Why Visit Bhutan?

Perfect Eastern Himalayas Eco-system

Bhutan’s natural beauty is unrivalled anywhere. This mere 37,000 sq.km Kingdom, tucked in the midst of the mighty Himalayas, is a natural haven for birds, mammals, butterflies, orchids, and alpine flowers which carpet the landscape with a riot of colors as seasons come and go. Bhutan has about 800 species of birds (more than the two Americas combined), some 500 varieties of butterflies, and about 700 species of orchids in its forest eco-system which spans from the hot and humid sub-tropics in the south to the temperate and alpine region of the north over which abound perennial snow-capped peaks, 10 of which rise more than 7,000 meters above the sea level. Amid these mountains are innumerable glacial lakes and glaciers which form a part of what is known as the Third Pole, a reserve of fresh water contained in the snow and ice of the Himalayas.

Champion of Earth

Bhutan has declared to the world that it shall never waver from its path to be a champion of environment and conservation. It is the only country whose constitution mandates a minimum 60% of its total geographical area as natural forests (the actual forest cover is more than 70%), and more than half the geographical territory is designated as national parks, wildlife sanctuaries and biological corridors. Bhutan is one of the world’s top 10 “biological hotspots”, is a recipient of the “Champion of Earth” award, and recently became the only country to be a net carbon sink, a position it declared it would honor forever. While elsewhere climate change threatens the very basis of human civilization, Bhutan believes that, tiny as it is, it can still contribute meaningfully to preserving this beautiful and wonderful planet of ours.


Happiness as Pursuit of Life

To equate material wealth with happiness is probably mankind’s biggest fallacy. Bhutan believes, however, that if the end goal of every human being is happiness, then the means to achieve it is not the mad scramble to acquire wealth which destroys the planet and creates yawning inequalities. It is rather spiritual/mental well-being combined with sustainable, socio-economic growth and preservation of natural environment, among others, which foster the creation of a happy and wholesome society. To visit Bhutan; therefore, is to learn about its pursuit of a philosophy called “Gross National Happiness”, as opposed to Gross National Product, and how it is a living reality starting from the highest policies of the Bhutanese government to individual outlook and behavior in everyday life.

Culture and Identity

As a society Bhutan can only assert itself, wedged as it is between the world’s two most populated countries China and India, through its unique identity. Bhutan has thus turned to its age-old values, customs, traditions and beliefs, and successfully forged a brand or identity which is now recognized by much of the outside world. Safeguarded against the formidable winds of modernization and external forces, the way Bhutanese dress, eat, build houses, worship, and conduct themselves in general or express or define their filial bonds or loyalty or devotion are some of the things that will surely intrigue the minds of any people visiting Bhutan.

Buddhist Heritage

Buddhism has shaped Bhutanese history and culture. It has not only given the country its temples, stupas, statues and other monuments of worship but also the intangibles such as values, piety, devotion and philosophy. Anywhere one travels in Bhutan, the landscape is filled with sacred sites while people engaged in Buddhist worship and rituals is a common sight. The world-famous monastery like the Taktsang (Tiger’s Nest) is one such Buddhist heritage in a country which is aptly described as the world’s last Vajrayana Buddhist Kingdom. Bhutan’s arts and craft, sacred dances and rituals, architecture and observance of ancient customs are all offshoots of Buddhism. Thus to be in Bhutan is to step-back in time and immerse oneself in an other-worldly civilization spawned over nearly 2,000 years.