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Choskhor Valley
Tourist lodges thrive in Bumthang
Bumthang Guesthouse
Guesthouse in Choskhor valley
If you have the money, you might as well build a tourist guest house in Bumthang. Ask Kaila for example, who owns and runs a 12 roomed guest-house inChamkhar (Choskhor) valley.
His guest house has been packed for the past week even though the tourist season in Bumthang is yet to peak. "Tourists visiting Bumthang are on the rise," he says.
Mountain lodge, a huge 23-roomed guest house, which opened in 1998, has bookings till the end of the month.

The family-run lodge handles about 200 tourists each season (March and October)and makes a gross income of about Nu 500,000 according to proprietor, Karma Tobden, which is "enough to keep the family in the business and allow for repairs and expansion".

Today the picturesque Choskhor valleyhas a dozen tourist guest houses with over a hundred rooms to occupy. And all of them have been booked or are full.
"During the season there is a lot of competition among tour operators for the best accommodation for their guests," said a tour operator.
"Bumthang has only two seasons a year March-April and September- October but everyone makes enough to carry on through the dry season," says Kaila, one of the first people in the business.
Bumthang's high inflow of tourists
House in Bumthang
But the inflow of tourists is so high that lodge owners usually hire farm houses "just in case more space is needed" says the proprietor of the 23-roomed Swiss guest house who handles clients for about eight tour operators. "I always book about three farm houses in advance," he added. Kaila recalls that in 1999 there were more visitors shacked up in farm houses than in tourist lodges. "But tourists complained of the accommodation which lacked basic amenities." The high demand for accommodation during the season has convinced local tourist lodge owners that there is still room for more lodges although several new ones are still under construction. "We have been seeing an increase in tourists every year," says Wangchuk of Leki guest house who previously worked as a cook and waiter for a travel company. "I am not worried about competition from other hotels, in fact I am planning an expansion of my guest house." That is what most of the lodge owners do during the off season - expand and add more amenities. Some of the lodges even boast of conference rooms to host officials workshops and meetings.


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