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Things to Know about Bhutan

Posted by Spike Reid 20th June 2019
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Bhutan is a largely unknown country by many westerners. The country is far different than many of its neighbors and the culture is extremely unique. For example, Bhutan is dedicated to the pursuit of Gross National Happiness instead of GDP. It also apparently has a complete ban on tobacco sales and many more unusual facts that make them different than any place else. Whether you are planning a trip Bhutan or simply interested in this fascinating nation, here are some things to know about Bhutan.

  • In the high mountain pastures can be found the cordyceps, a caterpillar with a fungus growing out of its rear end.  It is very much in demand in Chinese medicine as it can apparently empower the nerve system and is worth the same as gold, gram for gram.
  • The country is still widely covered in forest (circa 70%), which is largely untouched native woodland.
  • It is the first country in the world to ban disposable plastic bags.
  • The food we’ve been eating is alway very healthy and interesting, with plenty of fresh vegetables.
  • The eldest daughter of a family inherits the house, not the eldest son.
  • Across the country buddhists do masked dancing at festivals, sometimes naked.
  • Traditional dress – kir for women and gho for men – is still widely worn throughout the country the majority of the time.
  • All the toilets we have come across have been remarkably clean, and they have all been western style.
  • Throughout the country all the houses have striking architecture with ornate wood carving.  They were traditionally made without any nails and look beautiful.

Facts About Bhutan

  • …Apart from the corrugated iron rooves, which are everywhere, including upon fortresses, temples and palaces.
  • The speed of the wifi has been remarkably good, and we were able to make Skype calls home on Christmas Day.
  • Sometimes it is colder inside buildings than outside, but everywhere we have stayed has had a good log-burning stove.
  • There is no standardisation in electric sockets, but most of them take a variety of sizes.
  • The descent into the only international airport in Paro is quite an adventure with steep turns very close to the mountains.
  • Thimphu is one of the two capitals in the world that doesn’t have any traffic lights and it has one junction, which is manned by a police officer who directs traffic with ballet-like hand gestures.

Group Tours Bhutan

  • Chilli with cheese is a much desired part of the daily diet and has been served with nearly every meal. You never know how hot it will be until you try it.
  • The country produces a huge amount of electricity from hydropower and exports most of it to India. With a small amount of solar power it is entirely dependent on renewable energy for its electricity.
  • Red rice is the Bhutanese staple with a wonderful nutty flavour.
  • The Kings of Bhutan are much revered throughout the country. They have only had a monarchy since 1907 and have recently moved from an absolute monarchy to a constitutional one, at the Fourth King’s request.
  • The General Post Office in the capital Thimphu has an exhibition that managed to make postage stamps exciting. After enjoying that you can get a stamp made featuring a photo of yourself.
  • The Bhutanese are just finishing a huge bronze statue of a sitting Buddha overlooking the capital that is taller than Rio's Christ the Redeemer and the Statue of Liberty.
  • Until 1969 there were no banks in the country and people stored grain within their house in the absence of a local branch.

Things To Know Before You Go To Bhutan

This list is just scratching the surface of all the fascinating things to know about Bhutan. If you're interested in visiting this unique, mountainous nation, please check out our Bhutan group tours and tailor-made holidays.

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