Not so good had bags of character but freezing bedroom. Bathroom so cold no showering. However, they did supply cosy blankets and hot water bottle. Excellent was Dwarika in Kathmandu. A real treat and helpful staff. All hotels provided kettles but limited supplies - take your own. Guide and driver were excellent and did a good job for us. Itinerary: Poor in that little or no account taken of some visits not being possible because it was student winter holidays, winter closing times and that it got dark earlier in winter. MAJOR GRIPE - 2 of walks were treks rather than walks and definitely not GENTLE. Brochure described holiday as suitable 'if you enjoy weekend walking in the British countryside' That is a complete misrepresentation. You need to be able to contend with steep, some long, hills, and get in some hill walking before you go.

Mountain Kingdoms responded to this review on 26 Jan 2016:

Glad to hear you enjoyed the kingdom of Bhutan. Compared with the frenetic pace of life in India or Kathmandu Bhutan is a haven of peace.

Mountain Kingdoms responded to this review on 26 Jan 2016:

Thank you for your feedback. We will beef up our Trek Dossier to warn clients that in mid December in can be very cold at night in the Himalaya, and although the hotels and lodges have wood-burning stoves or electric heaters rooms are cold. We appreciate that the ongoing roadworks across Bhutan caused delays. We sincerely are sorry about this, but had no idea of their extent until a visit by our MD in October/November. We will investigate winter closing times, though this has not been an issue in the past. Regarding your MAJOR GRIPE - we imagine you are referring to the walk up to Taksang monastery which everyone who goes to Bhutan does, and you have the option to go only as far as the cafeteria which is halfway. Of the other walks all are adjustable or optional. All walks are described in detail in our Detailed day-by-Day itinerary. If you would like to write to us with details of these two walks and why you felt they were so hard we will gladly look at this issue. In any event we are very pleased you appreciated the best 5 star hotel in Kathmandu and the pick of the best tourist standard hotels and lodges in Bhutan, and that your Guide and driver were excellent. I hope the memory of the magical kingdom will last always.

Gentle Walking Bhutan by JCS London, 21 Jan 2016
Holiday Rating:

Beautiful Winter Travel in Bhutan Spoilt by Operator's Poor Performance

Bhutan is a country of superb beauty, culture, devotional art and lovely, generous people; thankfully, the general itinerary of this trip, the sites visited and walks programmed, gave a fine introduction (but be advised that many of the walks on this trip are not "gentle" but moderately strenuous, especially when taking altitude into account). BUT... this was a winter departure (Dec 2015) which imposes complicating seasonal constraits, e.g., ...

Bhutan is a country of superb beauty, culture, devotional art and lovely, generous people; thankfully, the general itinerary of this trip, the sites visited and walks programmed, gave a fine introduction (but be advised that many of the walks on this trip are not "gentle" but moderately strenuous, especially when taking altitude into account). BUT... this was a winter departure (Dec 2015) which imposes complicating seasonal constraits, e.g., fewer daylight hours, early closings of some venues as well as hotel closures, and, frequently, overnight temperatures below freezing; these factors, or their consequences, were not made sufficiently clear (or not within adequate time to cancel without losing our money) - SO BEWARE! This is true also of road conditions which due to construction are, and will be for some time, awful throughout almost all the area travelled: from Dochu La Pass to Punakha, and especially from there to Trongsa; thence on to the entrance to the Bumthang valleys; and then going over to Phobjikha/Gangtey. These factors combined to cause frequent delay and discomfort, including some accommodations having very little heating; and several programmed activities to be cancelled. There is, however, very real benefit to visiting Bhutan in winter: the skies were mostly brilliantly clear during the day (nights tended to be socked in with cloud, so sadly, few stars seen); our group was small, only 8; and there were very few other tourists around so the pricipal sites - dzongs, temples and monasteries (except Taktsang) - as well as the Trongsa Tsechu (exceptional, an unforgettable experience) were blissfully uncrowded. But overall, and in significant details as recounted here, this trip with Mountain Kingdoms was unsatisfactory. It can clearly be splendid to visit Bhutan in winter IF you're aware of these limitations AND are confident that your tour operator has done the work needed to minimise problems!

