Bhutan is a small Kingdom in the Himalayas that borders China to the North and India to the East, South and West. The country has approximately 635,000 inhabitants (2005) and a per capita GDP of USD 1,410. The size of the country is approximately the same as Denmark. The UN classifies Bhutan as an underdeveloped country, ranked 133 out of 175 countries on the UNDP’s Human Development Index.
In Bhutan, Tibetan Buddhism is practiced as the state religion. The whole Bhutanese society is afflicted by the Buddhist living guidelines, and everywhere you see monasteries, temples and monks dressed in their typical red robes. The government of Bhutan is, therefore, working eagerly to protect religious sites, documents and monuments, which makes Bhutan one of the most important areas for practiced Buddhism in the world.
Until recently, Bhutan was a closed country for many people, but since 1961, the country has focused on a systematic development by implementing development plans for all sectors. Together with the previous King, the present King Jigme Singye Wangchuk (also called the Dragon King) has led this development towards a more modern public system.
Situated in the remote Himalayan Mountains, Bhutan has a sensational nature and very rich flora and fauna. In the southern regions of the country, you find subtropical animals and plants; while in the far north of the country, there are high snow covered peaks and extremely cold winters, only Yaks and very tough plants live here.
Bhutan is steeped in ancient history, culture and religious customs. Its visitors enjoy the ornate monasteries, interesting architecture and traditional people. The Tiger’s Nest Monastery is a must see amongst other memorable landmarks in this mysterious country.
Area: 38,394 km2
Languages: Dzongkha (official), Tibetan dialects (among Bhotes), Nepalese dialects (among Nepalese
Ethnicity/race: Bhote 50%, ethnic Nepalese 35%, indigenous or migrant tribes 15%
National Holiday: National Day, December 17
Religions: Lamaistic Buddhist 75%, Indian- and Nepalese-influenced Hinduism 25%