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J AKAR V ILLAGE L ODGE HO ME

AWAY FROM HOM

E

DELUXE ROOM

BAR

4th Best hotel in Bhutan

DINNING

STANDARD ROOM

Sunset view from the Lodge

Website : www.wix.com/ jakarvillagelodge/bhutan : www.jakarvillagelodge.com.bt

BATHROOM

21st Best in Asia (Bed & breakfast)

BUMTHANG : BHUTAN Phone : +975 3 631242 Fax : +975 3 631377 Cell : 17636477/ 17675637 E-mail : gyeldup@druknet.bt : jakarvillagelodge@gmail.com TASHI DELEK

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GNH

The adventure appiness of being a GNHappiness Traveller

H

ave you ever wondered what the highly philosophical concept of ‘Gross National Happiness’ actually means? In Bhutan

refer to the country’s extraordinary development philosophy as GNH. If you have heard of it before, have you ever asked yourself how GNH values and principles could actually be implemented in daily life? And are you hoping to see the GNH experiment in action while you are visiting Bhutan? If you’ve answered yes to any of the above questions, fasten your seat belt, read on and prepare yourself for a new perspective on the world - as you approach Paro airport this statement will make sense in more ways than one. Speaking from my own experience of travelling, living and working in Bhutan over the past generalizations and assumptions in this article. The very fact that Bhutan for a magical holiday in the Land of the Thunder Dragon, most likely means that you are from a well-educated background, with a comfortable income that allows you enough spare cash to foot the bill for the minimum US 32

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$ 200 spent per person each day, with enough cultural interest and awareness to be visiting a Buddhist Kingdom and with a reasonable your way into the foothills of the Himalayan mountains. All of these assumptions would lead one to believe that you would be a happy person - healthy, wealthy and wise. If you had to honestly rate your level of happiness right now on a scale of one to 10 (one being the least happy and 10 being the most happy) where would you place yourself - honestly?

Happiness and Happiness Throughout 2010 the Centre for Bhutan Studies asked some 7,000 Bhutanese citizens from all across Bhutan, using an enormous survey of 250 questions. How they feel about their life including the education system, their health, the quality and access to health services. Their psychological well-being, how stressed they feel, how much time they spend at work and at home, their trust in their neighbors and in their government. Their knowledge and awareness of environmental

we felt happy. Usually happiness and inner thought processes and happiness that Bhutan is aspiring to is the happiness that emerges with an increasing awareness and understanding of the interdependence of all life-processes and beings. Therefore, linking the ultimate belief of interdependence of life, originating from Buddhist philosophy, to the secular interpretation of GNH values and beliefs in a modern society.

The tip of the “GNHiceberg” So now you are a visitor to this country where small numbers of tourists travel every year (between years) with a population that stands at a mere 700,000. Be prepared to be immersed in Bhutanese life and tion for people who like to experi-

something new compared to what they already know. But don’t be misled into thinking that you human beings live in perfect harmony with each other and the world around them. People in Bhutan are like people all over the world; they face challenges and in the world. How these challenges GNH values put in action may produce an unexpected outcome to a situation. One of the best ways to observe GNH in action is to visit an archery watch the dedication and joy of the participants and spectators at any time of the week and any time of day. This is the Bhutanese version of golf, where a lot of business is discussed, problems are solved and the enjoyment of a competitive sport culminates in the archers dancing and singing for joy when they hit the target. But seriously you are asking, what are some of the values that the concept of GNH is trying to instill in Bhutanese

cultural traditions and rituals and how happy they feel. The results will be analyzed and compared to the 2007 survey and conclusions will be drawn about whether Bhutanese people are feeling more or less happy than three years ago. Incredible! Has anyone in your life, let alone your government ever taken that much interest in the way you feel about your life and how happy you are? Welcome to Bhutan, where the happiness and well-being of the people is considered by His Majesty the King as the ultimate measure of Bhutan’s progress. This though than the happiness that depends on our frame of reference, on how we compare ourselves to others and to earlier times when TASHI DELEK

