35 Amazing Facts about Bhutan | Amazing Facts 4U
Land & Geography
- This landlocked country in South Asia is nestled in the eastern end of the Himalaya mountains bordered by India in the south, east and west and by China in the north.
- In fact it’s regarded as one of the most isolated nations in the world. Bhutan controls many key mountain passes between India & China.
- With only around 14,800 square miles (38,400 square kilometers) of territory, Bhutan is roughly half the size of Indiana , just slightly smaller than Switzerland.
- Druk Yul , the local name for Bhutan means “Land of the Thunder Dragon.” because of the extremely powerful storms which constantly roar in from the Himalayas.
- It’s capital is Thimpu with a population of about 750,000.
- Bhutanese monarchy was founded in 1907. The first King of Bhutan was Gongsar Ugen Wangchuck, who reigned till 1926.
- In the early 1990s riots erupted in the Nepalese community living in Bhutan after the King’s decree to have all Bhutanese follow traditional customs including dress and conduct. This led to the repatriation of about 30,000 Nepali-Bhutanese to Newark, New Jersey, USA in early 2010.
- Bhutan is still negotiating parts of its mountainous border with China. Aside from land disputes, the Bhutanese have very little diplomatic relations with China. In 2005, Chinese soldiers began constructing roads and bridges without Bhutan’s permission to gain better access to disputed territory.
Places / Architecture
- Amazingly Thimpu is one of just two capital cities in Asia that does not have a single traffic light (The other is Pyongyang, North Korea). In fact when traffic lights were installed the people objected and the city reverted back to the use of traffic police.
- At 24,840 feet, Gangkhar Puensum is the highest point in Bhutan and the highest unclimbed mountain in the world. The mountain is held so sacred by the Bhutanese that the government has banned mountaineering on any peak above 19,685 feet.
People Customs & Culture
- Dzongka is the official language.
- The state religion of Bhutan is Buddhism following tantric Buddhist texts.
- Amazing fact is until the 1960’s it had no roads, automobiles, telephone, postal system or electricity. Bhutanese had no access to TV or Internet until limited access was permitted in 1999.
- Bhutan has a mandatory national dress code. Men wear knee length traditional garments and women must wear ankle length dresses. The colors are determined by social class and status. A Bhutanese is not allowed to wear pants while visiting government offices, and during official and religious functions.
- Bhutanese manners dictate that you are to refuse food whenever it’s offered to you. The tradition is to cover your mouth with your hands. You can give in, though, after two or three offers.
- Amazingly inheritance (land, house, and animals) is generally passed to the eldest daughter rather than the eldest son. A man often moves into the home of his new wife until he can earn his keep.
- Despite all the strict rules, polygamy and polyandry (woman with more than one husband) are surprisingly legal in Bhutan although they are not common. The fourth king in fact married four real sisters.
- The physician density was just one doctor per 50,000 people. In contrast, the US has around 133 doctors per 50,000 residents.
- Visiting as an independent traveler is nearly impossible. In fact to receive a travel visa, all visitors to Bhutan must book through a government approved tour agency and pay the full price of the trip before arrival.
- The King of Bhutan handed the crown to his eldest son in 2008. At the age of 28, King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck became the youngest reigning monarch in the world.
- Bhutan became a constitutional monarchy with a two-party system in 2008.
- The tiny Bhutanese Army is trained by the Indian Army and has a total annual budget of just $15 million.
- Despite being a mostly closed-off country, Bhutan is a member of the United Nations. The United Nations recognized Bhutan as a country in 1971.
- Amazing fact is in 2010, Bhutan became the first country in the world to ban the production and sales of tobacco products.
- The first foreign tourists in fact were allowed into Bhutan in 1974.
- Anyone found guilty of killing a highly endangered and culturally sacred black-necked crane could be sentenced to life in prison.
- In fact, it’s in the country’s constitution to keep 60% of its land forested. Respect for the environment, the eco system and all species is a serious matter in Bhutan.
- Amazing fact is the King of Bhutan finally allowed television and internet access into the country only in 1999. Bhutan was among the last countries in the world to adopt television.
- Fact is despite the country’s low GDP, the government provides free education for all at all levels as well as free health care through Basic Health Units. Health care is also free for visitors.
- Plastic bags have been banned in Bhutan since 1999.
- Amazingly all citizens officially become one year older on New Year’s Day. This way, no one forgets anyone’s birthday!
- Bhutanese are forbidden to marry foreigners.
- Amazingly Bhutan is the world’s only carbon sink absorbing more CO2 than it gives out. It sells hydro-electrical power, making it the only country whose largest export is renewable energy. 72% of the country is forested.
- It’s amazing that in Bhutan, Gross National Happiness is an official development policy that is more important than Gross National Product. The United Nations bought into the idea in 2011 and is working to develop an indicator that encompasses social, health, and environmental wellness into an index rather than just economic concerns.
- The national sport of Bhutan is archery.
By Amazing Facts 4U Team