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
Vouchers
Accepted
Holiday type
Small group holidays
Small group travel is not large group travel scaled down. It is modelled on independent travel – but with the advantage of a group leader to take care of the itinerary, accommodation and tickets, and dealing with the language. It’s easy to tick off the big sights independently – but finding those one-off experiences, local festivals, travelling markets and secret viewpoints is almost impossible for someone without the insider knowledge gained from years in the field. If you’re heading off on a gap year your, perhaps – but for those with a two-week holiday, a small group tour will save valuable planning time.

The leaders are not guides – they’re not there to shepherd you around. Instead, they’ll let you know which local restaurant serves great value food – without running the risk of travellers’ tummy. They’ll allow you to avoid hour-long queues at train stations and attractions.

We like to think of small group travel as the Goldilocks option. It is independent travel without the fuss, worry and bunk beds – and organised travel without the coaches. And it’s cheaper than a tailor made tour. It’s sits somewhere in the middle – and we think it’s just about right.
What are the main benefits?
Big experiences
Have big, life-enriching experiences that would be impossible to organise without lots of time and insider knowledge.

Simplicity
Make the most of your holiday time by letting someone else do the hard work and boring logistics!

Peace of mind
Small group tours take care of the security aspects – and provide a safety net should anything unexpected happen.
Who is it ideal for?
Travellers who are short of time
If you don’t have three months to spend exploring, small groups trips let you cover more ground in less time. Your days are not spent queuing for tickets or finding hotels – so you can squeeze more into your holiday.

Solo travellers who’d like company
Likeminded travel companions plus peace of mind for those travelling alone. Single supplements are usually available – providing privacy if you want it.

Less confident travellers
Stray from the tourist trail without worrying about getting lost, and meet local people without dealing with the language barrier.
Mythbuster
“I won’t get any privacy!”
Couples and friends have private rooms, and you can choose to eat alone or not. Single supplements give solo travellers their own room.

“There won’t be any free time”
Free mornings or afternoons let you explore on your own, or just relax.

“The accommodation will be basic”
Trips are as high or low end as you like. Though off the beaten track destinations won’t have luxury hotels, this is all part of the adventure.

“I won’t like the other travellers!”
Tour operators try to create groups with a similar demographic – age, families, activity levels... Chances are, you’ll even make new friends.

“Will we be following an umbrella?”
No.
Meet a group leader
As well as taking care of all the day-to-day practicalities, your group leader is the one who will turn your trip into an adventure. Leaders are extraordinary characters – the kind of person who has spent 14 Christmas days on the slopes of Mount Everest, runs marathons wearing tiger suits to raise funds for their conservation and thinks nothing of leading an overland trip in Sudan or Afghanistan. Fearless and inspiring, group leaders are as important as the destination itself.

Meet a local guide
No matter how experienced your group leader, they can never make up for the knowledge gained from a lifetime in the destination. That’s why many of our trips work with local guides around the world – who invite you into their homeland with pleasure. As well as doing crazy things like climbing Kilimanjaro 100 times, they also donate their time to local projects supported by travellers – such as rebuilding Sri Lankan villages following the 2004 tsunami.

Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Bhutan culture & home stay tour

Environment

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.

Community

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 travellers – 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.

1 Reviews of Bhutan culture & home stay tour

5 out of 5 stars
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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 10 Apr 2013 by

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


It is a hard question as the whole holiday 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 travellers booking this holiday?


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 holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Yes, I think so

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday 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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