There is China to one side with 1.4 billion people and India to the other side with 1.3 billion people; then there is Bhutan in the midst of the two suspended up in the Himalayas with less than a million people. Bhutan is so mysterious as a nation that the world didn’t know much about it until international media was allowed to film the coronation of their new king in the 1970s. You may want to compare it to North Korea because of its isolation from the world, but Bhutan is nothing like North Korea. It is a nation that doesn’t care much about indicators of development, wealth and technological advancements like the rest of us. In Bhutan, all that matters is health and happiness and that is just the beginning of the wonders of Bhutan.
It is Illegal To Marry A Bhutanese
Bhutanese people are generally gentle and peaceful and their government tries hard to prevent external influence from affecting the country’s culture. One of the measures to preserve society is a ban on the marriage of citizens to foreigners. There is actually very little opportunity for foreigners to interact with the locals because you will only be allowed to visit places designated for tourists when you visit the country.
The Girls Inherit Everything
Women hold a special place in Bhutanese society as they are looked at as the protectors of the family. Unlike other societies where the sons are given priority when it comes to inheriting family property, the eldest daughters are preferred in Bhutan. When a couple gets married, the man moves into the woman’s family. Men are expected to work hard and earn their own property.
It Has A Ministry Of Happiness
While the rest of the world struggles to increase its GDPs and GNPs, Bhutan is more focused on improving something called the Gross National Happiness. According to the country’s ministry of happiness, it is more important to find a balance between economic, health and social well being than to just have more money and wealth. The ministry of happiness established in 2015 that less than 10% of the Bhutanese people are unhappy which is amazing considering the fact that most of them survive on subsistence farming.
Protecting The Environment Is In The Law
The Bhutanese constitution states that at least 60% of the country should be covered in forest and every citizen is required to first protect the environment ahead of any economic development priorities. Roads and highrises are therefore not a priority in Bhutan, but more than 70% of the country is covered in Forests making it a home to one of the freshest airs in the world. It is also the only carbon-negative country in the world as its forests absorb more CO2 than the whole country produces.
No One Is Homeless In Bhutan
Homelessness is a major concern all over the world and even the most developed countries are not spared. However, in Bhutan, everyone has a right to a livable home and if someone loses their home, they only need to go to the king who will give them land to build and cultivate.
It Takes Three To Tan Go
If you were planning to tour Bhutan on your own, you should probably rethink that decision but there has to be three of you to get that visa. To visit Bhutan, you also have to pay all your travel, accommodation and insurance expenses in advance before you get your visa. Singles and couples may not be granted entry and even if you are; you will have to pay astronomical fees unlike a group of three which is the encouraged minimum in the country.
Television And Internet Arrived There In 1999
Keeping out foreign influence is a top priority for the Bhutanese government, which meant that television and the internet were not welcome development there. Tele and the internet were considered agents of sadness as they would put pressure on the Bhutanese people to compete with the outside wild hence increasing unhappiness. However, in 1999, the government accepted the two pieces of technology as a way of embracing development and also improving happiness.
The Whole Country Has No Slaughterhouse
Buddhism is the national religion in Bhutan, so the traditions of the religion are also part of the law. While the Bhutanese people eat meat and other animal products, none of them are killed in their country. It is illegal to kill anything in Bhutan which makes any slaughterhouse illegal so all the meat in the country has to be imported.
It is Almost Impossible To Smoke
The law had banned smoking in Bhutan, but they loosened it a little bit although nothing really changed. In Bhutan, it is illegal to grow or sell tobacco and tobacco products so no one smokes there. When you come to Bhutan with your own cigarettes, you will have to pay heavy fines for them. Once in Bhutan, it is illegal to smoke in public, so you could as well just leave the cigarettes in your country. The fines for cigarette smugglers are also high.
Education And Healthcare Are All Free
Bhutan is different from any other country in the world in many ways and healthcare is one of them. The country has embraced both traditional and modern medicine and all the basic healthcare services are free for all citizens as they visit traditionally built hospitals and health centres like the one in the image above. All you have to do is choose the mode of treatment you want and you will have it. Mandatory free education is also free for all citizens for up to nine years including training in archery which is the national sport.