A tiny country tucked in the laps of Himalayas, eyed by the Chinese to be consumed in as a territory of China, protected by India via a bilateral agreement, Bhutan is a fascinating land with some of the most unbelievable facts you will ever encounter. In this article on Bhutan facts, we will sum up 20 such incredible facts that will leave you surprised. They will sound a bit unrealistic but hey, they are true. So, let us begin…
Bhutan Facts: 1-5
1. Bhutan is a carbon negative country! What really does that mean? It means that Bhutan absorbs more carbon dioxide than what it actually produces.
2. Bhutanese constitution says that 2/3rd of the country needs to be covered by forests and guess what? 72% of the country is actually covered by forests.
3. Renewable energy is the primary export item of the country. The renewable energy it exports is hydroelectricity and the buyer of that energy is her neighbor India.
4. Takin – a really weird looking animal is Bhutan’s national animal. This animal is often referred to as the goat-antelope but the truth is that its body resembles that of a yak and its head resembles that of a goat.
5. There’s a legend that describes the origins of Takin. It is said that a Divine Madman created the Takin using the bones of a goat and a yak. Interestingly Takin is found only and only in Bhutan. What’s even weirder is that Takin feeds on bamboo!
Bhutan Facts: 6-10
6. Did you know that most of the Bhutanese are actually meat-lovers and yet, Bhutan has a law of not killing or slaughtering animals? The meat that is consumed in Bhutan is imported from India. So, animals in Bhutan just roam around freely.
7. Bhutan is the world’s last country to open doors for television and internet. Ban on TV was lifted in 1999 and ban on internet was lifted in 2001.
8. The capital of the country – Thimpu has absolutely no traffic lights! No one needs a traffic light there because not only the locals drive slowly and are patient but also, the number of cars there are pretty low.
9. Smoking in Bhutan is banned. It has been so in the country since 1916 but an act was formally passed in 2010 which banned tobacco trade. However, good news for smokers is that they can carry cigarettes or tobacco with them. Only bummer is that smoking needs to be indoor.
10. In 1999, Bhutan officially said no to Plastic. Plastics are banned in Bhutan but not many people listened so another official reinforcement came in 2005. The progress is still slow and Bhutan is contemplating using her plastic wastes for road building.
Bhutan Facts: 11-15
11. Druk Yul is the name of Bhutan in local language. In English, Druk Yul literally translates into Thunder Dragon. So, Bhutan is the land of Thunder Dragon and the leaders of the country are known as Druk Gyalpo, which translates into ‘Thunder Dragon Kings’.
12. Bhutan never measures its success with its Gross Domestic Product. Instead, it has a different index which is Gross National Happiness (GNH). So yes, Bhutanese are happy, Bhutan is successful. GNH is measured in terms of protection of environment, preservation of nature, promotion of socio-economic development that is sustainable and of course, Good Governance.
13. Climbing any mountain higher than 6,000 meters is restricted in Bhutan. This makes the Gangkhar Puensum mountain the highest unclimbed mountain in this world. The mountain is 7,570 meters high.
14. Paro Airport in Bhutan is so dangerous that there are only 8 pilots in this world who are qualified to land in the airport.
15. Marijuana grows in wild in Bhutan. It is far more abundant than common grass. Guess what? No one smokes. The Marijuana that grows in Bhutan is a major source of pig food.
Bhutan Facts: 16-20
16. Anyone plans on invading Bhutan needs to face the Indian Armed Forces. Yes, India has pledged to protect Bhutan from invading forces. As a result of this arrangement, India and China had a military stand off of Doklam Pass – a trijunction point between India, Bhutan and China – when China tried to build roads in Doklam Plateau claimed by Bhutan.
17. With a complete ban on sale and use of pesticides and fertilizers, Bhutan is the only country in the world to fully embrace traditional organic farming.
18. Travelers from around the world are required to pay USD 250 daily tariff. Against this money, the traveler gets a hotel provided by the state and a tour guide. The a part of this money goes into educating the Bhutanese children. Bangladesh, Maldives and India are the only three countries whose citizens don’t need to pay the daily tariff. Only a legal ID card is enough for people from these three countries to enter Bhutan.
19. Bhutan has a land ceiling act that was introduced by the 4th King of Bhutan. It prohibits anyone from owning more than 25 acres of land and that includes royal family members, ministers and politicians as well.
20. There are two national sports in Bhutan – Darts and Archery. During archery matches people just become foul mouthed and they bully the opponent players.