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Adventure Planet Blog http://blog.bhutanesia.com bridging destination Bhutan with rest of the world Fri, 22 Jan 2016 07:52:48 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.4.12 First Snowfall of 2016 in Bhutan http://blog.bhutanesia.com/first-snowfall-of-2016-in-bhutan/ http://blog.bhutanesia.com/first-snowfall-of-2016-in-bhutan/#respond Fri, 22 Jan 2016 07:52:48 +0000 http://blog.bhutanesia.com/?p=492 snow one

View of North Thimphu under snow cover

 

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Thimphu Dzong under snow cover

 

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Fantastic view from Sangaygang hill

 

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In perfect harmony with nature

 

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Thimphu Golf Course

 

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Scenic view of Upper Motithang, Thimphu

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Launch of Bhutan-Japan friendship offer http://blog.bhutanesia.com/launch-of-bhutan-japan-friendship-offer/ http://blog.bhutanesia.com/launch-of-bhutan-japan-friendship-offer/#respond Tue, 19 Jan 2016 16:08:09 +0000 http://blog.bhutanesia.com/?p=480 Tourism Council of Bhutan; Press Release (19.01.2016)

The year 2016 marks three auspicious events in the history of Bhutan

  1. It is the birth year of Guru Rinpoche, the Precious Teacher who introduced Buddhism in Bhutan.
  2. It is the 400th anniversary of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal’s arrival in Bhutan.
  3. Bhutan will welcome and rejoice in the birth of a Crown Price.
  4. Against this historical background Bhutan and Japan are commemorating 30th years of bilateral relations and friendship.

Bhutan Japan Friendship

Bhutan and Japan will celebrate 30 years of close diplomatic relations in 2016. Japan has been an important development partner since formal relations started between Japan and Bhutan, especially in the area of agriculture sector. Late Dasho Nishoka played an important role in promoting agriculture in Bhutan.

A group of first Japanese tourists visited Bhutan in 1975; a year after Bhutan allowed tourists to visit Bhutan. Ever since, Japan is an important source of tourism market for Bhutan.

After the visit of His Majesty the King and Her Majesty the Queen in 2011, the awareness of Kingdom of Bhutan increased among Japanese. This led to huge increase in arrivals in 2012 and developed positive perceptions of Bhutan.

Therefore, in this very auspicious year, the Royal Government of Bhutan is happy to present the “Bhutan-Japan Friendship Offer” as part of the celebration to mark the occasion.

The “Bhutan-Japan Friendship Offer” is for Japanese nationals for the months of June, July and August 2016.

The offer includes the following:

  1. Visitors will not pay the mandatory minimum daily package rate of USD 200 per person per nigh, Instead, the government will only levy the daily royalty of USD 65 per person per night.
  2. Airlines will offer 50% discount on the airfares.
  3. Hotels will offer discounts up to 50%.
  4. Flexibility in service choices.

Terms and Conditions

  1. All visitors should book their trip to Bhutan trhough a licensed Bhutan tour Operator
  2. The Office is Valid from 1st June to 31st August 2016
  3. The Offer if valid is for Japanese nationals only.

***More details information to book this special offer please contact Adventure Planet Travels.

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2016 Spring Paro Festival Event http://blog.bhutanesia.com/2016-spring-paro-festival-event/ http://blog.bhutanesia.com/2016-spring-paro-festival-event/#respond Mon, 18 Jan 2016 14:13:58 +0000 http://blog.bhutanesia.com/?p=466 Festival event in Bhutan is an ancient culture, which happens all year round in every nook and corner of the country. Essentially, the event symbolizes Buddhism tradition believed to carry karmic significance. In Buddhism context, the religious festivals are held to honor the great Buddhism master, the Guru Rinpochhe who introduced Buddhism in Bhutan in the eighth century.

Temples, Monasteries and the giant fortress are the main venues of the religious events. Generally, it is held on the auspicious, tenth day of every lunar month. Tenth day is widely regarded as a birthday of Guru Rinpochhe. However, the event month will vary from place to place.

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On overage the festival will last for four days. During the festival various mask dances and diverse regional cultural programs will be showcased. The respective monastic community is the primary host of the event. The event participants carry out rigorous practices way before the event date in order to comply with strict religious performance requirements. Flawed showcase of mask dances is believe to bring bad omen.

