What was your best experience in Bhutan

BhutanKingdom in the clouds

Of course, it is nothing more than a (well-cultivated) myth that Bhutan resists global progress like a last bulwark. Druk Yul, the "land of the thunder dragon", is changing. Compared to the change in the rest of the world, it still looks like it has fallen out of time. Also for tourism: only a good 30,000 foreign guests (not including neighboring countries) pass the two border crossings at the country's only airport in Paro or overland in southern Phuentsholing. A trip to Bhutan is still primarily a question of money: it can only be booked through one of the state or licensed international travel agencies. A minimum amount of approx. 150 euros or 190 euros (high season) is due per day. In addition, the tourism authority controls the prices for package deals in order to prevent dumping prices, according to the official version (details at bhutan.gov.bt). This is probably one of the reasons why the onslaught of backpackers and trekkers is limited. The Snowman Trek, which leads over twelve passes between 4500 and 5100 meters, is one of the most beautiful hikes in the Himalayas, but the adventure lasts a good three weeks and is accordingly an exclusive pleasure.

Like the regulated tourism, the changes implemented in homeopathic doses are also due to the prudent royal dynasty of the Wangchucks, who have led the country with great responsibility since 1907. Within the last four decades, Bhutan has evolved from an Asian poorhouse into a model. Not least because of a brilliant idea by the king in 1979. At that time, Jigme Singye Wangchuck first presented his philosophy of “gross national happiness” in an interview. From then on, unlimited economic growth was no longer anchored in the constitution, but contentment and benefits for the population. Sustainable development, environmental protection and the preservation of culture should now determine all government decisions. Only Bolivia and Ecuador have rudiments of similar guidelines. Bhutan is now a prime example of environmental protection. 75 percent of the country is covered by forest and a quarter of it is protected. Electricity from hydropower and tourism are the most important sources of income.

With such royal happiness the people pay homage to their leader at every opportunity. The royal euphoria reached its peak so far in autumn 2011: King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck (the 5th Druk) married Jetsun Pema, a civil pilot's daughter. Bhutan was thrilled. And when the newly wed couple did not go on a glamorous honeymoon in the direction of the Caribbean after the wedding, but even paid their respects to distant parts of their homeland, a “royal couple of hearts” was born. The young queen continues to maintain her closeness to the people, in the style of a 23-year-old: via Facebook. More than 54,000 friends follow Jetsun Pema on their side. No glamor, no pomp, no jet set trips can be found under her photo section, instead impressions of trips through the often barren landscape, encounters with the local population, conversations with farmers and market visits between carrots and potatoes. In the middle of it all, a kiss with my husband. Envy, rumors, rainbow press? No, only proud subjects.