Shrouded for centuries in the misty serenity of the great Himalayas, the Land of the Thunder Dragon, or Bhutan, as now known to the rest of the world, developed its own distinct civilization.
This deeply spiritual land is home to a unique identity, derived essentially from a fertile religious and cultural heritage. Bhutan brims with myth and legend. As a befitting testimony, a great Buddhist heritage of over 2000 monasteries and 10,000 monuments dot its peaceful open space and regal mountains. An ambience of near sacred tranquility permeates the land, fostering an environment of spiritual affluence that has shaped the foundation of that rarity that we know as Bhutanese life.
The Bhutanese have deliberately and zealously safeguarded and preserved their rich culture and traditions, its ancient way of life, in all its aspects. And it is perhaps one of the world’s last strongholds of unspoiled wilderness. It is a part of the earth that represents a fabled realm.
Bhutan is a land where the past and the contemporary co-exist in harmony, a recipe that makes a journey undeniably amazing. A trip through Bhutan, in many ways, is still a journey into the past. In this small tract of land, one of the most rugged terrains in the world frames one of the world’s richest vegetations.
It is a land of about 700,000 people who believe that Gross National Happiness is more important than Gross National Product. Bhutan is a country with a different face. And a different story to tell.
Bringing gifts for friends, family and relatives have been one of the age old traditions still existing among most of the families in Bhutan. Usually gifts are brought by friends, coworkers or families in general and given them if they come from overseas holiday, from tour aboard or from place somewhere new to them. This was practiced to remember those who are close to their hearts, to make them feel they are remembered and important persons.
Tips and Gifts are not compulsory in Bhutan but it can greatly change the feeling and multiply the happiness of receivers. Therefore this is still practiced and recommended way of getting close to any families in Bhutan.
As such there is no particular demand or proper ratio for tipping, so anything you think and can afford to offer is good. For general understanding of large sections of people who might involve during your tour in Bhutan are as under.
Bhutanese Local Families:
No matter how expensive or cheapest, most families love to receive any basic necessity like head wear, upper body wear, lower body wears, foot wears etc. This will not only help them to save their little saving but will also be able to show their friends and family for longer period of time. If not giving out small amount of money to the head of the family makes them feel happy and remember gifts and tips are always given on the last meet or during departure.
Any books or school items would be very good idea to present in the school.
Please no money and no sweets. You might give pens, pencils, note pad or sweets.
Please no money to beggar. As such, there is no beggar in Bhutan. The beggar you might come across are not needy people.
Nice way of tipping guide is USD 20/day
Good amount of tipping driver is USD 15/day
Any amount you want.
The term “Gross National Happiness” was first coined by the 4th King of Bhutan the concept has a much longer resonance in the Kingdom of Bhutan. The concept implies that sustainable development should take a holistic approach towards notions of progress and give equal importance to non-economic aspects of well being. Gross National Happiness best captured our distant perception of the main purposes of development, rooted in our philosophical and political thought. We do this through a concerted policy of cultural promotion and the provision of free education, health and other social services. The four major goals are economic self reliance, environment preservation, cultural promotion and good governance.
Within Bhutanese culture, inner spiritual development is a prominent focus in external materials development. Enlightenment is blossoming of happiness and it made more probable by consciously creating a harmonious psychological, social and economic environment. The positive mental and the psychological powers are not directed outward to the control of the natural world, rather they are turned inwards, towards our own mind, so that we can understand our mind and its relationship both with itself and the outer world.
Bhutan has followed a multi-dimensional approach to development, aimed at spiritual and materials balance and harmony. While we accept the reality of globalization and cultural change, we can always endeavor to select the most beneficial aspect of it, to make the correct choice for our greatest present and future tasks.