#Last Buddhist fortress in the Himalayas
More than its grandiose landscapes or its unique architecture, it is the omnipresence of spirituality that marks the traveller. As the only country in the world to have adopted Great Vehicle Buddhism as its official religion, Bhutan lives by its religious holidays. Religion and governance have always been linked. Mahayana Buddhism in its tantric form influences the attitudes of daily life and ways of thinking. During cultural visits, visitors are caught up in Bhutan's tranquil strength and perpetual quest for happiness.
A secret destination :
Preserved from the floods of tourists, Bhutan is a discreet country, forgotten by the world. Only a few thousand insiders discover a part of the country every year. They briefly explore what the government allows them to see. For many of them, Bhutan is a dream, which they are finally able to achieve. This Shangri-La described in the books, this small Himalayan kingdom is an authentic destination. Protected by its high peaks, Bhutan is gradually opening up to visitors, whom it sorts by hand at high prices.
A unique culture
As a young country with strong traditions, Bhutan is moving at its own pace and is challenging globalization. So small, yet so determined, the land of the Thunder Dragon commands respect. Often compared to Switzerland, it differs from its Asian neighbours in many ways. Thus, over the centuries, the Bhutanese have developed a unique culture. In Bhutan, everything will seem unique to you: traditional clothes, architecture or even cuisine.
A unique biodiversity
Nature lovers, welcome to paradise! Given its size, Bhutan probably has one of the most important biodiversity in Asia. This is all the more so as the ecological awareness of the ruling power is much more developed than in most Western countries. The country's exceptional geography has enabled a wide variety of ecosystems to support a large number of species. In the south, tigers, panthers, deer and other mammals reign supreme. In the north, yaks, takins, snow leopards and marmots share the summits. No less than 770 bird species have been recorded in Bhutanese forests.
A very young democracy governed by the NBB, a unique concept
Discovering Bhutan also means discovering the most recent democratic system in the world and the concept of Gross National Happiness (GNH). In addition to a good book on the subject, you will have the chance, thanks to the explanations of your guide or during a conversation with the inhabitants, to familiarize yourself with the functioning of this country which is constantly reinventing itself. A visit to Bhutan is undoubtedly an opportunity to learn, observe and question the democratic model as a whole.
Trails that rhyme with tranquility
Not only do the hiking trails cover the whole country, but they are also very rarely used. Don't think about getting rid of your guide, no hiking is done alone (government directive to preserve the environment). However, the feeling of being "alone in the world" is there. And what a world! Peaceful valleys, gentle rivers, the only sound of your footsteps and the birds of the surroundings... in short, it is a pure wonder.
© Dominique Auzias & Jean-Paul Labourdette