In 1972, the 4th King of Bhutan, King Jigme Singye Wangchuck, declared that “Gross National Happiness” is more important than Gross Domestic Product. This concept measures a much broader perspective, including nine domains:
- Psychological well being
- Time use
- Cultural diversity and resilience
- Good governance
- Community vitality
- Ecological diversity and resilience
- Living standards
While it is not the simple “happiness” commonly known, this Gross National Happiness index does convey a message to the world that Bhutan government cares about the overall wellbeing of the individuals.
The High and The Low
Bhutan is the world’s greenest country with over 70% of land covered by forest. With around 800,000 population living in 38,394 square kilometers of land, Bhutan’s population density is one of the lowest in the world.
Culture & Traditions
When it comes to culture, polygamy is probably the most unique one. It is legal for men and women to have multiple wives and husbands at the same time. The 4th King of Bhutan has 4 queens. Isn’t it the dream of most men?! Divorce is acceptable, not a disgraceful thing to do.
Both men and women still wear their traditional clothes when they go to school, work and official events. The traditional sport archery remains the national game and people are practicing it every day.
If you take your time to observe and talk to the local people, many people are kind and nice. I was pleasantly surprised at how well their English is. People are in general helpful and kind. If you want to take photos of the local, ask nicely and many would say “yes”. Children would not ask for money or even candies. People are content with their way of life. Hope it stays that way.