Friday, August 26, 2016

Insider Guide: Best of Bhutan

Bhutan (CNN) In the age when not even a secretive communist state is spared from the Internet, Bhutan remains one of the most mysterious lands in the world.

The world largely knows the majority Buddhist country for its stunning, cliff-side Taktshang Lhakhang temple and unique Gross National Happiness index.
"Economists the world over have argued that the key to happiness is obtaining and enjoying material development," says the Tourism Council of Bhutan. "Bhutan, however, adheres to a very different belief and advocates that amassing material wealth does not necessarily lead to happiness.

"Bhutan is now trying to measure progress not by the popular idea of Gross Domestic Product but by through Gross National Happiness."
Beyond these famous facts, few outsiders can tell you much about the country.
Can you name the capital city?
It's Thimphu (population 100,000), the economic, religious and government center of the country, residence of the Royal family and, according to the Bhutanese government, the only capital city in the world with no traffic lights.
It's served by Paro Airport, the only international airport in the country.
The Himalayan kingdom (population 750,000) has largely been able to safeguard its distinct traditions -- its beliefs, language and royal family -- with a unique and stringent visitor policy (see "Entry" section below) overseen by the Tourism Council of Bhutan.

But there's an incredible amount of scenery and culture spread across every corner of the 38,000-kilometer-square country (just smaller than Switzerland, just larger than Taiwan).
Here's how to see all of this spectacular ancient land with a very forward minded take on tourism.

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