In the social context, festival event is the time of reunion of friends and families. Every local people will immerse into tradition of treating themselves with best of the traditional wear and mouth weathering family picnic lunch being preserved for this event only.

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So for international tourists festival events are the best option to experience the authentic Bhutanese culture. One can mingle with fun loving local people and get to learn more about Bhutan.

The upcoming Spring Paro festival for the year 2016 is scheduled to take place from 19th to 23rd of March. In fact this particular festival is the biggest crowd-drawing event amongst many others happening at the same time. For your curiosity to learn more about the Spring Paro festival we have handcrafted a special program. You might follow the below link to access the program.

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Cultural dance performance by RAPA band

 

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Festival Dance

 

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Dressed in a traditional wear

 

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Dance of lord of cremation

2016 Paro Festival Program 

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Bhutan Picture Story http://blog.bhutanesia.com/bhutan-picture-story/ http://blog.bhutanesia.com/bhutan-picture-story/#respond Sun, 17 Jan 2016 11:49:39 +0000 http://blog.bhutanesia.com/?p=444 Enjoy the beautiful photographs of landscapes and portraits of Bhutan.

Beautiful Paro Valley in Autumn Season

 

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Typical rural farmer

 

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Hand prayer wheel

 

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beautiful architecture display inside Buddha Dordenma Temple

 

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Paro valley under the spell of evening sun rays in Autum

 

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Traditional way of farming in rural Bhutan

 

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faces of Bhutan

 

monk in action

Spirituality

 

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Vibrant tradition

 

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Mountain Fortress

 

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Takin, the national animal of Bhutan

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Duke and Dutchess to visit Bhutan in Spring http://blog.bhutanesia.com/duke-and-dutchess-to-visit-bhutan-in-spring/ http://blog.bhutanesia.com/duke-and-dutchess-to-visit-bhutan-in-spring/#respond Mon, 11 Jan 2016 12:17:37 +0000 http://blog.bhutanesia.com/?p=415 Following the news released by Kensignton Palace in their official twitter page, it was confirmed that Duke and Duchess of Cambridge would make their first official visit to the remote Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan in spring 2016. April is the expected month of arrival following their visit to Indian as previously announced by the Palace.

Previously Prince Charles and Duke of York visited Bhutan in 1998 and 2010. During the upcoming historic Royal visit, the Duke and Duchess will meet up with the young king and Queen of Bhutan who were both educated in Oxford, England.

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The king and queen in front of Ugyen Pelri Palace

And having married in 2011, the King and Queen are expecting their first child at the on set of spring season in Bhutan. The king publicly announced about the child’s birth to the general public on 17th December 2015 coinciding with the108th National Day celebration at Changlimithang National Stadium. The news brought immense joy and celebration in the minds of every Bhutan people. In addition, the recent photograph released by the Royal Media office of King and Queen having seated on the foreground of Ugyen Pelril Palace, caressing the stomach of Queen has brought sensational feelings in the hearts of every Bhutanese people. The photograph has gone viral in social media like facebook and many Bhutanese has it as their Facebook timeline picture.

This historic visit to Bhutan by Prince William and Katie will certainly gift Bhutan an immense international exposure and for tourism industry it will be huge news. Every Bhutanese are looking for this upcoming Royal visit.

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Prince Charles with the fourth King of Bhutan in 1998

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Prince Charles hiking to Tiger Nest temple in Paro, 1998

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Prince Charles leaving Ugyen Pelri Palace, Paro

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Duke of York with the fifth King in 2010

Adapted from BBC News.

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Merry Christmas N Happy New Year 2016 http://blog.bhutanesia.com/merry-christmas-n-happy-new-year-2016/ http://blog.bhutanesia.com/merry-christmas-n-happy-new-year-2016/#respond Thu, 24 Dec 2015 05:48:20 +0000 http://blog.bhutanesia.com/?p=305 Adventure Planet Travels family would like to reach our new year’s greeting and merry Christmas to everyone around the globe. May your new year 2016 be filled with peace, happiness, success and healthy life.

