Land Of Peaceful Dragon

Experience Bhutan

Bhutan is a unique country both culturally and environmentally. Perched high in the Himalayas, it is the world’s last remaining Buddhist Kingdom. It has developed the philosophy of Gross National Happiness; where development is measured using a holistic approach of well-being, not just based on gross domestic product. Chilies are considered a vegetable and ema datshi the national dish. Ema datchi consists of green chilies mixed in with a Bhutanese cheese sauce. It is still termed as a third world country with subsistence farming practiced in much of the country. In broad terms the land is fertile and the population small. In addition, the current generation receives free education, and all citizens have access to free, though rudimentary, medical care. The sale of tobacco products is banned and smoking in public areas is a fineable offense.

Major sources of income for the kingdom are tourism, hydroelectric power and agriculture.

While traditional culture has been very well preserved, the opening of the country to TV and internet in 1999 has had a major effect, and modern-day culture is mostly centred on bars and snooker halls. As a result, there is very little or no evidence of quality contemporary art, theatre or music.

Culturally, Bhutan is predominantly Buddhist with Dzongkha as a national language (although there are regional variations - such as Sharchopkha, the predominant language in Eastern Bhutan), and a common dress code and architectural style. Bhutanese people primarily consist of the Ngalops and Sharchops, called the Western Bhutanese and Eastern Bhutanese, and Lhotshamphas (Southern Bhutanese), a people of Nepalese Gurkha Origin, respectively. The Ngalops primarily consist of Bhutanese living in the western part of the country. Their culture is closely related to that of their neighbor to the north, Tibet.

The kingdom became a parliamentary democracy in March 2008 at the initiation of the Fourth King. Despite that, many steps still need to be done towards a real democracy, as up to today Bhutanese people and foreigners are not allowed to marry, and even international marriages are not recognized from the Bhutanese government, resulting impossible for a Bhutanese to marry a foreigner and to live there with the family as any rights are given. Therefore, foreigners willing to visit Bhutan can do that but shall be aware that it is not a real democracy but a regime, where people are not free and where difference of opinions and speech do not exist in reality. The tourist shall know that everything that they know from outside Bhutan is wisely written by the government inside, to convey an idilliac image of the Country, which is not real. Bhutan still lacks in human rights and the power in charge is still managing the country in a medieval way. Reports have been made of westeners badly treated by high officials only because being "foreigners".

Trip Highlight

Duration – 7nights / 8days

Tour highlights: Culture, Monasteries and Peoples

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