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Thimphu (Bhutan)
Contributing to the Gross National Happiness in Bhutan
Contributing to the Gross National Happiness in Bhutan

Bhutan? Just telling people I was coming to Bhutan evoked wonder. Some extolled it as "the true Shangri-La" and the home of "pure Buddhism," incredible trekking, pristine environments, authentic culture and Gross National Happiness, or GNH — the Bhutanese indicator of quality of life. Others looked at me as if I had announced a trip to a new exo-planet. I wanted to enjoy firsthand the beauty of the land-locked Himalayan kingdom, as well as the social experiments of an ancient culture that adopted democracy — without violence — in 2007. Last autumn I flew from LAX to Bangkok, Thailand, where I boarded a Royal Drukair airliner, Bhutan's only regular...

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