The best way to experience Bhutan is to spend a night at a Bhutanese farmhouse

Email

Farmhouses in Bhutan are an architectural feat, made with only mud, stone, and no nails.

When in Bhutan, do as the Bhutanese do. And there is no better way to immerse yourself in indigenous Bhutanese culture than spending a night at a Bhutanese farmhouse, where Bhutanese culture of the past and present blend together. 

Bhutanese farmhouses are an architectural marvel on their own—built with only mud, stone, and no nails. But the uniqueness does not end there.

Just like many things in Bhutan, farmhouses have both religious and secular functions. Farmhouses are generally decorated like religious buildings, with added phallic symbols to promote fertility and scare off evil spirits.

They are constructed to be rectangular in shape. The walls, which are made of dried mud, are usually white in colour. Lively and colourful motifs adorn these walls, along with a few sliding panels that make up small, plain windows. Occasionally, you see structures that look like chortens, offered as worship to the deity who owns the land. 

Each farmhouse has the same basic architectural design. It has three floors. The bottom floor was traditionally used as a shelter for cattle, but nowadays, it is used as storage. This change was made for hygiene and sanitation reasons. Some people use it as a shelter where they clean vegetables. Others use it as toilet space.

The first floor is the living space with a huge kitchen that doubles as a living room. There is also a shrine (prayer room), a bedroom, and a storeroom. 

The top floor is reached by a narrow ladder that resembles a single piece of wood. One might say that the top floor is the most important part of the house. This is where the making and drying of hay for the livestock take place. Here, you will usually find a choeseum, a shrine room with a decorated altar. 

Wooden shingles that have been stacked neatly and weighted down by stones make the roof. You can reach outside the roof by simply pushing the shingles away from below. A prayer flag flutters in the wind above the house; it is usually replaced once every year.

Bhutanese farmhouses typically do not have a chimney so as to conserve heat during the winter. The mud stove where cooking is done is the only source of heat during the cold months. Although there is no chimney, smoke is channelled via a wooden shaft to the attic where it darkens the underside of the roof.

In terms of furniture, there is rarely any in a Bhutanese farmhouse, save for the tables. For beddings, the Bhutanese lay out the clothes of the day on the wooden floor to sleep on.

Aum Choden Bhutanese farmhouse

Over the years, buildings in Bhutan have modernised. The new buildings are built with cement, bricks, stone, and sand. The roofs use galvanised iron sheets. Thus, the farmhouses remain a precious, rustic remnant of Bhutan’s yesteryears.

Common farmhouse activities to enjoy during your stay

Expect your time in the farmhouse to be fun-filled and packed. You may:

  • Take a hot stone bath in a traditional bathtub
  • Enjoy authentic Bhutanese food prepared by the host
  • Milk a cow
  • Take a tour and admire the authentic three-storey architecture of the traditional Bhutanese farmhouse 
  • Take a stroll through the rice fields and orchards surrounding the farmhouse
  • Get an insight into the indigenous Bhutanese lifestyle

Aum Choden Farmhouse in Paro Bhutan

Farmhouses to visit 

Convinced? Here are some farmhouses to visit:

1. Paro Penlop Dawa Penjor Heritage Farmhouse

Location: Gaptey, Paro 12001, Bhutan

The then Governor of Paro built this farmhouse in the 18th century. The location now doubles as a farmstay. The building (as usual) is three storeys high and has 5 spacious rooms available for visitors. Expect all the basic facilities like room service, car parking, meal provisions, etc. The farmhouse even has a lounge service.

2. Ama Choeday’s Farmhouse

Location: Lango Village, Paro 12001, Bhutan

This house was built in the 19th century; the interior and objects in the house reflect the age. There are even secret passageways in this farmhouse—shhh. The farm that sits just outside the house adds to its charm. 

Guests at Ama’s Farmstay have reported that the family that hosts the place is warm and friendly, and the kids are especially nice to talk to.

As with traditional Bhutanese houses, the rooms do not have an attached bathroom. However, you do get a private bathroom that even comes with a geyser.

3. Tshering Farmhouse

Location: Damjee, Paro

Tshering Farmhouse was established in 2002. Surrounded by sprawling lush fields, the farmhouse offers the standard experience, from the serving of authentic Bhutanese cuisine to hot stone baths, with an extra touch of Bhutanese hospitality to complete the homely feel.

