There is the country, the only country in the world that has a Gross National Happiness, tucked in the Himalaya Mountains, accessible only by two airplanes. The “Happiest Country” in the world is the last standing Buddhist Kingdom and one of the fastest growing GDP’s in the world – Bhutan, “Land Of The Thunder Dragon.” Bhutan is located in South Asia and is landlocked between India, Tibet, China, and Nepal.
Bhutan is the last standing Buddhist Kingdom in the World and, until recently, has preserved much of their culture since the 17th century by avoiding globalization and staying isolated from the world.
BHUTAN ONLY ALLOWS A CERTAIN NUMBER OF FOREIGNERS INTO THE COUNTRY EACH YEAR
Bhutan only allows a certain number of foreigners into the country each year, and the two hundred dollars a day that must be paid by every traveler is a deterrent for many. Internet, television, and western dress were banned from the country up until ten years ago. But over the past ten years globalization has begun to change in Bhutan, but things remain perfectly balanced.
BHUTAN THE ONLY COUNTRY IN THE WORLD THAT HAS A GROSS NATIONAL HAPPINESS
Bhutan is the only country in the world that has a ‘GNH.’ You may think GNH is just another statistically based term with no real life application, but it refers to “Gross National Happiness.” The process of measuring GNH began when Bhutan opened up to globalization. It measures people’s quality of life, and makes sure that “material and spiritual development happen together.” Bhutan has done an amazing job of finding this balance. Bhutan has continually been ranked as the happiest country in all of Asia, and the eighth Happiest Country in the world according to Business Week. In 2007, Bhutan had the second fastest growing GDP in the world, at the same time as maintaining their environment and cultural identity.
BHUTAN IS THE ONLY BUDDHIST KINGDOM IN THE WORLD
Mahayana Buddhism is the official religion of Bhutan. Over two thirds of the people are Buddhist, and Buddhism is supported by the government both politically and economically. The government gives subsidies to Buddhist monasteries, shrines, monks and other Buddhist programs. Buddhists also are very influential politically with a guaranteed voice in public policy. Bhutan has also made significant efforts to keep other major religions out of their country. Promoting Christianity and other major religions is not allowed in Bhutan. Even with globalization, Bhutan has been able to preserve their Buddhist traditions, and they remain the last standing Buddhist Kingdom.
BHUTAN PRESERVE THE BEAUTIFUL LANDSCAPE
Some call Bhutan the “Switzerland of Asia” because of its size, shape and location in the mountains. As soon as the plane touched down in Bhutan, the beautiful landscape is all around you. Bhutan is a country of mountains and valleys, and the climate varies with elevation. The mountains are extremely cold and snowy, but it is humid and subtropical in the hills, and temperate in the valleys.
Bhutan has one of the stable ecosystems in the world and has virtually no environmental damage due to its long isolation. The restrictions on tourism and their protection of natural resources have let Bhutan preserve the beautiful landscape and physical country as well as their cultural identity.
BHUTAN HAS FOUND THE PERFECT BALANCE
In recent years, internet, cable television, cell phones, as well as many other modern technologies and ideas have become a part of Bhutan, but their desire to preserve of cultural values, as well as the desire to protect the environment has remained high. Bhutan’s economy and culture are growing and changing. Bhutan’s unique strategy has presented a solution to globalization. They are able to adapt to globalization, to strengthen their economy, while still preserving thousand year old traditions and culture. Bhutan is the only Buddhist Kingdom still in the world, and one where cell phones and cable television are present.