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society? GNH as the development philosophy of Bhutan is manifesting in a number of ways. Among the general population there seems to be an increasing level of environmental concern, particularly in relation to waste. There are now school recycling programs and some hotels and tour operators are also waste management systems and recycling programs. The government has a dedicated GNH Commission, which is the equivalent to a Planning Commission in other countries. The Centre for Bhutan Studies works tirelessly and strateof national happiness levels and is spearheading the development of screening tools for decision-makers within the government, based on GNH values and beliefs. However, what we see today as evidence of GNH is just the tip of the iceberg that GNH stands for. So far, the GNH activities resemble sustainable development initiatives across the world. However, the “GNH iceberg” that lies below the surface, with its potentially massive impact, relates to the values and beliefs that we as individuals demonstrate through our actions, decisions, emotions and behaviors in our every day life. 34

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Travelling in an aspiring GNH society So how could you practice GNH while being in Bhutan? Apart from all the things you know about being a responsible traveller such as practicing cultural sensitivity, environmental consciousness, choosing tour operators and hotels that follow a sustainability program, and supporting local communities by purchasing locally made souvenirs – what else is there to do as a GNH traveller? It seems to me that the most important task as a GNH traveller in Bhutan is to seize the opportunity to explore the concept of happiness and gain some insight into what happiness means for us. I try to observe and become aware what I am used to. I try to notice what puts me in a good mood and what puts me in a bad mood. I try to observe the states of my mind. Asking questions of the guides and people I meet, about how Buddhist philosophy explains the states of mind - which we seem to be constantly caught up in - always delivers some fascinating answers. which there are many in Bhutan, to sit quietly for a moment to contem-

wander. A journey in Bhutan is like no other journey - here you have the opportunity to transform and get to know your mind like nowhere else in the world. Growing up in an economically developed western culture, I was brought up with the underlying view that individualism, our own happiness and that of our loved-ones are the most important pursuits in life. The social conditioning I learned was to practice a commitment to economic progress, a job, my professional development along with wealth creation being advocated as the ultimate goal. Compare this to the GNH values where a commitment to altruism, generosity, compassion, community consciousness and social responsibility are the central factors that hold a society together. From what I understand, the fundamental premise in a GNH society is that an individual’s personal happiness cannot be achieved by him or herself alone, but only through having a commitment to the common welfare and by taking social responsibility. The fundamental premise of GNH happiness is therefore based on the idea that everything and everyone depends on each other.

The GNH journey of a modern society The manifestation of the fundamental premise of GNH can be seen in the core values that a GNH society is based on such as trust, compassion, generosity, serenity, bonding, creativity, insightfulness, patience, integrity, interdependence, ecoconsciousness, altruism, fairness, unity, cooperation, cultural diversity and dignity and many others. Only if these behaviors and principles are present in a society, can there be happiness for the society and for the individual. Traditionally, these values were instilled in Bhutanese society through the practice of sending one son from each family to lead a monastic life. When visit-


DESTI NATIONS

Royal Thai Consulate Bhutan Visa Information Citizens of Bhutan can apply for a visa to Thailand at Royal Thai Consulate, Thimphu Bhutan. Types of Visa • • • • • •

Transit Visa Tourist Visa Non-Immigrant Visa (Study, Training and Diplomatic Visa Visa Courtesy Visa

visit)

Visa on arrival A Bhutanese citizen he is entitled to a 15-day Visa on Arrival. Visa on Arrival is obtained at the designated immigration checkpoints and international airports in Thailand. Travelers must submit application form, photos, proof of itinerary and proof of funds.

