May 31, 2023

Final Up to date on March 3, 2022 by Nellie Huang

Bhutan, the Land of Thunder Dragon, is without doubt one of the most intriguing locations I’ve visited. Learn these fascinating Bhutan info to be taught why.

Since opening its doorways to tourism within the Nineteen Seventies, Bhutan has rapidly risen to change into probably the most talked-about nation  on the earth. So how did a small, remoted nation of slightly below 800,000 folks landlocked between the superpowers of India and China all of a sudden get a lot consideration’?

I got here to Bhutan in seek for solutions, however I left with a lot greater than I’d anticipated to seek out. My journey to Bhutan positively opened my eyes and piqued my curiosity in Bhutanese tradition. Throughout my go to, I acquired to ask questions, observe, and be taught all about their Bhutanese traditions, beliefs, and philosophies in life. And the nation really captured me. 

To share some fascinating issues I realized alongside the way in which – listed here are some Bhutan info which may shock you.

Attention-grabbing Bhutan Information

1. Bhutan prefers happiness to wealth.

Within the Nineteen Seventies, the Fourth King of Bhutan got here up with the idea of Gross Nationwide Happiness to measure the nation’s wellbeing, as a substitute for the Gross Nationwide Product. They take a holistic strategy in direction of progress and provides equal significance to non-economic features of wellbeing.

It’s usually been defined by its 4 pillars: sustainable growth, environmental safety, cultural preservation, and good governance. All of Bhutan’s governmental insurance policies and initiatives should endure a GNH screening system earlier than approval to verify they don’t have a unfavourable impression of its folks’s wellbeing.

The concept of measuring a rustic’s growth by way of happiness has gained a lot recognition that the United Nations created its personal measurement to use to nations around the globe. 

interesting facts about bhutan - Happy people in Bhutan

2. Bhutan is a Buddhist nation with sturdy beliefs.

Buddhism may be very a lot alive in Bhutan and the nation is taken into account the final stronghold of Vajrayana Buddhism. However from what I’ve noticed, Buddhism right here is extra of a lifestyle than a faith.

Fluttering prayer flags, folks circumambulating temples, crimson robed monks performing rituals are all present how Buddhism is an integral a part of Bhutanese life. The complete nation is punctuated with dzongs (fortresses), monasteries, stupas, and prayer wheels — all symbols of their religion.

The Bhutanese even have a robust reverence to nature and non secular world due to their Buddhism beliefs — mountain peaks are thought of to deal with Guardian deities, lakes inhabited by lake deities and cliffs resided by cliff deities. In actual fact, mountains are so sacred to the Bhutanese that the federal government has banned mountaineering on any peak above 19,685 toes (6000m).

interesting facts about bhutan - Tiger's Nest

3. Bhutan is known for its colourful, vibrant festivals.

Bhutan is well-known for holding among the most vibrant and colourful festivals on the earth. In actual fact, many vacationers time their journey to Bhutan to coincide with the well-known Paro and Thimphu Festivals.

Bhutan’s festivals, often called tsechu, are historical expressions of their Buddhist tradition. Most of those festivals are devoted to Guru Rimpoche – the saint who launched Bhutan to Buddhism within the early eighth Century. They have fun with mystical dances, partaking performances, courageous hearth occasions, mysterious bare dances, enlightening re-creations. 

Behind the scenes, the monks put together themselves for weeks forward with deep prayer and meditation. The monks carry out particular masked dances which are inspirations of enlightened beings in historical past; and the Bhutanese consider that watching these mystical dances is crucial to realize enlightenment.


bhutan facts - thimphu festival

4. Vacationers must pay a minimal of US$200 per day to go to Bhutan.

Opposite to well-liked perception, journey to Bhutan is comparatively simple lately — it’s simply costly. All guests to Bhutan (besides residents of India, Bangladesh or Maldives) should journey with a tour operator.

Vacationers must pay for a minimum daily package that prices US$200 per particular person per day (through the excessive season which is throughout spring and autumn, anticipate to pay $50 extra per day). This charge contains 3/4-star resort lodging, all meals, transportation, information and driver (drinks are usually not included). Touring Bhutan on a price range is inconceivable, however you do get your cash’s value. 

