Khalong Goenpa House is hidden away in remote Mongar district. Recently the young nangi aum (lady of the house) has returned to her ancestral home to look after her elderly grandparents. Her grandfather is the hereditary lama of the temple attached to the house.
Currently the house is still small and can only accommodate two guests. Standard is basic but visitors will be rewarded with great hospitality, breath-taking views and traditional village life. However plans to construct a proper house are underway.
Your host Kinley Wangmo was born in this remote place in East Bhutan. However, she spent the majority of her young life in Thimphu. Kinley completed a Bachelor of Hotel Management in India and more recently a Diploma in Hospitality Management from the Institute for Tourism and hotel Management (ITH) at Klessheim, Salzburg in Austria.
From an early age Kinley had to cook for a large family. During that time her passion for food awakened. Kinley considers cooking an art as well as a science. Apart from enjoying the collection and preparation of traditional recipes she loves to constantly experiment, create and invent new dishes. Kinley decided to become a chef not only because she is fascinated with food, she also thinks that the flavours and textures of any cuisine appeal to our senses in a way that is unique. With such tremendous passion, Kinley first worked as an assistant chef at UMA in Paro. Later she was head chef at Baan Thai restaurant in Thimphu. After her stay in Austria, Kinley decided to return to her ancestral village where she wants to develop her homestay and share her knowledge with fellow villagers.
Khalong Goenpa House is perfect for guests who want to escape the beaten tracks of standard tours and get a glimpse into traditional life in a remote village in the East of Bhutan. If you are adventurous and do not mind basic standard with washing facilities (hot water in buckets) and toilet outdoors you are in the right place.
On the way you can visit Drametse monastery. Also known as the Drametse Namdrel Ugyen Choling Lhakhang, Ani (nun) Choeten Zangmo, the great granddaughter of Terton Pema Lingpa founded the monastery in the late 15th century. Her kudung (embalmed body) is still preserved in the lhakhang (temple). A legend goes that Ani Choeten Zangmo escaped from Tamshing, a place in Bumthang, after she was pressured by Choekor Deb Kuenthub to become his wife. She traveled through a place called Aja (100 symbols of A), one of the sacred hidden places attributed to Guru Rimpoche, until she reached a peak where she meditated for three years. She named the place Drametse which means the “peak where there is no enemy”. Later she built a three-storied monastery with support from the local people. She is believed to have died in a nunnery called Shangshing Goempa which is in Trashiyangtse Dzongkhag today. Drametse is famous for the Drametse Nga cham or dance of the drums established by Lam Kunga Gyeltshen who was also known as Khedup Kunga Nyingpo, Ani Choeten Zangmo’s brother. The lhakhang is headed by Sungtruel Rimpoche and a Gomdey School with about 65 students was started in 1998.
The hike from Drametse to Khalong takes 2,5-3 hours and offers a glimpse into the rich flora and fauna. A very rough farm-road leads to the village and only very robust cars can go. From Khalong goenpa you can conduct wonderful short hikes into the surrounding forests adn through the village. You can hike to a sacred place called Drupchhu and continue to Drametse. if you walk slowly it will take approximately 4hs.