18 December 2014
Aline Hopkins LRPS
Bhutan is a small kingdom which nestles in the Himalayas between India and Tibet. Independent since the 8th century, this Buddhist nation strives to preserve its ancient traditions and lifestyle. Protected by mountains to the north and jungle to the south, there have been few outside influences on Bhutan’s culture until relatively recently.
Bhutan is entering the 21st century with care. Visitor numbers are limited, televisions are rare, yet even monks carry mobile phones! Happiness is regarded as being of greater importance than any economic measure, and judging by the smiles and greetings which welcome visitors, this seems to work well.
Flying from Kathmandu to Paro gives marvellous views of the spectacular mountains of the Himalayas: Everest, K2, Kanchenjunga, Lohtse, to name but a few.
I was lucky to be in Paro during the previous King’s birthday celebrations. People came into town from the surrounding areas, all wearing their finest outfits. Tents were erected in a large field and chairs set out for the local dignitaries. School children paraded and sang, and monks performed traditional dances. Families picnicked on the grass and children clamoured to have their photographs taken by unsuspecting tourists ...
This article is an extract from Aline Hopkins's article first published on Page 10 in Travel Log Issue 59. Aline is a member of the Northern Region of the RPS.