Bhutan’s isolated Himalayan valleys and Tibetan Buddhist culture offer a journey into an ancient world.
Few countries in the world inspire deeper reflection on the meaning of life and the pursuit of happiness than the tiny Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan. It was Bhutan’s King Jigme Singye Wangchuck who announced to the world that his country would abandon the materialistic metric of gross national product (GNP) as a measure of development success, and instead replace it with Bhutan’s own Gross National Happiness (GNH), counting well-being and happiness as well when measuring progress.
Largely isolated from the outside world until barely two decades ago, Bhutan represents a country seeking to balance the modern world with the age-old customs of Tibetan Buddhism still practiced in remote mountain villages and colorful monasteries throughout
the country. Walking along forest trails of wild rhododendrons nestled below snow covered peaks also reveals a traditional way of life that is deeply connected to nature.
Bhutan is home to some of the world’s rarest species, including snow leopards and tigers in the mountains, and the endangered black-necked cranes that find sanctuary in Bhutan’s
spectacular Phobjikha Valley. More than fifty percent of Bhutan is protected in national parks and reserves.
The country is also committed to sustainable agriculture that supports biodiversity, with a goal of becoming the first nation in the world with 100 percent organic agricultural production.
In Bhutan, happiness means living a life in harmony with the natural world and with their ancient cultural and spiritual heritage.