Main reason(s) for Bhutan travel restrictions?
Replies: 46 - Last Post: Mar 31, 2013 6:33 AM Last Post By: gk9000
Jan 31, 2013 11:42 AM
30Thank you so much, Vishnu (#28) for this painstaking information, in particular regarding the nature and existence of the "Gross National Happiness" index, and for the historical background. All this is extremely helpful and interesting.
I appreciate the somewhat obvious reasons why citizens of countries in the region are exempted from the visa requirements (just as I appreciate why everyone else is subject to them), although I have to confess that I'm quite envious of your independent travel experience in Bhutan! I'd be curious to know how, as someone from India, your reception in Bhutan might have been different from or similar to that experienced by Westerners.
#26 (farflung): "If you deduct the US$60 daily 'fee' which goes to the govt, Bhutan costs barely more than visiting many places (e.g. Tibet) on a package.".
Many of us travel on a good deal less than that $60 per day, and many more of us couldn't come close to paying for package tours (even if we wanted to travel that way).
Joeymello (#29), Visiting Myanmar right after spending six weeks in Thailand helped convince me that Western tourism is most likely more a curse than a blessing, at least in this part of the world. As I've mentioned, I realize this makes me a bit of a hypocrite.
I'm really glad to have learned through this thread that Bhutan's travel restrictions are motivated more by concerns about cultural preservation than by greed or any political anxieties.
Feb 3, 2013 5:35 AM
31Andrew - beyond the huge economic relations between India and Bhutan, most of the Bhutanese see India as sort of gateway to the outside world. A big number of Bhutanese students study in all part of India and most of their trade happens with India. So many Indian traders visit Thimphu that I went virtually unnoticed in west Bhutan. The only difference came with my backpack - they rarely see Indians with backpacks, so there were questions asked and stories shared! The east of Bhutan is a completely different entity though - neither English nor Hindi worked for me the further I traveled east and I did most of the transactions through sign language! That side of the country is breathtaking, and the help I got was tremendous.
People keep comparing countries with respect to visa fees and amount of natural beauty, but there is one significant difference with Bhutan. Though within a few days I realized that there was something different, it dawned on me only after a week or so - I did not hear or see a single person getting angry, nobody talked in a loud voice, there were no arguments. No sounds beyond a decibel level is something which no human beings are used to, but you get that within Bhutan. Any travel in the country beyond 2 weeks is like being in a permanent meditative state. You got to experience it to understand it. At some point of time, I felt really guilty to be even travelling through this pure land!
On Gross National Happiness - Bhutan has been preaching GNH world wide for the past few years now and they have a GNH commission which overlooks the formulation of policies. Have a look at the following site to see the extent to which they have documented their plans:
Feb 3, 2013 11:08 AM
Feb 4, 2013 10:48 AM
33There may be some stressors in Bhutan that cause that - but are not easily observed by outsiders.
Feb 20, 2013 8:21 PM
34Vishnu put it beautifully - yes there are problems in Bhutan but it was surely one of the most beautiful and mellow places I've ever travelled - yes I travelled independently - twice - and will go back as soon as I can.
Feb 28, 2013 11:06 PM
Feb 28, 2013 11:09 PM
Feb 28, 2013 11:10 PM
37HO much did you spend each day in bhutan @vishnu? I would really like to visit Bhutan soon
Mar 1, 2013 3:30 AM
Mar 18, 2013 6:27 AM
Mar 30, 2013 12:02 PM
40Just love it how Westerners who whine and complain about the Big Bad Chinese Government imposing limitations on visiting some parts of the country suddenly bend over backwards to find excuses for the Bhutanese doing the same. While we are at this, don't forget that the wonderful and happy Bhutan is a monarchy (with a parliament where one party has 45 seats out of 47) that in order to protect religion just recently kicked about one-fifth of residents out of the country as these residents were Hindu and not the Mahayana Buddhists.
But who cares - what counts is how mellow it is.
Mar 31, 2013 3:16 AM
4120% of Bhutan used to be Hindu. Every single Hindu - young, old, sick, disabled, pregnant - was forcibly evicted from Bhutan. They were not compensated. It was one of the largest ethnic cleansing exercises in the world. To those of you who are interested you can meet the refugees near Siliguri in India. They still dream of going back to Bhutan one day. Bhutan stands for Gross National Hatred NOT Happiness.
Mar 31, 2013 4:01 AM
Mar 31, 2013 4:32 AM
Mar 31, 2013 4:47 AM
44can't be bothered reading all that or looking up anything else
I know the basics
Bhutanese people and Government don't hide it or deny it
not interested in playing politics
are you somehow involved in it
or do you object to all inequalities by all governments
I wouldn't be able to travel anywhere if I had to approve of the ruling government before I went
Kochi (Cochin)Book now
(0 star Hotel)
From US$4.89 per night
Bengaluru (Bangalore)Book now
(0 star Hotel)
From US$31.21 per night
Mumbai (Bombay)Book now
(3 star Hotel)
From US$74.16 per night