Previously all Bhutanese citizens were required to observe the national dress code, known as Driglam Namzha, while in public during daylight hours. The rule was enforced more rigorously in some districts (dzongkhag) than others. Men wear a heavy knee-length robe tied with a belt, called a GHO, folded in such a way to form a pocket in front of the stomach.Women wear colourful blouses over which they fold and clasp a large rectangular cloth called a kira, thereby creating an ankle-length dress. A short silk jacket, or toego may be worn over the KIRA. Everyday gho and kira are cotton or wool, according to the season, patterned in simple checks and stripes in earth tones. For special occasions and festivals, colourfully patterned silk kiraand, more rarely, gho may be worn.Additional rules of protocol apply when visiting a dzong or a temple, or when appearing before a high-level official. Male commoners wear a white sash (kabney) from left shoulder to opposite hip. Local and regional elected officials, government ministers, cabinet members, and the King himself each wear their own colored kabney. Women wear a narrow embroidered cloth draped over the left shoulder, a rachu. The dress code has met with some resistance from Lhotshampa, people of Nepali ancestry, living along the Indian border who resent having to wear a cultural dress which is not their own.
Culture and custom
Bhutan’s rich and remarkable culture is a real highlight for many visitors. Even though the internet and mobile phones have infiltrated Bhutan in recent years, the traditions and customs that are centuries old continue to endure. Bhutan’s dance, art, drama and music are linked to Buddhism, which is the most-practiced religion in Bhutan. As with most other Asian countries, monks are revered in Bhutanese society and generally afforded great respect for they are the guardians of the predominant faith. Visitors shouldn’t miss out on visiting one of Bhutan’s many monasteries to see daily rituals, monks and pilgrims. Religious festivals are celebrated all year round, from smaller regional festivals practiced only by villages, to large nationally recognised religious ceremonies and festivals. These festivals help to preserve and celebrate an ancient culture, and are full of parades, sports, dance, drumming and art. Bhutan’s distinctive traditional dress is another cultural highlight and it’s possible to see locals wearing fine woven dresses and jackets of different colours and decorations, which often define ones social class or standing.
Eating and drinking
We believe that one of the best ways to experience a country is by eating! Whether you’re sampling street food, savouring a cheap eat or indulging in a banquet, there are endless options to choose from wherever you are in the world.Laced with chilli, Bhutanese food is known for being very spicy so be aware of this before digging in. Vegetarians will be spoiled for choice, meat isn’t as prevalent as in some other countries.