Around the World: Bhutan
Bhutan is a landlocked country located in Southeast Asia. Bhutan is a somewhat mysterious country, appearing to be from an alternate universe. Many people find it enchanting and straight out of a fairytale. What makes Bhutan a hidden jewel? Here are some interesting facts about Bhutan.
Bhutan is the only carbon-negative country in the world, which means that it absorbs more carbon dioxide than it produces.
Bhutan was isolated entirely from the world until 1974 when the media was allowed to cover the new king’s coronation, about 64 years after it was founded.
The government has placed a minimum fee of around $200 USD per day per person in the low season and $250 USD per day per person during the high season for visitors to Bhutan. This is to help protect Bhutan's culture and environment. Naturally, this makes a trip to Bhutan remarkably expensive.
Bhutan is a country free of traffic lights. Roads are a rather dangerous adventure in Bhutan with steep curves in the mountainous regions. Herds of animals like cows and buffaloes can be found freely roaming on these roads. However, the Bhutanese drive very slowly and cautiously, so traffic lights are not required.
In a world of dirty politics and corruption, it is surprising as well as inspiring to see selflessness by the king of Bhutan Jigme Singye Wangchuck. Realizing that future kings may not always be good and honest, he abdicated his throne and established a democracy. This fact about Bhutan proves how much of a peaceful country it is.
Bhutan banned plastic bags in 1999. However, it failed due to a lack of alternatives even after enforcing it again twice in 2005 and 2009. Now, due to the urgent need for managing waste in Bhutan, the ban has been introduced yet again. Awareness about alternatives like homemade carry bags, jute bags, and hand-woven bags is being spread to sensitize the citizens.
Bhutanese are not allowed to kill any animals or birds. They take environmental conservation pretty seriously. However, they do eat meat, quite a lot. All the meat is imported from other countries. Recently, the government has been thinking of banning its consumption altogether.
It is mandatory to wear the national dress of Bhutan (Gho for men and Kira for women) to schools, government buildings, or on any formal occasion. This way, Bhutan tries to preserve and promote its traditional values.
Bhutan travelers must know that the Bhutanese always refuse food the first time it is offered to show respect and gratitude. They close their mouth and say “Meshu”.