hide map
 
also known as:
Kingdom of Bhutan
Priority: High
Location Type: Country
Himalayan, forested mountain kingdom bordering India and China, Bhutan is deeply Bhuddist, unspoiled, and is one of the last remaining countries where ancient traditions remain a part of everyday life.
Book Hostels Online Now
videos below are provided by YouTube under copyright of their owners.

Wikipedia - Bhutan

Haa Valley, Bhutan
Haa Valley

Bhutan, officially the Kingdom of Bhutan, is a small landlocked country in South Asia, located at the eastern end of the Himalayas and bordered to the south, east and west by the Republic of India and to the north by the People's Republic of China. Bhutan is separated from the nearby country of Nepal to the west by the Indian state of Sikkim, and from Bangladesh to the south by West Bengal.

Bhutan existed as a patchwork of minor warring fiefdoms until the early 17th century, when the area was unified by the Tibetan lama and military leader Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, who fled religious persecution in Tibet and cultivated a separate Bhutanese identity. In the early 20th century, Bhutan came under the influence of the British Empire, followed by Indian influence upon Indian independence. In 2006, Business Week magazine rated Bhutan the happiest country in Asia and the eighth-happiest in the world based on a global survey.

Bhutan's landscape ranges from subtropical plains in the south to the Sub-alpine Himalayan heights in the north, with some peaks exceeding 7,000 metres (23,000 ft). The state religion is Vajrayana Buddhism, and the population of 691,141 is predominantly Buddhist, with Hinduism the second-largest religion. The capital and largest city is Thimphu. After centuries of absolute monarchy, Bhutan held its first democratic elections in March 2008. Bhutan is a member of the United Nations and the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC); it hosted the sixteenth SAARC summit in April 2010. The total area of the country is currently 38,816 square kilometres (14,987 sq mi). ... read more

Wikitravel - Bhutan

Trongsa Dzong, Bhutan
Trongsa Dzong

Besides the stunning natural scenery, the enduring image of the country for most visitors is the strong sense of culture and tradition that binds the kingdom and clearly distinguishes it from its larger neighbors. Bhutan is the only Vajrayana Buddhist nation in the world, and the profound teachings of this tradition remain well preserved and exert a strong influence in all aspects of life. Due to its pristine environment and harmonious society, the tiny Kingdom of Bhutan has been called "The Last Shangrila."

In terms of average wage, Bhutan is a poor country, however the land is fertile and the population small, so the people are well fed, and beggars and homeless are nonexistent. In addition, the current generation receives free education, and all citizens have access to free medical care. If a patient's ailment cannot be treated in the country, then the government refers the patients to reputable hospitals abroad.The sale of tobacco products is banned (foreign tourists and NGOs are exempt, though it is illegal for them to sell tobacco to locals), and smoking in public areas is a fineable offense.

A unique aspect of Bhutan is that progress is not purely defined by economic achievements as in most countries, but also based on the level of cultural and environmental preservation and development. This ideology was the brain child of King Jigme Singye Wangchuck who, having gained a modern education in India and the UK, realized that mere economic success did not necessarily translate into a content and happy society. Consequently, soon after his coronation in 1974, the young king began to float the idea of developing a new set of guidelines by which to govern the country. Slowly these ideas took shape, and in 1998 the GNH indicator was established. GNH stands for "Gross National Happiness" and is defined by the following four objectives: to increase economic growth and development, preserve and promote the cultural heritage, encourage sustainable use of the environment, and establish good governance. Currently, work is in progress on converting the GNH from being a mere guiding principle for the country's development into a workable set of standard indicators. As a result of this more humane style of governance, Bhutan has developed high environmental protection standards (the use of plastic bags, for example, is completely banned) and a peaceful and harmonious society that actively protects its rich culture and profound Buddhist traditions. Major sources of income for the kingdom are agriculture, tourism and hydroelectric power. ... read more

Research Center

Not Enough information on travelling to Bhutan? Want to know more? Dive into endless sources the internet provides.
If you get lost out there, we will be here waiting for you back home at Backpacking Asia :)
we'd love to hear your feedback about Backpacking Asia and what you think we can do better. suggestions to add something new? something not working for you? drop us a line!