In yesterday’s post, I started to tell you a little bit about the untouched beauty and fascinating culture of the Kingdom of Bhutan.
Bhutan is a destination that even the most experienced travelers consider a privilege to visit. Perched high atop the mighty Himalayan range, the Kingdom of Bhutan has defied globalization and chosen to remain a hidden paradise. As I mentioned, even though it consistently ranks as one of the world’s top destinations, its remote location and strong preservation efforts make it accessible to only a fortunate few, and Friendly Planet Travel is honored to be included.
Our Beautiful Bhutan program makes it possible for our travelers to not only visit this exotic land, but also immerse themselves in its rich cultural traditions. Throughout the 18-day tour, Friendly Planeteers experience the enchantment of Bhutan’s ancient fortresses, monasteries, and temples; the richness of its artisan traditions; and the beauty of its pristine natural landscape as you traverse the country’s mountainous terrain.
Our unique program gives travelers plenty of time to interact with the friendly people of Bhutan, including a very special opportunity to join hundreds of Bhutanese in their celebrations of the spiritual festivals of Ura (April departure), Nimalung (June departure), Tamshing (September departure), Jambay Lhakhang (October departure), and Trongsa (December departure).
Vacationers gain an enlightened understanding of the country’s national philosophy of Gross National Happiness. But be sure to reserve your space quickly, as this once-in-a-lifetime trip is sure to sell out quickly! There are four 2009 departures left, which are listed below. For more information, be sure to have a look at our Web site.
Remaining 2009 departures:
June 23 – July 10
Sept. 18 – Oct. 5
Oct. 26 – Nov. 12
Dec. 17 – Jan. 3
Last week, Michael J. Fox’s "Adventures of an Incurable Optimist" aired on ABC. The special chronicled his decision to battle the effects of his Parkinson’s disease through optimism and hope. And it coincides with the release of his new book, "Always Looking Up: The Adventures of an Incurable Optimist."
Nick, one of our Friendly Planet Travel team members, saw the special, and wanted to share some thoughts with the entire Friendly Planet team. And I thought those points would be wonderful to share with you here on the blog.
During the program, Michael J. Fox travels throughout the country speaking with people from all walks of life, each choosing to live a life full of hope, even in the face of various forms of adversity (such as the small dairy farmers struggling through the economy).
His journey eventually takes him to the Kingdom of Bhutan, which lies between China and India, atop of the Himalayan Mountains. Bhutan is an extremely unique country, basically cut off from the rest of the world due to its remote location and desire to keep its culture and environment "unspoiled" by modernization and globalization.
While Bhutan does track its Gross Domestic Product (GDP), it value its Gross National Happiness (GNH) even more. GNH measures the quality of one’s life in terms of happiness, as opposed to wealth and material goods.
The King of Bhutan proposed the Gross International Happiness Project (GIH), based on the insight that conventional development concepts such as GNP and Per Capita Income do not properly reflect the general well being of the inhabitants of a nation. With this project, Bhutan puts the well being of individuals on top of the national development agenda.
While in Bhutan, Michael J. Fox noted that the symptoms of his Parkinson’s disease had greatly subsided, attributing it possibly to the altitude sickness medication he’d taken, or just being in Bhutan in general, which he referred to as "happiest place on Earth."
Parkinson’s affects the brain’s communication with the body, greatly impairing one’s motor skills. I watched as Fox walked throughout the rugged terrain of the country in a manner that showed no signs of his disease. It was quite amazing. Fox attended the Punakha Festival, one of the many festivals held in Bhutan throughout the year.
Bhutan allows only a small amount of travelers to enter the country each year, and Friendly Planet Travel is honored to be one of the few U.S. tour operators that offer Bhutan as a destination, with each departure including the opportunity to witness a different seasonal festival. Make sure you come back tomorrow for the full scoop on Friendly Planet Travel’s Beautiful Bhutan vacation.