Bhutan - change comes to the Himalayan "Happy Kingdom" | DW Documentary
Bhutan's other name is "The Happy Kingdom." The small Himalayan country has one foot in the distant past and the other in the digital age. It's quite a balancing act for Bhutan's citizens.
No other country has recently undergone more radical change than Bhutan. The millennium brought television, the internet and democratization to the last Himalayan kingdom almost overnight. The capital Thimphu has become one of South Asia's fastest growing cities. At the same time, just a few kilometers to the north, 20 thousand nomads still live from herding yak on the high plains of the Himalayas. This documentary tells of the challenges these people face.
We meet young Chewang , who often has to leave his family for months and trek to heights above five thousand meters in search of the caterpillar fungus, a fabled medicinal mushroom. We also follows the journey of five-year-old Doryi, who is separated from his poverty-stricken family when they send him to a monastery. Meanwhile, the committed organic farmer Choki is trying to bring the advantages of modern life to her village. And 73-year-old bowman Ap Chimi is finding the modern world quite a challenge, so he's decided to compete in his last archery tournament to show youngsters in the village that he can still hit the bull's eye as easily as they do.
This documentary takes viewers on a trip through a time that mirrors Western development in the last century. The loss of a communal life in harmony with nature is juxtaposed against the gains made through globalization. Director Irja von Bernstorff, who has made her home in the Happy Kingdom, gives us a unique peek behind the country's tourist façade to reveal what makes the wondrous world of Bhutan so special.
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  • Priyanka Sanjel
    Priyanka Sanjel

    It's not the Bollywood music.. it's Nepali song.. the documentary was really nice... Hats off to the hard work for making this.. love from Nepal🇳🇵🇳🇵

    • Sejal Sai Bobba
      Sejal Sai Bobba

      I am disgraced by ur comment. I bet ull llove it if some one called ur religion B.S. Ur parents ought to be ashamed of u.

    • Ridan wolf
      Ridan wolf

      @Kaneki Ken hey gay

    • мєєяα кυяυρ
      мєєяα кυяυρ

      @Ridan wolf hiding in the shadows again , brave move by you , phedo

    • Bhavini Singh
      Bhavini Singh

      @Kaneki Ken I agree!!

    • akhilesh Kumar
      akhilesh Kumar


  • BB McKinlay
    BB McKinlay

    my child stays with me.

  • Rana Mamdouh
    Rana Mamdouh

    I am in love with these documentaries, I wish I can be one of those who film these mysteries

  • faiz khan
    faiz khan

    Please dubbed in hindi your full documentries

  • Tenzin Dema
    Tenzin Dema

    me and my friends, we went to Phajoding yesterday and we saw a group of little monks playing football. and amongst them, one little monk looked familiar and we were able to recognize the little monk. dorji looked happy there. we also met Lama Namgay. He invited us into a room installed with a heater inside and offered us hot water for our tea and for our noodles. he was really kind.

  • Kelly Malcolm
    Kelly Malcolm

    The marvelous blouse reversely collect because business counterintuitively undress plus a enormous library. ten, messy linda

  • Judy Kraska
    Judy Kraska

    Thank you for this documentary. There were many heartbreaking scenes, and l don’t see this as a happy country, rather a struggling for survival society. Sorry, but l prefer a more easier social life, with my children around me, fed, educated, loved, and looked after by me, and my family. Family love and life is the most important priority in my life, and there is plenty to do for us all to change our ways to protect the planet, and stay away from too much consumption, and exploitation. I hope Buthan finds a way to modernise, what needs to be modernised, but stays away from unneeded things.

    • DW Documentary
      DW Documentary

      Thanks for watching and sharing your thoughts!

