20 Interesting Facts about Bhutan

4 Jun 2024 Umesh Paneru

20 Interesting Facts about Bhutan

Bhutan is a constitutional monarchy small landlocked country in South Asia where Vajrayana Buddhism is the state religion. The country bordered by Tibet (China) in the north and Indian states in the east, west, and south is fondly called the ‘Land of the Thunder Dragon’. Travelers might be surprised to know that there are several Interesting Facts about Bhutan despite being a small nation. If anyone planning to travel to Bhutan, be prepared with some interesting facts, as this will help to make traveling to Bhutan more exciting and curious. 20 interesting facts about Bhutan are as follows:

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Only National Carrier

Druk Air and Bhutan (Tashi) Airlines are the only two national carriers operating airlines in Bhutan. Bhutan flight schedules are only limited to 5 nations (Nepal, India, Bangladesh, Thailand, and Singapore). Travelers can get direct connecting flights to Bhutan from the mentioned 5 nations where they must self-transfer themselves. The flight schedules are subject to change due to the weather. Thus, monthly flight schedules are different.

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Bhutan Flight Schedule 2024/2025: Bhutan operates only two International Airlines. They are Bhutan (Tashi) Airlines and Druk Airlines. There are only limited flights to travel to Bhutan. There is no connecting flight at all.

Best Mountain views of Mount Everest

There is a high chance of seeing 8000 m above mountains including the world’s highest Mt. Everest while flying to Bhutan from Kathmandu (Nepal). The panoramic views of mountains in clear weather throughout the flight are a mesmerizing experience.

High-Value Low Tourism

The uniqueness of Bhutan is its sustainable tourism which is why it believes in ‘High-value Low Tourism’. For Bhutan’s future generations, Bhutan is dedicated to preserving the natural environment, infrastructure, and socio-cultural values. As a result, Bhutan government policy focuses on targeting responsible travelers ensuring high revenue.

Sustainable Development Fee (SDF)

Sustainable Development Fee is the outcome of sustainable tourism in Bhutan which is a unique initiative. SDF is a daily levy paid by travelers to the Bhutan government which is USD 100 per person per night. The fee is very expensive which supports its ‘High-Value Low Tourism policy. The fee structure is different for adults and kids and listed below.

50% Discount on Bhutan’s SDF: Good News for all tourists. USD 100 per person per night till 2027 which is effective from September 1, 2023.

Note: This fee does not include all other travel expenses (accommodation, meals, monument fees, guide tips, etc.)
New Revised SDF effective from September 1, 2023 until September 2027

  • Adults: USD 100 per person per night
  • Children (below 6): No SDF required
  • Children aged (6 to 11): 50% discount on SDF i.e. USD 50 per night
  • Children aged (12 and above): Full SDF rate applies i.e. USD 100 per person/ night

Carbon Negative

One of the most interesting tales of Bhutan is it is the only ‘Carbon Negative’ in the world. It means it absorbs more carbon dioxide than it produces. Bhutan is very precise with its rules and policies concerned with the environment. In its constitution, there is a specific responsibility to preserve the environment. Thus, more than 50% of the land is covered by forest in Bhutan. Hence, observe greenery everywhere while traveling to Bhutan.

No Traffic Lights

Bhutan is the only nation in the world with no traffic lights. There are no traffic lights in major cities including the capital city of ‘Thimphu’. Traffic controls the streets even in this modern age. The best part is that the Bhutanese citizens are well-behaved when it comes to following road safety rules and regulations. Travelers won’t see or experience heavy traffic jams while traveling to Bhutan.

Happiness over GDP

Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is every nation’s growth and development determining factor. But, in Bhutan, Gross National Happiness (GNH) is preferred over GDP to indicate the nation’s development and growth. The happiness of the citizen is more prioritized over wealth which is supported by four indicators sustainable development, good governance, a healthy environment, and preservation and promotion of cultural values.tiger nest bhutan e1717498425842

No use of Plastic bags

Bhutan is one of the leading nations when it comes to environmental preservation. The use of plastic bags has been banned in Bhutan since 1999 but the complete ban was observed from the year 2019. Handmade bags and jute bags are the best alternatives used for plastic bags in Bhutan.

No smoking and use of tobacco

Smoking and the use of tobacco are strictly forbidden in public places in Bhutan. It is only allowed in selected places. One of the great initiatives by the Bhutan government is to preserve the environment and control the use of harmful substances. Tobacco buying and selling was strictly illegal earlier but post-Covid, tobacco selling and buying is allowed but only in limited places under the country’s Tax Act 2022.

