Archive for month: August, 2016
BY ANN GRIPPER , RYAN BROWN
Prince William and Kate Middleton are spending two days in Bhutan as part of their royal tour this month. Here are the essentials about the tiny kingdom.
Kensington Palace has announced that Prince William and Kate will visit Bhutan, a small kingdom in the Himalayas.
As part of their Royal Tour to see the sights of India and the secretive kingdom of Bhutan this Spring, they will meet the country’s King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck and his wife, Queen Jetsun Pema.
Here’s the low-down on Bhutan so that you can understand where William and Kate are visiting – or plan a trip there for yourself.
Where is Bhutan?
Bhutan – officially called the Kingdom of Bhutan – is situated in South Asia at the eastern end of the Himalayas. Bordering China to the north and India to the South, its capital city is Thimphu, with an estimated population of around 770 thousand people.
Its economy is largely based on agriculture, tourism and the sale of hydroelectric power to India. The commissioning of the Tala Hydroelectric Power Station helped boost the country’s economy by a significant amount from 2007.
Why is happiness so important?
Based on a global survey, Business Week rated Bhutan as the happiest country in the whole of Asia, as well as the eighth-happiest in the world.
This could be because of the country’s heavy focus on happiness – with the country even measuring prosperity by gauging its citizens’ happiness levels instead of GDP.
The phrase Gross National Happiness (GNH) was coined in 1972 by the country’s fourth Dragon King, Jigme Signye Wangchuck, and is meant to represent a commitment to building an economy that would serve its culture based on Buddhist spiritual levels instead of material development.
In fact, the people of Bhutan take this so seriously that they have hand-painted signs throughout the country offering life-affirming mantras, such as ‘Life is a journey! Complete it!’ and ‘Let nature be your guide’.
The flag and what it represents
Featuring Druk, the Thunder Dragon of Bhutanese mythology, the Bhutanese affectionately call the country ‘Druk’ after the name of the mythological dragon. It’s been a prominent part of Bhutanese culture ever since the founder of the Drukpa lineage of Tibetan Buddhism set off to choose a site for construction of a monastery in 1189 and heard three pearls of thunder, a sound supposedly produced by the thunder dragon.
What is the weather like?
Bhutan tends to have a hot, humid climate that rarely changes throughout the year. Temperatures can vary between 15-30 degrees Celsius, with typically warm summers and cool, dry winters.
William and Kate can expect to visit Bhutan during its usual warm climate, so there shouldn’t be much concern over any wind or rain to spoil their experience of the wonderful country.
The national anthem
Bhutan’s national anthem is titled ‘Druk Tsendhen’m which roughly translates as The Thunder Dragon Kingdom. Composed in 1953, lyrics include the beauty of the country’s cypress trees, praises to the nation’s King and wishes for ‘happiness to shine over all people’.
The King and Queen of Bhutan
Bhutan’s ruling monarch is King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, who ascended to the throne in 2006. His wife, Jestun Pema, became Queen of the country when the couple married in 2011. The pair are beloved by the country and were once referred to as the William and Kate of the Himalayas.
Holidays in Bhutan
Tourism thrives in Bhutan, thanks to its warm climate and stunning scenery. But if you’re looking to holiday in Bhutan, it’s best to travel in Spring and Autumn as June, July and August can see more extreme weather like monsoons.
Be sure to apply for a visa in advance of your arrival via an authorised tour operator. Visas normally cost around £29 per person or US$ 40 and are essential for booking flights into the country.
What is there to see?
Mountains dominate the region and the sprawling Himalayas are a must. But Bhutan also boasts wonderful forests, hidden treasures like the Buddhist temples and waterways.
Ms. Pov Katheelylla
Kuzu Zangpo la everyone,
Thanks Raoul for a wonderful email. Thanks everyone for sharing and help making my first long guided trip well remember. This was my longest trek and sleeping in tent for more than 7 nights! Leki definitely is the best cook!!
I made home safely and have been busy working.
I love Bhutan and Nepal and would love to go back again.
Mr. Raoul Wayne Carlson
All is well and we are safely home.
Many thanks for good treks. Bhutan trek, with Yak Holidays was excellent. Sither Tamang is a good manager-owner, very helpful, insightful and has good experience, Bhutan and with Jomohari trek and other treks, as well.
