Bhutan is one of the most special and interesting travel destinations in the world located in the South Asian region. The landlocked Buddhist kingdom is situated between the giants of China and India.
It is one of the rare countries that have truly preserved its culture and traditions over the centuries. Some travellers claim that Bhutan seems out of this world. Its people, food, languages, architecture are highly unique and its natural environment is very well maintained.
Here are 10 facts about Bhutan that makes it one of the best tourist destinations for all the globetrotters.
1. One of the Smallest Countries of the World
Bhutan has a land size of 38,394 km² (14,824 square miles), slightly smaller than Switzerland and half the size of South Carolina in the USA. Currently, it ranks 133rd in terms of land area. The population is just around 770,000 people.
2. Only Highly Qualified Pilots Can Fly to Paro Airport
Paro Airport is known as one of the dangerous airports in the world. Only the most skilled pilots are able to navigate the mountainous terrain. The runway at the airport is also extremely narrow, hence, the descent is always flown manually. However, the views of the stunning Himalayan mountains from the aircrafts are spectacular.
Taking a flight to Bhutan proves to be one of the most exhilarating experiences for many travellers.
3. Happiness is A Priority in Bhutan
Instead of measuring Gross Domestic Product (GDP), Bhutan has taken the lead to measure its development by using the Gross National Happiness (GNH) approach. In establishing the Gross National Happiness Index, Bhutan created a metric to measure the Bhutanese’s quality of life. The four main pillars of GNH are good governance, cultural preservation, sustainable socio-economic development and environment conservation.
Every government policy in Bhutan has to align with the GNH’s tenets. In Bhutan, pretty much nothing is more important than the Bhutanese well-being and happiness.
4. Everyone in Bhutan is Offered Free Education
Regardless of background, all Bhutanese children are offered equitable access to free quality education. Bhutanese do not have to fork out money to receive education until the 12th standard in government schools. Education is one of the core focuses of Bhutan and teachers are one of the highest paying jobs in the country. Education in Bhutan is recognised both as a fundamental right and a prerequisite for achieving wider social, cultural, and economic goals within their national vision.
5. Houses the Rare Black-Necked Cranes
Bhutan has an amazing wildlife population and is winter home to beautiful birds like the black-necked cranes. These cranes are among endangered species that arrive in Phobjikha Valley in Bhutan during the winter season. Lucky tourists will be able to admire these majestic birds in the month of October to mid February. There is even a Black-Necked Cranes Visitor Centre that promotes the conservation of these rare birds. There’s also a Black-Necked Crane Festival held annually on November 11 at the courtyard of Gangtey Monastery to generate awareness about the importance of these sacred black-necked cranes.
6. Thimphu is the World’s Only Capital City Without Traffic Lights
Thimphu, is the capital city of Bhutan. It is the only capital city of the world that has no traffic lights, in fact, you cannot find a single traffic light in the entire Kingdom. Instead, you will find policemen standing at the major intersections and guiding the traffic using hand signals, in a graceful dance-like manner.
7. World’s Highest Unclimbed Mountain is in Bhutan
Did you know that Bhutan is the home to one of the highest unclimbed mountains in the world? And, this is the Gangkhar Puensum, with an elevation of 7570 metres. This majestic mountain is visible from Dochula Pass, a scenic mountain pass located between Thimphu and Punakha.
Mountaineering above 6,000metres in Bhutan has been prohibited since 1987 as the locals believe that mountains are sacred and should not be violated.
However, trekking and hiking of the Himalayan mountains are permissible. There are many breathtaking treks in Bhutan for the adventurous souls. Check out the trekking tours in Bhutan.
8. A Country With Many Interesting Names
The country’s Bhutanese name is “Druk Yul,” which means the “Land of the Thunder Dragon.” There are many interesting tales associated with how Bhutan got its name. Aside from Druk Yul, the kingdom was formerly called Lho Mon Khazi and Lho Jong Menjong. It’s respectively translated as ‘Southern Mon Country of Four Entry Points’ and ‘Southern Land of Medicinal Herbs’.
9. Mythical Creatures in Bhutan
The national animal of Bhutan is known as ‘Takin’ or a goat antelope. The queer looking animal is fascinating to many travellers who have not seen anything quite like it due to its distinct features. The Takin has an interesting mix of a cow and a goat.
Aside from the Takin, there are many popular mythical animals in Bhutan including the elusive Yeti, the ‘Bigfoot Man’ and the Snow Lion.
Archery was declared the national sport of Bhutan in 1971 when it became a member of the United Nations. The inclination towards this sport has started since the 1920s, under the second King of Bhutan, Jigme Wangchuck. Prior to that, archery existed a long time ago. It was used as a major weapon against invaders. The bows and arrows can even be seen on historical paintings and wall carvings.
Traditional Bhutanese Archery has a range that is 145 metres long, double the length of an Olympic range.
Bhutan made historic Olympics qualification in Tokyo Olympics 2020 when national athlete, Karma, a female archer, won a spot for the major event.
Are you ready to discover more about Bhutan?
If you are planning for a trip to Bhutan, you should consider taking a 7 Day Essential Bhutan Travel Plan, a 5 Day Uma Paro Himalayan Adventure, or spend 10 day discovering Bhutan. You may also check the best time to visit Bhutan. Don’t also forget to check out our tips when you’re planning a trip to Bhutan.
Also, remember to read the dos and don’ts when travelling in Bhutan. Don’t forget to sign-up for our regular newsletter at drukasia.com. If you have any enquiries, drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.