Validity of Visa/ Period of stay Please note that the period of visa validity is different from the period of stay. Visa validity is the period during which a visa can be used to enter Thailand. In general, the validity of a visa is 3 months. The validity of a visa is granted with discretion by the Royal Thai Embassy or Royal Thai Consulate-General and is displayed on the visa stamp. On the other hand, the period of stay is granted by an immigration upon arrival at the port of entry and in accordance with the type of visa. For example, the period of stay for a transit visa is not exceeding 30 days, for a tourist visa is not exceeding 60 days and for a nonimmigrant visa is not exceeding 90 days from the arrival date. The period of stay granted by the immigration is displayed on the arrival stamp. Travellers who wish to stay longer of the Immigration Bureau in than such period may apply for extension of stay at Bangkok, located at Government Center B, Chaengwattana Soi 7, Laksi, Bangkok 10210, Tel 0-2141-9889 or at an Immigration located in the provinces. For information on application for extension of stay, see the Immigration Bureau website at www.immigration.go.th *For more information, visit www.royalthaiconsulate.bt Royal Thai Consulate, P.O Box 1352, GPO Thimphu: Bhutan, Tel: +975 2 323978/ 324030/ 324051, Fax: +975 2 323807, E-mail: royalthaiconsulate@druknet.bt

For mutual friendship & cooperation

Thai Consulate

Shoppers Stop

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RICB Colony


Breaking the Language barrier Basic Thai Language The Thai greeting referred to as the wai consists of a slight bow, with the palms pressed together in a prayerlike fashion. The higher the hands are held in relation to the face and the lower the bow, the more respect or reverence the giver of the wai is showing. ”Sawadee” is usually combined with the wai. It is also common as a way to thank someone or apologise. Basically women say “kha” at the end of a sentence while men say “khrab”.

Introductions

Hello = Sawadee Thank you (man says) = Khorb Khun Khrab Thank you (woman says) = Khorb Khun Kha I= pom (man) I= chan (woman) Yes = chai No = mai chai What is your name? = Khun chue arai? My name is = pom (chan) chue ... How are you? = Khun sabai di mai? I am fine thanks = Pom (chan) sabai di khrab/kha You’re welcome = Yin dee krap / ka Sorry/ excuse me = kor toht Where do you come from? khun maa jaak nai? Come from = ma jak I come from Bhutan = Pom (chan) ma jak pratet Bhutan khrab/ kha

Eating and Drinking

Eat = kin Drink = deun Food = aahaan Drinking water = naam khaeng Rice = khao To eat= kin khao (literally: eat rice) Are you hungry? = Khun hiu khao mai? I am hungry = pom/chan hiu khao I have eaten already thanks = Pom/chan kin leu khrab/kha Check the bill, please = chek bin; keb dtang duai (khrak/kha)

Shopping Conversation

Do you speak English? = khun pood paa-saa ang-krit bpen mai? I do not speak Thai = pom (chan) pood paa-saa tai mai bpen (dai) Do you understand? = khun) khao jai mai (khrab/kha)? I don’t understand = pom (chan) mai khao jai Never mind/ No problem = mai bpen rai What time is it? kee mo:hng? How much? = taorai? Can you give me a discount? Lot dai mai (khrab/kha)? I don’t want = mai ao (khrab/kha) I don’t like ... mai chorb

Travel Talk

I don’t know = pom (chan) mai roo (khrab/kha) Where is...? = … yoo (tee) nai? What? = arai? Go = pai Go where = pai nai Toilet = hong nam Where is the toilet? = hong nam yu nai? Don’t understand = mai kao jai

Emergency Essentials

Help! = chuay duai! Pain = bpuat, jeb (temporary) sick, ill = bpuay, mai sabai to have fever = bpen khai headache = bpuat hua pharmacy = raan khai yaa hospital = ro:hng payabaan to see a doctor = bpai haa mor medicine, drugs = yaa to take medicine = kin yaa

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Thailand Unforgetable

Water sports in Thailand Think surfing. Think waves, curling breakers with surfers shootin’ the tube, spectacular wipeouts. Yes, one can surf, enjoy snorkeling, scuba diving, parasailing and kayaking. Or one can take a dinner cruise on Chao Phraya River. Glistening skyscrapers, temples and stream of endless traffic will greet you from every direction.

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We wish Her Majesty, Gyaltsuen Jetsun Pema Wangchuck a very happy 22 nd birthday anniversary. May she be the strength that drives the nation forward in our aspiration of Gross National Happiness

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Tashi Delek  

Tashi delek demo page for drukair.On the wings of the dragon.