By Howie Holben
The nation of Bhutan is a tiny Buddhist kingdom tucked into the remote Himalayas between India and Tibet. Here, visitors will discover a rich way of life that has only recently begun to be exposed to modern mindsets and Western culture. This devoutly Buddhist country is home to a distinct culture that is based on age-old Buddhist beliefs and practices and maintains a solid footing in tradition. The government of Bhutan monitors tourism closely as national leaders work hard to protect the cultural heritage and pristine natural beauty of Bhutan, balanced with allowing the adoption of modern technologies and conveniences to enhance the lives of the Bhutanese people.
To this end, the number of tour groups and tourists allowed to visit Bhutan each year is limited. While Bhutanese culture is very conservative and traditional, the warm, friendly Bhutanese people welcome gay travel tours and visitors on gay vacations, just as they would any other guest to their country. Due to the limited tourism allowed, anyone who has the opportunity to travel to this mystical mountain kingdom should take full advantage of experiencing all that the country of Bhutan has to offer.
Bhutan has no LGBT scene to speak of; therefore, a gay vacation planned to this magnificent mountain kingdom would certainly not be planned with the intent of experiencing a distinct LGBT community or visiting LGBT establishments. Of course, this is not to say that same-gender behaviors and relationships do not occur. These activities are actually common and accepted and there is a significant amount of bisexual sexual behavior practiced among Bhutanese men.
Most of these men are either married to women or are monastic monks and these behaviors are not considered taboo, and do not influence how one identifies. In fact, there are no words to describe sexual orientation in this region’s language; sexual expression is simply part of everyday life. A law from over 100 years ago is still on the books that criminalizes same-sex sexual behavior and allows for punishments that include life imprisonment; however, there are no indications that this law has ever been enforced.
Gay travel to Bhutan allows an opportunity to experience a culture that is largely untouched by the outside world and is the ideal setting for a spiritual awakening or renewal. From hiking to visiting monasteries and exploring ancient villages, Bhutan gay vacations are unlike anything you will experience anywhere else in the world.
To truly experience Bhutan, visit this majestic land as part of an organized tour, which will ensure that you have the opportunity to fully discover this beautiful, spiritual country, while respecting the local culture and traditions.
Howie Holben has traveled throughout the world for more than 30 years. He owns and runs Spirit Journeys, a spiritual gay travel organization. Spirit Journeys has offered unique gay vacations with a difference since 1992. You can learn more at
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By Howie Holben