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Katsho Eco Camp is a new tourist spot in Haa

Published on: April 24th, 2023, by Aue Therchen

If you are looking for an eco-friendly and rejuvenating escape from your daily life, look no further than Katsho Eco Camp in Haa, Bhutan. Located at an altitude of 2,900 meters, this premier tourist destination is a haven for hikers and nature lovers. Surrounded by the breathtaking natural beauty of the Bhutanese landscape, Katsho Eco Camp offers a unique and immersive experience that will leave you refreshed and rejuvenated.

Katsho Eco Camp in Haa
Katsho Eco Camp vicinity

Hiking in Paradise

The location of Katsho Eco Camp is unparalleled. It is nestled amidst the verdant plains of Haa, formerly serving as pastureland for the nearby villages of Bali and Mombitshokha. The eco-camp is situated along the Haa Panorama Hiking Trail, which is an 11-kilometer route that offers stunning views of the region’s four prominent monasteries: Yangthang, Katsho, Dranadingkha, and Takchu Goenpa. The Haa Panorama Hiking Trail is a must-visit for anyone seeking a memorable and challenging trek in Bhutan.

Haa village

Popular Tourist Attractions in Haa

Haa, situated in the southwestern part of Paro, covers approximately 1706 square kilometers, making it one of the tiniest Dzongkhags in the country. This area is secluded and breathtaking, with unspoiled alpine forests and serene mountain peaks. The valley of Haa is a unique and peaceful region that offers eight of the finest tourist destinations that you must visit while in Haa.

Haa serves as the ancestral home of  Dorji family and the Queen Grandmother. Despite being one of the least explored regions in the country, Haa retains the natural ambiance of a primordial forest. The forested hills of Haa are ideal for trekking and mountain biking, and biking around the valley to visit the local temples is a pleasurable way to spend the day.

Haa is a hub for nomadic herders, and it hosts an annual Haa Summer Festival that celebrates their unique lifestyle and culture. The festival is an excellent opportunity to delve into the traditions and unaltered lifestyles of nomadic Bhutanese herders, Lomba Celebration and to savor the delectable Haapi cuisine.

The Haa Valley is Haa’s primary attraction, characterized by a steep north-south valley with a narrow floor. The name Haa implies concealed secrecy. Another name for the district is “Hidden-Land Rice Valley.”

The primary crops cultivated in the valley are rice, wheat, and barley. Farmers also cultivate other cash crops such as potatoes, apples, and chilies on the valley floor, along terraced hillsides, and in some of the more accessible side valleys. The area includes the Torsa Strict Nature Reserve, one of Bhutan’s environmentally protected regions. Although it encompasses a significant portion of Bji and Sangbay gewogs, there are no inhabitants in the Reserve. Torsa is linked to the Jigme Dorji National Park through a biological corridor that crosses the northeastern half of Haa District.

Below are the eight main tourist attractions and the top six things to do in Haa, as well as the popular sightseeing places in Haa.

Sustainable Initiatives & Local Empowerment

The development of Katsho Eco Camp is deeply rooted in sustainability and community engagement. The Bhutan Foundation and UNDP are supporting the eco-camp to become a sought-after retreat for visitors seeking tranquility and adventure. The eco-camp is also set to become a top destination for both Bhutanese and international travelers, aiming to boost Haa’s burgeoning tourism industry.

The eco-camp is committed to eco-friendly practices, and in the coming months, the Bhutan Foundation will provide solar power to illuminate the camp. Moreover, the camp plans to source fresh vegetables and dairy products from local farmers, generating additional income and promoting the region’s agricultural bounty.

Employing local residents in the camp’s construction and operation, the project also addresses issues such as wildlife attacks on crops and rural-to-urban migration. The eco-camp offers a life-changing opportunity for team members like Tashi to overcome personal challenges, like alcoholism, while fostering a sense of belonging and appreciation for their land.

Relax, Recharge, & Reconnect with Nature

At Katsho Eco Camp, guests can indulge in a myriad of activities, including trekking, camping, fly fishing, birding, and cultural visits. One of the camp’s unique offerings is a therapeutic medicinal hot stone bath, believed by locals to alleviate ailments such as arthritis and constipation.

The eco-camp provides comfortable food and accommodation services for all types of travelers. With seven tented camps, the eco-camp is poised to become Haa’s finest tourism product. As the campsite undergoes further enhancements, such as the installation of electric fencing and infrastructure improvements, it will attract more visitors seeking a peaceful and eco-friendly retreat.