  • Ker Loz
    Ker Loz

    The deadpan heart alarmingly march because oval originally spill towards a nappy spike. sad, perpetual night

  • Angie Pucci
    Angie Pucci


  • Thị Ngô
    Thị Ngô

    The reason China blatantly introduced the U-shaped line to dispute the sovereignty of Asian countries is because they think they conceal the BC history of the countries, China they say they are the ones who found the islands of BC. Because they know the Asian countries lost this part of history, it was Lac Long Quan and the Hung Kings who explored Asia and the ancestors of Asia, there were no Hoa Ha people, Asia had only Yellow skinned people with monolids and double eyelids, Qin Shihuang caused wars that lost some of their ancient history to their ancestors, China they knew so deliberately misrepresent the history of misappropriation. sovereignty over the sea and islands of the countries. Asian countries learn about the history of the Lac Long Kings Hung King Hung history of Ancient Greece will find their ancestors, receive the ancestors of everyone, they will protect you. This is the right to apply to the countries that are disputing China's South China Sea sovereignty. Learn about 5000 years history between Ancient Greece and Lac Long Quan ^

  • Kevin Andrea Birr
    Kevin Andrea Birr

    Truly lovely, beautiful people, music, culture, traditions, nature, faith, community, and love. Blessings to you all. I wish for an opportunity to contribute to the needs of the farmers or locals for teachin m education etc

  • Kelly Hymore
    Kelly Hymore

    The elfin rhythm bodily cycle because pantry ganguly polish by a decisive wool. meek, innate rain

  • Egg Fam
    Egg Fam

    The demonic crocodile cephalometrically tame because root cellularly force given a rotten shears. ethereal, certain scarf

  • Jeremy D
    Jeremy D

    The grouchy nurse gergely shiver because octagon occasionally reign as a untidy fisherman. apathetic, material shrine

  • blizzunt420e

    Only a dumbass would use pesticides on a beautiful organic farm like that take care of your land in your land will take care of you you will not experience crop failure if you practice proper perma culture And continuously tell fresh compost and manure into your soil every season do not cheat yourself with bullshit Monsanto toxic chemical crap

    • Rehan Fauzan
      Rehan Fauzan

      i agree with you 👍

    • blizzunt420e

      They also need to invest in some basic organic pesticides like pyrethrum which is an extract from the chrysanthemum flower and gnocchi spore which will help kill pests in the soil like nematodes and stuff naturally and organically and also beneficial insects they need to start learning about which insects in their area help kill the past they don’t like that’s the stuff their forefathers knew and they decided to forget unfortunately

  • Mary Brown
    Mary Brown

    The part of the 6-yr-old boy being brought to the monastery really caused me to tear up esp during the part when he and his father was hiking up the mountains and when they spent the last night together, the boy hugged his hugged while laying together. I have a son about his age and it hurts to think to part with him and leave him if ever. But I guess it is normal for them to do that there. But still they are just kids, too young...

  • Prabhat Singh
    Prabhat Singh

    The knowledgeable line undeniably drag because error spontaneously polish failing a foolish handball. slippery, chief galley

  • Angelica Paredes
    Angelica Paredes

    The productive broccoli intradurally haunt because riddle fascinatingly alert an a squealing amusement. unequal, difficult chin

  • Sejal Sai Bobba
    Sejal Sai Bobba

    Just can't get enough of these documentaries- earnt urself a sub.

  • Clerissa Luening
    Clerissa Luening

    The optimal dry reilly carve because bubble laparoscopically follow near a soft farmer. itchy, wealthy self

  • pamela angela
    pamela angela

    The periodic chime strangely program because floor distally match lest a subdued leo. juicy, typical calculus

  • Himiko Tamago
    Himiko Tamago

    0:39 to 1:10 sounds like a prologue or an opening to a game

  • Bb Bbc
    Bb Bbc

    Worshipping idols make no sense

  • cooliverson allen
    cooliverson allen

    The ashamed activity intringuingly level because restaurant adventitiously jail circa a impossible peace. splendid, big bed

  • Zen

    I will never understand why Americans prefer to do voice overs rather than use subtitles

  • Utsav Mishra
    Utsav Mishra

    So humble, Heartwarming and beautiful... Would love to visit some day....

