Bhutan Homestay

homestaylogo_largeBhutan Homestay is specialized in traditional hospitality by working closely with villagers all over the country. We offer tours that combine homestays with comfortable hotels, hiking on old trade routes, trekking, festivals and specialised activities such as family, textile, forestry and culinary tours. We offer a personalized service and tailor made itineraries. We follow the old tradition of ‘thünlam’ – keeping good relations, ‘ with our hosts and hence are able to offer a more sustainable and integrated way of getting to know local people and their hospitality. Our approach has been developed through sound research and is associated with traditional hospitality practices where mutual respect and learning are central.

In Bhutan tourism is strictly controlled by the government in terms of standard of the tours offered to guests (trekking, child protection and health and hygiene). Nevertheless, to assume that sustainability and equality are in place by default is misleading. In fact this policy results in tourism in Bhutan being a highly mediated phenomenon with a lot of power and scope concentrating in the hands of tour operators and tour guides when it comes to shaping the experiences of the guests who can only come through pre-planned and pre-paid itineraries. This is where we come in, we hire local guides and are in constant touch with homestay hosts to ensure good relations and  a fair exchange.  

By pro-actively promoting farm/homestays without forcing foreign commercial hospitality standards on to our hosts, we nurture ongoing cultural practices and avoid unnecessary commodification. We make sure an acceptable standard of hygiene is kept but allow for the local traditions and culture to speak for themselves otherwise. We support our hosts with small developments for their farms if desired. We train tour guides from the villages where we offer farm/homestays in order to make it easier for local youth to earn money but also develop pride in representing their communities to guests. Our homestay hosts and guides include both female and males

By supporting government funded projects such as community based sustainable tourism in Phobjikha we contribute to environmental preservation. We also train our guides in zero waste management and promote traditional footpaths instead of too much driving. Bhutan Homestay is young but in the long run we are planning to revive hiking along the old footpaths between villages and vallesy, from host to host.



About the author

Helen Jennings

Helen has studied at the Universities of Goldsmiths, Kent, Jyvaskyla (Finland) and The Arctic University of Norway (Tromsø) where she obtained a MA in Indigenous Studies. She has travelled extensively and has lived and worked in Canada, Scandinavia, and South America. Helen is particularly interested in cultural, indigenous, and spiritual tourism, ideas behind sensible ‘regulation’ and is convinced of the value of ethical and sustainable tourism.

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