Additionally it is vital to notice that $65 out of this $200/day goes in direction of funding the free schooling and healthcare that the federal government gives to residents. I can extremely suggest Bridge to Bhutan, a social enterprise dedicated to designing eco-friendly and accountable excursions by way of Bhutan. The brothers who based it are all about defending their nation’s ecosystem and tradition.

interesting facts about bhutan - Bhutan's currency

5. Bhutan has a low impression, excessive worth tourism coverage.

By maintaining the tourism business small, the federal government ensures that the impression on native tradition and setting is minimal. I’ve seen what mass tourism can do to a rustic — from environmental destruction (corresponding to Vietnam’s Halong Bay) to cultural erosion. The concept is to not maintain the hole between the elite and the plenty, however to draw extra conscious and accountable vacationers.

Secondly, Bhutan is a tiny nation with restricted assets and infrastructure, and can’t maintain giant numbers of vacationers. With this “low impact, high value” tourism plan, Bhutan will stay an unique vacationer vacation spot and maintain offering its guests with high quality companies and genuine experiences.

Whereas it’s inconceivable to journey Bhutan on a price range, I personally suppose it’s a implausible method to retain their cultural heritage and maintain tourism sustainable in Bhutan. Throughout my go to, I hardly noticed different vacationers round — which made the expertise all of the extra real and intimate. 

facts about bhutan - buddhist prayer wheels

6. Bhutan is without doubt one of the world’s main nations in environmental conservation.

One other probably the most fascinating Bhutan info: it’s the one nation on the earth that’s carbon-negative, which implies it takes extra greenhouse gasses from the environment than it emits. Based on its personal figures, this nation of round 750,000 folks removes almost 3 times as a lot Carbon Dioxide because it produces.

Bhutan’s capacity to be a web carbon sink is partly right down to its pure forests. Over 72% of the nation is roofed in forests. The mountainous nation is topped with excessive altitude mountains and carved with attractive canyons and valleys. Take a look at my Bhutan photographs.


The truth that Bhutan is comparatively undeveloped — most individuals work in agriculture or forestry — additionally means it emits lower than 2.5 million tons of CO2 annually. Luxembourg, for instance, with a smaller inhabitants, emits 4 instances as a lot.


bhutan fun facts - bhutan is carbon negative

7. Bhutan opened to tourism solely within the Nineteen Seventies.

Because the coronation of the primary king in 1907, the Bhutanese monarchy has at all times regulated overseas influences to an amazing extent with the intention to protect the nation’s identification. Due to its small dimension and fragile state, the nation believes that’s the key to maintaining its sovereignty. The nation solely opened its doorways to overseas vacationers in 1974, the yr that the United Nations recognized Bhutan as a country

all about bhutan - views of punakha bhutan

8. Bhutan lifted a ban on TV and Web solely in 1999.

For a similar motive, Bhutan had no roads, cars, phone, postal system or electrical energy till the Nineteen Seventies. The federal government lifted a ban on TV and the Web — solely in 1999.

This was the Bhutanese authorities’s approach of preserving their nationwide identification. However because of it, Bhutan has retained a whole lot of its traditions and remained an remoted Himalayan kingdom shrouded in thriller.

information about bhutan - city of paro

9. There are not any site visitors lights in Bhutan.

One other amusing Bhutan truth! Bhutan’s capital metropolis, Thimphu,  is the one capital on the earth with out site visitors lights. In actual fact when site visitors lights had been put in, there was such public outcry that town went again to utilizing white-gloved site visitors police till right now. I solely noticed this at one street intersection in Thimphu, however that was a reasonably fascinating sight! 

Aside from that, all the nation has no site visitors lights. It really works as a result of there are usually not many vehicles round in Bhutan, contemplating how mountainous and remoted it’s. The Bhutanese are additionally very calm and laidback, even with regards to driving in an orderly style.

streets of thimphu capital of bhutan

10. It’s obligatory for the Bhutanese to put on their nationwide costume.

Within the Nineteen Nineties, the King launched a decree to have all Bhutanese observe conventional customs together with gown and conduct.  Consequently, riots erupted within the Nepalese neighborhood. This led to the forced exile of 100,000 Bhutanese people of Nepalese origin. The Bhutanese authorities was criticized for this, says Nationwide Geographic.

