Bhutan is a small land locked country in the Himalayas between Tibet (China) and India with an area of 47,000 km² and has total population 736,267 people.
Apart from its stunning natural scenery, the lasting image of the country for most visitors is its strong sense of culture and tradition. Bhutan is the only Vajrayana Buddhist nation in the world, and the profound teachings of this tradition remain well preserved and are a strong influence in all aspects of life. Because of its unspoiled environment and harmonious society, the tiny Kingdom of Bhutan has been called “The Last Shangrila.”
Situated high in the Himalayas, the world’s last remaining Buddhist Kingdom, Bhutan is a unique country both culturally and environmentally. It has developed the philosophy of Gross National Happiness; where development is measured using a holistic approach of well-being, not just based on gross domestic product.
Bhutan is termed as a third world country because the most people here are mostly practicing subsistence farming in its fertile land. The people receive free education, and all citizens have access to free, though basic, medical care. The sale of tobacco products is banned and smoking in public areas is a fineable offense in Bhutan.
Major sources of income for Bhutan are tourism, hydroelectricity and agriculture.
While traditional culture has been very well preserved, the opening of the country to TV and internet in 1999 has had a major effect in the society. But modern-day culture is mostly centered in bars and snooker halls. There seem to be very little quality contemporary art, theatre or music in Bhutan.
Its national language is Dzongkha and is spoken in several styles and dialects. Bhutanese culture is very closely related to that of their neighbor to the north, Tibet, perhaps because they share the same religion.
It was declared a parliamentary democracy in March 2008 at the initiation of the Fourth King, who is highly respected throughout the kingdom.