Bhutan, the land of the Dragon

A small country in South Asia in the form of kingdom state government and is known as the Land of Thunder Dragon or locals call it Druk Yul, pinned between India and the People's Republic of China, as seen in the flag of this country. Isolated and all looks so natural, all the Bhutan government policy is applied to protect the environment and preserving cultural uniqueness.

Bhutan is famous as one of the happiest people in the world based on measurements of Gross National Happiness, as 700,000 people feel peace mentally and not based on the measurement of economic income.

A feature that we see is the view of people who proudly wear traditional clothing, they are required to use the national dress when visiting government offices, also in their everyday activities.

With monasteries and prayer flags dotting every hill and valley, Bhutan is predominantly a Buddhist country. The influence of religion is highly visible in everyday life as it permeates every aspect of life in Bhutan. Worship and faith take many forms, from daily prayers before the shrine room at home to circling choeten (pagoda) while reciting prayers with the rosary and/or a prayer wheel.

Prayer flags adorn the Bhutanese landscapes. There are two types of prayer flags; horizontal ones which are hung on a diagonal line between trees, over bridges or objects and a vertical one which is mounted on a pole with wood carving of a knife and a wooden wheel on its top. It is believed that the prayers on prayer flags will be blown by the wind to spread the good will and compassion into the all pervading space and are therefore thought to bring benefit to all.

Nowadays, Bhutan government makes policy on the class or luxury tourism to attract high income, but a small impact on the amount of tourist traffic, as quoted from the AFP news agency, September 5, 2011, "We hold ourselves and never sloppy in developing economies without considering the social and environmental impacts," said Director General of Tourism Bhutan Bodies Kesang Wandi.

Bhutan decision to stay away from mass tourism make the backpacker looking for cheap tours in the Himalayas to visit Bhutan’s neighboring countries, namely Nepal. This makes Bhutan even be attractive for travelers seeking an escape from the hustle and bustle of the world.

As we know from the news that some celebrities, Leonardo di Caprio and Keira Knightley, was staying at Uma Paro Resort, one of the luxury hotels and resorts in Bhutan which serves upscale tourists.

A state that so quiet, calm and virgins, sometimes Bhutan is often named as the Last Shangri-La, referring to the fictional works of novelist James Hilton, 1933, "Lost Horizon", a paradise in the Himalayas.

(Source from a friend Lucy Pandjaitan, Kompas and AFP /Images Lucy Pandjaitan)


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