Right now, the Bhutanese are nonetheless obliged to put on nationwide costume – a judo-style swimsuit often called gho for males and a silk jacket often called kira for girls – to work and to monastic buildings. Nevertheless, all the Bhutanese I spoke to don’t really feel in any approach restricted by these guidelines. In actual fact, they appear genuinely filled with pleasure for his or her nation.

I attempted on the kira in a standard costume store in downtown Thimphu and even purchased one house. It’s such a gorgeous conventional costume and I can see why the locals are so happy with it.

colorful traditional costume of bhutan kira
interesting facts about bhutan - Men in traditional gho playing archery

11. All of Bhutan’s buildings should observe the normal architectural type. 

For a similar motive, conventional structure stays alive in Bhutan. By royal decree, all buildings in Bhutan have to be constructed with multi-colored wooden frontages, small arched home windows, and sloping roofs (a bit much like the Tibetan type). Conventional architects don’t draw up plans, nor use nails and iron bars in development. 

Whereas the designs differ from area to area relying on the topography and out there supplies, there may be an architectural consistency throughout Bhutan. And the nation is studded with magnificent dzongs (fortresses), monasteries and delightful homes that spot conventional structure.

bhutan dzong fortress - interesting bhutan facts

traditional bhutan architecture

12. Bhutan’s largest export is renewable power.

Bhutan’s biggest export is hydropower, which accounts for 32.4% of the nation’s complete exports. Bhutan is ready to generate hydroelectricity by way of particular generators positioned straight into rivers with out the necessity for setting up dams. Most Bhutan households get their electrical energy from the hydropower. For distant villages with out entry to energy strains, the federal government gives free photo voltaic panels. 

bhutan generates hydropower

13. Bhutan has banned plastic luggage since 1999.

Whereas many nations are actually adopting the no-plastic coverage, Bhutan has banned plastic luggage since 1999. The nation has at all times had a convention of defending its setting, natural world. They use cotton luggage for his or her groceries to maintain the setting freed from non-biodegradable garbage.


14. Bhutan has banned smoking because the Nineteen Nineties.

Bhutan is the one nation on the earth that utterly bans the sale and manufacturing of tobacco and tobacco merchandise. Below the regulation, anyone discovered promoting tobacco can face imprisonment for a interval of three to 5 years.

The Himalayan nation has a protracted historical past of tobacco management. In 1729, a Bhutanese king banned the usage of tobacco. Within the Nineteen Nineties, lots of the 20 districts of Bhutan started declaring themselves smoke-free zones. By 2004, the federal government banned the sale of tobacco in addition to smoking in public locations. It grew to become the first country in the world to go entirely smoke-free.

interesting facts about bhutan - Protecting the natural environment

15. Bhutan’s authorities gives free schooling and healthcare.

Regardless of the nation’s low GDP, the federal government gives free schooling for all – from main stage all the way in which to tertiary institutes – in addition to free well being care. Western schooling and the trendy system of medication had been launched solely within the Sixties (previous to that solely monastic schooling and conventional remedy had been out there). Clearly, the federal government nonetheless has numerous work to do however it’s positively setting an amazing instance to the world.

interesting facts about bhutan - farming is the mainstay of their sustenance

16. It’s authorized to have a number of spouses in Bhutan.

Regardless of all of the strict guidelines, polygamy and polyandry are surprisingly authorized in Bhutan. Meaning each women and men can have a couple of partner. 

Based on my Bhutanese buddy Fin Novu, co-founder of Bridge to Bhutan, polyandry and polygamy began out of necessity. In rural components of Bhutan notably within the north, girls often marry a couple of males to delegate chores to her husbands — one husband brings the yaks out, one other grows crops within the discipline, one other cooks at house and so forth.

However why do they have a tendency to marry brothers or sisters? To maintain the blood inside their household. For a similar motive, folks additionally marry amongst distant kinfolk. Cross-cousin marriage was a preferred custom within the rural areas of japanese Bhutan nevertheless it’s longer well-liked right now. 

bhutan facts - my guide in bhutan

17. The phallic image is all over the place in Bhutan.

One of the vital hilarious Bhutan info is that the Bhutanese are merely obsessive about the phallic image. In Bhutan, it’s widespread to seek out phallic symbols painted on the partitions of homes and in temples and different monastic our bodies. Sure, I’m speaking about express photos of penises full with furry testicles and layers of foreskin tugged round them.

