Tibetan girl runs homestay to pass down traditional culture

On the morning of January 6, at Dekyi Farm in Zhonglu Township, Danba County, Sichuan, 23-year-old Dekyi was busy cleaning the guestrooms after sending off tourists. On the road outside the farm, construction vehicles pass by one after another. The Tibetan village and guesthouses here are being upgraded in all aspects.

Zhonglu, Jiaju, and Suopo in Danba County are the most well preserved Gyarong Tibetan villages, which are not far from the downtown of Danba County, but they retain the earliest and most original architectural style of the Gyarong Tibetans. Since the end of the 1990s, Zhonglu Township and Niexia Township began developing homestay tourism. In 2018, Niexia Township trained more than 5,000 people in 12 villages in areas like etiquette, service, hygiene, receiving guests, catering, and e-commerce.

23-year-old Dekyi's family home lies in Zhonglu Township. Influenced by her family, she has been determined to run a guesthouse. After graduating from university, Dekyi worked in a hostel and travel agency in Chengdu.

Dekyi's family was the first in Zhonglu Township to open a guesthouse. In 1997, her father opened Dekyi Farm and continuously enriched the substance of the farm by introducing local circle dance and foods to tourists so that they could experience unique Tibetan culture. This attracted more than 5,000 tourists a year and brought more than 200,000 yuan (29,764 US dollars) annually to Dekyi's family.

In 2018, after learning that her hometown was building a rural revitalization experimental zone, Dekyi quit her job and returned home to run her own hotel.

She said: "I have tried to preserve and reflect Gyarong Tibetan culture as much as possible in building and decorating the house. In addition, visitors can experience thangka painting, Gyarong Tibetan weddings, original ecology circle dance, and authentic Tibetan food."

Dekyi thinks that travel is more of an experience, a kind of exchange of different customs, instead of just sleeping in a new bed, taking standard tourist photos, and leaving.

"I hope my hotel will help spread Gyarong Tibetan culture and help visitors experience the original flavor of this culture." Dekyi said that the name of her hotel is Dekyi Khamwa, the name of a queen's hall in the "Eastern Women's Kingdom" legend.