Bhutan – the land of the thunder dragon in the Himalayas
Bhutan is a small mountainous country in the Eastern Himalayas, between Tibet (China) and India.
Tourists are undoubtedly interested in the amazingly beautiful mountain landscapes of Bhutan, a huge number of ancient Buddhist temples and monasteries. For many centuries, Bhutan has been isolated from the outside world, thanks to which the environment, the peculiar Tibetan culture, and the traditional way of life have been preserved in a relatively pure form.
The policy of isolation was carried out in Bhutan purposefully, the rulers of this country tried to preserve the national independence and spiritual values of their people.
Officially, the entry of Europeans into Bhutan was allowed only in 1974, and television appeared in this country only in 1999, later than all countries in the world. To the present time, tourists are experiencing difficulties with a visit to the Kingdom of Bhutan.
In 2011, Bhutan received only a little more than 30 thousand tourists. At the same time, tourism revenue ranks third in the country’s economy, but this paradox is caused by the peculiarities of the Bhutanese economy itself. The ruling dynasty deliberately restrains the development of industry and modern means of communication in the country, fearing the penetration of ideas that are alien to national and religious (Buddhist) traditions.
Even such a generally accepted indicator in the world as the level of gross national product (GDP) in Bhutan is not officially calculated, instead, according to the decree of king Jigme Khesar Namgyal Wangchuk, the level of “gross national happiness”is determined.
Difficulties for tourists who decide to visit Bhutan may begin before they arrive in the country. The fact is that no Embassy in the world can provide a visa to Bhutan, it can only be obtained in the capital of the state, the city of Timphu. To do this, send the necessary documents and passport data to the tour operator at least three weeks in advance.
But the main obstacle for foreign tourists on the way to Bhutan is a rather serious financial barrier in the form of mandatory fees for staying in the country. It must be paid by all foreigners, except Indian citizens, for each day of stay in Bhutan. $250 in March, April, may, September, October, November, and $200 in June, July, August, December, January, and February. The fee includes accommodation in a hotel (at least three-star), meals, guide services, transport and a pre-agreed program of excursions.
However, all difficulties can be overcome if you are attracted by the prospect of seeing this amazingly beautiful country lost in the mountains and getting to know its people, who carefully preserve their traditions, customs and beliefs.