Your guide to being an expatriate in Bhutan

Caffeinate Your Bhutan Expat Journey: Find Essential Info and Connect with Expatriates Today!

Nestled in the Himalayas, Bhutan is a small and remote kingdom known for its commitment to Gross National Happiness (GNH). The country is characterized by its stunning mountain landscapes, ancient Buddhist culture, and rich natural heritage. Bhutan has made impressive efforts to preserve its traditional way of life and promote sustainable development. Welcome to Bhutan, where time seems to stand still and the spirit of happiness remains strong.


Expat destinations in Bhutan

Demographics of Bhutan:

Ethnic groups

Lhotshampas: About 25%

Ngalop / Bhutanese: Nearly 75%


Bholenes: About 11%

Dzongkha: Nearly 38%

Tshanglhas: Approx. 12%

Lhotshamkhas: About 33%

Religion Overview

Bhutan is a predominantly Buddhist country. About 75% of the population practices Buddhism, including its native form known as Drukpa Kagyu. The remaining 25% includes Hindus and Muslims.

Major Religions


Bhutan's climate varies greatly due to its topography and altitude. The lowlands have a subtropical climate, with hot and humid summers and mild winters. The Himalayan regions have a cold climate, with snowy winters and relatively mild summers. Monsoon rains occur from June to September. Bhutan's southern regions are more humid, while the northern regions are dry and arid.

Economy Overview

Bhutan's economy is characterized by its small size, remoteness, and heavy reliance on agriculture, forestry, and hydropower. The country has made significant progress towards sustainable development and poverty alleviation, but climate change and natural disasters pose considerable challenges. Bhutan's key industries include agriculture, forestry, and hydroelectric power generation.

Key Industries

  • Agriculture
  • Forestry
  • Hydropower

Major Companies

  • Bhutan Power Corporation
  • Drukair Airlines
  • Tashi Tobacco Products

Culture and Language Overview

Bhutan's culture is deeply rooted in Buddhism, with the country's monarchs promoting the religion as a means of preserving traditional values and maintaining social harmony. Bhutanese culture is also characterized by its unique architecture, literature, music, and dance. The Dzongkha language is the official language of Bhutan, while other languages such as Lhotshamkha, Bhutanese Tibetan, and Nepali are also spoken.

Cultural Highlights

  • Festivals are a significant and vibrant aspect of Bhutanese culture. The most famous is the Tshechu festival, where mask dances and chanting are performed to honor Guru Rinpoche.
  • Architecture: Bhutan's traditional buildings known as dzongs combine the functionality of a monastery, fortress, and administrative center into a single structure.
  • Bhutanese literature: Bhutanese literature is characterized by its poetry, songs, and religious texts. The famous poet Drukpa Kunley is regarded as the 'Crazy Saint' and is known for his poems that combine spiritual and sensual elements.
  • Music: Bhutan has a rich tradition of music and dance, with traditional instruments such as the bamboo flute (zim) and lute (chitr) being played at festivals and other cultural events.

Geography and Landmarks Overview

Bhutan's geography is defined by its mountainous terrain, with the Himalayan mountain range playing a significant role in shaping the country's landscape and culture. The country is landlocked, situated between India and China. Bhutan's landmarks offer a blend of history, religious significance, and natural beauty.

Notable Landmarks

  • Tiger's Nest Monastery: Also known as Taktsang Palphug Monastery, this monastery clings to a cliff overlooking a sheer drop. It is one of Bhutan's most sacred religious sites, and its history is rooted in legend.
  • Fortress of Simtokha: This is Bhutan's oldest and most famous fortress, a significant landmark for religious students who come here to learn Dzongkha literature.
  • Tashichhoe Dzong: This fortress-monastery serves as the seat of Bhutan's government and King's office. It is located on the western bank of the Thimphu Chu, the main river of the Thimphu valley.
  • Tang Valley: This fertile valley north of Bumthang is home to spectacular monasteries and sacred sites, as well as fields filled with mustard, buckwheat, rice, and apple orchards.
  • Phobjikha Valley: This is one of Bhutan's most stunning landscapes, characterized by its wide expanse of dark green marshland, flanked by snow-capped peaks. It is also home to the endangered Black-necked Cranes.

National Holidays

  • January 1: New Year's Day
  • February/March: Losar (Tibetan New Year)
  • April/May: Saka Dawa (Buddha's Birth Anniversary)
  • June/July: Tshechu Festivals in various towns celebrate Guru Rinpoche's Birth, his Parinirvana, and other important events.
  • September: annually
  • Azura: Her Majesty's Birthday
  • December: Constitution Day and National Day
  • December: Winter Solstice Day
  • December 16: His Majesty Jigme Khesar Namgye Wangchuck's Coronation Day

Political Stability

Bhutan is a constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary system of government. The country's monarch is known as the Druk Gyalpo or Thunder Dragon King, and serves as both the head of state and government. Bhutan has a relatively stable political situation, and has made significant strides towards democracy and human rights. The country's emphasis on Gross National Happiness serves as a unique and innovative approach towards sustainable development and social harmony.

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