Besides, we would also like to thank all individuals and group travellers who visited Bhutan with us since 2006. In particular 2015 has been a remarkable journey in our company’s history and we look forward to offer many magical Bhutan travel experiences in times ahead. Adventure Plant redefines your travel journey and in the abundance of our innovatively crafted package catalogue, you will love every slice of your take. So give yourself a chance to discover this small Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan in 2016.

Aside, we wish everyone a very safe and happy travel in 2016 and for those planning to travel to Bhutan, we look forward to make your journey a lifetime experience.

Tashi Delek

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Bhutan : a birder’s paradise http://blog.bhutanesia.com/bhutan-a-birders-paradise/ http://blog.bhutanesia.com/bhutan-a-birders-paradise/#respond Tue, 22 Dec 2015 11:44:25 +0000 http://blog.bhutanesia.com/?p=268 One of the first formal ornithological records of Bhutan dates back to 1838, the year Captain R. B. Pemberton led a diplomatic mission to the country. Accompanying Pemberton was a botanist, Dr William Griffith, who collected bird specimens and recorded notes on the birds he came across.

Using the quaint British spelling used then, he reports on numbers of “Syras” (a corruption of Sarus, the local name for a crane species in the plains (of India) in the valleys of ‘Bhoomlungtung’ and ‘Jaisa’ – now Bumthang and Geytsa. This is possibly the first record of the Black-necked Crane in Bhutan.

In Bumthang, Griffith found “Horseshoe-Curlew, … common in the Tung-chiew, particularly in the islets which are not uncommon in its bed”. The river is the Tang Chhu (river in Bumthang) and Griffith’s ‘Horseshoe-Curlew’ is the Ibisbill, a fascinating and rather unusual bird of the Himalayas that can still be seen in Bhutan in exactly the kind of habitat that Griffith found it in. A few Black-necked Cranes drop into Geytsa every winter even now, and many more in other valleys where they have been protected through policy initiatives taken by the adviser to Bhutan’s Environment Commission, Dasho Paljor Dorji and the Royal Society for the Protection of Nature (RSPN). Both these are high on every visiting birder’s desiderata.

Since the 1980s, the number of birdwatchers visiting Bhutan or stationed here has increased greatly, and refreshingly competent local birders from the RSPN and the Nature Conservation Division have conducted studies of Bhutan’s rich birdlife. But there is a great deal more to be discovered.

Bhutan’s faunal richness is due to several factors. A major factor is its geographical location at the junction of two of the world’s great biological regions – Palaearctic and Oriental – and in the major endemic bird area of the Eastern Himalayas. It is biologically a very diverse country, each river valley having its own characteristic climate and vegetation. Its “vertical” topography, from steamy tropical foothills to icy peaks above the tree-line, adds to the wealth of montane species. Bhutan boasts of a bird list of nearly 650 species. The country’s progressive environmental policies have preserved large areas of rich natural habitats.bob02 copy

Every visiting birder has some “glamour birds” in focus, birds that may be difficult to find elsewhere. They are unlikely to be disappointed. Soon after landing at Paro airport the intrepid birdwatcher will find Ibisbills on the Paro river that flows just by the airstrip. Bhutan’s streams and rivers will soon produce some familiar, well-loved birds, the big Blue Whistling Thrush, the colourful Water Redstarts and graceful Forktails and, with a bit of luck, Black-tailed Crakes in the irrigation channels that run through the rice paddies.

The traveling birder may come across the Himalayan Honeyguide on roadside cliffs. This is a little known but very interesting bird that guards honeycombs of the Giant Rock Bee and lives off the wax. A few pairs of the great White-bellied Heron live on some of Bhutan’s rivers, notably the Po Chhu and Mo Chhu in Punakha. We saw it on a river island just below the dzong, and were amazed at how well such a large bird can camouflage itself amongst the grey stones and rounded boulders.

The brilliant Himalayan pheasants will doubtless be another major attraction. You will have to get out of the valleys to the high passes that separate them to find these fabulous creatures.

On a visit to the east, as we climbed to the 3,800m Thrumshing la pass, we stood on the road to admire a party of 14 Blood Pheasants as they walked slowly up an open hillside, the males showy in silver-grey and apple-green, splashed with the most brilliant crimson, the females in chocolate, yellow and grey. As our vehicle rounded a corner of the Ura pass there was a magnificent Himalayan Monal on the grassy verge, its green, gold and purple plumage refulgent in the brilliant morning light. We caught our breath as it sized us up, crest erect. Deciding that vehicles were no more to be trusted than men, it took off with a great fluster over the pink Rhododendrons, whistling like a run-away engine.04

The Kalij Pheasant is the easiest of the group to find, even on the hills around the capital city Thimphu. It occurs in two races, a western race that is black above and has some white below and an eastern one, in which this combination is curiously reversed.

