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Shot on Fujichrome Provia film in 1998, but new, improved scans being added... Sept 2020.
While Bhutan is definitely one of the smallest countries in the world, the cultural diversity and its richness are profound. A strong emphasis is laid on the promotion and preservation of its rich cultural diversity.
Bhutan's cultural diversity is enhanced by the variety of festivals that are is being observed. My visit was during the autumn festivals. Hoping to keep outside influences to a minimum to help preserve their traditional culture,Tourism in Bhutan began in 1974, when the Government of Bhutan, in an effort to raise revenue and to promote Bhutanese unique culture and traditions to the outside world, opened its isolated country to foreigners. In 1974 a total of 287 tourists visited the Kingdom of Bhutan. The number of tourists increased to 2,850 in 1992, and was still only 5,000 when we visited in 1998. Then rose to 7,158 in 1999 and peaked at 10,000. Although they have opened up to more adventure tourism such as river rafting and climbers and allowed a few high-end resort-lodges to be built.
Children are taught English from early on and are eager to practice with native speaking visitors.
The northern part of Bhutan lies within the Great Himalayas; the snowcapped peaks in this region reach an elevation of more than 24,000 feet (7,300 metres). High valleys occur at elevations of 12,000 to 18,000 feet (3,700 to 5,500 metres), running down from the great northern glaciers.
With the lowest crime rates in Asia, a simple farming based culture, rich lush valleys and picturesque streams and mountains, a devoutly religious population and a government more concerned with it's peoples happiness than it's GDP, Bhutan just may be the closest thing to the mythical Shangri-La valley of James Hilton's 'Lost Horizons.
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