4. Aum Choden Homestay

Location: Nemjo, Paro

A humble century-old two-storey traditional Bhutanese house located in Paro. You'll get to experience a traditional setting with a Bhutanese family and experience the local customs. The rustic charm of Aum Choden Homestay will leave you feeling in awe of their hospitality and sense of community vitality. Aside from a hot stone bath, you can also try out some traditional sports and witness traditional Bhutanese cooking.

Aum Choden Bhutan Paro Homestay

Come to think about it, that’s what Bhutanese farmhouses will make you think of: home.

If you want to include a homestay in your Bhutan itinerary, just let your Bhutan tour operator know.

BHUTAN TRAVEL GUIDEBOOK

If you're planning to visit Bhutan or curious about the adventures that await you, grab a copy of Bhutan Travelog from Amazon.

Bhutan Travelog guidebook



Related Posts

Hot stone baths: The bath culture of Bhutan

Hot stone baths are healing, relaxation, and culture rolled into one.

Feb 25, 2022 15:38

What are the traditional sports of Bhutan?

The Bhutanese have a variety of traditional sports. Some test your aim and skills, whereas with others, it’s about pure...

Jul 13, 2021 11:15

Chillies, a spicy affair in Bhutan

The Bhutanese love it hot.

Jun 07, 2022 23:55

Bhutan is traditionally a matriarchal society

Women are the decision-makers at home, but something is keeping them from public life.

May 27, 2022 22:14

What are those singing bowls that you see in Bhutan

The vibrations from the bowl affect your body and mind.

May 22, 2022 12:06

The hot springs of Bhutan are believed to have miraculous healing...

The Bhutanese believe that hot springs are a blessing from the Buddha.

Apr 08, 2022 21:52

Latest

News

CNN lists Tergo-La trek among 23 of the world's best hiking trails

CNN travel recently published a list of “23 of the world’s best hiking trails” for their “Monthly Ticket” travel series.

Jul 28, 2022 19:25

Bhutan revised entrance fees for historical monuments and sacred sites

Aside from the Tiger's Nest Monastery, tourists are now required to pay Nu. 1000 entrance fees to various sacred sites in the kingdom.

Jul 18, 2022 18:51

Features

A French's connection and deep love for Bhutan

We talked to Dr Francoise Pommaret about French Friends of Bhutan and the France-Bhutan relationship.

Jul 12, 2022 20:36

7 interesting facts about the roads in Bhutan

Did you know that there are no traffic lights in the Kingdom?

Jun 15, 2022 21:52

Business

The enormous role of hydropower in Bhutan

Bhutan uses hydropower to conserve the environment, produce electricity, and achieve economic self-reliance.

Jan 25, 2022 11:43

Online businesses are becoming more and more popular in Bhutan

Even though the Internet was developed in the 1960s, the tiny Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan was only introduced to it in June 1999.

Jan 20, 2022 12:41

Sports

More Bhutanese youths are engaged in football

Sitting at the 186th position in the FIFA rankings, Bhutan looks to improve its rankings in the years to come.

Aug 03, 2022 20:19

BOB Bhutan Premier League is coming back soon with a bang

There’s an atmosphere of excitement and anticipation growing in the valleys of Bhutan as football fans in the country await what appears to...

Jul 24, 2022 14:47

Travel

Bhutan revises its tourism policy to redefine High Value Low Volume tourism

Visitors to Bhutan will now have to pay more than triple the previous Sustainable Development Fees (SDF).

Jul 20, 2022 21:44

Join #mybhutanmemories campaign now to win FREE flight tickets to Bhutan!

All you have to do is to share your fond memories of Bhutan.

Jun 19, 2022 21:52

Lifestyle

Chillies, a spicy affair in Bhutan

The Bhutanese love it hot.

Jun 07, 2022 23:55

Bhutan is traditionally a matriarchal society

Women are the decision-makers at home, but something is keeping them from public life.

May 27, 2022 22:14

COVID-19

A detailed summary of Bhutan's COVID-19 management and plans moving forward

With offices and all businesses open, movement of vehicles allowed and critical services resumed from 21st March 2022, Bhutan braces for a...

Mar 22, 2022 11:23

Vaccinated tourists to undergo 5-day quarantine in Bhutan from April 25

What you need to know about entering Bhutan from April 25.

Mar 14, 2022 14:21

Subscribe to our newsletter

Never miss out on new happenings and news stories!

Download Daily Bhutan Mobile App

Connecting with us just got easier!