Lying silently in the Eastern Himalayas, tucked between China and India, is the tiny Kingdom of Bhutan. By economic standards, Bhutan is a poor country. But what it lacks in material and economic wealth, it makes up for in its cultural and natural heritage.
Thanks to its long period of isolation, Bhutanese ancient culture has been kept intact and is now deeply ingrained into the daily lives of the people. Even after the 1970s, when it began to open itself to the global community, Bhutan has remained a very traditional country in a very modern world.
People still wear their national costume – wraparounds for men (gho) and long dresses for women (kira). Old rituals are still being practiced. People continue to live the simple traditional lives they’re used to.
All over the country, you can see reflections of a solemn devotion to Buddhism, the major religion of Bhutan. Buddhist structures and colorful annual festivals enrich the atmosphere.
Certainly, this country is a must-go destination for the thinking traveler, who wants to see more than what the eyes can see, for Bhutan opens the eyes to a place that happily exists despite being bereft of many things that the rest of the world considers important.
Dzongkha is the official language of Bhutan, so it pays to learn a few Dzongkha words and phrases before traveling. Electricity runs on 220/240 volts, and outlets accommodate plugs with either two or three round pins.
Bhutan currently imposes limits on tourism, allowing only prearranged tours. It’s a small price to pay for the privilege of experiencing a country only few have seen or even heard of.
Photo Credit: ClausNehmzow @flickr