Wedged between India and China, this Himalayan Buddhist country boasts beautiful, mountainous landscapes and unique fauna—including the endangered and natively sacred golden langur. Bhutan experiences a variety of climate conditions, depending on the elevation level. Southern regions in Bhutan experience moderate temperatures with calm winters and mild summers, while northern mountainous areas are subject to an incredibly cold, polar-type climate. Bhutan’s Himalayan summits experience snow year-round. Its national language is Dzongkha, but there are two dozen other languages spoken in the country.
Certain eastern areas of the country have been internationally recognized as biological hotspots, meaning they have a high variability in animal species. Because Bhutan is home to a large number of unique animals, the government has taken proactive steps to preserve the environment. The United Nation’s environmental division has described Bhutan as an “inspiration and role model for the world” in regards to the manner in which they have simultaneously grown their economy and managed their environmental impact.
- Bhutan’s official flag features a dragon that represents Druk, Tibetans’ name for the Kingdom of Bhutan.
- Bhutan has been dubbed the ‘Land of the Thunder Dragon’ due to the harsh and unrelenting storms that often overwhelm the nation.
- Archery is the Kingdom of Bhutan’s official sport.
- Gangkhar Puensum, which stands at 9,826 feet, became the tallest unclimbed peak in 1992. It is Bhutan’s highest mountain and in English, it means ‘White Peak of the Three Spiritual Brothers.’
- Northern Bhutan is very mountainous, as it houses part of the Himalayan mountain range. The part of the mountains that span into central Bhutan scale down into hilly peaks.
- The government intends to make Bhutan the world’s first country with a wholly organic farming system by 2020.
- Tourists to Bhutan must pay a mandatory $250.00/day tourism fee. However, this fee includes lodging, food, local travel costs, a guide and camping equipment for outdoor excursions.
- Bhutan’s national bird is the raven. Killing a raven is considered a monstrous sin and was once a capital crime.
- Bhutan is the only country in the world that gauges its success based on the happiness of its citizens, Gross National Happiness, rather than its GDP (Gross Domestic Product), like most other nations.
- Three quarters of Bhutan’s population is Buddhist.
- To acknowledge the birth of their prince, the people of Bhutan planted 108,000 plants throughout the country. The number 108 has significant cultural and religious meaning to Bhutans.