Passang Zangmo

Mother-of-three Aum Passang Zangmo runs the show in this homestay about a 5-minute walk from the Black-Necked Crane Information Centre and a 10-minute drive from Gangtey Nature Trail. Two of the children live with Passang and her husband: a daughter in her twenties and a teenage boy, who is quite a talker and is happy to be your guide to the area; he knows the village well and dreams of living in Thimphu, the capital city. (His older sister already lives there.)

Aum Passang is a pro in the kitchen and can cook up a storm: 15–20 people is a piece of cake for her, and she caters to the Crane Centre whenever they have extra visitors or meetings. With the farmhouse accommodating 6–8 guests at a time in three rooms, you're sure to be well fed and cared for. As an honored guest, you'll be invited to eat all meals with the family. Meals are rich in carbohydrates — lots of rice, potatoes, and eggs — with dried turnip leaves as the most popular vegetable, along with carrots and radish.

The house has two toilets: one Western and one Indian style. The family keeps a few cows, and you can watch their milking if you like. Other domesticated animal life includes their huge dog (who stays tied up behind the house most of the time) and a house cat (who is a vegetarian, of all things).

Your hosts are an enterprising lot and will go out of their way to accommodate your requests. They can easily arrange hot stone baths in a medium-sized tub that can fit 2 people at a time. Other entertainments include games, dressing up in traditional national dress (kiras and ghos), and witnessing how rice wine (ara) is made. They will even rent or sell you wooden archery equipment at below the market rate for bamboo equivalents sold in town.