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Things To Do In Haa Valley
Haa Valley is a peaceful little place in Bhutan, open to travellers who wish tranquility on their holiday. The unspoilt regions of Haa Valley are small, but the expanses of the open countrysides offer tremendous opportunities for travelling around and indulging in a variety of adventure sports. The Valley of Haa had many local protector deities who pre-existed before the arrival of Buddhism. The ancient ritualistic cultures and customs that the Haap, as the people of Haa are called, followed, are legendary and quite interesting to learn about, which you can do as you journey about Haa valley. Unlike the more commercialised dzongkhags of Thimphu or Paro, Haa Valley does not have much shopping to do. But there are many other things that can keep you occupied in Haa. Read on to know what you can do in the virgin valley of Haa.
Now, this is the best part of your visit to Haa Valley. There are so many unimaginable untrodden paths of Haa that you can trek through, to discover the magic of the valley. You can hike to Kila Nunnery from Chele La Pass and if you are trekking in summer, you will find hordes of Bhutan’s National Flowers like the Blue Poppies blooming like a dale all over Haa Valley. Check out the cream coloured ones, they are peculiar to Haa Valley.
Kila Nunnery sits squately on the cliff ledge below Chele Le Pass, at about 3,500 m. There are temples and retreat huts in the Nunnery where nuns live in isolation. You get a beautiful vew of the Paro valley and Mt. Jomolhari and Mt. Jichu Drake from the precincts of the nunnery.
If you enjoy trekking amidst the beautiful rough hewn pathways of Haa Valley, you could also enjoy the games that the local people play. The friendly people of Bhutan will be only too glad to let you try your hand at Kuru (Darts) and Dha (Archery) or in rural games like Degor or Pungdo. At the upper cold alpine mountains try your hand at yak riding or mountain motor biking!
Haa valley boasts of many home-stays where you can stay with the hosts’ family and enjoy delicious Bhutanese food and their traditional hospitality. Try Ugyen’s Home stay in Haa Valley for that unique acquaintance of a journey into a rural country where you can play traditional sports with the local Haap, milk the cows or soak into a refreshing stone Bath after a tiring day of trekking!
Just the views
Travelling across the Chela La Pass through forests of Blue Pine, Spruce, Silver Fir and Juniper tress by itself is a photographer’s delight. The cream on the cake is the varieties of Himalayan birds you find there, from Spotted Laughing Thrushes to White browed Rose Finches and Blood Pheasants; their cries break the stillness of the mountain air. The unhurried setting of the rural pastoral community of yak herders and farmers gives an almost dreamlike quality to the valley. Every part of Haa, be it the birds or the alpine trees, the mountain goats or the sturdy yaks or the sweet smiles of the Haap children are all so charming.
Go for an idyllic stroll by the silvery Haa Chhu River. Bhutan has amazing varieties of plant, bird and butterfly species. For all you know, you might even land up finding hitherto undiscovered species of orchid or a rare butterfly flitting by the waterfront. Bhutan’s rivers are full of fishes like Snow Trout, the Brown Trout and Salmon and you might be allowed to go on a trout fishing tour in Haa Chhu with a fishing permit, of course. You could visit the National Research Centre for Riverine and Lake Fisheries in Haa, to know more about the diverse species of fishes found in the waters of Bhutan.
The Haap people are, by tradition, yak herders and farmers. Wheat, millet, potatoes and barley are the crops cultivated in Haa and you could find plenty of local products made from these crops. Try the cheese made of yak milk called Habi Ruto. You can find local Haap selling apples and figs, dried cheese and vegetables by the roadsides. The Haap create a good many things out of yak wool, like blankets, shawls, bags and rugs. You can buy these products at the local Haa market.