Nicknamed the “Land of the Thunder Dragon” and “The Kingdom in the Clouds,” Bhutan is a beautiful, tiny country nestled in the Himalayan Mountains between India and China. Bhutan is a deeply spiritual place and a Buddhist state. Buddhist tradition emphasizes a deep respect for nature. Therefore, mountain climbing and logging are prohibited.
Bhutan is led by a king, as well as an elected prime minister and parliament. The king has declared a policy of “gross national happiness,” which means that the people’s happiness is more important than money. Bhutan only opened its doors to foreigners in the 1970s and has made laws to protect its culture. People are required to wear the national dress – no blue jeans and t-shirts. The country has one small air strip and a few roads, but no trains. Bhutan has enjoyed access to television and the internet since 1999.
- Bhutan is home to 700,000 people.
- Bhutan has 18,147 square miles of land.
- The official language is Dzongkha.
- The main religions are Buddhism and Hinduism.
- The life expectancy in Bhutan is 65 years.
- Buddhism: a major world religion that originated in Asia. Buddhism values peace, harmony and respect for nature
- Air strip: a landing strip for planes
- Nestled: snugly fit
Visit the BBC to learn more about this tiny country.
Question: Does the king make most of the laws?
Answer: King Jigme Singye Wangchuck ruled from 1972 to 2005, when he gave the crown to his son. During his reign, he voluntarily reduced his power and instituted free elections for government officials. The country is carefully working towards a more democratic society, but Bhutan does have conflict. Particularly, ethnic Nepalese living in Bhutan feel discriminated against.