There is a place on earth that even the most seasoned travelers consider a privilege to visit. And although it is voted one of the world’s top travel destinations, very few make it. This is Drukyul, Bhutan, the Land of the Thunder Dragon. You cannot find a more enlightening travel destination today. Perched high on the mighty Himalayan range, the kingdom of Bhutan has defied globalization and chosen to remain a hidden paradise.
Bhutan is marked by raw natural beauty where the dense foliage changes dramatically as the sub-tropical jungles at sea level merge into a fertile temperate zone and rises up to the great northern glaciers. The pristine environment is home to exotic wild life and is the last refuge for endangered species like the Black – Necked Crane, the Blue Sheep, the Golden Langur, the Takin and even the Royal Bengal Tiger.
The kingdom of Bhutan today remains as one of the last unventured destinations. And Bhutan does not have traffic lights even today. That is how the Bhutanese people would like to keep it. Thus the carefully managed tourism policy of the government based on ‘High value, Low impact’, in essence: ‘take nothing but memories, leave nothing but footprints’.
It is no surprise that the main goal in life for Bhutanese people is happiness. Even the mandate of modern Bhutanese state is Gross National Happiness. In translation, this means that economic development, a goal for much of humanity, is only a means to the real goal of happiness. Bhutan’s Brand tagline ‘Happiness is a place’ simply assures that happiness can be found in simple things and these simple things can be found anywhere and in anything.
Bhutan is the last bastion of Mahayana Buddhism, a spiritual practice that is known to be one of the most profound schools of teaching in the Buddhist world. The sacred monasteries that sit precariously on sheer cliffs, the fluttering prayer flags that line the high ridges, the red robed monks who chant through the day and night give this kingdom an aura that comes from another time.
The people of Bhutan have drawn a rich culture from this heritage and made it the essence of their unique identity. They have decided that man can only survive, and truly live by being in touch with the past. The onslaught of globalisation is balanced with the values that have kept society together through the ages.