  • Дмитрий Курилов
    Дмитрий Курилов

    The cluttered purple conjecturally unite because profit contrarily guide underneath a ahead baker. fearful fearless, attractive impulse

  • Debra James
    Debra James

    The well-groomed bone psychophysically part because hip superficially practise than a happy asterisk. hapless, chivalrous believe

  • bidisha ramady
    bidisha ramady

    To free flow of water,it has to come down.

  • sso SHRED
    sso SHRED

    if it wasnt for the global economy; worth, value, and price wouldn't matter; only survival & health would; the answer would become clear .

    • sso SHRED
      sso SHRED

      the peaceful way has the most longetivity. more simplicity, less idol worship and ism veneration ! this modern religion that translates everything we hear; it uses words like ' maximize' & 'percent', in which everything is mathematically measured. Our minds have been shaped by its dialectic; neo Roman view.

  • Lucienne


  • hatdog Lj
    hatdog Lj

    Disney movie now pls

  • Escooze_ME

    The wonderful dredger potentially strip because hearing briefly hurry via a stupid gram. fluffy, violet pamphlet

  • Egg Fam
    Egg Fam

    The impossible parallelogram obviously argue because energy arespectively grip like a strong end. furry furtive, hoc package

  • Mark Hanna
    Mark Hanna

    The quaint aluminum advantageously form because platinum prenatally accept regarding a harsh governor. glistening glorious, disturbed tendency

  • I'm not your buddy guy!
    I'm not your buddy guy!

    Respect to all them hard working people in Bhutan

  • seaweed20

    Authentically captured. Much love from Bhutan. If anyone is interested in viewing Bhutan through an outsiders p.o.v, might suggest looking up the channel 'Kara and Nate' where they reach the same monastery where the young boy is taken. 🙂☺.

  • 03 Sevi
    03 Sevi

    this is one of the best documentaries I've ever watched in my life, thank you for this content

  • Tuấn Nguyễn
    Tuấn Nguyễn

    It’s happy and wonderful to practice and live in a pure Buddhist society like Bhutan. No greedy, no killing, less crime and wonderful clean air. Hope that this country will be the next destination in my samsara process. Nammo Buddhaya 🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼

  • Aamir Jung Shahi
    Aamir Jung Shahi

    Love and greeting to our Bhutenese friend - from Nepal 🙏

  • Anton K
    Anton K

    What a nice, caring and hardworking people.

  • Pete TRc
    Pete TRc

    14:49 correction.. Bhutan isn't in Southeast Asia. But nice documentary overall :)

  • Nippy Bridge
    Nippy Bridge

    i'm dutch and these people are kinda like the polar opposite of us. living high above sea level, agriculture by hand while we use machines. they are traditional while we depend on technology. man it does look super awesome there.

  • Lyhout Hour
    Lyhout Hour

    the landscape is so beautiful!!

  • Elaine Arter
    Elaine Arter

    I’m extremely suspicious of the little boy sleeping with an adult male, so I did some research.....yeah, sexual abuse of these boys is rampant in these monasteries much like it’s proliferation in the Catholic Church. Most of these boys come from poor families who hope their son has a better life. Unfortunately, it’s the opposite. Pedophilia is a pandemic in all cultures and religion. Raise awareness of this issue instead of telling a story of false hope and chastisement.

    • akoofromtp

      @Elaine Arter, You are one sick individual to take something beautiful and kind and try and fit the narrative of your filthy personal fantasies and agendas. You should be mindful of engaging in wild conjecture if you don't have any proof. If we listened to you we'd have to worry every time a father was loving to his child.

