World Travelling Guide
World Travelling Guide



Accommodation in Southern Africa and South Africa including accommodation in Western Cape, Eastern Cape, Northern Cape, Gauteng, Limpopo Province, North West Province, Free State, Kwazulu-Natal, Mpumalanga

List of Countries
Map of Indian Subcontinent

Bhutan Travelling Guide
Bhutan Travelling Guide

General background: In 1865, Britain and Bhutan signed the Treaty of Sinchulu, under which Bhutan would receive an annual subsidy in exchange for ceding some border land. Under British influence, a monarchy was set up in 1907; three years later, a treaty was signed whereby the British agreed not to interfere in Bhutanese internal affairs and Bhutan allowed Britain to direct its foreign affairs. This role was assumed by independent India after 1947. Two years later, a formal Indo-Bhutanese accord returned the areas of Bhutan annexed by the British, formalized the annual subsidies the country received, and defined India's responsibilities in defense and foreign relations. A refugee issue of some 100,000 Bhutanese in Nepal remains unresolved; 90% of the refugees are housed in seven United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) camps. Maoist Assamese separatists from India, who have established themselves in the southeast portion of Bhutan, have drawn Indian cross-border incursions.

Area comparative: About half the size of Indiana

Climate: Varies; tropical in southern plains; cool winters and hot summers in central valleys; severe winters and cool summers in Himalayas.

Terrain: Mostly mountainous with some fertile valleys and savanna.

Population: 2,094,176

Ethnic groups: Bhote 50%, ethnic Nepalese 35% (includes Lhotsampas--one of several Nepalese ethnic groups), indigenous or migrant tribes 15%

Religions: Lamaistic Buddhist 75%, Indian- and Nepalese-influenced Hinduism 25%

Language: Dzongkha (official), Bhotes speak various Tibetan dialects, Nepalese speak various Nepalese dialects

Government type: Monarchy; special treaty relationship with India

Capital: Thimphu

Legal system: Based on Indian law and English common law; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

Economic overview: The economy, one of the world's smallest and least developed, is based on agriculture and forestry, providing the main livelihood for more than 90% of the population. Agriculture consists largely of subsistence farming and animal husbandry. Rugged mountains dominate the terrain and make the building of roads and other infrastructure difficult and expensive. The economy is closely aligned with India's through strong trade and monetary links. The industrial sector is technologically backward, with most production of the cottage industry type. Most development projects, such as road construction, rely on Indian migrant labour. Bhutan's hydropower potential and its attraction for tourists are key resources. The Bhutanese Government has made some progress in expanding the nation's productive base and improving social welfare. Model education, social, and environment programs in Bhutan are underway with support from multilateral development organizations. Each economic program takes into account the government's desire to protect the country's environment and cultural traditions. Detailed controls and uncertain policies in areas like industrial licensing, trade, labour, and finance continue to hamper foreign investment. Major hydroelectric projects will lead expansion of GDP in 2002 by an estimated 6%.

Communication/Telephone system: Domestic telephone service is very poor with few telephones in use, international telephone and telegraph service is by landline through India; a satellite earth station was planned (1990).

Places of interest: Nestling in the heart of the great Himalayas, it remained in self-imposed isolation for centuries, aloof from the rest of the world. Since its doors were cautiously opened in 1974, visitors have been mesmerized: the environment is pristine, the scenery and architecture awesome, the people hospitable and charming, and the culture unique in its purity.

Travel Tips: Travel in Assam is seriously discouraged due to intense security problems posed by Indian separatist groups such as the United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA) who are seeking their own independent homeland. This route was closed to all foreigners except Indian travelers in late 2001.

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