For the Bhutanese, the phallus is solely of signal of fine luck and an instrument to keep off evil spirits. This perception traces its roots again to the 14th century when “Divine Madman” Drukpa Kunley made beneficiant use of his penis to combat demons and convert the plenty to Buddhism. As a philanderer, the revered Lama preached in the way in which in contrast to the stiffness of the society on the time and dramatized the teachings utilizing outrageous sexual humor.

PHALLUS in bhutan

18. The Bhutanese love spicy meals.

I wasn’t anticipating a lot from Bhutanese meals however Bhutanese delicacies took me unexpectedly. Bhutanese meals is a wedding of Chinese language flavors and Himalayan type. I completely cherished Bhutanese meals for the range and the familiarity. 

As farming is the mainstay of sustenance in Bhutan, their eating regimen is principally composed of regionally grown merchandise, corresponding to rice, potatoes, ginger and chili. Animal merchandise corresponding to cheese, butter and milk are staples of the Bhutanese eating regimen. They don’t are likely to eat an excessive amount of meat as their Buddhism beliefs don’t assist the sacrifice of animals.

Chili specifically is present in each meal – whether or not in a resort restaurant or a farmhouse. The commonest type is the intense crimson chili that’s often left to dry on roofs. One other extra well-liked kind is the inexperienced chili that’s lower into slices and cooked with cheese to type ema datshi, the preferred dish in Bhutan.

interesting facts about bhutan - Ema datshi, Bhutan's national dish

19. Bhutan’s nationwide animal is the uncommon takin.

Bhutan has an extremely uncommon and fascinating nationwide animal often called the Takin.  The Takin is a bizarre-looking animal that looks like a cross between a yak and a goat. It has a thick neck, a protracted shaggy coat, adorned with a darkish stripe alongside the again. They secrete a strong-smelling oil substance masking their whole physique.

The Takin is the nationwide animal of Bhutan due to its affiliation to the Bhutanese spiritual historical past and mythology. Legend has it that the “Divide Madman” Drukpa Kunley (identical one who created the peni obsession) created this distinctive animal within the fifteenth century. 

Moreover the takin, Bhutan is house to a variety of uncommon animals, together with the Bengal tigers, snow leopard, crimson panda, and the Himalayan black bear. To guard all these animals, anybody caught killing an endangered species faces the cruel sentence of life in jail.

takin - bhutan's national animal

20. Bhutan has poverty points regardless of being a modern-day Shangri-La.

Out of the 720.000 folks in Bhutan, nearly all of them reside in rural areas and about 30% nonetheless stay below the poverty line. The causes of poverty in Bhutan are as a consequence of household dimension, lack of schooling and restricted jobs. Massive households with a excessive dependency ratio (kids and adults who can not work) expertise extra poverty.

That stated, you’ll not see any beggars or slums in Bhutan and there’s no abject poverty. Typically, all Bhutanese have a shelter and are self-sufficient to a big extent. Agriculture and livestock rearing have lengthy been the mainstay of their sustenance.

majority of people in bhutan work in agriculture

The best way to Journey Bhutan

As talked about, it’s not potential to journey Bhutan independently. You have to to ebook a guided tour with a tour operator with the intention to get a visa for Bhutan.

  • I traveled with Bridge to Bhutan, a social enterprise dedicated to designing eco-friendly and accountable excursions by way of Bhutan. The brothers who based it are all about defending their nation’s ecosystem and tradition and so they function in a really accountable method. I extremely suggest them, particularly in case you are searching for a customized, personal tour.
  • For these concerned with trekking, this 11-day Bhutan Trekking tour will convey you on the Druk Path. This energetic tour will get you out and about to go to among the most attractive temples and monasteries in Bhutan. Trek sacred mountain passes of the celebrated Druk Path, ascend to the profound Taktshang Monastary (Tiger’s Nest), and discover the distinctive great thing about town of Paro.
  • price range possibility is that this 4-day Bhutan tour that may present you highlights of the nation (Tiger’s Nest, Paro, Thimphu and Punakha). You should have restricted time in Bhutan however you gained’t be spending greater than $1500.

bhutan tours - how to get to bhutan

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