The Kalij aficionado will undoubtedly look for the rather mysterious Moffit’s Kalij, an all-black race of this bird with startling red on its face, as he crosses Dochu La en route to Wangdue and beyond. But the real prizes are the resplendent Tragopans, the widespread Satyr Tragopan with its scarlet breast starred with white and the rare Blyth’s with the yellow face which has been found on a few occasions in the far eastern valleys. Very elusive and shy birds, you will need a large dollop of luck to encounter one, unless you are willing to get up and reach its haunts before dawn, hide and wait patiently as the males call and display in April and May.

Then there are other “glamour” birds of the old growth broadleaf forests that are a real treasure house of flora and fauna in Bhutan. These include such rare creatures as the Ward’s Trogon in crimson-chestnut and stunning pink – the female is yellow – that tops the list along with the aptly named Beautiful Nuthatch in iridescent blue and black, and the extraordinary Wedge-billed Wren-Babbler, whose breeding biology is yet unknown.05

Who can fail to be impressed by the big Hornbills of the treetops – the enormous Great Pied Hornbill in the foothills and the colourful Rufous-necked Hornbill, of which Bhutan holds possibly the largest population in its range and a heavy responsibility for its conservation. Large roosting concentrations of Hornbills – up to 100 – have been reported in Manas, a sight to behold.

In May, there is a dawn chorus of birdsong in full stereophonic sound: Cuckoos of several species fill the air with their distinctive calls while Woodpeckers cackle and Bulbuls enliven the proceedings, and Laughingthrushes are everywhere. Above all the large Striated Laughingthrush with its loud song that has such an astonishing ring of joy and cheer about it.

Later in the morning, while walking along a trail, the forest often seems strangely quiet. Then suddenly a “bird wave” passes your way, and everything changes. Birds erupt from all sides: Babblers of various shapes, sizes and colours (Liocichlas, Yuhinas, Fulvettas), Flycatchers in blue, orange and black, Drongos shining purple in the sunlight, red and yellow Minivets, Treecreepers, Nuthatches, Cuckoo-Shrikes. You want to look everywhere, not to miss any, for there may be 30 or more types of birds all around you. And then, just as suddenly, the forest is silent once more.bob00

No self-respecting birdwatcher can fail to be impressed by birds of prey. And Bhutan will not disappoint here either. He will hear the Mountain Hawk-Eagle’s squeal and encounter the Black Eagle sailing effortlessly over the hillsides, Sparrowhawks and Goshawks will enliven the trails and the great Himalayan Griffons will be soaring over the high passes. At the right place and the right time the watchful birder may witness them in numbers along the ridges and valleys that form migratory pathways that cut across Bhutan from the Tibetan plateau to the plains of India in the south.

His Majesty’s vision for Bhutan attaches the highest priority to environmental sustainability in the processes of growth and development as an essential input in maximizing the Gross National Happiness of its people. The avifauna of Bhutan is still largely intact, and given the care that the royal government accords to the conservation of the country’s ecological riches, we hope to see it preserved for future generations to study, marvel at and enjoy.bob03

Visiting birders can help in many ways in this task. Please share your observations and records with the Department of Nature Conservation or RSPN, to help build up baseline data for future use. Do be discreet with wildlife. Frequent disturbance of breeding birds does not help, nor does over use of playback of bird song to attract birds out of the forest. In fact some feel that excessive and loud playback, especially during the nesting season, is frightening birds away from their haunts and hampering their breeding.

Source : Tourism Council of Bhutan

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Druk Wangyel Festival http://blog.bhutanesia.com/druk-wangyel-festival/ http://blog.bhutanesia.com/druk-wangyel-festival/#respond Thu, 17 Dec 2015 11:07:37 +0000 http://blog.bhutanesia.com/?p=222 Crafted on its unique history and extraordinary national significance, the Druk Wangyel festival event is the only of its kind in the country. Unlike other religious festivals, this particular festival features its own composition genera born through the genius of ordinary human creation.

