Kingdom of Bhutan: photos, sights, reviews
The long period of the borders of the Kingdom of Bhutan closed to European tourists (until 1974) gave rise to many myths and mysteries about this place. Few people know where the country is at all.
Today's travelers are starting to explore new places of interest, not to surprise anyone with Turkey and Thailand. I want to go where no one from acquaintances and friends has ever been, to broaden my horizons as much as possible and satisfy my thirst for curiosity, knowledge of new worlds and lost states.
Geographical position and state structure
Where is the Kingdom of Bhutan? A small state was lost between two large countries - China and India. It is locatedon the southern slope of the Great Himalayan Range, which rises to 7000 meters.
Druk-Yul, which translates as "The Land of the Dragon", is divided by the Black Mountains into the Eastern and Western halves right in the center.At the bottom of the mountain range, Bhutan is bordered by India along the Brahmaputra River. The capital Thimphu - the most populous city in which the residence of the king is located, the monarch himself lives in an ordinary house.
In terms of government, Bhutan is a constitutional monarchy, but in fact it is an absolute monarchy: the legislative acts of the National Assembly are not sufficiently strong, the king is the main political figure in the country. The title of monarch is inherited.
The current young king, Jigme Khesar Namgyal Wangchuk, ascended the throne in 2006 after his father and, despite the royal tradition of polygamy, chose a single spouse for himself. The future queen of Bhutan was only seven years old when, unwittingly, she fell in love with the prince. A happy couple carried a bright feeling through the years, both received an excellent education and were married only in 2011. In 2016, their firstborn was born.
A large territory of the kingdom is occupied by tropical jungles, which are distinguished by the rich flora and fauna. Residents are very careful about all living things, and hunting for mammals and birds is equated with murder and is considered a serious sin.Everything that does the slightest harm to the world around, for example, mountaineering, is banned. Perhaps that is why in these places there is the only uncrowned peak of Mount Gangkhar-Puensum with a height of about 8000 m. Most of the kingdom is national parks.
In gratitude for the sensitive attitude, nature gave the country fertile soils, full-flowing mountain rivers (Manas, Wang-Chu, Mangde, etc.), lushly growing oaks and pines with wide roots, rice plantations, thousands of beautiful orchid species nesting around birds. Here are found golden monkeys, snow leopards, Himalayan bears, elephants, tigers, wild yaks, on which the Bhutanese move along mountain trails.
Climate and population
Bhutan is considered one of the wettest countries in the world - there is a lot of precipitation here. The climate changes from south to north as the mountain height increases. In the south (less than 1500 m above sea level) - a humid tropical climate, which gradually turns into a temperate mountain (more than 1500 m), and in the north (over 3000 m) - alpine. In summer it is warm - about + 20-22 degrees, in winter it is rarely colder than +10. The least amount of precipitation falls in spring and autumn is the best time to visit the country.
The population in the Kingdom of Bhutan is slightly more than 690 thousand.a man, half of whom are Bhutanese, a third - Nepalese, the rest - come from India and Tibet. The main languages of the country are Tibetan, Nepali and English. RThe official language is dzong-ke.A larger percentage of the population earn their livelihoods in agriculture and livestock, few work in the industrial sector.
In the Kingdom of Bhutan there are very few cities. It is dominated by village villages that are concentrated around the monasteries.
Cuisine and traditions
The main national dishes in the Kingdom of Bhutan are vegetarian. They contain a lot of colorful rice, cheese, spices and vegetables. The meat here is expensive, it is either purchased in neighboring states, or purchased from Indians who have a special license to slaughter livestock. The residents' favorite drink is tea with sugar and milk or with oil and salt.
Most of the population professes Lamaism, and the High Lama is considered the second person in the kingdom after the monarch. Bhutanese people honor religious traditions and are kind to them. Colorful festivals and processions often take place in the eastern part of the country, and Buddhist rituals with masks and dances are held everywhere.
