Punakha Valley Homestay is located in West Bhutan, at an elevation of approx. 1400 m and offers a variety of activities, cultural and outdoor. Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, known to be the unifier of Bhutan, built Punakha Dzong in the 17th century and his bodily remains are kept in a shrine in the Dzong. Punakha is also the winter residence of the Je Khenpo (religious head) and his monk body, to escape the cold winters in the capital Thimphu. The four wives of the fourth Druk Gyelpo (King ) also descend from a village called Norbugang in Punakha. In Punakha you can also visit Chime Lhakhang, a site which was blessed by the famous Drukpa Kuenley, a saint who is also known as “divine madman” and who initially built a chorten there. He is responsible for the pervasive phallus symbols you can see all over Bhutan, mainly as a shield against evil forces but also symbolizing fertility.
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).
When booking one of our home/farmstays you will receive in-depth briefing on how to go about it from us as well as your local guides.
Our homes are located in different areas of the district Punakha and we are constantly identifying new farm/homestays by establishing good relations with the host family. From all places you can reach Punakha Dzong and Chime lhakhang by car, and conduct hikes to monasteries and temples in the area. Hot springs are reachable within 1-2 days as well.