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Introducing our carefully curated recommendations for those seeking further insights into the Land of the Thunder Dragon.

Browse a rich seam of offerings, from the best of Bhutanese social media to personal memoirs, fun Bhutanese comics to tomes of reference, from feature films and documentaries shot in Bhutan to details of local artists, useful websites and recent travel articles.

Good Reading


MEMOIRS


Treasures of the Thunder Dragon : A Portrait of Bhutan
By Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck, Queen of Bhutan

u A GUIDES OF BHUTAN TOP PICK
A captivating blend of memoir, history, folklore and travelogue from one of 4 sisters married to the 4th King who has trekked most of the Kingdom.


Beyond the Sky and the Earth: A Journey into Bhutan
By Jamie Zeppa

Zeppa’s fascinating account of her time as a volunteer schoolteacher in Bhutan – we love her story about the dogs and the trucks.


Married to Bhutan
By Linda Leaming

u A GUIDES OF BHUTAN TOP PICK
As one of the few Americans to have lived in Bhutan, Leaming offers a rare glimpse into the quirky mountain kingdom – BST is really a thing!


A Field Guide to Happiness: What I Learned in Bhutan about Living, Loving, and Waking Up
By Linda Leaming

Linda shares more endearing, often humorous stories from the happiest country in the world.


Radio Shangri La
By Lisa Napoli

Napoli volunteers at Kuzoo FM the first youth radio station in Bhutan and this is the story of how the experience changed her life


Buttertea at Sunrise
By Britta Das

Another foreigner’s life transformed by going to live and work in a remote Bhutanese village.


Dreams of the Peaceful Dragon
By Katie Hickman

An insight both into the Bhutanese themselves but also into the remote East of Bhutan which remains almost untouched by the outside world.


Beneath the Blossom Rain
By Kevin Grange

An account of the “toughest trek in the world” the Snowman Trek, 216 miles, eleven mountain passes, and enough ghost stories to scare an exorcist. When you come to a crossroads in life, go up!


Set Free: a Life-Changing Journey from Banking to Buddhism in Bhutan
By Emma Slade

“Bhutan is one of the few places in the world where you can experience unbroken Buddhist culture. Spirituality is embedded in daily life here.” Emma abandoned her trouser-suits and high heels to become a Buddhist nun in Bhutan.


The Blessings of Bhutan
By Russ and Blyth Carpenter

A personal and fascinating compilation of essays about the authors’ experiences and understanding of Bhutanese life.


REFERENCE


Bhutan: The Kingdom at the Centre of the World
By Omair Ahmad

u A GUIDES OF BHUTAN TOP PICK
The story of Bhutan’s emergence as an independent Buddhist nation in the 17th century under the Shabdrung, who turned his back on Tibet; the exploits of Jigme Namgyal the Black Regent who united Bhutan and fought the armies of British India to a standstill; and the remarkable Wangchuck monarchs, who have ruled Bhutan since the beginning of the 20th century. The book argues that it is in Bhutan more, than in any other nation that alternative modes of governance and progress are being tested in an increasingly homogenized world.


The History of Bhutan
By Karma Phuntsho

The first-ever attempt to cover the entire history of Bhutan in English, combining both traditional perspectives and modern academic analysis. Written by a leading expert on the country, the book tells the story of Bhutan in a narrative style interspersed with some analytical and topical discussion, and numerous citations and translations from earlier writings.


Facts About Bhutan: The Land of the Thunder Dragon
By Lily Wangchhuk

A comprehensive guide to Bhutan published to mark the centenary of the Bhutanese monarchy.


Bhutan: Himalayan Mountain Kingdom
By Francoise Pommaret

Francoise is an ethno-historian who has lived in Bhutan for decades and knows Bhutan like few outsiders. This book is a comprehensive study of many facets of Bhutan and its people.


A Splendid Isolation: Lessons on Happiness from the Kingdom of Bhutan
By Madeline Drexler & Lisa Napoli

What does Bhutan understand about happiness that the rest of the world does not? Journalist and author Madeline discovers how Gross National Happiness plays out in a fast-changing society where Buddhism is deeply rooted. Sure to fascinate those interested in travel, Buddhism, progressive politics, and especially the study and practice of happiness.


Raven Crown: Origins of the Buddhist Monarchy in Bhutan
By Michael Aris

A history of the Bhutanese Royal family, but also a good insight into many aspects of Bhutanese culture. The royal crown is surmounted by the head of a raven, representing a form of Mahakala, Bhutan’s guardian deity.


