This installment of Three Things about Bhutan is courtesy of Katya d’Angelo, Marketing Assistant, Boundless Journeys.
1. Question: What are some of the “things” or activities that the people of Bhutan do for fun?
One of the many wonderful things about Bhutan is that the government has made it a priority to protect the natural environment. This provides ample opportunities for getting out into the landscape. Locals and visitors alike enjoy hiking, mountain biking, and even rafting on one of the many rivers. In fact, many important Buddhist temples can only be accessed via a hike, including the famous and most holy Tiger’s Nest temple complex. In addition, two of Bhutan’s favorite pastimes are snooker and archery. Snooker, similar to pool, is hugely popular, and there are several snooker halls in every town. Archery is the national sport of Bhutan and an important social activity, especially in rural communities. Competitions are held throughout the country and during public holidays and festivals as part of the celebrations.
2. Question: What’s one thing the public probably does NOT know about Bhutan?
As a completely Buddhist country, every part of daily life revolves around Buddhist rituals. Before any major life and even government events and decisions, the Bhutanese consult astrologers. Dates for festivals or starting a journey must fall on a favorable day, and people also go to astrologers to check on things like the success of a future business and to have their baby’s horoscope mapped out with details about their previous life, characteristics, difficulties, and even good and bad colors.
3. Share some aspect of what Bhutan has contributed to the world.
While Bhutan may be a tiny kingdom tucked in the foothills of the Himalayas, it is leading the way on two fronts. First, Bhutan is a carbon negative country — the only one in the world. This means that it absorbs more CO2 than it emits thanks to the government’s goal to keep a minimum of 60% of the country forested and the fact that its electrical grid is powered by hydroelectric dams and newly-added wind turbines. Plus, there are also plans to increase the infrastructure for electric cars. Bhutan is also focused on citizen happiness. Instead of measuring Gross Domestic Product, the government measures Gross Domestic Happiness. Centered around several key areas that include spiritual, physical, social, and environmental health of the population, the government uses the information to help determine public policy. This novel concept of how to look at the success of a country has inspired similar analysis in Thailand, the Philippines, and the Americas.
For further information about travel to Bhutan, visit Boundless Journeys.