The most popular attractions and sights of the Kingdom of Bhutan are associated with religion, monarchy and virgin nature. Most of the monasteries were built in the XVII-XVIII centuries. But they still amaze with their monumentality and grandeur.
You should definitely visit the monastery, which in translation is called the "Nest of the tigress". This dzong was built over an abyss at an altitude of about 1000 m, with its breathtaking views of the gorges and mountain rivers from its windows and balconies. Another famous Buddhist monastery-fortress is called "Palace of great happiness." It is located even higher (1200 m above sea level) in order to get into the building, you need to overcome a steep rock staircase.
A modern temple palace can be seen in the capital of the kingdom. It was erected in the 70s. XX century in honor of King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk, who residents especially loved and considered holy. Since 2010, a 50-meter high Buddha statue has been seen on Thimphu, which is the highest placed deity in the world.
The most visited by tourists from all the parks and reserves of the country is the national park-ecosystem Manas.Here in the rivers huge dolphins frolic, Bengal tigers, elephants, leopards live in the tropical jungle, water buffaloes graze on alpine meadows, and snow leopards go high in the mountains on ice fields.
How to buy a tour in fabulous Bhutan
Package vouchers, which include round-trip air tickets, hotel accommodation and insurance, are formed only in the main tourist destinations. Therefore, to look for a tour in the Kingdom of Bhutan makes no sense. You can individually pick up a flight and book a room in a hotel you like, or contact the travel agency that does everything herself. It is especially important to obtain an electronic visa - a confirmed permission from the kingdom to enter the country, as well as to get insurance.
Those who are afraid of landing at the most dangerous and extreme airport Paro, can get a ticket to Delhi, Bangkok or Kathmandu, and from there transfer to the flight of the Bhutanese airline DrukAir. Only 8 pilots have accredited permission to fly among the gorges and mountains of the only airport in Bhutan. Airfare is about $ 1500.
In the kingdom there are no problems with the accommodation of travelers: here you can find economy-class hotels and 5-star hotel SPA-complexes. In order to preserve the identity of their country and the surrounding world from a large number of tourists, each traveling traveler must pay the time of his stay in the kingdom in the amount of $ 250 per day (except for the cost of the hotel).
Spending time in the Kingdom of Bhutan on your own without a guide is unlikely to succeed because of an obstruction or difficult terrain. Thus, the approximate cost of weekly tours to Bhutan will start from the amount of $ 2500.
Kingdom of happiness - Bhutan
Why is Bhutan called the Kingdom of happiness? There are two answers to this question. First, in the country there really is a Ministry of Happiness, which takes into account not the GDP, but the number of happy people in the country. The monarch is doing everything possible and impossible for his subjects to live happily and happily.
Secondly, according to the Buddhist religion, a person is happy when there are no desires in his soul. Other people live here who have not succumbed to material temptations and are independent of earthly blessings.By the way, television in the country appeared only in 2002, and it was previously banned. In the Kingdom of happiness there is no substitution of values, as in the rest of the world, mired in pursuit of luxury. There is almost no crime in Bhutan, and the doors of the houses are not bolted, there are no beggars and no vagrants. Nobody smokes here, and tobacco is not for sale at all. People are very polite and hospitable, sincere and kind.
Kingdom of Bhutan Reviews
The most memorable is the color and originality of Bhutan: traditional houses, national costumes of residents instead of casual wear, archery competitions, bright and colorful rituals.
The guests of the country are unanimous in their opinion that it justifies the money spent and the time spent traveling to the Kingdom of Bhutan. Photos that tourists bring with them, warm the soul for a long time. Such miracles as in the Kingdom of happiness, you will not see anywhere else. Many say that during the whole journey they have not heard a single evil or swear word, they have not seen a single conflict or quarrel. And the chic nature of the country gets only the most exalted reviews of travelers. Some tourists admitted that during the whole journey around the country they felt infinite purity, comparable to flight.