The magical and mystical Bhutan is one of this year’s underrated destinations, offering bucket-list worthy activities, picturesque scenery and fascinating heritage. This landlocked nation in the Himalayas might not be on top of your must-see destinations, but we’re here to convince you otherwise.
We give you five reasons why you should take the road less traveled to Bhutan this year:
The happiest place on Earth
Bhutan measures their prosperity in terms of Gross National Happiness Index, covering good governance, socio-economic development and cultural and environmental conservation. Instead of focusing on the usual economic wealth, they focus on the people’s happiness instead.
To gain enlightenment
Part of Bhutan’s happiness can be attributed to their steadfast belief in Buddhism. As Buddhists, the Bhutanese believe that they need to get rid of greed, hatred and ignorance in order for them to reach enlightenment. They also believe that while suffering is part of their life, they also know that this is only temporary and there’s also joy and positive experiences to look forward to.
For the fiery cuisine
Bhutanese cuisine is generally spicy, with influence from Indian, Tibetan and Chinese cuisines. Want to give their national dish a try? Ask for ema datshi, a mix of green chilies and cheese. For something comforting, take a bite of momo, their version of a dumpling; or jasha maru, a spicy chicken dish.
The art of cultural preservation
The Bhutanese have perfected the art of cultural preservation. They live simple but satisfying lives, choosing to deepen their knowledge by preserving their heritage and culture, things that best represent them as people. Watch monks in action as they bless visiting tourists, learn about the local weaving industry, see the traditional art of paper making or visit farming villages to learn more about their rich cultural heritage.
For responsible tourism
These days it’s easy to forget that there are locals living in the destination you’re visiting. In Bhutan, the government makes sure that their people come first before anybody else. Tourists are required to pay US$250 per person per day, covering the expenses for accommodation, transport, food, entry fees and an accredited guide. This daily fee ensures that Bhutan retains its beauty and magic, so it can be experienced and enjoyed by more generations of locals and tourists.
Curious about Bhutan? Sign up for our photo tour at email@example.com or at firstname.lastname@example.org.