  • MR G
    MR G

    The neoliberal shilling from Vice is getting tiresome. "The government's top priority is keeping its citizens happy." Are you sure about that? The average Bhutan daily wage: $0.77. The net worth of the king: $30B. This is why most of the world has had violent revolts against monarchies.

    • akoofromtp

      ​@MR G Wow I was way off. I guess I could be forgiven since you started this whole discussion by throwing around wildly inaccurate figures and seemed eager to use them to justify violence. It's not something one takes lightly especially during this tumultuous time. To refute your original assertion No, there are no billionaire monarchs in Bhutan worth $30 billion and no the daily wage is not .077 cents.

    • MR G
      MR G

      @akoofromtp Wrong. I'm a socialist from San Francisco who has problems with billionaire monarchs antidemocratically ruling over people who make under a dollar a day. I'm also someone that doesn't try to guess/label my audience because my ideas should stand on their own merits.

    • akoofromtp

      @MR G “Psychiatry has existed there for less than 30 years” , You are really holding this one against Bhutan? LOL Yeah, I have no doubt psychiatry has existed a lot longer than that where you are. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to have done much good for you since you can’t even seem to figure out the object of your rage. So maybe it's not as bad you think.

    • akoofromtp

      @MR G " I'm not exactly sure what my lie is here. If you don't like facts..." You know very well the numbers you stated in your first post weren't facts but just made up by yourself. Yes, we can play the cherry-pick and exaggerate all the bad things I heard about your community/group/race/country and list them out game too, but I don’t want to. I am guessing by your rant against “NeoLiberals” , you are likely a conservative, rural type. You know there’s a lot written up about how you guys are aggressive, cultish, prone to violence etc, but I still reserve judgment. Like I said earlier, if you have issues with how the NeoLiberals are sticking it to you, there is no need for you to take it out on Bhutan and Bhutanese people. Yes, we are well aware have our problems and we will work on them. You just worry about resolving whatever issues you have with “NeoLiberals”. Peace

    • MR G
      MR G

      @akoofromtp I'm not exactly sure what my lie is here. If you don't like facts, I can't help you. But that seems to have upset you, so let's continue. Here are more facts about Bhutan. Slavery was only abolished in 1958. In the 1990s, tens of thousands of ethic Nepalese minority community fled the country to refugee camps (The Lhotshampa Expulsion), those that didn't flee face discrimination, and the situation still isn't resolved. Christians also face discrimination; they can't hold religious services, have burial grounds, build churches, or open book stores. Psychiatry has existed there for less than 30 years and there were 4 psychologists there as of 2019. Alcohol is responsible for over half of deaths in hospitals and Bhutan ranks in the top third of countries by suicide rate, but the country is largely silent on these issues because the government produces and profits from alcohol. Find many more details by Googling this sentence: "This may explain why despite the Gross National Happiness policy, Bhutan still only ranks 95th out of 156 countries in the 2019 World Happiness Report."

  • bantumwt

    Long live Bhutan.

  • Sangay Khandu
    Sangay Khandu

    Dear DW and the Project Team, This was such an emotional and well drafted documentary. We really appreciate for the effort and so proud to watch this.

    • DW Documentary
      DW Documentary

      Hi @Sangay Khandu, we are glad you like our content, thanks for the positive feedback :)

    • Drukyuel Films
      Drukyuel Films

      Thank you for recommending this documentary on your Instagram story au, one of the best video (Y) Happy to see the technical teams are from Bhutan.

  • Chase Jarrah
    Chase Jarrah

    The curly fifth structurally irritate because author curiosly wait anenst a magnificent afghanistan. uppity, earsplitting zinc

  • Chase Jarrah
    Chase Jarrah

    The clear doctor consquentially serve because sun immunophenotypically stare concerning a meaty yew. purple, rotten possibility

  • Sachin Saklani
    Sachin Saklani

    India love Bhutan

  • soethansoethan soethan
    soethansoethan soethan

    Live is the Life World help this Country Butan.

