With 79 percent of the population living in rural areas, Bhutan is one of the least densely populated countries in the world. Bhutanese people have a good sense of humour and are widely accepting of different cultures. The people of Bhutan can be classified into three distinct ethnic groups – the Sharchops (literally means people of the East), are believed to be the earliest inhabitants of the land. They are of Indo-Mongoloid descent and speak their own language. They live in the Eastern part of the country. From the western region of the country and referred as “Ngalops” are the descendants of Tibetans who migrated from the 9th century onwards. To the south are the Lhotsampas, largely descendants of immigrants from Nepal who settled in Bhutan in the late 19th century. Bhutanese people are strongly independent in spirit and outlook and was never colonized.
While Dzongkha is the national language, English is widely spoken and the medium of teaching. Bhutan has 19 registered languages and dialects. The diversity in language and culture is an indication of the culture richness and heritage of a small country.
People in Bhutan, no matter how simple their rural lives are, have a welcome smile for every visitor. The Bhutanese people are gracious hosts and treat all visitors as guests, Bhutanese hospitality is even more evident in the rural villages where the local people genuinely welcome visitors as honored guest.