Bhutan is a unique country both culturally and environmentally. Perched high in the Himalayas, it is the worlds last remaining Buddhist Kingdom. It has developed the philosophy of Gross National Happiness; where development is measured using a holistic approach to well-being, not just based on the gross domestic product.
It is still termed as a third world country with subsistence farming practiced in much of Bhutan. In broad terms the land is fertile and the population small. In addition, the current generation receives free education, and all citizens have access to free, although rudimentary, medical care. The sale of tobacco products is banned and smoking in public areas is an offense punished with fines.
Major sources of income for the kingdom are tourism, hydroelectric power, and agriculture.
While traditional culture has been very well preserved, the opening of the country to TV and internet in 1999 has had a major effect, and modern-day culture is mostly centered on bars and snooker halls. As a result, there is very little or no evidence of quality contemporary art, theatre or music.
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