Haa ready, but cautious as flower exhibition nears

No restrictions on visitors, but discourage crowding

Phub Dem | Haa

Haa wears an exotic and refreshing look as one gets a glimpse of the dzongkhag descending down from the Chelela pass.

At Haa, the temperature is moderate making it the ideal place to escape the scorching summer heat. As you enter the small sleepy town, the sidewalks are filled with perennial flowers.  Officials in gumboots are putting the final touches on their sites. Haa has become busy with endless trucks transporting flowers at the sites, people busy maintaining roads, fixing drains and walls, watering the plants and so on.

From decorating the sacred Lhakhang Karpo to the longest mural painting, establishing a giant herbal garden and surreal container gardens at Zhinchupang, all corners around Haa are decked up.

In three days, the Royal Bhutan Flower Exhibition (RBFE) will be opened to the public. However, not many will be present at the exhibition to appreciate the beauty of the town or smell its flowers.

Given the risk of a community transmission, those behind the exhibition do not encourage many visitors. “We are not inviting guests,” Haa dzongdag, Kinzang Dorji said. The exhibition will be live streamed on social media and broadcast on the national television.

The dzongkhag, however, is not restricting visitors, but wants people to not overcrowd. The exhibition will remain open for 10 days starting August 14.

In an attempt to make the best use of digital media and artificial intelligence (AI), the exhibition, during the Covid-19 pandemic will use unmanned drones and Google Street View to let those watching virtually to get a real feeling.

Unlike other five exhibitions, visitors will witness four major sites and 57 other sites, which are developed by schools, institutions, monasteries and sector heads of the dzongkhag.

The numerous sites, according to dzongdag were essential in spreading out visitors to avoid overcrowding and maintain social distance. “Each entry point at the sites has handwashing facilities. Officials will check visitors’ temperature on entering the dzongkhag.”

Considering the broader theme of the exhibition— beautiful, unique, and sustainable – Haa built five public toilets, completed dog sterilization campaigns and built permanent structures.

The dzongkhag also maintained trekking trails such as Nobtshonapata, Meri-Puensum and Rangtsit Nye to encourage local visitors to explore.

Dzongdag Kinzang Dorji said that the whole establishment and initiative of the exhibition was also in line with gearing up Haa as a potential tourist destination.

Following the sixth Royal Bhutan Flower Exhibition, the dzongkhag will host the annual Haa flower show starting July next year which will be followed by the Haa summer festival.

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