Travel within and the exploration of Bhutan will offer even the most seasoned traveller a unique and unforgettable experience and adventure. Many visitors describe their visit as “transformative” as a visit to the country provides an opportunity to glimpse one of the last remaining living Mahayana cultures still thriving and until recently, a relatively isolated Himalayan country.
Bhutan is comprised of a rich constellation of cultures, lifestyles, languages and belief systems. It is a country with a population of just three quarter million that retains a strong sense of confidence, independence and individuality. These emerge as engaging characteristics of the Bhutanese through manifestations of hospitality, a ribald sense of humor and gentle respectfulness.
Traditional culture and customs still play a strong role and are readily evident in everyday life. In more recent years, these are also complemented by the country’s unique development philosophy of “Gross National Happiness”. Traditional dress is still worn (the gho for men and kira for women) and both government civil servants and monks and nuns are held in great respect for continued service roles they support within society.
While dimensions of modernization (and challenges associated with this) are beginning to arise, traditional ways of life still persist. Bhutan’s population remains largely rural with farming as a major source of income. The country is one of the few in the world which can boast an increase as opposed to a decrease in national forest cover and this is due to the Royal Decree that at least 60 per cent of this precious resource must be protected and preserved.
Such conservation contributes to sustaining an amazing variety of flora and fauna – many which cannot be seen in any other parts of the world. The pristine environment of the nation attracts many visitors to discover its many natural wonders through excursions on foot, in vehicles, by bicycle or floating down a glacial river in a raft.
No matter what you are interested in or how you choose to explore the country, a visit to Bhutan will both expand and enhance your perspective and – who knows – may even change your life!
Do not miss out Lester V. Ledesma’s article: 5 Reasons Bhutan is Worth $250 a Day