Bhutan Trekking for the A-List
Cameron Diaz at the Shrek the Third London premiere" © 2007 Caroline Bonarde Ucci, used under a Creative Commons Attribution license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/deed.en
“Let me tell you something, you have not partied till you’ve partied at dawn in complete silence with Buddhist monks”, said Cameron Diaz when reminiscing about her Bhutan trekking holiday with Eva Mendes. The two Hollywood A-listers were sent to the hidden kingdom in the Himalaya by MTV to highlight the conservation work carried out in the area by the WWF, and the difference it was making to the lives of the local people.
Cameron and Eva aren’t the only celebrities to be enticed by Bhutan, and had they visited a year earlier, they may have caught sight of Brad Pitt planting trees to conserve Bhutan’s forests and to off-set his total number of carbon emissions for the year.
No one noticed Demi Moore as she photographed her own ‘blow-up’ in a ramshackle video store in Bhutan; and Jennifer Lopez, Sarah Jessica Parker and Keanu Reeves didn’t get a second look as they strolled around the streets of Thimpu.
Uma Thurman was one of the first celebrities to visit Bhutan; her father Robert Thurman was a huge fan of the Zhiwa Ling Hotel and in particular the Meditation Palace, which he regarded as almost a second home.
It’s not just Hollywood celebrities that flock to the Land of the Thunder Dragon; Prince Charles went Bhutan trekking in 1998 and was pictured using a walking pole to reach the scenic Tiger’s Nest Monastery. He later told reporters that the trekking part was not so bad, if you’re used to Scotland.
So what is it about Bhutan that attracts so many celebrity visitors? For Cameron Diaz it’s simple: “My favourite thing about Bhutan is they measure their country’s wealth, not based on the dollar amount, but on gross national happiness.”