About Bhutan

Bhutan – The Last and Only Shangrila

Bhutan has been described in many ways, by different writers and academicians. But the best description was made by a tourist from France, who said this. “On a clear night, just look up to the skies. You see thousands of stars. But from these, you see one glittering and glowing. That is Bhutan.”

Over the years, Bhutan has emerged as the major tourist destination, winning several awards along the route. The tourism policy of “High Value – Low Volume,” has ensured sustainable tourism development. And this policy is in place, since Bhutan opened its doors to tourism in 1974.

What makes Bhutan special? Why should you visit this small Himalayan nation?


It is difficult to decipher how Bhutan remained un-colonized by the mighty East India Company, who had the blessings of the then world power, the United Kingdom. It is not that they did not try. Several battles were fought beginning from the 17th century. But Bhutan, which was then ruled by different feudal lords, did not succumb to the British might. Instead, British India sought Bhutan’s assistance for missions to the then Tibet, showering Bhutanese leaders with gifts and playing a very crucial role in installing Bhutan’s first King, Ugyen Wangchuck, as the nation’s first hereditary King, in 1907.

And when the British left the Indian Subcontinent in the mid-nineties, Bhutan had become an independent country, under the reins of the Wangchuck dynasty. Perhaps, Bhutanese learned to play cricket very recently as the British could not sit on the Chairs and Throne of Bhutanese leaders.

GNH and the Personality behind it.      

“Gross National Happiness (GNH) is more important than Gross Domestic Product (GDP.” This was a statement made by Bhutan’s Fourth King, Jigme Singye Wangchuck, in the late seventies, who was then not even 20. Today GNH, has become an international anthem; debated and discussed; embraced by several countries as the development mantra.

The extraordinary King, the author of GNH, has surprised the globe at several fronts – especially in 2005. In a world where leaders do everything within their whims to stay glued to their chairs, King Jigme Singye Wangchuck, informed his people that he would abdicate from the Throne and Bhutan would become a constitutional monarchy, with people given the right to franchise. It was in December 17, 2005, and a stunned Bhutanese population, did not want democracy. People pleaded. People cried, but the Sovereign had made the decision.

On December 9, 2006, Bhutanese were again stunned, when the King declared that he is abdicating in favour of His Son, present King, Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck. He was only 51 years old.

As proclaimed, democratic elections were held in 2008, but not before the Constitution were drafted. A constitution drafting committee was formed and the draft Constitution taken to all parts of the country for discussion with the people. Today, the King is the Head of State. The elected Prime Minister is the Head of the Government.

Thus, democracy in Bhutan was a gift from the Throne. Bhutan might be the only country, where a democratic system was established without shedding a drop of blood. Moreover, the Constitution clearly states that the King has to abdicate at the age of 65. There are also several unique provisions in the Constitution, which has just 35 Articles, whereby a King, could be asked to abdicate.

A blend of the Modern and Medieval

Can you believe that when Neil Armstrong made a “giant step for mankind” and Yuri Gagarin went to Space, Bhutan was just constructing its first roads?

Yes! But spearheaded by Kings, who believed ardently that today’s generation has no right to encroach onto rights of future generations, a nation known for its sustainable policies stands together with other modern nations. Thus, a visit to Bhutan will be like a walk across time; from the medieval age to modern times.

An enchanting array of medieval structures stands together with the most modern infrastructure. People still wear their national dress (Gho for men and kira for women.) And you will witness that almost everyone can converse in English, making your journey easy.

An environment unscarred

It could justifiably be said that Bhutanese air is the purest in the world, not adulterated by the thousands of manmade elements. Bhutan is not just Carbon neutral. It is Carbon Negative and the Constitution mandates that under all times, Bhutan should maintain a minimum of 60 percent forest coverage.

Hydropower, another element of clean energy, is the nation’s highest generator of income. An astonishing array of plants grow in Bhutan: over 5,400 species, including 300 species of medicinal plants, some hardy species thriving even at 3,700m above.

Bhutan is home to the richest stocks of orchids in the world; 369 out of which 82 are unique to the mountain kingdom. It has 48 of the 1,000 species of rhododendrons found worldwide.

Animals, which have become extinct or on the verge of extinction dwell peacefully in Bhutan. The White Bellied Heron; Black Necked Cranes; Snow Leopard; Bengal Tiger; Golden Langurs and several mammals and birds, trot the parks and roads of Bhutan.  


