Grossly happy in Bhutan.
Bhutan is a remote and tiny Buddhist kingdom with just 750.000 inhabitants. Not only geographically, Bhutan is also isolated by the desire to preserve their unique Buddhist culture, mainly against the western influences. Even the ban on tv and internet was lifted as late as 1999.
Bhutan has a very cautious approach to tourism and in 2014 only 133.480 tourists visited the country. To enter, some pre-planning is required and you must come on an approved travel programme (or be a guest of the government). This means that you need to contact one of many tour guides, who will sort out your itinerary for you.
I have with me my recommended local guide, Karma Wangdi of Bhutan Traditional Holiday, who is experienced with motorbike travelers like myself and has organised all the bookings and arrangements for me and will also be with me along the route.
Most have heard about the Bhutanese measurement of Gross National Happiness (GNH). GNH is again predominantly designed to preserve the buddhist values. The GNH concept has inspired a modern political happiness movement and in July 2011, the United Nations Resolution was adopted unanimously by the General Assembly.
The four pillars of GNH philosophy are (Wikipedia):
- Sustainable development
- Preservation and promotion of cultural values
- Conservation of the natural environment, and
- Establishment of good governance.
My plan is to get happy and enter the Land of the Thunder Dragon, Bhutan from India on the 29th of October 2015.