|Bart Aldrich | profile | all galleries >> ASIA: 11 Countries 1992-2012 >> BHUTAN 1998||tree view | thumbnails | slideshow|
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 was limited to only 5,0000 when we visited in 1998 and is capped at 10,000 annually even now. 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.
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'. I must say we never met more polite children anywhere.
Shot entirely on Fujichrome Provia film.
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