Bhutan is a small landlocked nation in the Himalayas that is wrapped in mystery and enchantment. It is situated between China and India, two of the oldest and most fascinating civilizations in the world. You probably won’t know all the surprises this fascinating kingdom has in store for you until you visit. Here are 10 fascinating Bhutanese facts that will make you yearn to travel.
Bhutan adopts a “High Value, Low Impact Tourism” policy. Bhutanese people embrace a sustainable approach to tourist development because they are aware that unfettered tourism might negatively impact their distinctive culture and geography. “High Value, Low Impact Tourism” is the name of it. Except for Indian nationals, foreign visitors to Bhutan must pay a minimum entrance fee. The cost is US$250 per person per night during the high season (March, April, May, September, October, and November) and US$200 per person per night during the low season (January, February, June, July, August, and December). As a result, Bhutan is one of the most exclusive tourist destinations; here, you won’t find inexpensive flights or backpacker-style accommodations. This explains why there aren’t many tourists. Accommodations, food, transportation, admission fees, and a guide are all included in the minimum daily charge, so it’s still money well spent.
2.It is referred to as the Last Shangri-La.
Visitors are in awe of this Himalayan kingdom’s pristine culture and scenery, which has only recently been accessible to the outside world since the 1970s. It resembles a forgotten paradise. Here, there is a feeling of mystery and purity. As soon as you get off the plane, you can breathe in the clean air and smile at the kind residents. You’ll be in awe of magnificent snow-capped mountains and verdant forested valleys. This picture-perfect setting serves as a beautiful background to the colorful tsechus (dancing festival) that is held annually in the fortress-like dzongs and monasteries. Men wear a gho, a knee-length robe wrapped around the waist, while women wear kiras, an ankle-length sari-like garment. The festivalgoers are still dressed in mediaeval attire. In addition, you can find exquisite handicrafts, fabrics, and wonderful animals like the takin, which is the country’s symbol. Bhutan’s reputation as “the Last Shangri-La” is therefore not surprising.
Bhutanese people place a high value on happiness. Bhutan is one of the least developed nations in Asia, but the government nevertheless places a higher priority on Gross National Happiness (GNH) than Gross Domestic Product (GDP), as it is well aware that wealth does not necessarily translate to happiness. Jigme Singye Wangchuck, the fourth monarch of Bhutan, created the term “GNH” in 1972 in order to promote sustainable economic growth in his country. In contrast to GDP, GNH emphasizes the value of preserving traditional values and living in peace with nature.
It is supported by four pillars: excellent governance, environmental preservation, cultural preservation and promotion, and equitable and sustainable socioeconomic development. Happiness was declared a “fundamental human goal” by the United Nations, which also urged its member countries to emulate Bhutan.
Bhutan, although being a developing nation, offers all of its resident’s free access to basic healthcare and education. For its citizens, education is regarded as a fundamental right and is essential to attaining the country’s social, cultural, and economic objectives. The government does not impose tuition fees and even offers rural students free school supplies and textbooks. Over the past few decades, there has been a noticeable rise in the literacy rate. Most schools offer English instruction. In addition, hospitals and clinics offer basic healthcare services to the Bhutanese population. Infant mortality has decreased as a result, and life expectancy has grown recently. Bhutan’s life expectancy in 2016 was 70.20 years, which was greater than that of its neighbor India (68.56 years).
Bhutan is among the world’s happiest nations as well as one of the greenest. In the country, forests cover more than 70% of the land. According to the constitution, at least 60% of the land must be kept as forest for future generations. Bhutan is already carbon neutral or even carbon negative, in contrast to many other nations that are working hard to reduce their carbon emissions. In actuality, this kingdom is the world’s first and only carbon-negative country. This implies that while exploring this stunning country, you can take in the unspool nature.
6.One of the rare nations without traffic signals is this one.
Perhaps the most intriguing truth about Bhutan is this. There are no traffic signals anywhere in the nation, not even in the busiest city, Thimphu, which serves as the capital. However, it still amazes me how organized and effective the traffic is. This is due to the presence of police officers who direct and regulate traffic from booth-like buildings at key crossings. In Thimphu, traffic lights were once in operation for a single day before being taken down due to complaints from the inhabitants who thought the lights were unsightly and still preferred the police officers.
The tallest peak in the world that has never been scaled is located in Bhutan. The 40th tallest peak in the world, Gangkhar Puensum, is located on the border with China and rises to a height of 24,836 feet (7,570 meters). A British mountaineering team attempted the climb in 1985 but was forced to abandon it due to illness. An Austrian team attempted the climb the following year but encountered dangerous monsoon weather. Mountaineers attempted to climb the mountain in the 1980s but failed due to frostbite and strong winds. The Bhutanese government out of respect for the indigenous spiritual beliefs outlawed the climbing of any mountain higher than 19,685 feet / 6,000 meters in 1994, which was bad for the mountaineers but excellent for the mountains. (Gangkhar Puensum literally translates to “White Peak of the Three Spiritual Brothers.”) According to Bhutanese belief, imposing mountains are the homes of spirits, and they should not be disturbed. A Japanese team received permission from China in 1999 to ascend Gangkhar Puensum from the Chinese side, but China later revoked the authorization after being persuaded by the Bhutanese authorities. Since mountaineering is no longer permitted, Gangkhar Puensum is likely to remain unclimbed indefinitely.
Paro Airport is one of the most challenging airports in the world to land in since it is located in a deep valley surrounded by mountains that can reach heights of 5,500 meters (18,000 feet). Flights to and from Paro are only permitted during the day from sunrise to sunset and under visible meteorological conditions. Before landing, pilots must overcome the difficulty of flying over the savage winds blowing through the valley and the towering peaks. It makes sense that there are just eight pilots authorized to fly into this Himalayan valley. Bhutan’s sole international airport, Paro Airport, is located 6 kilometers [3.7 miles] from Paro. Each year, more than 30,000 visitors arrive in this Himalayan kingdom thanks to the eight licensed pilots. Many tourists find the landing at Paro airport to be magnificent, despite being difficult for the pilots.
Bhutan is constantly surprising. Among all of it, the phallic imagery might be the most unexpected. When travelling across the nation, you can nearly always find them, whether it be at homes, schools, or eateries. Why do the Bhutanese place such a high value on the phallus? due to the fact that penises are significant in Bhutanese culture and are believed to ward off evil spirits and provide luck to those who use them. Some people even hold the opinion that slapping a lady with a phony phallus may boost her likelihood of becoming pregnant.
The Himalayan monarchy has a uniform that requires men to wear a traditional knee-length garment called a gho and women to wear an ankle-length sari-like fabric called a kira. In the 1990s, there existed a rigors dress code that might result in costly fines. It is more laid back now. Only in government buildings, educational institutions, monasteries, and on rare occasions is national dress required. With the influence of Western fashion, more people are starting to dress in jeans and T-shirts.