Bhutan-Taktsang-Monastery

Tucked into the Himalayas, Bhutan is one of the world’s most isolated, mysterious, and majestic lands. Often called the “Kingdom in the Clouds,” Bhutan offers a magical adventure for intrepid travelers, for those who have always dreamed of touching the sky or of getting closer to the gods than ever before. Visiting the Kingdom of Bhutan is a heady experience and one that grants entrance into an exclusive club of explorers who tread where few others have.

Here is a small sampling of Bhutan’s secrets and surprising facts:

  • Tourism is limited. This may not be so surprising given the Bhutanese respect for and love of their environment. Tourists began visiting the tiny, landlocked nation in 1974, and there is a concerted effort to balance economic gain with historic, cultural, and environmental preservation. The country can accommodate about 15,000 visitors per year. This is great news for those who do venture into the clouds: you can enjoy the marvels and mysteries of the Kingdom without wading through throngs of tourists. You can really take in not only the sights, but the sounds, smells, hospitality, and spirit of Bhutan.
  • It is a biodiversity “hotspot.” From soaring mountain peaks to subtropical forests, the small Bhutan boasts more than its share of ecological wonders. It is one of the world’s Ten Biodiversity Hotspots and is home to 120 species of butterfly, including 28 endemic species, 750 endemic plant species, 221 endemic bird areas, and much more. This is your chance to experience natural life in a very personal and exciting way.
  • Bhutan is happy! Bhutan was named the happiest country in Asia and eighth happiest in the world by Business Week. Why so happy? The air, the scenery, the rich culture, the biodiversity…perhaps the visitor can unlock this secret and take it home with him!
  • Festivals abound. These marvelous festivals could also be a factor in the “Gross National Happiness.” The festival of Tshechu, for instance, is held in temples, monasteries, and dzongs across Bhutan, celebrating the birth of Guru Rinpoche. Villages come together to see ancient religious mask dances, entertainments, and, of course, blessings and the washing away of sins. The costumes are enchanting, the masks thrilling, and the culture alive in every step and every heart.

Bhutan is said to be where one can contemplate and mediate to be closer to the gods. Pristine air, majestic surroundings, and a friendly, spiritual population certainly lend themselves to discovery and exploration, both of the body and the soul.

Enid Glasgow