How to Reach Katsho Eco Camp in Haa

To reach the serene Katsho Eco Camp in Haa, follow the simple yet picturesque trail that offers an easy difficulty level. The distance to cover is just 3.1 km, and it should take you approximately 20 minutes to walk the route. Along the way, you will encounter charming sights such as Katsho village, Chorten Dangrim mani, and the ancient Katsho Goemba monastery.

Begin your journey at Gongzim Ugyen Dorji Central School, located at 97MJ+PVP, Bondey-Haa Highway, Ha. Follow these step-by-step directions:

  • Head northeast for about 54 meters.
  • Turn right and walk for 160 meters.
  • Turn left and proceed for 130 meters.
  • Take another left and walk 34 meters.
  • Turn right and cover 110 meters.
  • Turn left and walk 290 meters.
  • Turn right and go 57 meters.
  • Turn right, but don’t cover any distance (0.0 km).
  • Take a left and walk 70 meters.
  • Turn left again and proceed for 290 meters.
  • Turn right and walk 450 meters.
  • Finally, turn left and cover the remaining 1.5 km.

Upon completion, you will arrive at the Katsho Eco Camp, located at C75J+5X, Naktsang. The trail will treat you to stunning scenery, as you pass through lush paddy fields, charming wooden huts, and majestic mountains in the background. Enjoy the tranquility and beauty of the area as you immerse yourself in the rich culture and history that surrounds you.

Join the Adventure at Katsho Eco Camp

Katsho Eco Camp is a testament to the potential of sustainable tourism in Haa. The successful establishment of the Haa Panorama Hiking Trail has further enhanced the eco-camp’s reputation as a top destination for hikers and nature enthusiasts. The Bhutan Foundation is enthusiastic about supporting the resurgence of tourism in Bhutan, and eco-friendly destinations like Katsho Eco Camp are at the forefront of this movement.

Whether you are a seasoned hiker, a nature enthusiast, or simply seeking a rejuvenating escape, Katsho Eco Camp offers an unforgettable experience that celebrates the beauty, culture, and spirit of Haa, Bhutan. Embark on an extraordinary adventure at this one-of-a-kind destination and reconnect with nature.

FAQs on Katsho Eco Camp, Haa

Katsho Eco Camp is a new eco-friendly tourist spot located in Haa, Bhutan, at an altitude of 2,900 meters. It offers a unique and immersive experience for hikers and nature lovers, surrounded by the breathtaking natural beauty of the Bhutanese landscape.

Haa Dzongkhag is known for its stunning valley that offers breathtaking views of mountains, traditional architecture, and warm hospitality. It attracts trekkers and travelers who seek to explore the wild ambiance of Bhutan. The area primarily cultivates wheat, barley, and buckwheat, with potatoes being the primary cash crop. Additionally, apples and vegetables are also cultivated. Livestock rearing, particularly yaks, is a significant economic activity in the area.

Katsho Eco Camp has taken several initiatives to promote sustainability. It is committed to eco-friendly practices, and in the coming months, the Bhutan Foundation will provide solar power to illuminate the camp. Moreover, the camp plans to source fresh vegetables and dairy products from local farmers, generating additional income and promoting the region’s agricultural bounty. Employing local residents in the camp’s construction and operation, the project also addresses issues such as wildlife attacks on crops and rural-to-urban migration.

Guests at Katsho Eco Camp can indulge in a myriad of activities, including trekking, camping, fly fishing, birding, and cultural visits. One of the camp’s unique offerings is a therapeutic medicinal hot stone bath, believed by locals to alleviate ailments such as arthritis and constipation. The eco-camp provides comfortable food and accommodation services for all types of travelers.

Therchen

Aue Therchen, Founder of Truly Bhutan, has devoted over 15 years to showcasing the cultural heritage and natural beauty of the Kingdom of Bhutan through his travel and hospitality company. Born and raised in Bhutan, Aue’s passion for his country’s unique traditions and landscapes inspired him to establish Truly Bhutan in 2008.

Under Aue’s guidance, Truly Bhutan has grown into a reputable travel company known for providing customized itineraries and immersive experiences to visitors from all corners of the globe. With a strong commitment to responsible and sustainable tourism, Aue actively works to preserve Bhutan’s culture, environment, and way of life.

As a respected leader in the industry, Aue frequently speaks at conferences and events on topics such as sustainable tourism, local culture, and environmental preservation. He also supports community initiatives and local artisans in order to nurture Bhutan’s distinct identity.

In his spare time, Aue enjoys exploring the pristine mountains and valleys of Bhutan, which only serves to further fuel his enthusiasm for his work.