A Gentleman’s Thoughts On Bhutan: A Whole New World
Bhutan can mean many things to visitors. It is safe to say a journey to Bhutan will open an entirely new world to you. From the spirituality of Buddhism to the majestic Himalaya Mountains and the ancient fortresses, Bhutan will touch you in ways you never imagined.
The following advice will help you have the best experience in Bhutan.
The tiny kingdom of Bhutan is mostly untouched by the modern world. Yes, there is phone service and faint hints of the internet, but you will not find corporate chain stores anywhere. For those travellers who are weary of being bombarded with marketing, the lack of the familiar is a very very good thing.
The Bhutanese are kind. Very kind. You will find the Bhutanese to be mindful, thoughtful and generally at peace. They also enjoy the quiet, so if you tend to be loud, tone it down a bit.
Everything you see and the experiences you have in Bhutan are real, genuine, authentic and probably everyday life. Their daily dress is normal for them. Nothing is for a show just because you are visiting.
Be respectful in the Temples. Bhutan is almost wholly Buddhist and each monastery and Temple is active even if they are near a thousand years old.
Go with the flow. Expect your itinerary to change. Follow the advice of your guide. And yes, every visitor to Bhutan must have a guide.
When people ask me which are my favourite places I’ve visited? I can only answer by naming those I would return to. Bhutan is high on my list of places I love and where I would return.
Consider these interesting facts about Bhutan –
:: Bhutan is one of the last countries in the world to introduce television to its people. The government lifted a ban on TV—and on the Internet—only 11 years ago.
:: Anyone found guilty of killing a highly endangered and culturally sacred black-necked crane could be sentenced to life in prison.
:: Bhutanese manners dictate that you are to refuse food whenever it’s offered to you. The tradition is to say the words “meshu meshu” and cover your mouth with your hands. You can give in, though, after two or three offers.
:: At 24,840 feet, Gangkhar Puensum is the highest point in Bhutan—and the highest unclimbed mountain in the world.
:: Bhutan is the only nation in the world where the sale of tobacco is banned.
:: Thimpu is one of just two capital cities in Asia that does not have a single traffic light. (The other is Pyongyang, North Korea.) There was such public outcry when local officials installed a single signal that it was quickly removed, and a traffic officer was re-assigned to the intersection.
:: One-third of Bhutan’s population is under the age of 14; its median age is 22.3 years.
:: Bhutan is the first country in the world with specific constitutional obligations on its people to protect the environment. Among its requirements: At least 60 percent of the nation must remain under forest cover at all times.
:: The word “Bhutan” translates to “Land of the Thunder Dragon.” It earned the nickname because of the fierce storms that often roll in from the Himalayas.
:: One of 43 landlocked countries in the world, Bhutan is about half the size of the state of Indiana.