Bhutan is no ordinary place. it’s the last great Himalayan kingdom, shrouded in mystery and magic, where a traditional Buddhist culture carefully embraces global developments.
Low Volume, High value tourism
The Bhutanese pride themselves on a sustainable approach to tourism in line with the philosophy of Gross National Happiness. Foreign guests famously pay a minimum tariff of US$250 per day, making it seem one of the world’s more expensive destinations. However, this fee is all-inclusive – accommodation, food, transport and an official guide are all provided, so it isn’t a foul deal. you don’t have to travel in a giant group and you can arrange your own itinerary. What you won’t find is budget backpacker-style travel.
Bhutan holds many surprises. this is a country where the rice is red and where chillies aren’t just a seasoning but the main dish. it is also a deeply Buddhist land, where monks check their smartphones after performing a divination, and where big protective penises are painted beside the entrance to several homes. however while it visibly protects its Buddhist traditions, Bhutan isn’t a repository. you’ll notice the Bhutanese well educated, fun and well informed about the globe around them. It’s this mixing of the ancient and modern that makes Bhutan endlessly fascinating.
The Last Shangri La?
So why pay your cash to come back here? firstly, there’s the superb Himalayan landscape, where natural covering peaks rise on top of shadowy gorges cloaked in primaeval forests. usurping prime positions in this picture-book landscape are the majestic fortress-like dzongs and monasteries. This unique architecture sets the stage for spectacular tsechus (dance festivals) attended by an virtually medieval-looking audience. Then there are the textiles and handicrafts, outrageous archery competitions, high-altitude trekking trails, and beautiful flora and fauna. If it isn’t ‘Shangri La’, it’s as close as it gets.
Environmental protection goes hand in hand with cultural preservation in Bhutan. By law, at least 60th of the country must remain forested for all future generations; it currently stands above 70th. Not only is Bhutan carbon neutral, however it truly absorbs more carbon than it emits! For the traveller, this translates into beautiful forest hikes and superb birding across a sequence of national parks. whether you are spotting takins or blue poppies, trekking beneath 7000m peaks or strolling across hillsides ablaze with spring bush blooms, Bhutan offers one of the last pristine pockets in the entire Himalaya.