47 Interesting Facts About Bhutan

Last updated on February 27th, 2022

37. If you are addicted to smoking, you may not want to visit Bhutan. It has banned the sale of cigarettes and tobacco because smoking is considered a sin. It is also believed that tobacco grew out of a demoness’ blood. Tobacco products, however, are sold at government-run duty-free shops.

38. Although the tobacco ban is in place, it does allow smokers to import tobacco products in controlled amounts, with a catch. Buyers must pay high taxes and duties. This encouraged the appearance of smuggled tobacco products from India in the black market.

39. During the pandemic, Bhutan decided to ease up on its tobacco control after a worker who handled goods imported from India was tested for Covid-19 and turned up positive. The lift on the ban is meant to regulate demand for smuggled tobacco products. The lift, according to the prime minister, is temporary.

Gangkhar Puensum, the highest peak of Bhutan during dawn
Gangkhar Puensum, the highest peak of Bhutan during dawn. Interesting facts about Bhutan. Photo © Brandon Goh | Dreamstime.com

40. Bhutan’s highest point is Gangkhar Puensum at 24,840 ft. It remains the highest unclimbed peak in the world.

41. One must drive slowly in Bhutan. Not only is there an absence of traffic lights but the roads in this mountainous region are quite steep. There are also large animals that roam freely and people tend to stop in the middle of the road to say hello to one another.

42. The Bhutanese national dish is the ema datshi. Ema (chilies) Datshi (cheese) is a dish made by cooking chilies and onions until they simmer, then adding melted cheese, preferably yak cheese.

43. In Bhutan, chilies are not considered condiments or seasoning. Instead, they are treated and served as vegetables.

Bhutan on map

44. Inheritance in Bhutan is passed on through the matrilineal line. This means that any property, assets, or belongings that the elders own will be passed on to the family’s eldest daughter and not the eldest son.

45. In Bhutan, people celebrate their birthdays on New Year. Every Bhutanese turns one year older every New Year’s day, which is convenient for people who forget or are illiterate. For the Bhutanese, the year of birth is far more important than the day or the month.

46. In Bhutan, the phallus is a symbol of good fortune and a sort of talisman that drives away bad spirits. They are also painted or drawn to increase the fertility of married couples. Phallic symbols are also used instead of scarecrows in rice fields. Phalluses may even be found as wood carvings placed under eaves and on top of doorways, or placed in granaries. They are also used in religious festivities.

47. Bhutan is one of the happiest countries in the world. It does not measure its economic growth in GDP but in GNH – Gross National Happiness. GNH has four pillars that quantify happiness. These are:

-healthy environment
-cultural values – preservation and promotion
-sustainable development
-good governance

Bhutan – quick facts and statistics

Independence17 December 1907 (became a unified kingdom under its first hereditary king)
Capital CityThimphu
27°28.0′N 89°38.5′E
Largest CityThimphu
Areatotal: 38,394 sq km

land: 38,394 sq km

water: 0 sq km
Population857,423 (July 2021 est.)
Official LanguageDzongkha
BordersChina 477 km, India 659 km
CurrencyNgultrum (BTN) and Indian rupee (INR)
Suffrage18 years of age; universal
Life expectancy71.5 years
Life expectancy at birth indicates the number of years a newborn infant would live if prevailing patterns of mortality at the time of its birth were to stay the same throughout its life.
Climatevaries; tropical in southern plains; cool winters and hot summers in central valleys; severe winters and cool summers in Himalayas.
Terrain mostly mountainous with some fertile valleys and savanna.
Highest pointGanghkar Puensum 7,570 m
Lowest pointDrangeme Chhu 97 m
Mean elevation2,220 m
National anthem"Druk tsendhen" (The Thunder Dragon Kingdom)
Government typeConstitutional monarchy
KingJigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck
Prime MinisterLotay Tshering
National colorsorange, yellow
National symbolthunder dragon known as Druk Gyalpo
National holidayNational Day (Ugyen WANGCHUCK became first hereditary king), 17 December (1907)
Natural resourcestimber, hydropower, gypsum, calcium carbonate
Agricultural land13.6%
Birth rate16.17 births/1,000 population (2021 est.)
Death rate6.28 deaths/1,000 population (2021 est.)
Sex ratio1.08 male(s)/female (2020 est.)
Industriescement, wood products, processed fruits, alcoholic beverages, calcium carbide, tourism.
Exports$790 million (2017 est.)
iron alloys, dolomite, refined iron, cement, silicon carbides (2019)
Imports$1.19 billion (2017 est.)
refined petroleum, iron products, delivery trucks, cars, wood charcoal (2019)
GDP - per capita (PPP)$10,900 (2017 est.)
Time ZoneUTC+06 (BTT)
Internet country code.bt
Drives on theLeft
Calling Code+975
Table last updatedFebruary 15, 2022