Bhutanese Village Home Stay Experience

Farm stays are a great way to travel and learn about other cultures, as well as the environment. Bhutan is a small country between India and China. It’s known for its pristine natural beauty and peacefulness, making it a perfect place to visit on a farm stay.

The farms in Bhutan offer an authentic experience. That means you will have to get your hands dirty during your trip! These farms allow visitors from all over the world to live with them for days or weeks at a time, giving them the chance to be immersed in their daily lives.

An experience at a farmhouse stay in Bhutan!

It may have taken several months of planning to visit Bhutan, but our overnight at a Bhutanese homestay was the first real Bhutanese experience – it was well worth the wait and a truly memorable experience. Our group has been a bit separated from the traditional Bhutanese lifestyle while living in hotels, so the homestay was our first chance to experience family life in a Bhutanese home. I was grouped with my family and with Sonam Tshering, a student at a nearby high school.

When we first arrived at Sonam’s house it was difficult to break the formal Bhutanese guest-host relationship. Traditionally, guests are separated from everything that goes on in the household, so Sonam and his family kept trying to sit us down in the altar room with excessive amounts of butter tea while they prepared food. We eventually forced ourselves into the kitchen and helped cook buckwheat pancakes before going out in the afternoon, when Karma took us to two monasteries and a palace built in the 18th century. He taught us how to properly pray in the altar room, how to light butter lamp offerings, and even convinced a monk to walk with us to a sacred spot on the hill overlooking the town.

We spent the rest of the evening with Sonam’s family exchanging Bhutanese and American cultural traditions. For example, we watched an archery tournament and helped cook an authentic dinner, which we then ate while watching the American TV show “American Ninja.” We showed them how to play the guitar, and in return, they taught us traditional Bhutanese songs. It was exciting to learn about their lives and to tell them about our homes in the USA, and even more fun explaining American things which don’t exist here, like s’mores and fireworks.

Waking up in the altar room of a Bhutanese home on the Fourth of July was bizarre, especially because Sonam’s aunt was burning incense in every room and we thought the plumes of smoke were from the house burning down. We explained the importance of July 4th to Karma over more tea and breakfast and then walked along the Paro river. After taking family pictures, exchanging gifts and contact information, and drinking tea once more, we said our goodbyes. We were immensely grateful to Karma and his family for opening their home to us so generously and for being so friendly. As we were leaving, the homestay was short and surreal like a “dream.” Regardless, it was an experience which all of us will always remember with joy.

An Article by:-
Greg Zegas
Boston University

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