We spoke to Senior Private Groups Consultant, Zoe Rees, about her recent trip to Bhutan. Zoe completed the 9-day Dragon Kingdom trip, returning to the Peregrine offices brimming with stories. Here, she shares some of her highlights:
The Yak & The Ox
“My favourite story was about the yak and the ox. The Bhutanese say the two animals used to live together in harmont, but one day they ran out of food. So the yak volunteered to go up the mountain and fetch some. He said to the ox, “Give me all your fur so that I’m warm when I get up the mountain”. But after retrieving the food, the yak decided to keep it all and not come back. He was scared the ox would be angry, so that’s why yaks don’t go down below 2000 metres anymore.”
The Cow, The Cat & The Dog
"When driving around, we noticed there were cows all over the road. They don’t move for anyone or anything. There were also little 'gnags' of dogs roaming the streets and lots of stray cats that would flee as soon as we approcahed them. I pointed this out, and that's when I heard another of my favourite stories. It says that one day a cow, dog and cat were in a taxi. When they got to the end of their journey, the cow paid his fare and off he went. The cat didn’t want to pay so it leapt out of the window and ran away. The dog handed over too much money, but the driver left without giving him his change. So from now on, when a car comes down the road the cow just stands there because he has nothing to fear. The cat runs because thinks driver going to ask for his fare. And the dog barks at the driver, saying 'Where’s my change? Where’s my change?' It really made me smile."
Gross National Happiness
"All the roads are extremely narrow and bendy, and you cross a lot of the high passes to get from village to village. You see a lot of random houses up in the mountains, and think to yourself, 'How did those houses get there?' Our local leader explained that every one of these houses has running water and electricity - whether it’s solar, hydro or cable. The government has made sure that every single person in Bhutan has access to those necessities. They really look after the people. The Gross National Happiness is very important to them. It’s part of why the cost is so high for visitors to come to Bhutan. They believe that high cost equals low impact. Which is good because you get to see that while you’re travelling around."