Bhutanese life itself is a celebration of its rich cultural heritage, which is manifested in the nation’s architecture; food and other habits.

Bhutan’s architecture is one of its most special features, a source of aesthetic pleasure derived from the characteristic style and colour of buildings and houses. Art and paintings are also important aspects of Bhutanese culture and they bear testimony to the spiritual depth of Bhutanese life.  The festivals are also great social and spiritual ceremonies that awe both Bhutanese and visitors.   

Bhutan still retains all the charm of the old world, and travelers experience the full glory of this ancient land as embodied in the monastic fortresses, ancient temples, monasteries and chortens which dot the countryside, prayer flags fluttering above farmhouses and on the hillsides, lush forests, rushing glacial rivers, and – perhaps most important of all – the warm smiles and genuine friendliness of the people.  Each moment is special as one discovers a country which its people have chosen to preserve in all its magical purity.


Despite its size, Bhutan is a diverse country comprising of people speaking different dialects. The reason behind this is the Bhutanese terrain and the scores of rivers cutting the country into different parts. Without a road network, Bhutanese in the past lived in their own communities, hardly interacting with people from other regions. This and the climate led to the development of different cuisines in the Kingdom. Just as a plant or animal is associated with a part of the country, different regions in Bhutan have their own specialties.

In general, rice is a common ingredient of all Bhutanese dishes. It is served together with different curries. The most popular is “Ema datsi”, chilly mixed with cheese. The most distinctiveness characteristic of Bhutanese cuisine is its spiciness. Chilies are an essential part of nearly every dish and are considered so important that most Bhutanese people would not enjoy a meal that was not spicy. For one thing, the country has an obsession with chilies, treating them as vegetable rather than a spice. Vegetables commonly eaten include Spinach, pumpkins, turnips, radishes, tomatoes, river weed, onions and green beans. Soups and stews of meat, rice, ferns, lentils and dried vegetables spiced with chili peppers and cheese are favorites during the cold seasons.

Bhutanese eat a variety of meat too, the most common being pork, beef and chicken. These are prepared in different ways. Popular beverages include butter tea, tea, locally brewed ara (rice wine) and beer. Spices include cardamom, ginger, chili peppers, Thingay (Sichuan pepper), garlic, turmeric and caraway.

National Sports

Archery is Bhutan’s national sports. Played by men, the game is a clash of egos. While traditional bows and arrows are still used, most archers now use imported hunting bows. The game is usually played during national festivals and tournaments.

National Flower

Blue poppy, one of the most exquisite and rare flowers in the country and found at elevations of around 3,000m to 4,000m above sea level is the national flower. It was discovered in 1933 by a British Botanist, George Sherriff in a remote part of Sakteng in eastern Bhutan.
Its scientific name was Meconopsis spp. In 2017, it got a new scientific name after being discovered as the new species to science. It is Meconopsis gakyidiana.

 National Animal

The national animal is the Takin (Burdorcastaxicolor) and  is associated with history and mythology.

It is a very rare mammal with a thick neck and short muscular legs. It lives in groups and is found above 4000 meters on the north-western and far north eastern parts of the country. They feed on bamboo. The adult Takin can weigh over 200 kgs.

National Bird

The national bird is the raven.

It adorns the royal crown. The raven represents the deity Gonpo Jarodongchen (raven headed Mahakala), one of the chief guardian deities of Bhutan.

National Emblem

The National Emblem of Bhutan is a circle that projects a double diamond thunderbolt placed above the lotus.

There is a jewel on all sides with two dragons on the vertical sides. The thunderbolts represent the harmony between secular and religious power while the lotus symbolizes purity. The jewel signifies the sovereign power while the dragons (male and female) represent the name of the country DrukYul or the Land of the Dragon.

National Tree

The national tree is the cypress (Cupressustorolusa).

Cypresses are found in abundance and one may notice large cypresses near temples and monasteries. This tree is found in the temperate climate zone, between 1800 and 3500 meters. Its capacity to survive on rugged harsh terrain is compared to bravery and simplicity.


About us

We are authorized approved travel agent by the Royal Government and accredited travel company licensed by the Tourism Council of Bhutan to cater to all tourist interested to visit Bhutan. Embark on a voyage that promises to enthral you, an experience that will captivate all your five sense organs and beyond... read more

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Mobile: +975 17756801 (whatsapp)

email: info@asiaticbhutantours.com

location: Jitshiphu new Drukgyel high school.

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