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Bhutan is a small mountain kingdom nestled in the Himalaya mountain range, with strong traditions and stunning scenery. It has only recently opened to tourism and therefore remains largely untouched. Bhutan is one of the few countries that remain largely untouched by the negatives of globalisation. After being relatively sparse and disconnected as a country, the important figure Namgyal unified the area and sought to develop a unique Bhutanese identity. When India gained independence, Bhutan maintained good relations with their powerful neighbour, and today the Indian Rupee is still a recognised currency in Bhutan. Bhutan is a constitutional monarchy with a Prime Minister and King. Executiove power lies with the council of ministers; Lhengye Zhungtshog.


The Kingdom of Bhutan is landlocked between China, Tibet and India, with its major city and capital being Thimphu. Located on the southern side of the eastern Himalayas, Bhutan is a hilly and mountainous region crisscrossed with major rivers and vast green valleys. Many of the peaks in Bhutan are above 7km and the Gangkhar Peunsum standing tall at 7.57km is considered the world’s highest unclimbed mountain.


Due to varying elevations in the Kingdom of Tibet, the climate differs depending on the region. In the North there is everpresent snowfall, in the south there is a sub-tropical climate with hot summers and cool winters. In the highlands generally have temperate weather conditions all year round. Like many other South Asian countries, there are several seasons. In Bhutan there are five; summer, monsoon, autumn, winter and spring. Western Bhutan sees the heaviest monsoon periods.


Bhutan remains a very small economy in world standards, but has developed rapidly in the last few years. The econonmy is based on agriculture, tourism and the sale of hydro-electric power to neighbouring India. The majority of the population depend on agriculture for their livliehoods. Trade is mainly barred by the mountainous terrain of Bhutan meaning less roads and no railway system, although India has plans with Bhutan to connect the countries with a large rail system. Furthermore, Bhutan has a free trade agreement with India meaning free flow of products without unnecessary tariffs.


The main two Bhutanese groups are Ngalops and Sharchops, also known as Western and Eastern Bhutanese. The Southern group of people, Lhotshampa are of Nepali descent. The Bhutanese have close traditional ties with Tibet, and follow Nyingma, the oldest form of Tibetan Buddhism. The state religion is Vajrayana Buddhism. The literacy rate in Bhutan is almost 60% and the county has a relatively low median age. The international airport is situated in Paro, while the three major cities are Thimphu, Damphu and Jakar.

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