Our guide, Nima Wangchuk Sherpa, was expert. (Almost equal to Ram Chandra Sunuwar) Nima guided us with skill that comes only from many years experiences. If you send others to Bhutan with Yak Holidays…. Nima is the recommended guide.
By the way, Nima has 5 Snowman Treks with 3 successful completed Snowman treks with clients. (trekkers, my age have completed Snowman trek with Nima.} We have good memories of Nima as our trekking guide, as well as Cultural tours guide.
For Cultural Tours: Nima knows all things, Cultural. He took us to the Thimphu Tshechu before our trek, (thanks Sithar) Jomolhari festival on trek. We visited Dzong after Dzong before and after including the National Memorial Chorten, Giant Buddha above Thimphu, Paper factory, Traditional Medicine Institute, Takin Zoo, Arts and Crafts, and many other visits as well. Nima is wonderful cultural guide. He knows so much and can answer all questions.
Our itinerary was much the same as planned…. except for 1st day ….we went to Thimphu Festival (Tshechu). Then, back to Tiger’s Nest for a morning hike then, start of Jhomolhari trek at 3/4 way down road from the old Dzong.
All went well at Tiger’s Nest and on first part of trek for most of us…… on our way up through forest and jungle, it was very nice easy trek to Thangthangka Camp for me, as it was for most of us.
“One,” of our trekkers had trouble climbing on the trail and decided to leave the trek after the 1st “strenuous” day. The rest of us continued on up to Jhomolhari Base Camp, a very easy walk, where we enjoyed, and hot shower. (Wonderful HOT SHOWER). Jomolhari Base Camp is a very beautiful place with the best view of Jomolhari Mt… @13k ft. I took much videos and Photos of this very wonderful Place.
Next day, I climbed to a high-yak pasture at 14.5k+ with view of Jichu Drake Peak, and more… Then went back down to the Jhomolhari Mountain Festival, a very interesting event ….It was 2 days and we saw much of it while we were in the Jhomolhari.
Next few days, on trek up…. each successive day, we climbed a little higher to a pass and, descended to a camp in valley below at lower elevation. Each day, about 10:30 we were given juice and some snack. At approx noon to 12:30, hot lunch was served along the trail with hot tea, plates, knives, forks, spoons, napkins, everything….very special meal (several helpings) Each evening, our cook, Leki, prepared a delicious dinner. Each dinner was different from any prior nights’ dinner. We know Leki went to cooking-school. That is the reason he is such a great cook. Leki is highly recommended cook along with Nima (our guide). They are a good professional team together.
The last night on our trek, a campfire was built by porters and guides, very special for us to enjoy, big-Warm-campfire. Next morning, coals were still warm….. We enjoyed, good campfire, good porters, good tents, good journey, beautiful scenery, good friendships, good hiking together, beautiful Bhutanese People, good togetherness + friendship, each person friends, good food, great guide, great cook…. Pov Seng and her Informative-emails, altogether, a Wonderful trek-experience in Bhutan.
Just to let you know a pleasant experience, Bhutan. Thanks
Best wishes, Thank You All… very much
A great alternative to India and Thailand, Bhutan is a beautiful kingdom located in the magnificent Himalayan mountains. You can find amazing landscapes here. Its native culture heavily influenced by Buddhism makes it a great destination for those people looking for some spirituality.
Free from many of the internal squabbles that can make life in some of its neighbouring countries a little bit hectic, Bhutan is perfect for those who want to go off the beaten track and really expand their cultural horizons. As well as being one of the world’s safest holiday destinations, Bhutan is also home to the world’s happiest people. His Majesty Jigme Singye Wangchuck declared that Bhutan should define itself on GNH (Gross National Happiness) rather than the traditional GDP (Gross Domestic Product.) This might sound a little idealistic, but it seems to have worked. Bhutan is often ranked as the happiest place on the world and its crime rates are very low.
One small drawback about Bhutan is that you can only stay for 15 days. And visitors have to pay a daily fee to stay. This is $250 in the high-season and $200 in low season. This may seem expensive, but it does include your food, accommodation, tour guide, and transportation. What’s great about this is that the money tourists pay to visit, is used to cover the free healthcare and education that all citizens receive.
courtesy: LIFESTYLE TRAVEL BY SIMON FRIEL
Bhutan Tour Info
Post Box No : 1056
Street : Ladroe Lam
Thimphu : Kingdom of Bhutan
Office : +975-2-338198 / 338199
Mobile : +975-17726254 / 77280724
Fax : +975-2-338201