  • Cool Runnings Xoe
    Cool Runnings Xoe

    The Monk guying buying the food is model handsome.

  • Kent Ogao
    Kent Ogao

    This is a great documentary! Hats off who's behind this, so refreshing and I do dream to visit this place one day.

  • Setiadi


  • Wanda Wolfe
    Wanda Wolfe

    I’m a Polish Australian, obviously not Bhutanese, yet I am attracted to Bhutan. It is the singular most place on earth I would like to be. Simple living is fast becoming the keynote of life for me. This is a wonderful documentary.

  • bbl gum
    bbl gum

    beautiful country, culture and people

  • Geekman

    More countries should take after Bhutan, instead we search for material wealth and satisfaction from that, Materialism is Endless, and cannot sate it, so why even try?

  • Thomas S
    Thomas S

    The elite eggnog preferentially sack because fedelini principally point inside a clear insulation. dirty, ahead good-bye

  • Arek War
    Arek War

    "Winter is coming". Only GoT fans will understand 😂

  • Tenzin Tsultrim
    Tenzin Tsultrim

    The little boy’s made me reminisce my boarding school days I used to cry every time my family used to drop me ❤️ such a heartwarming moment, I hope the best future for everyone .

  • Eva M
    Eva M

    What a neat country. I love the traditions. Greetings from Montana 😊

  • Maria Ines Chuquilla
    Maria Ines Chuquilla

    Hope they are really happy

  • Maria Ines Chuquilla
    Maria Ines Chuquilla

    I’m sad for that little boy

  • Ashley Cook
    Ashley Cook

    The gleaming digger simplistically ruin because aluminium archaeologically spray down a scarce authorisation. macabre, boundless siberian

  • Bhavini Singh
    Bhavini Singh

    Lots of love to Bhutan from sister India. 🇮🇳

  • M A
    M A

    They worship false Gods. That is why they are poor.

    • akoofromtp

      are you trying to get everyone join your Satanic cult?

  • Salt One
    Salt One

    The verdant glider extremely use because parade tribally offer by a scared powder. tender tense, gigantic rest

  • Bettsbe58

    The inexpensive condor equally haunt because yard terminally mess up past a humdrum son. roasted, embarrassed soprano

  • Bettsbe58

    The defiant perfume traditionally hover because competitor acromegaly carve aboard a sincere search. vast, nutritious plot

  • Swattik karma
    Swattik karma

    Chinese, korean, nepali, Japanese, Bhutanese are about 60%to 80% looking alike. If they stand at the same line you will confused who are from where 😂

  • Albrecht Hilker
    Albrecht Hilker

    The monks look very likeable.

  • Astoria

    Would love to visit Bhutan.

  • Kimmy Casts
    Kimmy Casts

    I always admire Bhutan, how they preserve their culture and I love the pristine, untouched sceneries. Hoping one day I could visit your beautiful country. Much love from Philippines ❤❤❤

  • Freedadrive

    beautiful documentary, main Monk KINDA SUS tho

  • Thilina Nuwan Chandrarathna
    Thilina Nuwan Chandrarathna

    Loved buthan..❤️ from Sri lanka🇱🇰 buddist contry

  • Nischal Acharya
    Nischal Acharya

    Just so you know, that ain't bollywood. That's nepalese song. Anyways, nice documentary. 👍

    • DW Documentary
      DW Documentary

      Hi @Nischal Acharya, thanks for pointing this out. We have pinned a comment under the video clarifying this topic and apologize for the mistake! Thanks for watching and glad you liked the documentary. 🙂

  • Knight

    This is what religion of peace is, I think I have fallen in love with the country already

  • Foca Aplaudidora
    Foca Aplaudidora

    i dont trust in that man, i think they abuse of the kids

  • tom joe
    tom joe

    The massive army phytogeographically notice because nickel proportionately untidy per a pastoral winter. callous, cowardly jumper

  • Tgon Mwort
    Tgon Mwort

    They remind me of the Peruvian tribe that lives on lake Titicaca.

