Kingdom of Bhutan
Experiences Home Stays and Firm House Visit
Bhutan Retreat offers opportunity to immerse you in the true nature, culture and tradition of Bhutanese through home stays, farm house visit and participation in traditional sports.
Visitors can choose for home stays where you can experience authentic Bhutanese way of living. Set in rural Bhutan, visitors wake up to crowing of rooster and beautiful songs of birds. The day is immersed in the day-to-day activities of the host family which ranges from plowing the field with oxen to distilling locally brewed wine (Ara). Visitors can help the host in cooking meals which is usually served to the whole family seated in circle on the floor. One of the highlights of the Home Stays is the experience of Dotso (hot stone bath) believed to have medicinal properties in addition to the relaxation that it provides. During the bath, visitors will be treated to varieties of local brew. With our extensive network, Bhutan Friendship Holidays will arrange home stays anywhere in Bhutan as per the desire of our visitors. Our visitors can also choose for a Farm House visit for a day. Visitors will be immersed in the everyday life of the Bhutanese and will be able to experience Bhutanese farming, weaving, brewing and many others. Visitors will also have the opportunity to experience authentic Bhutanese cuisine including the signature butter tea known as Suja and popular chilly curry ‘Emadatshi’.
With our extensive network and experience, Bhutan Friendship Holidays can arrange home stays and farm house visit anywhere in Bhutan as per the desire of our guests.
Flora and Fauna
Nestled deep within the Himalayas, Bhutan is a treasure trove of biological diversity with an unparalleled richness of flora and fauna due to the varied latitudinal and climatic conditions present in the country. This fragile ecosystem has remained unspoiled due to the conservation efforts of the Bhutanese people and government. Today 60% of the kingdom’s total area has been designated as protected nature preserves.
Bhutan is the perfect destination for enthusiastic horticulturalists as it contains more than 60%of the common plant species found in the Eastern Himalayas. It also boasts of approximately 46 species of Rhododendrons and over 300 types of medicinal plants. Junipers, Magnolias, Orchids, Blue Poppies (the national flower), Edelweiss, Gentian, various medicinal herbs, Daphne, Giant Rhubarb, Pine and Oak trees are among the plants commonly found.
The kingdom is also home to a wide variety of animals. At higher altitudes you will come across snow leopards, blue sheep, red pandas, takin, marmots and musk deer. Leopards, gorals, gray langurs, Himalayan black bears, red pandas, sambars, wild pigs and barking deer are found in the temperate zones. The tropical forests in the south are a haven for clouded leopards, elephants, one horned Rhinoceros, water buffalos, golden langurs, gaurs, swamp deer, hog deer, horn bills and many other species. Bhutan is home to the highest altitude inhabiting Tigers in the world and they are commonly found throughout the country.
Visitors can experience the magnificent flora and fauna of Bhutan through sightseeing tours or by embarking on treks and hikes through beautiful virgin forests, pristine Himalayan Mountains and across sparkling crystal clear rivers fed by ancient mountain glaciers. Roads in Bhutan pass through the rich forests so travelers can experience the majestic natural environments of Bhutan.
Jigme Dorji National Park
With an area of 4,349 sq. km, the Jigme Dorji National Park is the largest protected area in Bhutan. It is one of the most biologically rich areas in the Eastern Himalayan region, and stretches from warm broad-leaved forests to permanent ice fields and glaciers on Bhutan’s north-western border.
The monsoon rains and a varied topographical gradient, from just over 1,000 meters to more than 7,000 meters above sea level, account for this rich plant and animal diversity.
Sacred peaks such as Jomolhari, Tsherimgang and Jichu Drakey are prominent landmarks in the park. Glaciers and glacial lakes are interspersed in the mountains forming important head waters for some of Bhutan’s main rivers.
The alpine region houses numerous flowers such as the national flower blue poppy, edelweiss, orchids and rhododendrons among many others.
