You can reach Bhutan by plane. Paro International Airport is the only international airport of the country and is situated in the west of Bhutan at 2.235 meter above mean sea level and is surrounded by high mountain peaks (around 5.500 meter). When you land at Paro International Airport you find yourself immediately in the Bhutanese culture. The airport is a beautiful example of Bhutanese architecture. From the airport it is a one-and-a-half hour drive to the capital, Thimphu. The city centre is small enough to visit by foot. In Thimphu you can visit The National Folk Heritage museum, the Changangkha Lhakhang (one of the oldest temples in the Thimphu Valley), The National Memorial Chorten and a lot of beautiful places. Other great city’s to visit are Paro, Mongar and Sandrup Jongkhar. Beside beautiful cities and temples Bhutan can offer a lot more. Bhutan is situated on the southern slopes of the eastern Himalayas and has much to offer for nature lovers. The country has a rich primate life, with rare species as the Bengal tiger and the clouded leopard and over 770 species of bird can be found in the Bhutanese wildlife. The country has 12 national parks and there you can fin over more than 5.400 different species of plants. From the valleys of western Bhutan you can see the tops of the Himalayas but it is not possible to climb these mountains. The Bhutanese people respecting their natural environment and they want to maintain the nature the best possible so it is forbidden by Bhutanese law to climb these mountains. Bhutan has a lot to offer for travellers: great cities and beautiful nature. Beside these two things Bhutan has one thing more to offer: Gross National Happiness. King Jigme Singye Wangchuck introduced this term in 1972. Bhutan’s economic position has never been strong so the king decided that Gross National Happiness was more important than the Gross Domestic Product. Gross National Happiness is based on four main pillars: • • • •
Good governance Sustainable socio-economic development Preservation and promotion of culture Environmental conservation
These four pillars are further elaborated in nine domains: living standards, education, health, environment, community vitality, time-use, psychological well-being, good governance and cultural resilience and promotion. Through all these pillars and domains they want to reach realise a high Gross National Happiness. The Government, the King and Queen, schools, everyone plays his own part to realise this happiness. The Bhutanese people see the Gross National Happiness as their biggest export product. It is all about making people happier than that they were. So if you visit Bhutan let you inspire by the Bhutanese people and their way of life. Be open-minded and increase your happiness. Live the good life in Bhutan!