Located between India and China, the Kingdom of Bhutan is often overlooked as a travel destination. While it is no surprise because of its neighbors, maybe it’s time to give it the attention it deserves. Full of ancient monasteries, mountains, and forest, Bhutan is a perfect location for adventure lovers.
However, before you book your tickets, you should probably learn something about the country, so that you can get the full experience. So, here’s a bunch of interesting facts about Bhutan. Read on!
What Is the Capital of Bhutan?
The capital city of Bhutan is Thimphu. It is located in the western part of the country and has a population of approximately 160,000 people. The metropolitan area of the city has a little bit more than 230,000 people. Before Thimphu became the capital, it was called Punakha.
It was one of the main Buddhist monasteries in Bhutan and was considered the religious center of the country. However, in 1965, when King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck moved the capital to Thimphu from Punakha, there were many protests against this decision.
However, in recent years, the Punakha Dzong or Monastery has become the most important religious center in the country.
What Is the Climate Like in Bhutan?
Bhutan is a mountainous region with several climate zones. In fact, it has three climate regions: subtropical, temperate, and alpine. The subtropical zone is located in the southern part of the country and experiences hot summers and mild winters. The temperate zone is located in the central and western parts of the country and experiences a warm summer and cool winter.
Finally, the alpine zone is located in the northern parts of Bhutan. This zone experiences freezing temperatures all year round. The country also experiences powerful winds that blow from the Himalayas.
What Is the GDP Per Capita in Bhutan?
The most recent report from the World Bank shows that the GDP per capita of Bhutan is $7,277. This is a very small number, but it is still higher than the GDP per capita of India, China, and Nepal.
However, it is important to note that the GDP per capita of Bhutan is very low because very few people live there. Only 6 million people live in this country, and the majority of them are farmers. The agricultural sector is also considered one of the largest sectors in the economy of the country.
Is Bhutan a Democratic Country?
The answer to this question is no. Although Bhutan was declared a constitutional monarchy in 2008, it has never held any democratic elections since its establishment. In fact, King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck became the king when he was only 29 years old.
The history of Bhutan begins with the unification of several small states. Most of these states were ruled by hereditary rulers, so when they were united, the king of Bhutan decided to maintain this system instead of turning it into a democracy.
While the monarchy represents one of the three branches of government in Bhutan, the other two branches are the judiciary and the parliament. However, both branches have limited power and only make recommendations to the king.
What Is the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in Bhutan?
For many years, Bhutan had one of the smallest gross domestic products in the world. However, things changed after it began developing its tourism industry. Today, tourism makes up approximately 25% of the economy of Bhutan. It is expected that it will reach up to 40% of its GDP in the next decade.
In fact, this industry has become so important to the economy of Bhutan that even all government officials and civil servants are required to wear traditional dress and practice traditional ceremonies whenever they greet tourists at their offices or show them around their cities.
Is It Difficult to Travel to Bhutan?
Anyone who wants to travel to Bhutan must get a visa from their local embassy or consulate before traveling to this country. However, although you need a visa to enter Bhutan, obtaining one is not difficult because you can get it online and pay for it through a credit card or PayPal. You can even apply for your visa within 24 hours if you pay an additional fee.
However, you should probably plan ahead and apply for your visa as soon as possible because they tend to run out fast during peak seasons.
Once you get your visa, you will have to book flights to Paro airport near Thimphu.
You can book these flights online through various airline companies like Cathay Pacific or Air India Express. Once you arrive at Paro airport, you can head out to your hotel or residence, where you will stay during your trip to Bhutan. However, you should probably learn more about your destination before booking your accommodation because there are country hotels and luxury resorts and basic guest houses and camping sites available for travelers.
The best way to travel to Bhutan depends on your budget and personal preferences. However, you should probably decide early on because it can be pretty expensive. A one-week stay in a five-star hotel in Thimphu costs around $1,000. If you want to stay in a luxury hotel in Paro, you will have to pay around $1,200 per week.
What Do People Do for Fun in Bhutan?
Fun in Bhutan is not something you have to take care of because there are plenty of activities available for tourists, including hiking, mountain climbing, bird watching, river rafting, and mountain biking. There are also several cultural attractions, including monasteries and museums.
However, these activities are only available during certain times of the year because many of them require special equipment or conditions. For example, hiking is only available from October to March because it is too cold in other months. River rafting is also available from September to December when water levels are high enough to provide good rapids. Finally, bird watching is only available from March to May and September to November for the same reason.
Bhutan is also famous for its festivals and ceremonies, which include the Tsechu festival or Guru Rinpoche Day Festival held on June 1st every year to celebrate the birth of Guru Rinpoche or Padmasambhava, who founded Buddhism in Bhutan more than 1,500 years ago. Another festival worth visiting is the Punakha DzongDa festival held between September 7th and 10th every year. This festival celebrates the beginning of construction on Punakha Dzong in 1646 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel.
The Bottom Line
The Kingdom of Bhutan is mysterious and beautiful. Visitors who travel to Bhutan usually fall in love with this country. One of the main reasons for this is that it has a very unique culture that has been preserved for centuries. The Bhutanese people also tend to be very friendly, and they are very understanding of different cultures and religions.
As the pandemic-related restrictions begin to loosen up around the world, you may consider traveling to the Kingdom of Bhutan and seeing its beauty with your own eyes. Who knows, maybe you’ll go there for your next vacation? For sure, it’s a dream destination, and you may even recall it as an adventure of your lifetime.