Charismatic animal species like the Snow Leopard, Takin, Tiger, Black Bear, Blue Sheep and Red Panda inhabit the forests and mountains of the park. This may be the only place in the world where the Royal Bengal tiger and snow leopard habitats overlap. Most of Bhutan’s most popular trekking routes can be found inside the Jigme Dorji National.
Royal Manas National Park
This park has only recently been opened to the public and offers thousands of animal and plant species, many of which are globally endangered, it is not only the most diverse protected area in the Kingdom but also noted as one of the world’s biologically outstanding parks.
Lying in south central Bhutan, Manas is connected at the southern border with India’s Manas Tiger Reserve, a World Heritage Site. To the north it borders the Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park. Royal Manas was designated a wildlife sanctuary in 1966 making it Bhutan’s oldest protected area. The area was upgraded to a National Park in 1993.
There are wide climate variations in Royal Manas. The May-September monsoons bring up to 5,000mm of rain. Rainfall is negligible in winter and the climate is extremely pleasant from November till March.
Manas is also extremely rich in wildlife species, including the highly endangered Royal Bengal tiger, Asian elephant, greater one-horned rhinoceros, clouded leopard, Himalayan black bear, gangetic dolphin and pangolin. Found virtually nowhere else in the world is the especially rare golden langur, a primate of extraordinary grace and beauty with its long, silky blond fur.
More than 365 species of birds have been officially recorded in Royal Manas National Park with an additional 200 believed to be in residence. Species found here include the globally threatened rufous-necked hornbill, Pallas fishing eagle, great white-bellied heron, spotted wren-babbler, blue-headed rock thrush and emerald cuckoo. Many of the park’s more than 900 types of plants have commercial, medicinal, traditional and religious significance.
WWF and Bhutan’s Nature Conservation Division jointly developed a five-year conservation management plan which includes training and equipping park staff, improving park infrastructure, and supporting biological and socio-economic surveys and park monitoring programs.
Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park
Located in the central part of the country, Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park covers 1,300 sq.km and is the second largest protected area of Bhutan.
High ice peaks fall away to low conifer and broadleaf forests. The park remains one of the largest undisturbed tracks of forest anywhere in the Himalaya’s. The varying altitude and rainfall have created a wide range of climatic conditions, making it home to many species of plants, animals and birds.
Both musk deer and Himalayan black bear can be found here. The golden langur, which is quite common in Bhutan, the rare clouded leopard, the red panda and the Royal Bengal tiger are among some of the many species found here. The eastern side of the park supports about 20% of Bhutan’s tiger population and the park itself forms an important link between the northern and southern tiger populations.
It is also home to 391 bird species of which seven species are among some of the world’s most endangered species. Phobjikha valley, a buffer zone to the park, is the winter habitat of the Black Necked Crane. More than 260 majestic cranes winter in Phobjikha every year.
TrumshingLa National Park
Situated at the very heart of the country and covering 768 sq. km, Thrumshingla National was officially opened in July 1998.
Pristine forests ranging from alpine to subtropical broadleaf combined with dramatic mountains are home to, snow leopards, tigers, red pandas and rare plants. This creates a globally important and unique environment.
With its elevation ranging from less than 1,000 m to more than 4,000 m, and temperatures of between – 21ْ C to 28ْ C, the park has some of the most diverse climatic variations and habitats in the world. The park made news in 2000 when a WWF-supported survey team captured a camera-trap image of a tiger at 3,000 meters – the first photographic evidence that the magnificent creatures exist at such high altitudes. Besides that, the park has 341 species of birds making it truly a birdwatcher’s paradise.
Tourism helps to sustain the lives of the communities within the park, with an effective management plan in place and dedicated park staff along with WWF support. The park is set to remain in pristine condition for generations to come.
Located in Western Haa, the Torsa Strict Nature Reserve covers an area of 644 sq km .
It ranges in altitude from 1400-4800 m and its vegetation includes Broad-leaved Forests and Alpine Meadows. This is the only nature reserve in the country that has absolutely no human inhabitants .
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