Bhutan is about so much more than its pretty mountain-scapes and panoramic views. Its all about the people, and their culture. The land is home to some incredible festivals, food, and traditions, that you may not be able to experience in their entirety when you stay within the confines of a hotel. Live and breathe an authentic Bhutanese living experience at one of the many wonderful Homestays in the Himalayan Kingdom.
The beautiful Haa valley, tucked in the mountains close to the India China border, is a perfect example of how incredibly serene nature can be. The dreamlike valley is a must visit location in Bhutan, and is home to some exceptional Lodges and Homestays.
HAA VALLEY HOMESTAY ( CHIMMI AND UGYEN )
These two farmhouses are located in the beautiful village of Dumchoe in the Haa valley. They belong to Ugyen and Chimmi. Either one of the farmhouses is a great place to stay if you want an authentic Bhutanese experience. Built from stone, clay and traditional woodwork, the place has a lovely rustic feeling to it. The hosts are both great and receive a lot of praise from anyone who stays at their homes.
One can learn to cook and enjoy traditional Bhutanese cuisine around a wood fueled stove, or Bukari. Ugyen and his father tend to their yak frequently and provide guests with some dried meat whenever they can. For those of you with a strong gut, the hosts will offer some fresh brewed “Ara” – a strong local alcoholic beverage. Overall, the Haa Valley Homestay is a must visit spot for anyone looking for an original village like experience in Bhutan. Both Ugyen and Chimmi know how to give their guests an absolutely delightful stay.
SOEDNAM ZINGKHA HERITGE LODGE
An old farmhouse that has been restored to provide you with the comforts of any modern day hotel, the Soednam Zingkha Heritage Lodge sits in the Hatey village in Haa. The quaint village looks as old as time, and offers the perfect getaway from your everyday city life. The house has 15 rooms. Despite it old traditional look that helps it fit so well into a village setting, everything you’ll find inside is fitted with modern amenities to ensure that your stay is as comfortable as possible. The owners of the Lodge take great pride in the fact that they hosted the King and Queen of Bhutan back in 2015.
There’s plenty of ways to kill time at the Lodge, from the archery and darts, to relaxing hot stone baths. There are even a few trails outside to hike or cycle through. During your stay there, you will be treated to some exquisite Bhutanese food in the dining room. You could also sit in the beautiful and calm altar room and meditate, if that’s your kind of thing. All this and more make for a memorable stay at the Soednam Zingkha Lodge.
Be sure to check out these Homestays when you plan a trip to Bhutan, the Himalayan Kingdom.
The lovely valley town Paro, west of the capital, is home to some incredible monasteries and other sacred sites. The town also has the only international airport in Bhutan. Paro is a tourist hotspot in Bhutan with it’s many landmarks and exciting culture. It is impossible to ignore Paro on your Bhutan itinerary. Be sure to find a great homestay to settle into and experience the culture to it’s fullest.
PARO PENLOP DAWA PENJOR HERITAGE FARMHOUSE
This property was built in the 18th century, by the 23rd governor of Paro. The house was originally home to the governor along with his two wives. The property was refurbished while keeping most of its original heritage intact, making it an important cultural site to visit.
This lavish farmhouse offers plenty of reasons to stay, from the hot stone bath, to the handicraft/textile galleries. The homestay offers a variety of cuisine including Indian, Chinese, or authentic Bhutanese. The homestay also includes a bar and a souvenir shop. The host and staff here really go out of their way to make your stay pleasant and memorable.
GANGTEY PALACE HOMESTAY
Aesthetic and elegant, this old 19th century palace is located just 10 minutes from the city centre. The Lavish property overlooks the Paro Dzong and offers a stunning view. The homestay offers both standard and deluxe rooms. Both rooms offer comfort and cleanliness, but the deluxe rooms come with some extra square footage and some beautiful antiques. The palace has been restored immaculately, and is a great way to experience Bhutan. Right at the entrance, there is a temple dedicated to the goddes of wealth. This temple has an altar room and sits in a beautiful garden. Guests staying here are allowed to meditate inside the altar room.
You can find incredible views from both the dining room and the bar, where you can enjoy some mouth-watering food. You can relax and unwind in a hot stone bath, or with a nice cup of tea in the lounge area. The Gangtey palace homestay is a great place to stay during the annual Paro Tsechu. The 19 rooms are situated on some steep-ish terrain, so make sure your knees can take it. Also, be sure to visit the monastries in Paro, which are only a walk away from the homestay.
NEMJO HERITAGE LODGE
This old farmhouse has been beautifully refurbished to offer you a blissful stay. The property sits in the Paro valley, furnished with old woodwork and fine craftsmanship. The top floor is a penthouse like suite, designed for comfort, and offering a breathtaking view of the forests and apple orchards around. The Paddy fields outside are lovely to walk through and relax. The luxury suite comes with a huge lounging area, quiet reading corners, and a well-stocked mini-bar.
Downstairs, besides the three guest rooms, the homestay has an indoor bar and restaurant, and a lovely garden café outside. The hosts and the staff are really friendly and their service is great. While you’re here, you simply have to try out the traditional herbal bath that the staff would be more than pleased to draw for you. The next door neighbor is really friendly and would be delighted to share some of his Bhutanese cooking with the guests staying at the lodge.
OffbeatTracks is the perfect travel agency for offbeat Bhutan experiences. Check out Bhutan holiday packages for an exciting trip.