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Bhutan – happiest country in the world stands outside “the civilized world”

While all the world select GDP index (Gross Domestic Products) as a measure of prosperity and development, in Bhutan, that index was replaced by GNH (Gross national Happiness). Majestic mountains, endless green forests, serene monastery, happiness is sparkle in the eye of people, peace and affluence shown on each leaf and blade of grass … At the happiest country in the world, people are satisfied with their life and almost visitors want to come back here.

Bhutan, the happinest country in the world
Bhutan, the happinest country in the world

Standing outside “the civilized world”

Before 1974, many people were unaware of the existence of a small country Bhutan, between the vastness of mountains and forests in Himalayas. At that time, foreigners were not allowed entry into Bhutan and Bhutan people could not go abroad.

Government House is in the north of Thimphu capital. With over 60% of the territory was covered with forests, even big cities of Bhutan are green.

Bhutan's 5th King and Queen are meeting all strata
Bhutan’s 5th King and Queen are meeting all strata

More than 30 years later, Bhutan was almost standing outside “the civilized world”. This was the last nation having television (1999). The country has only one airport, with a runway, where aircraft can only take off and land down in the day and in good weather conditions. Across the world, only 8 pilots can afford and bravery to allow landing in Bhutan.

They do not encourage industrial development, instead, they maintain a peaceful and slow life of people, not “urbanization”, not “modernized”, pay attention to the quality of life and spiritual values …

Since 1971, Bhutan has removed GDP index (Gross domestic product) and replaced by a new index – GNH (Gross National Happiness).

The unique capital have no traffic lights

Bhutan’s airport located 6km from Paro city, welcoming visitors from afar with shiny and yellow terraced rice fields, emitting a prosperity scent of rice grains. Behind those rice fields, Paro appear suddenly like a fairy tale.

The Tibetan Buddhist monastaris is silently in smokes of incense, shadow of red robes of monks is looming. The door frame is carved picky, hanging up ripe pepper beams, half-friendly and half-curious smiles of red cheek girls and boys. Small streets are perfectly clean and quiet with beautiful houses painted white or pale yellow colours, illusory scenery look like  coming out from a distant past.

the Buddhist flags flying everywhere
the Buddhist flags flying everywhere

Bhutan’s architecture impress and totally different from all remaining countries in the world. All houses here, whether new construction still carries traditional appearance. There is no shadow of a modern building with boxy western architecture. State Bhutan has very clear rules about the height and style of buildings to ensure that all urban areas are a unity, harmony, reflect traditional cultural identities of the country.

In Paro and Thimphu, the capital and the largest city of Bhutan, almost having no traffic jam situation. Less vehicles make a healthy atmosphere. Perhaps,Thimphu is  the only capital in the world without traffic lights. Previously, it had been one, but people do not like because they thought that it’s grotesque and not in harmony with the surrounding landscape. Therefore, the city government has lifted and replaced by a policeman.

The factors in order to happiness

Fourth king, Jigme Singye Wangchuck who set standards for GNH (Gross National Happiness) to assess development level of the country, instead of economic indicators such as GDP or GNP. Bhutan is the first and unique country in the world applies GNH.

The king said that four key points to make Happiness Nation is: sustainable development, environmental protection, cultural preservation and good leadership. All  above points have been executed effectively by king Jigme Singye Wangchuck .

Tourism restrictions for conservation of cultural heritages

Bhutan opened to develop tourism economy, but also applies strict policy to limit the number of annual visitors in its ability to meet local infrastructure and does not affect to environment as well as cultural heritages.

Bhutan has the most diverse ecosystem in the world
Bhutan has the most diverse ecosystem in the world

Their method in order to manage the number of visitors is also very unique. Bhutan do not limit offering tourist visa, but all visitors have to buy package tours of state companies licensed to operate, with a minimum fee of US $ 200 for one day staying. This high price help Bhutan’s tourism, although only serve a small number of tourists, but also ensuring profitability targets and conservation.

Who cut one tree have to plant 3 new trees

According to the decree of the king, just cut one tree for whatever purpose, they must plant 3 new trees. The resulting so far, more than 60% of Bhutan territory is still forested  and is the fourth national park. Nylon bags are banned. Pesticides, growth stimulants and preservatives are strange things with farmers. These positive policies  helps Bhutan have pristine environment and the most diverse ecosystem in the world.

No violence television, no MTV, no criminals

Few countries can protect cultural identity as Bhutan. Streets filled with brilliant colors of gho (knee-length jacket, belt at the waist, for men) and kira (wrap skirt for women). Most Bhutanese people wear traditional costume every day, as prescribed by the king.

Conservation of top traditional cultural values: honesty and goodness

Bhutanese Cultural values are not only in people’s appearance but also marked in their personality, honesty and goodness in the spirit of Buddhism (Buddhism is the state religion of Bhutan with more than 70% of the population are Buddhists).

