1. One of 43 landlocked countries in the world, Bhutan is about half the size of the state of Indiana.
2. The word “Bhutan” translates to “Land of the Thunder Dragon.” It earned the nickname because of the fierce storms that often roll in from the Himalayas.
3. Bhutan is the first country in the world with specific constitutional obligations on its people to protect the environment. . One of its requirements is that at least 60 percent of the nation must remain under forest cover at all times.
4. Bhutan is one of the few carbon-negative countries in the world. The requirement that at least 60 percent of the country must remain under forest cover means that much of the nation acts as a natural carbon sink. As Bhutan’s prime minister Tshering Tobgay explained in a 2016 Ted Talk, “Our entire country generates 2.2 million tons of carbon dioxide, but our forests, they sequester more than three times that amount, so we are a net carbon sink for more than 4 million tons of carbon dioxide each year.”
5. Thimpu is one of just two capital cities in Asia that does not have a single traffic light. (The other is Pyongyang, North Korea.) There was such public outcry when local officials installed a single signal that it was quickly removed, and a traffic officer was reassigned to the intersection.
6. Bhutan is the only nation in the world where the sale of tobacco is banned.
7. At 24,840 feet, Gangkhar Puensum is the highest point in Bhutan—and the highest unclimbed mountain in the world.
8. Bhutanese manners dictate that you are to refuse food whenever it’s offered to you. The tradition is to say the words meshu meshu and cover your mouth with your hands. You can give in, though, after two or three offers.
9. Anyone found guilty of killing a highly endangered and culturally sacred black-necked crane could be sentenced to life in prison.
10. Bhutan is one of the last countries in the world to introduce television to its people. The government lifted a ban on TV—and on the Internet—only 11 years ago.