Bhutan is a small and happy country that has rich bio-diversity. It is also culturally rich with various colorful festivals.
Is Bhutan a country? Where is it located? What is so unique about this country? Why you should visit? Yes! These are what you must be thinking about when you first hear about Bhutan. So let us give you a few information about Bhutan, what is so unique about this little Kingdom and why even the most seasoned traveler consider it a privilege to visit this unknown country.
Bhutan is a small kingdom with an area over 38,394 sq. km and a population of 797,335. It is situated in the greater Himalayan region with two giant neighbors, China in the North and India in the south.
Mahayana Buddhism is the state religion and the head of state is His Majesty the King. Bhutan hasn’t been marred by any political conflicts, extreme poverty or has to worry about crime in the Kingdom. Bhutan is a very safe and peaceful destination.
Bhutan is also known as the “Druk Yul” Land of the Thunder Dragon thus Bhutan is popularly known as the Thunder Dragon Kingdom.
While walking in Bhutan do not be surprise if someone smiles at you and greets you “Kuzuzangpo La” Hello! or if a villager or stranger asks you to visit their home for tea, “suja” butter milk, wine or request you to eat at their place. Well! This is Bhutan where the people are very friendly and always smiling.
Ever since the times of our forefathers, it has been a tradition to welcome anyone with smile and treat them in the best manner. Bhutanese people are very friendly and helpful people so don’t be surprised if you make dozens of very good friends while you are in Bhutan.
Bhutan has rich culture and heritage which gives a unique identity to the Kingdom. The centuries old rich architecture and customs are still been practiced today.
Everything in Bhutan is simply beautiful and unique. Since Bhutan has the noble and popular Kings, the massive centuries old “Dzongs” forts which are situated on the high hills, towns and villages with colorful traditional houses, men and women who are wearing their unique dress called gho and kira and beautiful valley all around, it will make you wonder if you have just landed in a Fairytale Kingdom which you always dreamt about.
Bhutan is possibly one of the best examples of sustainable eco tourism and a country that is committed to this concept, inspired by the Buddhist view of interdependence between people and nature. Bhutan opened up its door to tourism only in 1974 and the government adopted a cautious tourism policy to avoid any negative that mass tourism could have on a small country.
All visitors to Bhutan have to book their tour and avail their visa through a registered Bhutan tour operator. (Tourist visiting Bhutan has pay a minimum tariff of USD$ 200 per person per night during off season and USD$250 per person per night during season, an all inclusive payment for accommodation, meals, guide, travel and Tourism Development Fund)
Due to Bhutan’s strict environment policy, Bhutan possesses flora and fauna that is unrivaled in the Himalayas. While developing countries forests have been plundered, Bhutan’s, which cover 72 percent of its land, are in fact increasing.
Bhutan is marked by natural beauty where the dense foliage change dramatically as the sub-tropical jungles at sea level merge into a fertile temperate zone and rises up to the great northern glaciers. The pristine environment is home to exotic wild life and is the last refuge for endangered species like the black necked crane, the blue sheep, the golden langur, the takin and even the royal Bengal tigers.
Festivals in the land of the Thunder Dragon are rich and happy expressions of its ancient Buddhist culture. These festivals are held in all districts inside Dzongs and temples in villages in honor of Guru Rimpoche, the saint who introduced Buddhist to Bhutan in the 8th century. It takes place on auspicious days and months according to the Bhutanese calendar and last up to four days in which a series of highly stylist mask dance rituals are performed. During the festival, the locals come and enjoy the festival in their finest clothes.
The Tshechus are a rich form of our oral history tradition where the Bhutanese pass on values, mythology and spiritual believe through the dance dramas. Many of the Tshechus culminate with a rare display of a giant silk appliqué Thangka” painiting” depicting Guru Rimpoche or some other important Buddhist deities.
Unique trekking experience.
Trekking in Bhutan is a unique experience unlike many of the more crowded trek’s offered in Asia. The variety of treks range from a simple 3 days trek from the district of Thimphu to Paro (vice versa ) to the 25 days legendary snowman’s trek that takes veteran trekkers to some of the most exquisite spots in the country. The snowman trek is also labeled the world’s toughest trek as it goes over 12 mountain passes, all of the over 4500 meters.
Almost all the treks offer a combination of natural discovery and insight into the countries delicate and unique daily life. Many of the trails take walkers past remote and ancient monasteries, through deep forest, and close to villages. The trails pass grassland, pastures and livestock’s, and meadows of wild flowers, butterflies, and grazing animals. Trekkers often get to spot blue sheep, takin and a variety of bird life, pheasants.