Bhutan is a country of temples, ancient pagodas. The people here are faithful in Buddhism , you’ll find the Buddhist flags flying everywhere, spectacular natural scenery is not affected by human hands.

Taktshang, the most famous Buddhist monastery of Bhutan
Taktshang, the most famous Buddhist monastery of Bhutan

The only country in the world have no thief, robber, murder and drug

When allowing the television and the internet, the king thought to preventing negative impacts that the product of Western civilization is caused to the people. These channels have obscene, violence (including sports channel Ten Sports because it spent a large amount of time for wrestling), Fashion TV and music channel MTV is prohibited in Bhutan. Not surprisingly, in the 21st century, this kingdom has almost no theft, robbery, murder and drugs.

Expressions on the street make you smile happy

When being in Bhutan, tourists will not see many billboards but only see a lot of slogans would make tourists smile, such as “Life is a journey! Let’s go! “, “Let nature guide and shown the way!” Or ” We apologize for any inconvenience! “…

Gross National Happiness Index of Bhutan (GNH) is realized in every detail of life, they hope tourists arriving in Bhutan can also enjoy happiness and comfortable life of people in this mysterious and distant kingdom.

Happy children
Happy children

97% of population feel happy

In a 2005 survey, 45% of people in Bhutan say that they are very happy, 52% feel happy and only 3% are not satisfied with their life. Bhutan is one of the world’s top 10 countries in the level of people’s satisfaction and is the only country in this group with a per capita income just over 1,800 USD.

People are happy because their children is not only free when going to school but also subsidized books and food. Residents and visitors are both free of charge for health care. Although more than 30% of the population are poor, but in Bhutan, nobody worry about hunger, worry no money for medicines or worry their children uneducated.

Bhutan's 5th King care for the welfare of the people
Bhutan’s 5th King care for the welfare of the people

Relinquish power because the national benefit

The only thing that people feel unhappy probably was decided to move from absolutist monarchy to constitutional monarchy was implemented by King Jigme Singye Wangchuck.

He said that absolute power in the king’s hands is only beneficial for the country as he is a wise and diligent king. If in the future, the new king is not enough ability or morality, the nation will severely damage.

Therefore, Bhutan have to be in democratization, people should choose who run the country, through the parliamentary elections. This is the key to practise leadership skill, one of four factors constituting National Happiness. The first parliamentary elections were held in Bhutan in 2008.

The decision to democratize the country did not make Bhutanese people happy at that time, because they were very satisfied with the leadership of the king. They do not know whether the changes will bring something better than what they are having, or only lead to conflict and disputes among political parties.

Gho and Kira are the popular traditional dresses
Gho and Kira are the popular traditional dresses

Many people have come to the palace, begged the king to hold absolute power. In order to convince people about the benefits of democracy, King Jigme Singye Wangchuck has asked his son (the 5th king of Bhutan) going around the country, meeting all classes of people. The 28 years old king, graduated from the University of Oxford, crowned 11/2008, is the first king of the constitutional monarchy in Bhutan.

Education standards “The green school”

In Bhutan schools, students are oriented education standards “green school”. Besides learning basic subjects, students learn how to work in agriculture, lifestyle is friendly with environment, they will participate in sorting and recycling garbage of their school.

In addition, every day, class  have some time for both teacher and students to meditate. All ending alarms are melodious music helps the listener to relax. Bhutan Education do not emphasized that students have to become good students, but they want students become good citizens.

Smiling everywhere
Smiling everywhere

Firmly standing when all world was tottering

In the past three decades, Bhutan has set a world leading opinion that the happiness, healthy of people is more important than focusing all efforts on economic development. This option over time has proven to be the right choice.

The incredible success of Bhutan is testament of that. Within 20 years, the average life expectancy of  Bhutanese people are doubles, 100% of children going to school, clean environment is in an ideal level, natural maximum protection, 60% of the country is covered by forests … Bhutan banned the export of timber, each month has one day everybody walk …

Education Minister of Bhutan – Mr. Thakur Singh Powdyel once said: ” Destroy forest and sea for enrichment is too easy, in Bhutan, we believe that is not the way to get prosperity in long-term. The only way is protecting nature – environment, care quality of people’s life, a country is actually considered to be developed “.

Bhutan’s GNH indicators are increasingly attracting attention and praise of international opinion, a growing number of scholars from around the world come to learn, analyze development strategies of a small kingdom located in the Himalayas – Bhutan.

This is the only country in the world calculating the prosperity of the country based on happiness level of the people, not based on GDP – gross domestic product. Bhutan’s achievements made all the world have to think and mention to this small Asian country.

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About the author

Hi, I'm Ho Lam! That's me, the boy who wants more experience each day. I'm slowly but surely working my way, travelling and sharing is my taste. The articles of this blog are not only from me, but also from my friends and the travellers mailed to me.

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