Friday, September 23, 2022


Today is 23rd September - a day traditionally celebrated by the Bhutanese as the Blessed Rainy Day, or THRUE BAP as it is called in Bhutanese - a day that marks the end of the monsoon season. On this day, people take bath outside so that the blessed rain that is believed to fall from the heavens will wash away all their past and ongoing sins and diseases.

I looked in all directions - East, West, South and North - there was no hint of any rain - whether blessed or otherwise - atleast not in Thimphu where I am domiciled. Thus the dwellers of Thimphu will likely have to live with their sins and diseases - for the next one year.

Bhutan's brand new tagline "Believe". The old "Happiness is a Place" has been booted out.

But for many Bhutanese, this day holds greater meaning than the washing of sins - it is TODAY that the country throws OPEN its borders for tourism - since 5th March, 2020 when the first case of COVID-19 was detected and our first 21 days lockdown that was announced on 11th August, 2020.

This is a most happy day indeed! I offer my greetings and good wishes to all the tourism stakeholders within the country, as well as those outside. The wait has been long and painful - but it is now over and we are all poised for better times and brighter future, splendored with opportunities.

I hope that many of the tour operators who have been forced to close down their offices due to the pandemic, would now be encouraged to reopen their establishments, for business as usual.

It is also hoped that many of the hotels that have had to relieve their many staff will now be encouraged to reemploy their workers, emboldened by the promise the new tourism policy holds for the industry.

I hope that many of the tour guides who have had to go back to their roots and take up farming and other vocations, will now find encouragement in the new way of doing things, and retake-up their jobs in which they have been skilled.

I hope that the mule owners will be encouraged to buy back their mules that they were forced to sell off during the pandemic - with the hope that the opening of tourism will translate into business as usual, their traditional business that they had to give up for the past close to three years.

I hope that the rural farmers and weavers will see greater opportunities in their chosen craft; I wish and hope that the reopening of tourism will usher in an era of vigorous production and commerce for the group of people who are at the lowest rung of the Bhutanese social ladder.

I hope too, that the phallus carver would once again be able to station himself in the lanes and by-lanes of Thimphu’s vegetable market - to sheepishly peddle his handiwork to the passersby giggling past him.

Most importantly, I hope that the country will see millions upon hundred of millions of $$ in remittances that we so desperately need.

Lest history is wrongly recorded: Although tourism is supposed to have been disallowed, the truth is that tourists have been entering Bhutan - in dribs and drabs.


  1. Great to hear it has happened at last

    1. Hi Brian,

      Surprised and pleased to see you here.

      Take care

    2. Hi Yeshey, I generally catch up with your blog every few weeks to get an idea of what’s happening in Bhutan. There isn’t much news about Bhutan available in Australia!