Aswin Homestay Borong
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From the relaxed South Sikkimese town of Namchi, you can travel north to the crossroads of Ravangla where a giant Buddha statue is the main tourist attraction, and from there you can further explore an hour or so along windy roads to the "spread out" village of Borong.
There are a couple of "resorts" here but they are expensive and deserted. By far the best option is to stay at a local homestay and experience village life with freshly cooked food from the family.
Borong is known for its natural hot springs (which are "in season" from December to February), its propensity of bird life, and its proximity to Ralong Gompa.
As well as this, it has stunning mountain views a local paper factory where you can see how they make papyrus from local plants and the so-called "rainbow falls" where, given the right light conditions, you can see a rainbow!
There is a group of homestays organised by the lovely Sachita Gurung. Self-styled "Tourism Consultant" she started by putting people up in her home and now runs homestays across the village allowing locals to interact and make a living from visitors.
Her contact details are below:
, s[email protected]
, FB @boronghome, @aswinboronghomestay
The family we stayed with had only had 6 guests before us and we were proud to be their first foreign visitors. I say proud, at first we were a bit confused because we wanted to go to the "centre" of the village but everyone assured us there wasn't one. They were correct of course, but at first, we were a bit wary that we were in the middle of nowhere. We were in the middle of nowhere but that's just Borong for you.
Among the plants growing around here there is cherry blossom and datura growing everywhere.
The homestay was lovely, the rooms basic but comfortable with a hot shower and colourful bed linen. Our welcome was what made it special, however, rarely a moment went by when we weren't being offered tea, coffee, snacks, biscuits or an actual meal.
The food provided by Punya was fantastic as well. Every meal was something different and showcased local dishes using organic vegetables from the garden. Breakfast, lunch and dinner were all delicious and we were really surprised by how good our food was.
The family were friendly, including the local dog, Jackson, who would sniff around and be chased out with biscuits. He was in fine spirits most of the time but on our last day, he looked sorry for himself because some volunteer vets had been in the village giving injections and de-sexing the local dogs. He suddenly seemed rather bereft of purpose.
We visited the local monastery, just a 10-minute walk up the hill, both the old and new Ralong Monasteries (with a driver arranged by Sachita) and took a long walk to the Rainbow falls which was lovely even if the falls themselves were not showing their lights.
It was a delightfully peaceful place to spend a couple of nights with some interesting things to see, but more importantly, a feeling of being really looked after by our hosts.
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