Bhutan

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Bhutan is to say the least, something of a paradox.   A nation which spurns materialism to such an extent that they publish a GNH (Gross National Happiness) index in preference to the more conventional GDP, yet where they somewhat disingenuously charge a minimum tourist levy of $250 per person per day and up to $2000 if you want the genuine Buddhist  experience.  There are some who are inclined to the opinion that if, as is claimed, this levy is supposed to fund development of the tourist infrastructure, then the roads, hotels and food should be better than mud tracks, one star establishments with stinking toilets and flavourless sludge respectively.

Rather quaintly the king has decreed that all Bhutanese nationals must wear traditional dress and that all buildings must be constructed in the traditional style.  As a consequence it is all rather photogenic, helped enormously by the magnificent scenery, abundant flora and fauna, not to mention the famous tsechus (festivals) comprising amongst other things, colourful religious dances and much wielding of dildos in the faces of bemused tourists.  However, as an unfortunate consequence of this, and the "top end tourism" policy, it is inundated with hordes of Nikon wielding, grumpy middle aged visitors rushing around like headless chickens, attempting to "do" the entire country in less than ten days.  

Bumthang Paro Punakha Thimpu
 
Wangdue Trongsa Fame & Infamy  

 

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Jeremy Harrison 2005-2013