Rating for tour operator:

Of greatest concern and consequence were Mountain Kingdoms’ inaccurate representation of, and inattention to basic details in the planning and preparation for this winter trip to Bhutan. Winter weather conditions (freezing temperatures, reduced hours of daylight), available accommodation, winter opening hours as well as general road conditions (throughout the year) – matters that Mountain Kingdoms should be very well aware of – seem not to have been taken into proper account. Consequently, some site visits and walks had to be omitted, heating at lodgings was frequently inadequate and we were often rushed in what we did do; and, there was insufficient time for other activities such as shopping. In addition, I do not believe the trip's grading, as "gentle", their lowest level of difficulty, is accurate; the trip has several quite challenging walks and when high altitude is taken into account I felt the trip was overall moderately strenuous, especially given this operators numerous levels of grading. To be completely fair, the especially strenuous walks are noted in their detailed itinerary, but the general rating is what people see when initially evaluating the suitability of the trip; it's all too easy to minimize bits of walks; and this results in some people pushing themselves too hard or having to omit walks or portions thereof. Together these issues left me, and others I believe, too often frustrated, uncomfortable, stressed and potentially at risk.

Mountain Kingdoms responded to this review on 22 Jan 2016:

We are pleased that you enjoyed the magical kingdom of Bhutan and that you thought our itinerary was well constructed to include not only the main sites but to take you to all sorts of places not so well traveled. We are sorry however, that the roadworks currently in progress in Bhutan made the road journeys longer than usual. These roadworks started in the summer of 2015 but we were not aware of their extent until November when I returned along the roads myself. As a result we redesigned your itinerary to allow more time for the drives and informed all clients in advance. I see you stayed in excellent hotels and lodges in every place in Bhutan, and had the best 5 star hotel in Kathmandu. We provided you with a comprehensive Tour Dossier that advised you to take warm clothes as you would be traveling to the Himalaya in the depths of winter. This was reinforced in a phone conversation you had with your dedicated Operations Manager. You could not have been under any illusion that it would be cold at night. I have stayed in all the hotels you used and know that they have wood burning stoves or electric heaters. I am pleased you enjoyed the amazing spectacle of the Tongsa festival. I am sorry to hear though that you tripped and injured your hamstring. We are at pains to emphasize that our Grades should not be interpreted in a literal sense but by reference to our own definitions of the Grades. The walks are described as accurately as we can in our detailed itinerary. This walking holiday allows clients to pick and choose which walks they want to do. The Guides are flexible in this regard. There is no very high altitude in this program and the visit to Taksang (hardest day) is at the end, by when there has been time to adjust to the minor effects of relatively low altitude, and by when clients would be fit after a 10 day walking holiday.

Mountain Kingdoms responded to this review on 22 Jan 2016:

It is interesting to note that 2 other clients on the holiday wrote to warn us that there was a client for whom nothing was ever right and who complained the whole time. One said 'I could not fault Mountain Kingdoms'. We are indeed sorry about the roadworks but we were genuinely unaware of the works between Punakha and Jakar. As soon as we became aware we immediately reacted and carried out some redesign and informed the group. You had a top Guide, a good minibus for the journey, the pick of the best tourist standard hotels and lodges in Bhutan (5 Star upgrades are available), the best 5 Star hotel in Kathmandu, a festival that is rarely visited by westerners, excellent weather, and some really lovely walks. The itinerary was followed but with minor adjustments which were handled well by our Guide. We are at pains in our literature to point out that Bhutan is a small and remote Himalayan kingdom only recently emerging from centuries of isolation. European standards do not always apply and anyone traveling there must go with a sense of adventure and ready to accept the unexpected.