Birds of Bhutan: Field Guide
Helm Field Guides

The Kingdom’s many pristine national parks have long drawn birders from far and wild and this book makes for the perfect companion.


Bhutan: The Land of Serenity
By Matthieu Ricard

This coffee table book was written and photographed by Matthieu, who is both a photographer and the French interpreter for the Dalai Lama.


From the Land of the Thunder Dragon: Textile Arts of Bhutan
By Diana Myers

Bhutanese textiles are among the last of the major arts of Asia to gain recognition in the West, and this is the first book to present this outstanding art form in its cultural and historical context. Bhutan’s textiles, especially the intricate brocades and complex supplementary-warp patterns, are unmatched anywhere in the world.


Lonely Planet Bhutan: 6th edition
(March 2017)

The default general travel guide to Bhutan including trekking, information about Bhutan’s ancient Buddhist culture — all our guides carry a copy of this guidebook to share with their guests.

International Media on Bhutan


RECOMMENDED VIEWING


TED Talk: Tshering Tobgay
Former Prime Minister

Bhutan’s former Prime Minister, Tshering Tobgay, shares his country’s mission to put happiness before economic growth and set a world standard for environmental preservation.


Parts Unknown
Anthony Bourdain

u A GUIDES OF BHUTAN TOP PICK
Anthony Bourdain in his last ever episode before his untimely passing casts his inimitable eye over the Dragon Kingdom


Lost Land Of The Tiger
Documentary

u A GUIDES OF BHUTAN TOP PICK
A wildlife documentary following a team of big cat experts and wildlife filmmakers as they embark upon a dramatic expedition searching for tigers hidden in Bhutan.


SUGGESTED ARTICLES


Castles In The Air
National Geographic Magazine

u A GUIDES OF BHUTAN TOP PICK
The first feature article on Bhutan by the National Geographic Magazine in 1904. A compelling account of explorations and surveys by John Claude White, a British Raj administrator and an accomplished amateur photographer. White’s report lifted the veil on a mysterious land hidden in the world’s highest mountains.

I READ ARTICLE


The Kingdom At The Top Of The World
The Times

A. A. Gill’s take on the Kingdom Of Bhutan.

I READ ARTICLE


Arrow Envy
James Sturz (The Atlantic Magazine)

A trio of dogs loll on their sides in the morning sun, oblivious to the arrows whooshing invisibly above them at 200 mph. When the shafts appear with a telltale thwack in the foot-wide oblong targets, the dozy beasts don’t even bother looking over…

I READ ARTICLE


Bhutan Untamed: Untamed Snow Leopards On The Snowman Trek
Rosie Thomas (Sunday Telegraph)

Reading down the list of options on the spa menu thoughtfully placed beside my Bhutan hotel bed, I like the sound of the traditional hot stone massage and the full-body salt exfoliation and scrub followed by a relaxing soak. A mani/pedi would also be welcome, come to that…

I READ ARTICLE


Good Evening Dasho Benji
Dasho Paljor Jigme Dorji

Dasho Paljor Jigme Dorji (or Dasho Benji as he is affectionately called), is an environmentalist, judge, broadcaster and diplomat, commonly known as Bhutan’s Godfather of Conservation.

I READ ARTICLE

Bhutanese Social Media


BLOGS, INSTAGRAMS & COMICS


A Member of Parliament representing Sombaykha Constitutency in Haa. He is the Leader of the former ruling party in the National Assembly of Bhutan.


A fashion blogger of featuring many DIY projects and beautifully designed costumes using materials and fabrics from Bhutan. One of the most active bloggers in Bhutan with more than 5000 followers.


A journal of an ordinary Bhutanese, blogging about his everyday life in Bhutan, he also actively participates in various community services and founded a non-profit helping to keep public toilets in Bhutan clean.


