The Kingdom of Bhutan often referred to as ‘The Last Shangri-La’ is tucked between India in the South and Tibetan autonomous region of China in the North. It is believed that the name Bhutan is derived from the Sanskrit word ‘Bhotant’, meaning ‘the end of Tibet’, or from ‘Bhu-uttan’, meaning ‘high land’. Historically the Bhutanese have referred to their country as Druk Yul, ‘land of the thunder dragon’. Bhutanese refer to themselves as Drukpas.
The Bhutanese have treasured their natural environment as it is seen as a source of all life and the abode of the Gods and Spirits. Around 70 percent of the land is under forest cover, housing some of the world’s rarest flora and fauna. Buddhism has been the predominant Religion since the 7th Century and the Bhutanese are mostly Buddhist by Faith adhering to the Drukpa Kargyupa sect of Mahayana Buddhism. Colorful Monasteries and Temples dot the mountainsides of valleysBrowse Tours
Geography of Bhutan
Bhutan is a landlocked country, about 300 km long and 150 km wide encompassing an area of 46,500 square kilometers. Virtually the entire country is mountainous, and ranges in elevation from 100m along the southern border to the 7,554m Kula Gangri peak in the north. Bhutan’s climate ranges from tropical in the south, to temperate in the center of the country, to cold in the north and like much of your adventure in the Himalayas it will be quite unpredictable.
The weather can vary dramatically from place to place. In the Thimphu and Paro valleys, the winter daytime temperature averages 60 degrees Fahrenheit during clear winter days but drops well below freezing during the nightBrowse Tours
Economy of Bhutan
Bhutan has transformed from a rural barter system to a modern market-based economy Agriculture and livestock raising are still the main pillars of the economy, with 85% of the population dependent on these two sectors. Industry and mining are still in the early stage of development but are expanding rapidly. The export of hydroelectric power provides 25% of government revenue.
Hydroelectric power is Bhutan’s largest resource and is sustainable, renewable and environmentally friendly. Bhutan also exports calcium carbide, wood products and cement. In other major export is agricultural product, including apples, oranges, cardamom, potatoes, asparagus, mushroom. Tourism and Airline, although very important for earning foreign exchange, only constitute a small part of the gross national productBrowse Tours
Traditional Bhutanese food always features spicy red and green chilies, either dried or fresh. Most Bhutanese love eating spicy food. The national dish, ema datsi, a dish of ema (chilli) cooked in datsi (cheese), is a favorite among Bhutanese and a growing number of foreigners. For meat lovers, meat is easily available in most restaurants.
For vegetarians, there are restaurants who serve vegetarian meals and almost all the restaurants have a vegetarian option in their menu. In ratio, there are more restaurants that cater to non-vegetarians than vegetarians. Liquor is easily available in bars with the exception of Tuesday (dry day). The legal drinking age is 18 years and above. If you have not tasted red rice, make sure that you ask for red rice
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Arts & Crafts
Bhutanese arts and crafts stand as a pulsating testimony to the country’s rich cultural heritage. All Bhutanese art, dance, drama and music have its roots in the Buddhist religion. And this Buddhist art has a much different purpose from other contemporary art, being more subjective, symbolic and impersonal. it possesses a boundless creativity in its style
From the majestic fortresses (dzongs) to people’s homes, the country’s unique arts and crafts embody the common national consciousness. Its simplicity, use of rich natural colors, and the religious thematic undertones create a poignant expression of the human will to achieve perfection.
In the past, the arts and crafts hugely contributed toward the socio-economic need of the people. It continues to remain a major source of cash income for the farmers of Bhutan. Above all, they continue to reflect the way of life and culture of Bhutanese peopleBrowse Tours
Archery – the National Sport
Archery in Bhutan is culturally distinctive and one of the most enjoyable sports, being both fun and physical exercise. In addition, archery builds concentration, which contributes to mental development; according to a Bhutanese proverb, both sailing and archery require intelligence. Archery in Bhutan is a way of socialization, communication, and development of relations between people. High spirited competitions, usually accompanied by a banquet, are a part of all festive occasions.
Using bamboo bows (although modern compound bows are now common in cities) team of archers shoot at targets only 30 centimeters in diameter from a distance of 120 meters. Each team has a noisy crowd of supporters who, as well as encouraging their own side, try to put off the opposition. Archery competition are among the most picturesque and colorful events in the country and are the integral part of all festivities.
Inter-village rivalry is common throughout the Kingdom and this rivalry is no more fiercely expressed than during annual archery tournaments. They are generally held at Losar (Bhutanese New Year) but smaller competitions are held throughout the year.Browse Tours
The Way of Life
Still majority of the population of Bhutan continues to live as it has for centuries – in small isolated farms and hamlets, surrounded by terraced fields of rice, maize and buckwheat. Higher up, many people live in tents woven from yak-hair, spending at least part of the year on the alpine pastures among their grazing livestock.
One trait which is common to all Bhutanese is hospitality. Custom dictates that simple hospitality is extended to any and all guests, even to perfect strangers. In Bhutan, everyone seems to wear a smile. Perhaps this is due to their deep rooted Buddhist faith or may be their sense of contentment is due to their self-sufficient lifestyle. Whatever the reason, the Bhutanese project an apparent inner happiness that travelers will remember long after their visit.Browse Tours
Population of Bhutan
The estimated population of the country is about 700,000 with the growth rate of about 3.1% per year. The country is still predominantly rural and about 85% of the people live in villages. More than 90% of population in Bhutan follows Buddhism as their only religion.
The people of Bhutan are very warm and friendly. Also increasing number of tourist arrivals in Bhutan every year proves there unmatched hospitality. A large number of Bhutan’s population is engaged in tourism and travel related services.Browse Tours
Travel Manager: Tshewang Zam
Besides her first hand travel experiences in many parts of the world, Tshewang is knowledgeable about various destinations with a keen understanding of the ins and outs of the travel industry. Her attention to detail and creativity are appreciated by clients looking to plan the vacation of a lifetime. She is the subject matter expert when it comes to your vacation in BhutanContact Zam
Travel Consultants: Team Toronto
As we extend our branch in Toronto, we have an excellent team of Travel Consultants who will not only prepare your travel packages, but also take care of your bookings and payments locally. This would mean that you won’t have to worry about wiring your payments internationally, instead pay as if you are at your favorite grocery store by means of credit card, debit card, email transfers, bank drafts you name it, we will make it as seamless as possible. So shall be any unforeseen cancellations and refunds. We have it covered locally.Contact Team Toronto