Animals Killing Illegal

Vajrayana Buddhism is the main religion in Bhutan which is why the majority of the Bhutanese follow Buddhism. Bhutanese citizens deeply practice Buddhism learning in their real lives. Thus, animal killing is illegal in Bhutan which is strongly supported by the country’s law as well. This act has helped to balance the environment chain and preserve the animals. They don’t kill animals but they import meats from neighboring nations.

Fertility and Good Luck symbol: Phallus

Phallus is a symbol of good luck and fertility in Bhutan. So, while traveling to Bhutan if you discover Phalluses paintings everywhere around houses don’t be surprised. There is a strong belief that phalluses keep off evil spirits with the blessings of the deity Divine Mad Man. Respect it as it carries historical and cultural significance.

Introduce TV and the Internet in the late 90s

In this 21st century, technology is an integral part of human life. But, it is interesting that the isolated nation from the world till the 1970s introduced TV and the internet only in 1999. It is the last nation to approve TV and the Internet with only limited access to TV programs and limited Internet speed.

National Dress Mandatory

Bhutan’s law mandates all its citizens to wear the national dress in school, government offices, hospitals, festivals, and for all job activities. The national dress of Bhutan is Gho for men and Kira for women. This provision proves that Bhutan values its culture, arts, and tradition. It also shows its belief in preserving and promoting its ancient culture and tradition and transferring it to the generations to come.BHUTAN DRESS e1717498102277

Traditional Architectural Design

Bhutan is undeniably one of the richest countries in terms of culture and tradition. The nation is popular for its numerous ancient dzongs, Chortens, and monuments which are unique because of the use of traditional architectural design. The sustainable construction method used without using nails or iron bars is proof that Bhutan values its culture and tradition more than anything else. The buildings in Bhutan have colorful wood facades, curved windows, and slanted roofs with a slight Western touch. The traditional buildings of Bhutan look more fascinating with the addition of swastikas and phallic paintings.

Stray Dogs 100% Sterilized and Vaccinated

Travelers can see several stray dogs everywhere while traveling to Bhutan, especially in Thimphu. Stray dogs are completely adored and accepted by the Bhutanese. All stray dogs are 100% sterilized and vaccinated and Bhutan is the first nation to do so which is applauding work.

Rhyming Road Signs

Bhutan travel is mostly in private vehicles on beautiful roads adoring the surrounding scenery from one place to another. The best part of this road trip is witnessing rhyming road signs which are funny and sarcastic at the same time. Some examples are ‘Bro More You Speed, More You Skid’, ‘Eager to Last, Then Why Fast’, Bro Be Mr Late, Not Later Mr, etc. Despite the road signs are funny, the message it displays is factual and commendable.

Mountaineering is forbidden

Bhutan is one of the few nations in the world with more than 90% mountains. Mountains are considered sacred by the Bhutanese. Thus, mountaineering has been completely forbidden since 2003. As a result, Gangkar Puensum (7,570m), the highest mountain in Bhutan is the world’s highest unclimbed mountain.10-day Bhutan Tour

National Sport: Archery (Dha)

Numerous countries of the world have very popular sports like football, cricket, basketball, volleyball, etc. as their national sports. But, Bhutan is the only nation in the world with Archery (Dha) as a national sport. Several archery tournaments are carried out throughout the year in Bhutan. Archery is not only a sport but also the heritage and passion of every citizen. Traditional archery is the main attraction in Bhutan.

Personalize Bhutanese Stamps

Bhutan Post Office is one of the must-visit destinations while traveling to Bhutan. It is the first nation in the world to issue the world’s first 3D postage stamp. Travelers can observe several unique and creative postage stamps. Even, travelers can personalize Bhutanese stamps with your photo on them. It can be a great souvenir from Bhutan.

Takin and Black-necked Crane

Like a national sport, the national animal Takin of Bhutan is a unique creature. Motithang Takin Preserve in Thimphu is not be missed place to observe Takins. Bhutanese consider Takin as a sacred creature. Black-necked crane is another sacred creature that holds great significance. Phobjikha Valley has a conservation sector for legally protecting this endangered species. Hunting this crane is prohibited in Bhutan. Every year on November 11, the black-necked crane festival is held.

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