A trip to Bhutan is like traveling back in time. Since opening their doors to tourists in 1974, the formerly isolated country has had a clear strategy about how to manage tourism and preserve the traditional culture that makes it so unique. You might expect to bump into hoards of tourists, but you won’t: the $250 daily travellers fee keeps tourism low volume and therefore low impact feeding back into the country’s wider philosophy of Gross National Happiness. Its largely Buddhist population are a peace-loving and god-fearing people and its landscape – subtropical plains in the south to sub-alpine Himalayan heights in the north – is a sacred land shrouded in ancient mystery.
Thought to be impersonal, there are no traffic lights in Bhutan and the locals wear their distinctive national dress with pride. It has neither military, nor economic power, but it does have culture and scenery in abundance; attributes that keep it distinct and safe. World Tour Plan advice? Leave your modern life behind and you will have an experience that’s becoming harder to find anywhere else in the world.
Marijuana grows wild in Bhutan, but it is illegal for human consumption. It’s said that Bhutanese farmers feed marijuana to their pigs to keep them happy.
Eating & drinking in Bhutan
Bhutan’s distinctive red rice is grown in the Paro Valley and has a distinct nutty flavour. Bhutanese manners dictate that you refuse food whenever it’s offered to you – say ‘meshu, meshu’ and cover your mouth with your hands, but feel free to give in after two or three offers. Red Panda Beer is locally brewed in Bhutan. Made using a natural fermentation process, it’s bottled in recycled bottles and tastes surprisingly good.
Arra = Bhutanese moonshine. One word: hangover.