Bhutan, Druk Yul, the Land of the Thunder Dragon. It’s a land of contrasts and in few places is the divide between ancient and the encroaching ‘modern’ so evident.
A self-imposed exclusion from the outside world saw life here virtually unchanged until the early 1960s. Recent developments have seen Bhutan rapidly modernising over the last couple of decades. Television arrived only in 1999, the internet and mobile phone connections followed closely behind. In 2008, Bhutan had its first democratic elections making it at the same time the world’s last remaining Mahayana Buddhist Kingdom and the world’s newest democracy.
While changes are afoot, the Bhutanese have consciously maintained many of their traditions as a way of preserving their sovereignty and unique culture. Witness daily government business being carried out in gallant national dress inside the astonishing Dzongs, the same places where Bhutan’s famous colourful tsechus, 10th day festivals unfold.
Bhutan’s cultural heritage is matched by its natural heritage. The geographic isolation of its mountainous landscape, its small population coupled with the national religion of Buddhism, mean Bhutan has the last truly intact, large-scale ecosystem in the Himalayas. With 72% forest coverage, the air is often fragrant with pine and forest herbs.
Bhutan is a land with no traffic lights and has one monastery for every two kilometres of road. It’s well known for measuring Gross National Happiness and has a government department in charge of it. It was widely reported several years ago as being the happiest country in Asia. Bhutan is a truly unique destination for the cultural traveller. We look forward to helping you enjoy your experience in Bhutan!
Planning a journey to Bhutan depends on the time of year you wish to travel as much as how much time you have. See our suggested itineraries for ideas.