Here’s a list of things that we thought was pretty amazing and we are sure many of these might come to you as a surprise as well!
One thing that you can’t ignore in Bhutan is the strong presence of the royal family in every household. Be it a photo or some merchandise like curtains or wall clocks, the King is present everywhere. But at the same time, Bhutan just had their elections as well. When we asked about this, our driver mentioned that our present king has given a gift of democracy to Bhutanese people. That’s the reason, the present king is called as people’s king. It’s one of the very few places where democracy and monarchy go hand in hand and people are OK with it. Surprising, isn’t it?
Things that we take for granted in India, are followed very religiously in Bhutan. People love following rules. It can be as small as crossing the road only from zebra crossing or as big as not taking bribes. At the same time they have tremendous respect for their king and the family. At least they make sure to paint such a picture in front of travelers. It gives a positive impression about monarchy.
Dzong – All the dzongs are divided into administrative part and monastery part
3. The country isn’t cheap
Before visiting Bhutan, we came across many articles that said Bhutan was a cheap country for Indians. But in reality, it’s almost the same. In fact commodities like food and clothes are sometimes even more expensive than India. (Except for alcohol, of course)
4. Bhutanese love their booze
Speaking of alcohol, Bhutan gave us a pleasant surprise by showing us how much Bhutanese love their booze. Every small general store has a collection of alcohol. Starting from expensive whiskeys to inexpensive rum. Their peach wine Zumzin is to die for. The country is pretty cold so a few pegs of alcohol comes in handy when they have to survive in cold temperatures. Do check out their local brands of whiskey, vodka and wine. They are heavenly and don’t burn a hole to your pocket.
Whiskey, vodka or wine. in Bhutan, you can buy alcohol as easily as a toothpaste 🙂
5. What about those food habits?
Food in Bhutan didn’t impress us much. Their food options are pretty limited and not necessarily have any taste. The only taste is spicy and they eat raw chilies with their rice. We were shocked to see the daughter of our driver eating 5-6 chilies at one go with rice. Also sadly, they don’t indulge much in sweets. You won’t find any local desserts in Bhutan.
6. Relationship dynamics
In terms of relationships, we found Bhutan to be very progressive. Their 4th king had 4 wives and they had a happy family. The country used to practice polygamy until a few years ago. So getting married at an early age and getting divorced is pretty common there. They don’t have dating apps and many Bhutanese believe that internet and these various apps are the reason relationships aren’t working out anymore in Bhutan.
Gross national happiness as a concept works very well with the government and monarchy!
7. Phallus temple
We are sure some nasty friends of yours might have told you about the phallus temple in Bhutan. Well, even we went there with a few presumptions.
So the story goes like a rebellious Buddhist (Lam Drukpa Kuenley) in the 15th century wanted to change the ways of people practicing Buddhism. People fondly called him ‘Divine Madman’ as his ways of preaching were different and outrageous than rest of monks.He was a social critic who taunted the hipocracy of the established orders. Thus the use of his phallus as a weapon that symbolizes the discomfort that the society experiences when facing the truth.