Land of the Thundering Dragon – part 1


Respect, trust, act with pure heart – those are my three impressions of our short time in Bhutan.

I absolutely love Bhutan – Being here is already one of those once in a lifetime experiences that Jeremy and I love to find and enjoy together.

We are in Paro at Hotel Zhiwaling for the first three nights of our stay and in Thimphu (capital) at hotel Taj Tashi for the last three. This is definitely living the good life – no doubt and that’s not why I love Bhutan. In fact, we haven’t spent much time at the hotel really.

Before getting here, I wondered if Bhutan, the country that measures GNH (gross national happiness) over GDP is simply not aware of the “modern world”. That perhaps Bhutan is missing out on the “modern world” and ignorance is bliss. I haven’t been here long. I get that. And what I learnt is Bhutan’s focus on GNH isn’t about whether it is being “exposed to the modern world”, it’s about deliberately choosing what the Bhutanese value and care for.

The GNH grounded in Buddhism is built on 4 pillars:
1. Sustainable and equitable Socio economic development
2. Conservation of the environment
3. Preservation and promotion of cultural and spiritual heritage – e.g., architecture, dress, prayer customs
4. Good governance

Funny enough, if I put my business lens on, I see that this country has applied much of what I learned in my “modern” EMBA about identifying your values, developing a vision and strategy, aligning every aspect of leadership and organization accordingly.

Bhutanese (many of who are Buddhist) have chosen what they value above all – respect, trust, act with pure heart and everything else follows.

As we thought back to our day over dinner, Jer and I both realized we’ve been blessed with an incredibly talented guide – very knowledgeable, proud of his country, passionate about his beliefs and there’s something very regal about his mannerisms, the way he speaks and walks. His brother and him are taking us through a phenomenal story of the history, traditions, customs, monarchy, important political and economical decisions and day in the life of Bhutanese people. I wish I had a way to record all that I’m learning and play back in slow motion. I can’t begin to describe the experience in the blog.

Definitely in love with this beautiful land of the thundering dragons. What’s there not to love? The country is surrounded by beautiful mountains and trees, everywhere we went we heard the singing of streaming river waters, people are so friendly and they really do look out for each other, the architecture is simply majestic and their national dress regal. Even the stray dogs are cute and solar powered (nap all day in the sun and get fed by everyone because feeding dogs is considered an act of merit)!

Hope you enjoy some of the moments we captured in our photo blog.

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