What does a tourist need to know about a country where there is a Ministry of Happiness?
Jigme Khesar Namgyal Wangchuk, now living king of Bhutan, is the smartest person. Thanks to his Oxford education, the young monarch knows very well what Western tourists lack, and therefore he systematically turns his state into a dream country …
King of Bhutan with his wife
A dream for foreigners who are attracted to Bhutan by rumors of miracles inaccessible to the outside civilized world. But the king, do not be a fool, also made it so that local wealth can not be brought out, plus no attack from the outside can seep out, will not settle on Bhutanese land. How did he succeed?
Information blockade for the good
Until 1999, even television was banned in Bhutan, and therefore, although now there is even the Internet and mobile communications, the local people have no habit of scooping up information “from a box”. As well as getting dull from talk shows, believing in media scams and being afraid of horror stories drawn in Hollywood. The less you know, the better you sleep in your mountain paradise.
Bureaucracy for tourists
Do you smoke? And if not, pay the fine in advance, and if you leave the country, we’ll be counted. A foreigner at the entrance to Bhutan is required to fill out a large folder of documents, sign up for a whole set of restrictions and pay all expenses in advance. Not only accommodation, meals, but also airline tickets, taxes, services of tour operators and guides, a visa, a fee for smoking and insurance. This is to weed out the lion’s share of sloven tourists, and at the same time guarantee compensation for all the problems that an overseas guest will create.
Outlawed mixed marriage
Who wants to engage in the mixing of sacred Bhutanese blood with all sorts of barbarians from other lands – get out of the country. The king lived where democracy reigned, took a breath of the air of the world of total freedoms and did not want to see anything like this at home. In parallel, this solves the problem of preserving the unique gene pool of the people, which for centuries lived almost in isolation, but did not degenerate.
There is nothing to pour melancholy
Alcohol, tobacco, narcotic substances – all this is almost legal. You need to spend a lot of money and even more time to get the desired substances and find a place for their safe use. That is, drinking, smoking is possible, but very difficult. Or vice versa – in fact, growing alcoholism in Bhutan is considered an urgent problem, but all alcoholics already have an extremely low social status, and therefore are not afraid to take risks.
There is still crime
Before the construction of the first normal road in history in the 1960s, there was no crime in Bhutan as such. Due to the lack of premises. Now there is, but still at a very low level, some offenses here are situational, spontaneous, and the Bhutanese consider it to be dishonorable to live on the other side of the law on an ongoing basis.
Ministry of Happiness
Yes, this is not just there, but is considered the country’s leading state institution. This is such an analogue of the Ministry of Finance in Bhutanese, where instead of the gross product, the wealth of people and the state is measured in a sense of happiness. Money, wealth, prosperity is evil, and the traditional ways of enrichment will certainly lead to lies and incorrect assessments of who actually lives well and what the authorities need to do to make things even better. In 2005, during the last census, 51.6% of Bhutanese people checked the box “happy”, another 45.2% “very happy”. So draw conclusions.
In Bhutan, vast territories de facto have the status of reserves – no one is in a hurry to build up cities with skyscrapers, plow the land and do other nonsense. The country is small and there are few people, but everyone can come to the king and ask for a plot of land for building a house and a garden. If there is a real need, they will not refuse. Therefore, there are no homeless and poor.
The nature that foreigners dream of
Bhutanese are so respectful of the land on which they live that they voluntarily abandoned overseas delicacies, as well as fertilizers and other chemicals for growing food. It is better to eat modestly and be healthy, like great-grandfathers, than to drain the earth and gain excess weight.
By the way, here are all traditional vegetarians, because laws prohibit fishing and killing animals, even for food. Peaceful people, not bloodthirsty.
No jeans found
As well as iPhones, gold watches, wireless headsets and other accessories. Even more, Bhutanese are obliged to dress in national clothes, fortunately, it is historically very convenient for the local climate.
Traditional clothing of Bhutan
Traditional clothing of Bhutan. Photo 1
And the fabrics are made from local raw materials, in the old fashioned manner, which guarantees stable work by family workshops and concern for the environment. Those who want or should stand out from the crowd will be offered different options for coloring clothes.
Two medicine and both are free
Probably, Bhutan is the only place in the world where patients are officially offered to choose: to treat you with alternative methods or according to modern standards? In most cases, there is not much difference, and the cost of services is identical.