G Instagram Accounts

@queenjetsunpema
Her Majesty The Gyaltsuen Jetsun Pema Wangchuck is the Queen of Bhutan

@kingjigmekhesar
His Majesty The Druk Gyalpo Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck the Fifth and reigning King of Bhutan

@gangteylodge
Words and pictures from one of Guides Of Bhutan’s favourite lodges in one of our favourite valleys

@vastbhutan
The NGO inspiring creativity in the youth of Bhutan

@shutterbug_bt
Work samples of renowned Bhutanese photographer Jigme Thinley


G Kids Comics

GARPA The Attendant
by Pema Tshering

The first graphic novel from Bhutan, produced by a group of passionate artists, headed by artist Pema Tshering. The story is inspired by a legendary Bhutanese character called Garba Lungi Khorlo, a Bhutanese superhero. Available in Thimpu bookstores and from Guides Of Bhutan. I Read Review

The Legend Of Pema Tshewang Tashi
By Tharchen at IBest Studios

Based a popular folktale, Pemi Tshewang Tashi, the Chamberlain of Wangdue Dzongpon, Angdruk Nyim, leads a reinforcement troupe to Mangde Valley on the request of Trongsa Penlop Dungkar Gyaltshen. Animated film soon to be available online and comic available in Thimpu bookstores and from Guides Of Bhutan. I View Trailer

Local Media


NEWSPAPERS


Bhutan’s first national newspaper is 51% owned by the government, is published bi-weekly in Dzongkha and English, and has an average weekly readership of 130,000. The online version of the paper started in 1999 the year internet first came to Bhutan.


The first privately owned newspaper, and only the second in Bhutan after Kuensel. The publication of the first edition in 2006 marked the start of a free press in the kingdom.


The 11th newspaper founded in Bhutan. This weekly is written mainly in English with a Dzongkha language section.


MAGAZINES, TV & RADIO


Yeewong Magazine

Bhutan’s first and only women’s magazine, celebrating every aspect of womanhood with a special focus on Bhutanese women. Yeewong is a Dzongkha word which means something that appeals to the heart.


Tashi Delek Magazine

Drukair inflight magazine published by the Bhutan Observer.


The state-owned radio and television service in Bhutan. It is the only service to offer both radio and television to the kingdom and is the only television service to broadcast from inside the Bhutan.


Radio Nationwide

BBS Radio
Public service radio 24 hours a day.

Kuzoo FM
A 24 hour private radio station for the youth of Bhutan.


MOVIES


Travelers and Magicians

A wonderfully evocative Bhutanese made film by Lama Khyentse Norbu – shot entirely in Bhutan.


Little Buddha

Some scenes for this Hollywood film were shot in and around Paro by the award winning Lama Khyentse Norbu.


Milarepa

Directed by Neten Chokling, a Lama from Western Bhutan who has previously worked with Khyentse Norbu. The film is about the adventurous formative years of the legendary Buddhist mystic and Tibetan saint, Milarepa (1052-1135).


Samsara

A spiritual love-story set in the majestic landscape of Ladakh, Himalayas. Samsara is a quest; one man’s struggle to find spiritual Enlightenment by renouncing the world. And one woman’s struggle to keep her enlightened love and life in the world.


Himalaya

An aging chief’s last stand, lessons for the new, and the education of a young chief-to-be played against harsh Nature in Nepal’s Dolpo.


LOCAL ARTISTS OF NOTE & OUTREACH


Phurba Namgay

With a classic background from the Institute of Zorig Chusum (School of traditional Bhutanese Arts) and years painting sacred murals in temples and monasteries, Phurba Namgay’s time in the US now informs his own personal style.

I VISIT SITE


Asha Kama

Or Kama Wangdi, is the famous contemporary artist who spearheaded modern painting in Bhutan. In 1998 helped establish the non-profit VAST (Voluntary Artists’ Studio Thimpu) to inspire the youth of Bhutan to be creative.

I VISIT SITE


Set up in 1998 by a group of professional artists as an informal non-profit organization with the sole aim of providing an opportunity to the Bhutanese youth to participate and develop their potential talents as well as share social responsibilities through artistic explorations and other socially useful and productive work.


Established in the US to support government and non-governmental organizations in Bhutan towards the conservation of the natural environment, sustainable development (education and youth, health care, economic opportunity etc), good governance, and the preservation and promotion of culture and art.


The aim is to uplift and enhance the lives of vulnerable individuals and communities in Bhutan. Her Majesty Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck, is Founder and President.


Dedicated to fostering an enlightened and happy society through promotion of social entrepreneurship, education and Bhutan’s culture and tradition across the Bhutanese society.


The Centre focuses on building a culture for democracy through promoting quality media, building critical thinking skills among media users, and strengthening discourse, research and educational activities on media and democracy.


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