As Bhutan becomes increasingly synonymous with GNH (Gross National Happiness), it is also becoming one of the most sought after Travel Destinations in the world. Its a Trekker’s Paradise and an environmentalist’s dream, as the Kingdom has more protected areas than it has shopping mall. The Spiritual landscape signifies one of the world’s last Vajrayana Buddhist Kingdoms. A unique old and new, harness the country that is opening to the modern world while balancing its ancient traditions.
Bhutan is a country that dares to be different from other nations and therefore it is different. we welcome you to explore this tiny nation.
The first thing you can’t help miss as soon as you land in Paro, the international airport in Bhutan, is the smiling faces of the people there. If you ask someone why it is so, they will immediately tell you how Bhutan is rated the happiest place in the world. Can you imagine in today’s day and age, a place that has positioned itself on happiness? Travelers have listed some unique findings in Bhutan. Bhutan is non-commercial and un-spoilt. They practise Buddhism and love their king, who believes that while it’s good to be ‘Modernised’, it’s not good to be ‘Westernised’. Government rules dictate that all buildings, palaces and monasteries need to conform to the traditional architectural style and every side you look, you know you are in Bhutan. People are trustworthy and friendly and most importantly, honest and simple. While every place has its uniqueness, there were a few that surprised us about Bhutan.
1) No desserts
There is no culture in Bhutan to have desserts. I can’t think of any other country in the world where that is the case. Their menus thus have no option of dessert.
2) No traffic lights
Throughout Bhutan, there are no traffic lights. One, the traffic is low, but even when there is traffic, they are disciplined and manage beautifully without traffic lights. The only semblance to a traffic light I saw, was a police booth at one of the junctions in Thimphu which had a policeman giving directions that everyone followed.
3) No smoking:
Smoking is officially banned and while some youngsters may smoke secretly, it is not allowed.
4) Tea with salt (Suja):
Bhutanese have their tea with salt in it Called Suja, the Bhutanese love its taste. For a non-Bhutanese, you would need to acquire the taste, otherwise you may not like it.
5) Tiger’s nest
Bhutan practises Buddhism.Perched on the side of a cliff 900 m above the Paro Valley is the Tiger’s Nest (Taktsang), one of the most famous Buddhist pilgrimage places in the world.A Bhutanese believes that once in a lifetime, a Bhutanese must visit this sacred place. It is said that in the 8th century , Guru Rinpoche flew on the back of a tigress from Eastern Bhutan to this place and meditated in the cave for three months and
hence it’s name ‘Tiger’s Nest’.It’s a six-hour rugged trek up and down hill, but every bit of the pain taken is worth it when you reach the place and see Buddha in so many of his avatars.
6) No newspapers on Sundays
Bhutanese are relaxed as a community and work on fixed hours without any sense of urgency. Sunday is a complete off so much so that there is not even a newspaper on Sunday .
7) Divorce is simple
Bhutan has no dowry culture, as a result of which if a boy and a girl like each other, they just go to their parents, buy them food and drink and move out of their house and get married.However, if they don’t get along with each other, and that can happen if either the boy or girl does not like the other, they can move out of the marriage by an easy divorce that they can get within a month. As a result of this culture, most people have multiple marriages and many children. But as a community , they are happy and peaceful and domestic violence is treated with utmost severity by law.The good news is that the Bhutanese food is very simple to make and thus, boys don’t have much expectations on the kitchen front from the girls (the most popular dish is the Ema-Datshi, a dish with a lot of chilli and cheese, the two most popular ingredients of Bhutanese cuisine).
Bhutan therefore, popularly known by many around the world as the Land of Gross National Happiness.