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March 30, 2005



I've been to Bhutan twice. It's an amazing place and I've never seen a kingdom where the king was so beloved.

He understands the importance of making the most of limited resources. His country's resources are natural beauty, incredible buddhist culture, and wonderful people.

Students are required to learn English. Math and science are taught in english! People are required to wear traditional clothing (a Kho for men, a Kira for women) at least during business hours and are encouraged to do so the rest of the time.

It's a rather expensive place to travel because a visa to be in the country costs around $220/day per person. It includes hotel, food, car and driver, but you can not say I'd like to skip the car and driver and stay at a cheaper hotel to be in the country for less.

This charge makes sure that the country isn't over-run with more tourists than their infrastructure can handle. It ensures that people who are there really want to be there. And it keeps out the economic class of tourist who is likely to trash the place. It works very well.

Bhutan is an amazing country, well worth a visit for anyone who can afford it. The King is widely loved and respected, and doing something like voluntarily giving up power is the reason - it's absolutely in character.



I can't help but think 'window dressing'. 146th in Reporters Without Borders press freedom ranking (that's lower than Uzbekistan) and allegations of expelling 100,000 Nepalese in the late 1980's don't bode well.

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