Held on the thirteenth day of December annually, the static date signifies the day of war declaration against the insurgent from the neighboring boarder of Assam, India in 2003 by the Royal Bhutan Army and the Commander in chief, the fourth King of Bhutan in joint collaboration with the boarder security force of India. This event has successfully marked the end of national security threat imposed by the boarder insurgent for more than two decades in the Bhutanese soil.

So in commemorating the victory over this historic flushing out of insurgent and in harmonizing peace and stability in the country and across the world, Her Majesty the grand queen mother Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck initiated the construction of magnificent 108 heaps of jewel structures, locally known as chhorten at the prominent site of Dochula pass. In 2004 construction of this impressive stupas was completed.

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traditional ceremony procession

Following, the construction of Druk Wangyel Lhakhang was initiated on a scenic hilltop overlooking the 108 chhortens. The temple houses beautiful wall paintings depicting the history of Bhutan and some cartoon murals of the fourth king of Bhutan being portrayed in the southern jungle at the time of militant flush out event. The construction work was completed in 2008 and it was dedicated to commemorate the 100 years of monarchy in country.

In 2011 this unique Druk Wangyel Festival was introduced in remembering the scarifies that our beloved fourth king and the Royal Bhutan Army had put to safeguard the security of the country. Dasho Karma Ura, a revered living historian of Bhutan and the president of Centre for Bhutan Studies had commissioned the composition of festival dances under the patronage of Her Majesty the grand queen mother, Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck.

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The dance of Heroes

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The main venue of the festival event

Today you will this illustrious festival of warriors and heroes at the venue amidst cleared forest spot behind the Druk Wangyel Lhakhang. You will witness different types of mask dances performed by the Royal Bhutan Army personnels and cultural dance by the band from Royal Academy of Performance and Art. The festival starts from 9 am till 2:45pm. The Royal family members and people form different walks of life attend the event. Besides, the festival also draws significant numbers of foreign tourists, despite of its cold winter season.

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Posing to pay tribute to the King

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Ceremonial procession

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The dance of Angels

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The spectators

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Milerapa, the famous Tibetan Yogi

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The Clown

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Event attendees

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The dance of protective guardian

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Local cultural dance

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Immersing in cultural values

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Yogi Milerapa

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Celebrating the dance of elegance

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Happy tourist capturing the moments

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Enthusiasm

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Beauty of moment

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Showcase of ancient cultural values

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Event Photography

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Hidden mysticism

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Nurturing cultural values

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Art and Culture

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Sense of belonging

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Waves of cultural elegance

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Custodian of cultural values

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Big lessons on climate change from a small country http://blog.bhutanesia.com/big-lessons-on-climate-change-from-a-small-country/ http://blog.bhutanesia.com/big-lessons-on-climate-change-from-a-small-country/#comments Sat, 12 Dec 2015 16:30:46 +0000 http://blog.bhutanesia.com/?p=214 The mountain kingdom of Bhutan may not seem an obvious place to look for lessons on addressing climate change. But on a recent visit here I was impressed with how much this small country has achieved and also with its ambition. Bhutan has much to teach South Asia and the wider world.

These lessons are especially relevant as the world negotiates in Paris a new pact on climate change at the International Climate Change Summit, known as COP21, which we all hope will move the global economy to a low carbon and more resilient path.

climate changeThe talks aim to agree this month on a way to keep global warming to a maximum of 2 degrees Celsius from pre-industrial era levels. There is widespread agreement that going above this threshold would have serious consequences.

South Asia is among the regions of the world that is likely to be most affected by climate change. We are already experiencing this. There is increasing variability of the monsoon rainfall, more heavy rainfalls such as those that caused the recent flooding in India, and an increase in the number of droughts.

A World Bank report in 2013 predicted that even if the warming climate was kept at 2 degrees, this could threaten the lives of the millions of people in South Asia. The region’s dense urban populations face extreme heat, flooding, and disease and millions of its people could be trapped in poverty. Droughts could especially affect north-western India, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

These are big problems. They may look much bigger than anything Bhutan, a very small country in a populous region, can teach South Asia and the world. But I see three lessons.

