The warmth and hospitality of the entire bonpo family combined with bedroom views of thethe Kanchendzonga range, the home cooked food , the early morning symphony of bird songs , the eco friendly ambience of the farm, - all made for an unforgetabble experience. Would definitely like to make it an annual pilgrimage if possible. ( there are great trekking options also - our guide Urgen was very knowledgable) Dr M.k.Barooah --Guwahati 781003
We were with Chewang for a 1.5 week bird photography tour and stayed in Bon Farmhouse for 3 nights in early October 2016. Chewang and his family were helpful and accommodative even though one of his brothers just went through surgery. We thoroughly enjoyed the peaceful surroundings, beautifully kept gardens and farm, and the organic home-grown meals were delicious! Will definitely recommend Bon Farmhouse to anyone looking for an authentic homestay experience in Sikkim.
We were a group of seven: one elderly lady, a couple with two kids and two sisters. We stayed at the Bon Farmhouse for three nights. The drive from Bagdogra was a long one and it had gotten dark when the GPS said we were at our destination...all we knew was that it was a monastery not a Farmhouse. Then we noticed the road going downhill a bit and took it. Just a few metres ahead was the Bon Farmhouse.
There is a standalone, fairytale like cottage at the back but the first floor of the main building has three rooms. We had booked all three. I had the corner room and it has a nice verandah that overlooks the valley. I was lucky to see the snow peaks that tower on the horizon. The weather was foul because there was a cyclonic circulation so it was simply bad luck that we only got to see the mountains for 5 minutes on one day. Needless to say those 5 minutes have made it evident that on a clear day, the joys of just sitting and staring would have been huge...if only the chairs had been dusted. But no matter we wiped these clean ourselves. The cane chatai wall panelling gives the rooms a very cosy look and feel. The glass windows were clean and sparkled...I was able to take a few photos through them.
The rooms are nice and generously proportioned. All three had attached baths with showers (running hot water) and western style toilets (we found a leech in one of the bathrooms one day but then Sikkim without leeches...especially after the rainy season is not something I have experienced.)
Two of the rooms have twin beds; the room in the middle has a double bed. Each room has a TV with Tata Sky connection. An L-shaped shelf...rather like a low mantelpiece is provided for the electric kettle etc. The dining hall is on the ground floor. Huge windows open out to a spectacular view of the valley. More often than not I kept rushing to the window because I had heard a bird or spotted an insect. Lots of birds. Lots of different insects.
There is a small lawn outside and a few flowers. Swings too and benches to put your feet up and relax. Outside, the path winds its way to Kewzing market via the monastery and it was a walk we took often just to enjoy the silence...rather the birdsong and to see butterflies the size of my palm.
Now the Plus points and then, the Minuses.
All locals, drivers etc., unanimously said that the Bon Farmhouse was the best place to stay in Kewzing.
Hospitality trumps everything else at Bon Farmhouse. Rinchins smiling welcome and her personality was the sunshine we missed on the trip. She made us feel really welcome and it is a gift, especially for anyone in the hospitality business. My niece became so enamoured that she kept talking about Rinchin for the entire trip and no doubt will treasure the painting Rinchin made for her on a piece of wood.
The bed was comfortable. Sound levels were minimal and sleep quality was excellent.
The room bell works! But an intercom would be much better.
Those who love nature will love the opportunity to commune with it at Bon Farmhouse. Great views. Even better are exploratory strolls and brisk walks. Or simply diving under the duvet and lazing.
Having an electrical kettle with tea and sugar sachets is a great idea. But milk sachets that have expired in 2014 is inexcusable. Interestingly, I saw on TripAdvisor that in 2014 they had kept sachets that had expired in 2010...so clearly, not learning even after it was pointed out.
The lack of a cupboard or at least a high table on which to unpack was something we sorely felt. Stooping to floor level to take out or replace something is not kind to backs; elderly or young.
There was just one waste basket and it was in the bathroom. To throw even a candy wrapper one had to keep going into the bathroom. Having a simple waste paper basket in the room is hardly any trouble.
Needs of guests are not really anticipated. In an area where the power goes off (or is deliberately cut off) when it rains heavily all rooms should have portable, rechargeable emergency lights or at least candles and matches. However, they do have generator backup. In a place where guests are sometimes cooped up in the rooms by foul weather it would be nice if they had a corner where there were some board games (Ludo etc) or a Carom board or some books and magazines. (Tata Sky goes off the air if the weather is not good.)
Cleaning the room is on only request. And we were surprised to see Pinky, the cook do the mopping up...that explained our meal time experiences.
The one service where Bon Farmhouse truly faltered was in the food served. Variety of items is Ok, quantity is just about adequate but the quality of cooking is sub-par at most times. Alu-sabji served at breakfast resurfaced for lunch in a barely disguised avatar. This trend was the same for all meals. I am aware about the constraints faced in sourcing veggies and fish in remote areas. And I am happy to eat simple meals but daal that is way too watery and chicken that is more bone than flesh is not something I enjoy. Id be happier with one pot meals cooked really well rather than three veggies cooked badly. And recycled food must be able to hide the fact. Perhaps the cook needs to reconsider her strengths and plan the menu accordingly. That said, I must compliment the pakoras though...we polished off plate after plate. And the aloo paratha on the first day; surprisingly not the second day when the paratha was tough and doughy with the aloo in exile.
Lovely and warm people. Great place. Fabulous views. A touch of professional management would raise it to a 5 star experience. As of now I give it 5 out of 10 (1 extra mark for Rinchins warm behaviour.) It has a lot of potential. I am hopeful Bon Farmhouse will rise to it in the next couple of years...it seems to be on the right path.
We reached around 4:30pm and it was getting dark. We enjoyed no view of the mountains from the rooms as it was cloudy throughout the stay but the rooms apparently had a great view of the mountains.
The room where we lived was recently renovated with modern day fittings and we liked the balcony.
My little interaction with the owner was warm and polite, however, I was totally frustrated that no one bothered to ask about our condition like whether we needed anything over the meals or at room. We were devastated by the attack of moths and other insects and it was an anxious wait for them to exit the room while we were only asked to switch off the lights. Maybe that's the most prudent way but there was no hospitality. The food was cheap, little in portion and didn't taste great at all. Again, no body was around to check on us!
This was my 4th home stay and not the last one either, I must say this has been the worst experience with any family. At some point we felt that we were like burdens to them or maybe there was some kind of mourning in that family. We could see many family members at a distance but they all hided for some reason.
Finally, I must say that the built-up area is far more than greenery inside. The lawn is negligible. Trees are planted like a jungle rather than thoughtful.
Everything we found was half heartedly done by the owners. Very sorry to stay here.
To begin a trip to Sikkim (our first visit) from this place immediately gives you very positive vibes. The arrangements made by Mr Chewang (who runs this place along with his parents) were excellent to say the least. His brother/friend Nosang was "right up there' with his knowledge of the birds of Sikkim. Yes, the place is 'makes you wanna come back' types.