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Visit the land of the Thunder Dragon

the happiest country in Asia

Rated in 2006 as the happiest country in Asia, and the eight -happiest in the world, is an extraordinary green little piece of earth at the eastern end of the Himalayas (just 47 thousand square meters),where Gross National Happiness is deemed more important than Gross National Product. Bhutanese peaple call it Druk Yul (Land of the Thunder Dragon).

Buying cigarettes is illegal other there, giant protective penises are painted on the walls of houses and people wear a tunic to work.

Deeply religious, int's the only country committed to Vajrayana (Tantric) Bhuddism, one of the last where you can still really breath the spirit of this thousand years old culture. In the neighbouring countries, in fact, even in Tibet, the mass tourism coming from China is slowly contaminating the athmosphere and the environment.

In Bhutan the tourism does exist, but it is limited: to have a visum of 14 days (rather cheap, around 20 USdollars), everybody who' s entering is "obliged" to pay a sort of all-inclusive Travel-packet of the prize of 200 dollars per day at least, with extra charge for small groups or single travellers. Any agency organizing trips there has to apply this taxes that make Bhutan a sort of paradise of chic-Bhuddism, of luxus tourism with religious roots, real o "apparent".

Behind this decision, taken from the government of Thimphu, there is the necessity of limiting the tourist stream, and the convinction that Bhutan couldn' t stand mass tourism.

Because the places are more than worth: in the middle of luxuriant vegetation, there are early Buddhist sites in the heartland of Bumthang Dzongkhag; there are the textiles, outrageous trekking as well as the stunning flora and fauna of Phobjika Valley or Thrumsingla National Park, and mask dances performed inside the centuries old fortress and monastries.

Trekking is probably the best way to get the most of Bhutan's breathtaking sceneries. Although most of the treks themselves are not difficult, the altitudes are hight and rescue services are difficult to reach. Also the weather alouds little time to have the best chances to find clear sky and little snow : about 3 weeks in April and 3-4 weeks in October.

However, if you have saved up some money, and are in good shape, you will have one of the best experiences imaginable.

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