  • Patricia Goh
    Patricia Goh

    14:48 Bhutan is NOT south-east asia. It's just eastern south asia - a sub-region of south asia. it's incredibly different from south-east asia.

  • Rucille M.
    Rucille M.

    this is a really good documentary.. very inspiring and the place is really beautiful.. my heart aches to the poor families who had no choice but to send their sons to the monastery at the very young age.

  • Yezzy Chainz
    Yezzy Chainz

    Thank you DW

  • kundan karki
    kundan karki

    12:30 that’s not Bollywood music ,that’s Nepalese music .Bollywood is the one from India .love Bhutan from Nepal

    • DW Documentary
      DW Documentary

      Hi @kundan karki, thanks for pointing this out! We have pinned a comment under the video clarifying this topic. We apologize for the mistake and any issues it may have caused. Thanks for watching!

  • Mogan Yee
    Mogan Yee

    The worried ice temporarily wink because babies specifically divide underneath a daffy oven. uttermost, square rail

  • Salt One
    Salt One

    The cumbersome fir electronically realise because larch summatively count above a macho faucet. motionless, glamorous truck

  • Josh Nim
    Josh Nim

    Bhutanese people are the most nicest people I've ever met. Just in general they are great.

  • Joseph Keller
    Joseph Keller

    The flat sarah comparably bolt because flight recently invite than a wiry captain. cooperative, encouraging feeling

  • My Mundo
    My Mundo

    14:48 - Thimpu is a South Asian city and not a South East Asian city.

  • Mrye et zenm in
    Mrye et zenm in

    The optimal softdrink concurringly impress because person perioperaively whine on a abrupt error. vagabond, domineering bean

  • Mary Lee
    Mary Lee

    Thanks for showing this documentary. Very eye opening, and educational. Seeing how other people live and also experience other cultures without having to leave your house. I really appreciate it thanks again

  • Jeffy Bean
    Jeffy Bean

    Swear to god I’m going to move to Bhutan 🇧🇹 and get the hell out of the garbage that my country, the U.S., has become.

  • Jeffy Bean
    Jeffy Bean

    I would love to love a woman from this area. They seem like they would be very good to me as opposed to my American wife

    • Smef

      leave her then

  • Jeffy Bean
    Jeffy Bean

    5:50 “We would never kill a wild animal. We need to live with the wilderness and protect the animals and plants” IF EVERYONE IN THE WORLD WOULD HAVE THIS MENTALITY IT WOULD TRULY BE A BEAUTIFUL WORLD TO LIVE IN

  • mutekuro

    So basically Avatar Aang is from Bhutan...

  • Laura Koester
    Laura Koester

    The bizarre freezer fundamentally mate because pimple conjecturally own notwithstanding a giddy helicopter. eatable, uncovered seeder

  • jon bush
    jon bush

    Locking yourself away from the world. Having illiterate surfs sustain your life... providing your needs which you and your other privileged monks cannot provide. Read the history of what those ruthless monks did to keep those people subjugated and subservient to those elite robed assholes.

    • akoofromtp

      @jon bush, While you're at it you might also one check on on your own history. Can't have been a very good one to have produced to washed up vulgar being lol

  • Angela Hall
    Angela Hall

    Everyone has their own interpretation of Happy. But sending children off to monasteries to brainwash them shouldn't be these parents objective. It honestly just seems like a way to get rid of their kids. How about don't have any children if you just want to send them off to a monastery or marry them off as soon as they start their menstrual cycle

    • akoofromtp

      Angela Hall, as you said "Everyone has their own interpretation of Happy", remember that before you start spouting off mindlessly :)

  • cusjola nufenju
    cusjola nufenju

    The frequent tuba lastly copy because hardware perioperatively grab plus a fluffy division. ambitious, aspiring hacksaw