Deep in the Himalayas, on the border between China and India, lies the smallest state in Asia, Bhutan. The main goal of the small Buddhist Kingdom of Bhutan is the happiness of the citizens, it is even written in the 9th article of the constitution. Because of this, during the national census, every Brutanese person is asked: “Are you happy?”
The quality of life is measured in terms of “Gross National Happiness”, an alternative to the more traditional measure of gross domestic product. Isn’t it pretty? There is no hunger, crime or wars in Bhutan.
Bhutanese people themselves are very open, unspoiled by the modern world, and carefully preserve their culture.
Image Source: baomoi
In South Asia, Bhutan, known also as the land of Thunder Dragon, ranks first in economic freedom, ease of doing business and peace; second in per capita income and is the least corrupt country, as of 2016. However, Bhutan continues to be a least developed country but it doesn’t seem to affect negatively the Brutanese people. In the last census carried out in 2015 by the Ministry of happiness, 35% of the population answered ’extremely happy’, 47.9% said they felt ’moderately happy’, and only 8.8% of respondents said they were ’unhappy’. How incredible is that? Well, that’s another proof that money doesn’t bring happiness.
Another amazing fact is that the first tv broadcast in Bhutan occured in 1999, until then tv was banned, and internet arrived only seventeen years ago, in 2000 as a gift from the king!
The Taktsang (Tiger’s Nest) Palphug Monastery, perched on a high and steep granite cliff overlooking the northern Paro valley, is considered as the most sacred monastery in Bhutan. A temple complex was first built in 1692, around the Taktsang Senge Samdup cave.
The main tower of the Paro Dzong, the grandest Bhutanese monastery located in the central district of Paro. (Jonathan Gregson)
The glorious Punakha Dzong, the second most important monastery behind the Paro Dzong, is built at the junction of the Mo Chhu (Mother River) and Pho Chhu (Father River).
Doksum iron bridge, Bhutan
It’s forbidden to bring chemical fertilizers into the country, so everything that grows there is environmentally clean.
Bhutan is the only country that absorbs more CO2 that it gives out.
The constitution dictates that more than 60% of the country must remain forested.
Killing an endangered species comes with a life sentence in Bhutan.
Memorial Chorten Monastery in Thimphu. (Credit: Prakash Mathema/AFP/Getty)
All tourist have to travel with tour operator and pay a minimum of 250$ per day.