Given its unique and picturesque landscape and associated conservation significance, Phobjikha Valley has become a favorable tourist destination. Although, the number of tourists visiting the valley have increased over the years, benefits accrued to the local community have not been significant which in the long run, may lead to disenchantment of the local population towards conservation stewardship. While the onuses of preserving the ecosystem lie with the local communities, they lack the financial and technical capacity to harness the benefits of tourism. The Community Based Sustainable Tourism (CBST) project designed to bridge this gap was initiated by the Royal Society for Protection of Nature (RSPN) an environmental NGO in Bhutan. This project seeks to harness the tourism potential of Phobjikha’s natural and cultural richness for the benefit of local community. Further, the growing preference of tourists in nature and community tourism has made this initiative a viable option.
WHY THE HIGH TARIFF: Bhutanese Tourism Policy
In keeping with the Tourism Council of Bhutan’s policy of “High Value. Low Impact” tourism a Minimum Daily Package is required for tourists. The rates are applicable per tourist per night halt in Bhutan.
With the daily package the following services are covered:
- All meals
- A licensed Bhutanese tour guide for the extent of your stay
- All internal transport (excluding internal flights)
It also includes:
- All internal taxes and charges
- A sustainable tourism Royalty of $65. This Royalty goes towards free education, free healthcare, poverty alleviation, along with the building of infrastructure.
Even if you have to book through a local agent, by choosing to stay in farm/homestay you support our approach of directly benefiting local community members. They will get a fair share of the tourism revenue generated. Furthermore, our philosophy is not to create “cheap” accommodation but – by following the traditions – to reciprocate our hosts adequately for the privilege of being welcomed into their private space and being given food, shelter and shown unique hospitality. After all and as opposed to tourist hotels and guesthouses, which follow an imported commercialized and standardized hospitality concept, you will encounter highly sophisticated and long established hospitality practices in these local homes!
If you stay in one of our houses you will experience unique hospitality and get to know the daily life of a family first hand as we do not impose standardizing models based on ideas of commercial hospitality on our hosts. Bhutan has rich traditions and customs of maintaining guest/host relations across the valleys and borders and the cultural practices associated with that are refined and multiple. Hence you will not only experience authentic hospitality but also support the preservation of the latter. Although we try to cater to the needs of our foreign guests as much as possible we reject a “one-model-for-all” approach and do not encourage “training” or standardization in order to commercialize the unique and diverse local hospitality practices. Hence your experience will be a genuine one and our hosts are just as excited to meet you as you are to meet them.
Our country values a culture called “Gross National Happiness”. We believe that our visitors should experience it as well. Our customer’s satisfaction will be our topmost priority, however, our guests need to understand that Bhutan is a country with restriction on smoking in many places. Our visitors are also discouraged to wear indecent dressing (clothing that exposes skin and sensitive body parts).
Phobjikha is a beautiful glacial valley in West Bhutan. It offers a picturesque panorama and plenty of hikes. The largest Nyingmapa monastery of Bhutan is also located here. Every year the black necked cranes come to this marshy valley to escape the cold of the North. When staying in one of the homes in Pobjikha you can experience the following activities: hiking, biking, campsites, craft making, cultural programme, local games, hot stone bath, cooking, etc.
The valley offers beautiful hikes starting from Gangtey Monastery. The Phobjika Valley Homestay villages are: Tangchey, Nyimphey, Moel, Aekor and Gangtey. The 2-3 day Gangtey trek also starts from here.