Bhutan culture & home stay tour

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Departure information

This trip can be tailormade at a time to suit you and can be adapted to suit your interests, budget and requirements as necessary

Responsible tourism

As the pioneers of responsible tourism, we screen every trip so you can travel knowing your vacation will help support conservation and local people.

We are Partners of Conservation and have been recognized for our contribution to “Biodiversity Conservation in Bhutan”-helping our Department of Forests and Park Services save wildlife and alleviate the hardship of rural livelihood through membership fees and promoting Home Stay Tours so that farmers can generate additional income through home stays which will help offset losses resulting from wildlife damage to crops and property.

The residents of Chokor Toe encounter unique benefits and challenges as a result of living within Wanchuck Centennial Park (WCP), the biggest and newest of ten protected areas in Bhutan. WCP and WWF Bhutan have been working collaboratively to co-manage and implement several conservation and livelihood development initiatives within and around the park.

The villages in and around the park heavily depend on the park for timber, roofing materials and fuel wood. To reduce the pressure on natural resources, 5 villages were supplied with solar panels and 60 households were supplied corrugated galvanized iron (CGI) sheets for roofing.

The project, in coordination with the Mushroom Development Centre, conducted 2 training sessions on sustainable mushroom harvesting for local communities and forestry staff in Bumthang Dzongkhag.

Crop depredation by wildlife is another major concern for poaching and hunting of wild animals. To better manage the potential human-wildlife conflicts, the project is supporting local communities to take up low volume high value crops. Over 5,000 walnut seedlings were raised within the communities and supplied to the rest of the farmers through the extension network.

An anti-poaching unit has been established at the park office to oversee all anti-poaching activities and compounding offences. A Village Informant System has also been established through which information on land encroachment and poaching activities are relayed to park management by the appointed village informers; the village informers are rewarded for genuine information; and the offenders are penalized according the existing government rules.

The Impacts of this Trip

Home stay in Chokor Toe offers a unique tourism opportunity to stay in an eco-friendly farmhouse and experience life in a rural village. A home stay feels like home away from home, offering travelers – foreign, regional or national – an opportunity to experience daily life on a farm in Bhutan’s countryside.

Households selected for the home stay program have been provided with support from WWF Bhutan, Wangchuck Centennial Park, Tourism Council of Bhutan, Helvetas, and Elysium Foundation. Funding has paid for materials to update infrastructure including modern toilets, showers and wood shingles, and local community members provided the labour. Twenty homes have received support to date, with 15 now open for business, ready to accommodate guests.

As part of the homestay program, 12 young women from the region received hospitality training to learn about housekeeping and cooking for guests, and general home stay management.

In addition to new infrastructure and training, communities are working to create and capitalize on an “alpine organic” feel in the region. New wood shingles highlight the traditional alpine look. Visitors can opt to enjoy outdoor cultural dances or take a dip in a hot bath drawn in an outdoor wooden tub. The ultimate intent is to provide meals made with organic produce, including milk, butter, cheese, flour, and vegetables, direct from the village. To achieve this goal, greenhouse facilities and organic seeds have been provided to promote organic farming and reduce the need for imported vegetables throughout the year.

The home stay program is designed to offer an alternative source of livelihood for farmers to minimize urban migration and distribute tourism-related income more equitably between urban and rural areas. The Home Stay initiative also aims to reduce dependence on local forest products and help offset losses resulting from wildlife damage.


3 Reviews of Bhutan culture & home stay tour

4.5 out of 5 stars

In depth story review

“It is going to be a giggle. An absolute giggle. I just feel that there is a whole world out there that I haven’t seen. It will be absolutely amazing.”

Reviewed on 24 Mar 2019 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

Seeing the soaring himalayas from our snowy Bumdra camp early in the
morning was an unforgettable experience.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

Firstly - go and go now! Bhutan is a beautiful country - it’s people are warm
and welcoming and it is culturally fascinating. Read about Buddhism when you’re there and you will get more out of the experience but just go!

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

We used a charming local guide and a driver for the whole trip and we also did
a home stay.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

It exceeded our expectations - in addition to the stunning scenery, ancient temples and welcoming people, we found it fascinating to see a country at the cusp of huge change.

Reviewed on 05 Mar 2018 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

Please don't make me choose the best highlight - but if I have too, then it was the drive from Thimphu up through the Haa Valley, which has to be one of the most beautiful places on earth - you have to see it to believe it.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

Whilst loyal to it's traditions, Bhutan is not a living museum so be prepared for more modernity than you may have expected. Tourism is a major and growing industry, but very carefully controlled and so, for that reason, your vacation is organised and you are in the company of a guide and driver for much of it. They are excellent at their jobs, very knowledgeable and will tweak the timetable if they can do it so don't be afraid to ask.

Think about doing a home stay or at least having a home cooked meal - the hotels and restaurants are of a good standard but eating local farmhouse food,
cooked and served in the traditional Bhutanese way, is an experience not to be missed - they might even teach you how to make your favorite dish if there's time. Oh, and don't forget to haggle when you're shopping - the marked price often isn't what you have to pay.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Absolutely, though I do have some concerns about the environmental impact of the amount of plastics being used, water bottles for example.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

It wasn't what I expected, but I'm not sure what that was. I didn't realize I would be accompanied quite so much, and, at first, that niggled a bit, but once my guide explained, very honestly, the reasons why independent traveling was not found to be appropriate for Bhutan I understood the situation and became
more comfortable with it, also, you can get used to the 4 star treatment very quickly, and 4 star it is - the country, the people, the food, the culture - all of it.
Was I glad I went, oh yes, will I go back, most definitely.

Reviewed on 10 Apr 2013 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

It is a hard question as the whole vacation was very memorable. The Tiger Nest walk, the Gangtey Valley, the Lika Monastery as well as the Wangditse Gompa were the places we liked the most

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

I would tell them that Bhutan is much more touristic than what I thought but, despite that it manages to remain unspoilt and very spontaneous. Being more touristic also means very well organized and with very good hotels.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes, I think so

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

Super!!! For that, I really have to thank Namgay & Dorji for the great organization, their kindness, the attention to details, their professionalism, for the accommodations they booked, and especially for the guide and driver who made our trip really special: one by answering to all our questions, the other one for driving so safely, and both for their attention and kindness

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