Firstly, a commitment to ambitious goals will be critical to save the world from climate disaster. To stop the world from warming too much, climate experts estimate that global greenhouse gas emissions must be cut by up to 70 percent by 2050. Carbon neutrality (zero emissions) must be achieved within this century.

Bhutan declared in 2009 that it would remain carbon neutral and has made the most ambitious pledges on cutting emissions at COP21, according to Britain’s Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit think tank. It is carbon neutral already because of its vast forests absorbing carbon emissions. But staying neutral as emissions from industry and transport rapidly rise will not be easy. It will require aggressively maintaining its tree cover and finding ways to grow economically in a carbon neutral or reduced way. To achieve this, the Royal Government of Bhutan has embedded its commitment to maintain its forest cover at more than 60 percent.

Secondly, mainstreaming comprehensive climate change measures across the economy is the way to go. The alternative of a case-by-case approach will result in gains in one area that are negated by setbacks in others. For example, there is no point in building a solar park with photovoltaic cells that are manufactured in a factory powered by coal.

Bhutan has taken the approach of mainstreaming climate change and resilience in policies on disaster risk management and weather monitoring, water-related services, agriculture, urban transport, Information and communications technology (ICT), hydropower, and forest management. In ICT, for example, Bhutan is positioning itself as the country of green, reliable energy to attract private green investment and jobs.

Thirdly, there are big potential wins in the fight against climate change from cooperating with neighbors. This could even save lives. With the earth warming, the number of natural disasters are increasing. In the past two decades, over 50 percent of South Asians (more than 800 million people) have been affected by at least one natural disaster. South Asian countries can gain from cooperating on disasters that stem from shared climate change-related challenges.

When I was in Bhutan I announced a new weather and disaster improvement project to expand weather forecasting and natural disaster early warning in Bhutan and the South Asia region. I also announced a pilot program for climate resilience that has the potential for considerable expansion.

Climate change is the defining challenge of our era. But an approach that includes a commitment to ambitious goals, mainstreaming climate change measures, and cooperating with neighbors, could lead to real progress.

Source: Kuensel Online News | Contributed by Annette Dixon, Vice President for South Asia Region at the World Bank.

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Bhutan amongst 14 coolest places to visit in 2016 http://blog.bhutanesia.com/bhutan-amongst-14-coolest-places-to-visit-in-2016/ http://blog.bhutanesia.com/bhutan-amongst-14-coolest-places-to-visit-in-2016/#respond Sat, 12 Dec 2015 09:08:34 +0000 http://blog.bhutanesia.com/?p=208 Bhutan has been named amongst 14 coolest places to visit in 2016 by the Forbes International News. By virtue of its unique tourism system and a policy of high value low impact tourism, the country has its best tourism system practice in place.

Officially, tourism was commenced in 1974 coinciding with the coronation of the fourth King of Bhutan and since then, Bhutan is deemed as a high-end tourism destination in the world. For those who want to travel to Bhutan will have to buy the premium package set by the national state tourism, the tourism council of Bhutan. That is one will have to pay minimum of USD 250 per night which will cover their expense for hotel, transportation, guided tour and all meals.

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Autumn colour of Paro Valley, 2015

The very reason for having this stringent tourism regulation in place is that, firstly Bhutan is a very small country with barely under million populations that is highly susceptible to get eroded by the negative impact of mass tourism. Secondly, from infrastructure standpoint, Bhutan has a limited tourists carrying capacity and especially during the high tourist season the tourism destinations in Bhutan faces lots of infrastructure inadequacy. Thirdly, from country’s mandate to practice and promote gross national happiness philosophy, the high value low impact tourism system has been a successful tool to preserve its rich environment and unique cultural value and identity.

In the context of present tourism tend of Bhutan; there are lots of people from around the world visiting Bhutan and many others ready to pay the minimum government tariff still. Besides, the international luxury hotel chains based in Bhutan has set the tourism standard even higher and in order to visit Bhutan with them, the daily cost is between USD 700-1500. Of course their services are unparalleled and such practices are in vibrant practice still.

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Paro valley under the spell of magical evening sun set

And as a small and exotic destination Bhutan offers diverse holiday option and tastes. In fact the entire Bhutan travel experiences are eco tourism driven and you will see discover the undiscovered miracles here. It is worth visiting and you will have more to take than to give.

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