Kingdom Of Bhutan Facts And Trivia

Updated: April 19, 2023

Tucked away deep in the Himalayas, Bhutan is a land lost in time, a mysterious country of peaks, lakes and nomadic lifestyles.

Its isolation however, has tuned the country into one of the most fascinating and mesmerising places on earth.

Because so few people visit the mountainous kingdom, there is a wealth of amazing facts and trivia that will leave you scratching your head!


20 Bhutan Facts and Trivia

Here are our top 20 Bhutan facts. 

1. 'Bhutan' means 'The Land of the Thunder Dragon'. 

‘Bhutan’ actually means the Land of the Thunder Dragon. This name stems from the enormous thunderstorms that roll in over the country on a regular basis.

2. Thimphu doesn't have any traffic lights!

Bhutan’s capital city, Thimphu, is the only capital city on earth that does not have a single traffic light! The government attempted to install one several years ago, however, there was such an uproar from the locals that the light was quickly abandoned.

3. Gangkhar Puensum is the tallest mountain in Bhutan. 

The tallest mountain in Bhutan (Gangkhar Puensum - 24,480 feet) is supposedly the tallest mountain on earth not to have been climbed.

4. Bhutan is 100% environmentally friendly. 

The government of Bhutan puts environmental policies at the top of its list. Bhutan is the first nation on the planet to have specific constitutional obligations that every man and woman must follow by law. One obligation is that 60% of the nation must be forested at all times.

5. There's no smoking in Bhutan. 

Bhutan is the first and only country in the world to ban the sale of tobacco.

6. Bhutan has a very young population. 

Bhutan has a very low median age – just 22.3 years! Over a third of the entire population is under 15 years old!

7. Bhutan residents didn't have TV sets until 1999!

Up until 1999, televisions were banned in Bhutan!

8. The black-necked crane is a sacred bird in Bhutan. 

Black-necked cranes are treasured in Bhutan. Anyone caught stealing or harming one could face a lifetime in prison.

9. Bhutan was first recognised as a sovereign nation in the 1970s. 

The United Nations only recognised Bhutan as a country in 1977!

10. There's a special Bhutanese tradition involving politely accepting food offered to you. 

Bhutanese manners dictates that you must turn down any offered food. Instead, you should respond with "meshu meshu" whilst covering your mouth. After two or three times of this cycle, you are politely allowed to accept.

11. Bhutan's largest export is renewable energy. 

Bhutan is the only country on the planet in which their largest export is renewable energy – go Bhutan!

12. Bhutan only introduced basic infrastructure in the 1960s!

Before 1960, Bhutan had no electricity, roads or postal service!

13. The two national Bhutanese sports are archery and darts. 

Bhutan’s two national sports are archery and darts. However, the darts are much larger and heavier, and the boards are much smaller. The players throw the darts over 20 meters to the board!

14. You are not allowed use plastic bags in Bhutan. 

In 1999, Bhutan banned the use of plastic bags. They are still banned to this day.

15. You will see a lot of phallic shapes in Bhutan!

If you see lots of phalluses on the sides of houses, don’t panic. Bhutanese culture views phallus paintings as a symbol of good luck and fertility!

16. All Bhutanese people celebrate an annual birthday!

Bhutanese people all have one annual birthday on New Year’s Day. This is ideal as no one forgets anyone’s birthday!

17. Bhutan is a multicultural nation. 

Although a tiny nation, there are over 20 languages spoken in Bhutan!

18. Bhutan didn't allow visitors into the country until the 1970s!

It was only in 1974 that tourists were first allowed to enter Bhutan.

19. Bhutan uses GNH instead of GDP as its standard economic scale. 

Instead of using GDP as their standard economic scale, the Bhutanese government use a GNH (Gross National Happiness scale). Happiness is measured by the four pillars - sustainable development, environmental protection, cultural preservation and good governance.

20. Bhutan offers free medical service!

Despite being one of the poorer nations in Asia, Bhutan offers free medical service to everyone, including visitors!


If you have any questions about any of these interesting Bhutan facts, please leave a comment below and we will get back you as quickly as possible.

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About the author 

Burnham Arlidge

Burnham started his career as a professional tennis player before retiring due to injury. Since then Burnham has thrown himself into adventure travel. He is an expert on polar travel, having visited Antarctica, Patagonia and the Arctic multiple times. He has also hiked some of the most iconic and obscure trails across the planet, including in India, Bhutan and Nepal!

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