Bhutan, body counts and beauty
In elegant white cursive, the words “mountains, monasteries and magic” accompany an image of a picturesque Buddhist temple delicately balanced on the edge of a rugged cliff face.
This is the scene chosen by travel guide giant Lonely Planet to encapsulate what the Himalayan hermit kingdom of Bhutan has to offer visitors, as one of the guide’s “Top experiences in Asia.”
Though the company behind the iconic blue spine travel guides has always been criticised for homogenising and euphemising myriad cultures and societies, Lonely Planet’s most recent glossy depiction of Bhutan seems more fitting for a clichéd corporate motivational poster hanging above the water cooler in a dreary office break room.
In reality, the land of the Thunder Dragon is definitely no Shambhala.
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