Bhutan is one of the most isolated countries in the world. This is partly because the country is located in the middle of the Himalayan mountain range, and partly because the government pursues a policy where it does not let in the outside world. Bhutan is therefore still relatively unaffected by modern developments and for the visitor, the country feels like a medieval society where not much has changed since the country switched to Buddhist teachings in 800. Visit Cellphoneexplorer for Asia Travel Guide.
Bhutan’s national animal is the special takin, which belongs to the goats?
does Bhutan measure the well-being of the population in national “gross domestic product in happiness”?
Geography of Bhutan
Bhutan is located on the southern slope of the Himalayas and borders India to the south and Tibet to the north. In the northern parts of the country, the mountains can be up to 7000 meters high and slope down to the Duarsslätten, which in turn is located only 200 meters above sea level. The narrow valleys are used as cultivation or grazing land for yak oxen and ponies, while the slopes are covered with ancient forest. The highest Bhutanese mountain peaks are always covered with snow and the climate is grim and windy, while the plains in the south are covered by tropical jungle with heavy monsoon rains and hot summers.
Bhutan’s history and inhabitants
Three quarters of Bhutan’s inhabitants are Buddhists. The rest are Hindus, but society is deeply influenced by Tibetan Buddhism. The country has only a few cities that are all small and do not even come close to the capital Thimbus which has just under 100,000 inhabitants. Most Bhutanese live in small villages among the mountains or in the valleys where they grow rice, oranges or tea. Buddhist temples and monasteries are scattered throughout the country and in strategic places are the large dzongs, which are large fortress-like building complexes used both as administration buildings and monks’ temples. It took until 1974 before the international press gained access to the country, then to attend the coronation of the then king Jigme Singye Wangchuck. Until then, the country was practically completely isolated from the outside world. If the isolation did not break significantly at the coronation, it was all the more difficult to keep the world press away in 1990, when Bhutan’s Nepalese minority population made a bloody uprising. The Nepalese accused Bhutan of oppression and fled in large numbers west to Nepal.
Traveling in Bhutan
A trip to Bhutan usually includes two things – hiking and Buddhism. As the country is located on the south side of the Himalayas, there are both high, snow-capped mountain peaks and less steep cliffs to choose from for those who crave hiking. In the spring, the mountain area is in full bloom and the weather is beautiful and inviting, while the winter period is high season for bird enthusiasts who want to have their curiosity quenched in the low-lying jungle. In Bhutan’s many dzongs, large Buddhist festivals are held, where monks wearing demon masks and colorful costumes dance their traditional dances during several days of festivities. Anyone who has ever participated in such a festival, solemn and hilarious at the same time, is not so easily impressed by other religious rites and events!
A holiday in Bhutan almost always involves a visit to a Buddhist shrine. The city of Bumthang is the country’s oldest and most important Buddhist city. It stretches through several valleys, of which Choskor houses a number of temples, dzongs and palaces. The capital Timbu offers a medieval atmosphere and is very beautifully situated on a wooded slope and is also the only capital in the world without traffic lights. The country’s most famous monastery is called Taktshang Goemba and is built on a rock slab 900 meters above sea level. Here the sounds of rippling water and whistling wind are interrupted only by the tones of singing monks. Bhutan holds a whole world of excitement and adventure for the traveler. But it is important to act quickly, the government is doing what it can to limit tourism and keep modern development away from the country.
Climate and weather Bhutan
Here you can read about Bhutan’s climate and weather.
The climate in Bhutan is subtropical in the south, tropical in the central highlands and subarctic in the north with constant snow. The weather seasons can be divided into five seasons: summer, monsoon, autumn, winter and spring. In the west the country is affected by strong monsoons, in the south the climate is warm and humid with cold winters. Central and eastern Bhutan are more temperate and dry with hot summers and cold winters.