Gelephu Mindfulness City Sparks Excitement Amongst Bangladeshi Tourists

In a significant stride towards fostering cross-border connections, three young Bangladeshi adventurers recently embarked on a journey that not only promised scenic vistas but also offered a glimpse into Bhutan’s visionary future. Raisa Islam Aishy, Nishat Tasnim, and Anika Ibnat Haque, hailing from Mohammadpur in Dhaka, set foot in the enchanting realms of Bhutan, becoming the pioneering group of Bangladeshi tourists to explore the Gelephu Mindfulness City (GMC).

Their odyssey, though brief, was laden with experiences that left an indelible mark on their consciousness. Raisa, a student of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Toronto, shared her excitement about witnessing Bhutan’s development firsthand through the lens of the ambitious GMC project. Designed under the auspices of the Bhutanese monarchy, GMC holds the promise of transforming Gelephu into an international beacon of mindfulness and sustainability.

“The allure of GMC resonated deeply with us. As young Bangladeshi women, we saw this as an opportunity not just to witness Bhutan’s evolution but also to contemplate how such initiatives could shape our own future,” remarked Raisa, her voice brimming with enthusiasm.

Central to their experience was the warm hospitality and serene ambiance of Gelephu town. Contrary to bustling metropolises, Gelephu exuded a tranquil charm, adorned with verdant landscapes and welcoming locals. The trio’s encounter with former Prime Minister Dasho Dr. Lotay Tshering further enriched their understanding of His Majesty’s vision for GMC, underscoring the collaborative spirit driving Bhutan’s development endeavors.

Their journey was not only a testament to personal exploration but also to the burgeoning ties between Bangladesh and Bhutan. The recent reduction in Sustainable Development Fee (SDF) for Bangladeshi tourists, from $100 to $15 per person per night, further catalyzed their excursion. This initiative, akin to the fees levied on tourists from India, not only made their trip more affordable but also encouraged expenditure on various activities, from river rafting to souvenir shopping.

“We are immensely grateful for the reduced SDF, which allowed us to delve deeper into Bhutan’s cultural tapestry and partake in its natural splendor,” shared Raisa, reflecting on the financial freedom enabled by this policy.

Their journey, though fueled by wanderlust, was also imbued with a sense of cultural exchange and mutual appreciation. Departing from Paro International Airport on June 8, they carried with them cherished memories and a newfound admiration for Bhutanese traditions and values.

“Bhutan has captivated our hearts in ways we never imagined. Its pristine beauty and warm hospitality have left an indelible impression on us. To anyone contemplating a visit to Bhutan, we say, do not hesitate. The Land of the Thunder Dragon awaits, ready to embrace you with open arms,” remarked Raisa, her words echoing the sentiments of countless travelers yearning for authentic experiences in an increasingly interconnected world.

As they bid farewell to Bhutan, the trio hoped to carry forward the spirit of camaraderie and cultural exchange, bridging the geographical boundaries that separate nations and fostering enduring bonds of friendship and understanding.

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