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Home Stay - Sustainable Tourism - Eco Tourism

Bhutan is home to numerous ethnic groups, with many tribal peoples like the Brokpa, Lepcha, and Doya, living in rural villages all over Bhutan. However, there are some distinct large ethnic groups – including the Ngalop of Tibetan origin who live mainly in western and northern Bhutan and are the dominant political and cultural element. Their language, Dzongkha, is the national tongue.  The Sharchop live in eastern Bhutan; and the Lhotshampa in the south. 

Bhutan’s landscape is as rich and unspoilt as its culture. Steep high mountains, deep valleys and swift rivers offer breathtakingly beautiful scenery. In the north there is the alpine shrub and meadows of the Eastern Himalayas; central Bhutan is made up of the Black Mountains, dense forests and the river systems of Mo Chhu and Drangme Chhu; and the south comprises the Shiwalik Hills, lowland river valleys, and subtropical Duars Plain with its dense vegetation.

Bhutan is is known for its colourful festivals or tshechus, elaborate and colourful Bhuddist celebrations held at temples, dzongs and monasteries throughout the country usually to mark important events in the life of the second Buddha, Guru Rinpoche. Monks perform sacred cham masked dances to the sound of horns and cymbals, interspersed with performances of folksongs, whilst atsaras, naughty clowns with vast wooden phalli, entertain the crowd! People flock from surrounding villages dressed in their best clothes to enjoy these lively, high-spirited festivals. They receive blessings, catch up with friends and family and share meals of red rice, spicy pork, ema datshi and momos (pork dumplings) whilst drinking the heady traditional rice wine known as ara.

We are trying to develop sustainable village tourismas a tool and have taken extra care to spread awareness of local culture and lifestyle.  We as a tourism house did not discover the destination we just developed a network of small operators and knowledgeable / passionate individuals to develop home stay so that our activities helps local people socially and economically. Interaction with travelers and the knowledge that they are visiting for the richness in the culture brings in a sense of pride amongst the people and also brings in supplementary sources of income hence it makes economic sense to the villagers as well. We use our time and patience to identify our partners in each destination. The focus was always about finding partners who are already involved in working with local people. Home stay or tea tourism is two of the options most popular among our guests. The stay is with very basic facilities and creates less impact environmentally.

A concept preferred by most of our guest and is fast catching up locally and internationally.  Home stay is arranged and run by villagers and it includes staying in villages or a whole village set up made especially for the guest. It is known by different name in different region. Birding, short trails, angling are part of the stay and are not spoken or written separately, it is part of the concept.

The stay is simple with basic infrastructure and is about bringing one closer to local cultures and environment. Local guide from the destination will help guest with their cultures and ways of life far better and earn a much needed income. There are festivals and special arrangement for guest who wants more. Staying in cottages, fishing, small walks, cooking or simply doing nothing are some of the options travelers ask for. Village or Home Stay  popularity is fast catching up and many of the places in this region are setting up such facilities with some form of adventure for the guest. There are number of such home stay facilities in the region. Guest visit helps the economy, buying local products, buying art materials and using local villagers as guide or help.

The benefits are  participating in Sustainable village tourism, observe about the lifestyle of the group / tribe, guest can spread their own message, Teach and learn environmental issues, Gain knowledge about a particular place / region / people, Enjoy an idea of culture, religion etc, visiting Off beat destination, To learn cooking, agriculture, angling etc and Participate in local festivals

Some of the famous and nice home stay sites are the following. Here the hospitality is warm and one can participate in any activities of choice. One can cook or learn agricultural practice, birding, angling or just go for a short trek. Some of our guest has stayed for three days and extended it for a couple of days just to participate in their festival celebration. Guest returns to the same place again and again. The guest might learn to cook some of the local dishes like Momo or dumpling etc. Yes the sophistication is missing but the warmth and hospitality is pleasing 

Tags: Home Stay, Cultural Packages, Eco Stay, Home Stay , Ethnic tour