Bhutanese Names and Name Giving

By Dorji Bidha, a Bhutanese culture and trekking guide, and Bhutan Homestay host in Drukgyel, Paro. The following is her personal account on name giving traditions in her village. Like names anywhere in the world, Bhutanese names are also given to each person for the purpose of identification. Here in my village we have a bunch of unique names to give, but they differ completely from one generation to the next. Our ancestors had names like Jaku and Jakum (a … Read More

Hike from Khumbu Village to Lowala

By Karma Choden, culture guide and trekking guide The Jhomolhari trek is considered to be the mother of all treks in Bhutan and similarly, I consider Khumbu village hike the mother of all hikes in Phobjikha, a high valley in Wangdue Phodrang district, famous for the black necked cranes from the North who stay here over the winter. Khumbu village merges into three different hikes with different destinations: 1) Khumbu to Lowala 2) Khumbu to Pelela and 3) Khumbu to … Read More

This pandemic and my experience

By Karma Choden, culture guide and trekking guide With the COVID-19 pandemic in the world, people lost their jobs, the economy of countries are in decline, the mental health of every single person is affected and the price of commodities are rising. The spreading of the virus hasn’t slowed down, and while people hope for the vaccines the death rate keeps on increasing. Working together under a great leadership In such hard times, in our small country everyone has come … Read More

Jomolhari base camp: trekking in the time of coronavirus

By Dorji Bidha, a Bhutanese culture and trekking guide, and Bhutan Homestay host in Drukgyel, Paro. The following is her account of Jomolhari trek during her trekking guide training in 2020. Impressive trekking routes throughout the year In Bhutan, the now carbon neutral kingdom where I come from, you will find the famous Snowman Trek. It is considered one of the world’s toughest treks due to its long duration through remote areas of varying altitudes. Nowadays, the route offers an … Read More

Being a homestay host during Corona

By Dorji Bidha, cultural and trekking guide; Drukgyel Farmers and homestay host in Paro The autumn season in Bhutan is quite warm during the daytime but pretty chilly during the morning and evening hours. The vegetable and cereal fields look beautiful and plentiful while farmers eagerly wait for the harvest. Paddy harvest starts by mid-October. During that time, we also dry a variety of crops such as chilies, turnip leaves, slippery gourd, pumpkin, radish, apples, peaches and walnuts. Last year … Read More

Why I am looking forward to receiving foreign guests again

By Kuenzang T. Choeden, cultural tour guide for Bhutan Homestay and homestay host in Yurbi, Lhuentse Thuenlam – our Bhutanese tradition The importance of relationships has now become a lot clearer for most people. That is why I enjoy guiding and hosting foreign guests – to foster relationships which have always been a great pleasure for me. It inspires and pleases me to understand and to get to know someone from a completely different community and culture. Hosting guests is … Read More

Barter System in Bhutan during the Covid-19 Pandemic

By Dorji Bidha (Drukgyel Farmers), also published on Bhutan Network Until the 1980s people throughout Bhutan practiced a barter system. Following the introduction of our currency, the Ngultrum, in 1974 by the RMA (Royal Monetary Authority of Bhutan), shops mushroomed even in remote parts of the country and villagers started shopping as though they were in Walmart. Nevertheless, aside from such business transactions and trade, the Bhutanese still enjoy barter, jetshong as we call it in the National language, Dzongkha. … Read More

The Mysterious Sey “Rauw” Dzong

by Jamyang Lekshey (cultural and trekking guide) If you do the Jomolhari Loop trek and descend after climbing Bonte-La Pass (4902 m), the highest point of the route, you start to walk downstream and eventually reach a small hamlet called Soi Yaksa. Located towards the north of your campsite, one needs to take a detour and hike for about two hours further to reach the mysterious ruins of Sey Dzong. According to oral legend, sometime before the 19th century there … Read More

Ritual and Hospitality

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by Ulrike Čokl Photos @Benjamin Hörbe & Ulrike Čokl “Please come for my annual ritual!” I often hear this invitation from Bhutanese friends, and immediately images come to mind of us sharing delicious food and drink while sitting on beautiful wooden floors in a Bhutanese kitchen. I always carry my little cup, phob, with me, ever ready to pull it out, unwrap it from the tora, a piece of cloth, and receive the local welcome drink. Senior villagers, observing my … Read More

Kingdom of Orchids

By Dr. Heiko Hentrich All photos ©Heiko Hentrich Why Bhutan… I am a tropical botanist, who has travelled to many Latin-American countries to do field studies in remote places. As a side benefit of my job, I meet people from different cultures, and I have come to appreciate the opportunity to learn about other ways of life, customs, food, and languages. On my journeys, I usually stay with locals and prefer these private accommodations to hotels, because you learn so … Read More

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