Alright, I’m sure you’ve heard much about Bhutan. Probably some country that is basically a huge monastery with happy monks roaming around. Fact? Nope! It is a real country with people from all walks of life!
A country based on Gross National Happiness instead of Gross National Product, I am sure you have heard one thing or two about Bhutan. This country is sandwiched between 2 large powerhouse: China and India. Yet, do you know that Bhutan is the ONLY green lungs of our planet Earth?
Lungs of our Planet Earth
Yes, Bhutan is the only lungs our planet Earth has. Why? Because it is the only carbon sink in the world. This means that the country produces negative carbon dioxide. Check out the amazing TED talk by the Prime Minister, Tshering Tobgay to understand how dedicated Bhutan is in protecting our planet earth.
You can do your part by contributing to our Planet Earth when you travel to Bhutan. How? Every day’s expenditure in Bhutan includes a Sustainability Fee that is redistributed to protect and manage the forest. Keep our Earth green by planting a tree or traveling to Bhutan!
The land of Thunder Dragon
Have you seen the flag of Bhutan? It has 2 colors representing royalty and Buddhism……… WITH A DRAGON ON IT. Yup you did not see it wrong. You have a dragon on the flag. If that is not awesome enough, the country is known as the Land of Thunder Dragon in the Bhutanese language. And who governs the Land of Thunder Dragon?
The Dragon King protects the land of thunder dragon
Of course only the dragon king has the authority to protect the land. The dragon king is also what Bhutanese call their king, His Majesty Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck. He is married to his lovely queen, Her Majesty Jetsun Pema. They are arguably the most attractive royalty couple.
The royal couple is also very active amongst the locals. When I was in Bhutan, my car drove past the King’s car! I guess he was making his way to another town to visit the locals. I wish I could meet him in real life.
Marijuana fields. And 100% organic!
So this is quite controversial. In Bhutan, you can see massive fields of marijuana. And as the country is 100% organic, these are 100% purely organic marijuana. But what do they do with these marijuana plantation? They feed it to the pigs to stimulate their appetite! It is illegal to smoke marijuana in Bhutan.
No traffic lights in the country
Did you know, traffic lights were tried for a day and removed the very next day! People did not like having traffic lights. Instead, you see traffic marshals directing the cars around. Also, the seat belt rule does not applied in Bhutan! This is because people care relaxed and carefree. No one drives fast and the speed limit is only 50 km/h. So everyone is cautious and practice safe driving.
Plastic bag is banned
Mentioned in #1, the country cares a lot about the earth. So of course, harmful things like plastic bags are banned in the country. There is so much to learn from Bhutan!
First Smoke-free Country
The first smoke-free country in the world, tobacco is banned in Bhutan! This is inline with the philosophy of Gross National Happiness and tobacco affects ones spiritual and social health. So once again, Bhutan is really the world’s green healthy lungs.
You think Mount Everest is tough? Think Gangkhar Peunsem
You’ve heard of people hiking Mount Everest but have you heard about Gangkhar Puensum? It is the highest mountain that no climber has conquered. At almost 25,000 ft, it is the highest unclimbed mountain in the world. And it’s in Bhutan.
Climbing is actually banned since 1994 due to safety reasons, and the fact that help is extremely far away.
There is a legislation to protect the forests
Becoming Earth’s green lungs did not happen overnight. The country has a legislation to ensure that at least 60% of the country is under forestation at all times. This means if you cut down some trees to build your house, you have to grow new trees somewhere else. Right now, 72% of the country is covered with lush green forest.
Phallus: the tradition of painting erect penises on walls
Another controversial fact in Bhutan, you see lots of erected penises as paintings and in the design. In fact, these friendly phalluses are painted on houses to scare off the evil spirits! Think about that the next time you see a penis graffiti on the wall.