Bhutan, little known to the world, is slowly gaining popularity, if not for its uniqueness and doing things differently, definitely for being the most exclusive travel destination in the world.
We at Rena Kindup Tours & Treks have compiled a little insight with unique facts about Bhutan, that hopefully ignites the wanderlust in you to explore Bhutan with us. Read on and get to know the undiscovered Kingdom of Bhutan.
What is Bhutan?
Bhutan also known as Druk-Yul (The Land of the Thunder Dragon) is a sovereign nation with breathtaking landscape of ever green mountains & valleys, untouched natural forests, striking ancient architecture and a distinct culture & tradition that is not found anywhere in the world.
It is a tiny Kingdom that deliberately persuaded isolation, opened up slowly to the outside world and carefully embraces modernization to retain its age old customs and traditions, which as a result is flourishing even to this day and age.
With its rich history, pristine environment, culture and tradition still intact and its people striving to protect and preserve it for all times to come, Bhutan that exists today is how it was centuries ago and is strikingly unique and exotic.
Where is Bhutan?
Located in south east asia, the Kingdom of Bhutan is mountainous and landlocked between China to the north and India to the south, southwest and east. Nepal and Bangladesh are also its close neighbors.
Hidden deep in the eastern himalayas and geographically cut off for centuries, Bhutan has always remained an independent nation throughout its history. Bhutan’s history is strongly linked to Buddhism which flourished for centuries and literally shaped Bhutans identity.
The culture and the daily lives of the people of Bhutan are greatly influenced by Buddhism, the state religion of the country. This buddhist country is often referred to as the last stronghold of Vajrayana Buddhism.
What is the system of Government in Bhutan?
The system of government in Bhutan is parliamentary democracy with Constitutional Monarchy. Bhutan transitioned from a 100 years of absolute monarchy to constitutional monarchy in 2008 and became one of the youngest democracy in the world.
Democracy in Bhutan came in a unique and a special way. It was voluntarily initiated and introduced by the revered monarchs of Bhutan. The people of Bhutan, reluctantly embraced the historic change as it came as a gift from the golden throne.
Bhutan is ruled by one of the youngest monarchs in the world, the present king, His Majesty Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck is the fifth hereditary king of the Kingdom of Bhutan.
What is the capital of Bhutan?
Thimphu is the capital of Bhutan, the country’s largest and the most modern city. It is perhaps the only capital city without a traffic light and an airport of its own (the international airport is located in Paro, an hour drive from Thimphu).
It is located in the western part of Bhutan and is the seat of the government, home to the beloved royal family and the main centre of commerce. The capital city still retains its authentic ancient charms and is unlike any other capital cities that one is accustomed to seeing.
Also known as one of the highest capital in the world at an altitude of over 2300 meters above sea level, it is a beautiful blend of ancient tradition and modernity surrounded by green mountains with pristine environment.
What is the economy of Bhutan?
The bhutanese economy is powered by export of hydro-electric power, tourism and agriculture which are the biggest revenue earners for the Kingdom. Bhutan is an agrarian country with more than half of its population dependent on farming.
It is one of the smallest but fastest growing economies in the world and has made much progress in economic development in the recent years. However, Bhutan’s ultimate goal of development is happiness and wellbeing of its people and not economic prosperity alone.
Bhutan is the only country in the world that measures its success by how happy the citizens are and not by its Gross Domestic Product. This unique development philosophy is called the Gross National Happiness (GNH), a holistic and sustainable approach to development coined by the fourth King of Bhutan.
What is the currency of Bhutan?
The bhutanese Ngultrum is the official currency of Bhutan. The first bank notes were issued in 1974 and the unit of currency was standardized with One Ngultrum being equivalent to 100 Chhetrum (Ch.).
Abbreviated as Nu. with the code BTN, the bhutanese banknotes are available in denominations of Nu.1, Nu.5, Nu.10, Nu.20, Nu.50, Nu.100, Nu.500, and Nu.1000. Coins comes in denomination of Ch.5, Ch10, Ch.25, Ch.50 and Nu.1. Ngultrum is pegged equivalent to Indian Rupees which is accepted as legal tender in Bhutan.
The notes and coins of Bhutan depicts the portrait of the benevolent kings along with the royal crest, two mythical birds (the bird of long life) or one of the 8 auspicious symbols. On the reverse side, the majestic Dzongs (fortress) and monastery are depicted. The currencies features both Dzongkha and English text and numerals on both the sides.
What is the national language of Bhutan?
Dzongkha is the national language of Bhutan. English is widely spoken as it is the medium of instruction in schools and offices in Bhutan. Other widely spoken languages are Tshanglakha and Lhotshamkha.
For a small country with a land area of 38,394 square kilometers and the population of just around 750,000 people, there are over nineteen unique dialects spoken in the country. For its size and population, the bhutanese society is linguistically and culturally diverse with distinct dialects and ethnic groups spread across the country.
What is the climate like in Bhutan?
Bhutan is undoubtedly one of the greenest country in the world with more than 70 percent of the country under natural forest cover. It is the world’s first carbon negative country (absorbs more CO2 than it produces). Even its geographical landscape is unique with elevations starting from 150 meters above sea level, increasing drastically to as high as 7500 meters above sea level within a short span of distance.
Influenced by this drastic change in elevation, Bhutan’s climate and temperature vary extremely and ranges from hot and humid sub-tropical southern Bhutan, that changes to temperate forests with warm summers and cool dry winters in central Bhutan, to cold alpine with snow covered rugged mountains in the north.
The diverse landscape is a haven for biodiversity and the buddhist kingdom is perhaps the only country that has protection and preservation of its nature and biodiversity as a mandate in its constitution ( minimum of 60 percent of the country is to be maintained under forest cover for all times to come).