Bhutan’s National Dress: Kira and Gho

It’s a shame that China forgot about the beauty of her national dress. Be it the Hanfu or the qipao, it’d be great to see China retaining her past traditions.

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Qipao
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The beautiful Hanfu

My old country is beautiful in my childhood memories but unfortunately, it is fading fast. I’m still proud of her but to be honest, I’m conflicted. When you destroy your own culture, there really is no hope left. When my sentimental side kicked in, I realised how heart-breaking it must have been for Mr Liang Sicheng who watched on hopelessly as idiotic politicians destroyed the once gorgeous ancient city of Beijing.

The national dress is a way to make a stance on identity and tradition. It’s lovely to see some countries who actively promote, encourage and maintain their own unique culture.

As soon as you board Bhutan’s airline Drukair, you are greeted with the air hostess in a kira. The male crew are in suits so if you want to see some ghos, wait until you land.

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Introduced in the 17th century, the gho, a knee-length robe tied at the waist by the kera (belt) is the national dress for Bhutanese men.Screen Shot 2016-04-10 at 4.21.06 PMThey can show off their legs, keep many things in their sleeves and pockets and most importantly, look super hot when they take off the top half of their gho and tie the sleeves around the waist revealing a shirt. Put sunglasses on and you have a real gangster yet traditional suave look. Something that I was curious about is how people handle the cold winter. December is showing the first sign of coldness and walking around at night with only a kira on is not a good idea. So I wondered….how will the men handle the gho? Surely it’s not good for their knees. The reply was simple: well, people wear thermal pants and a thicker gho. hmm..maybe I should stop it with the weird questions (haha).

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The beautiful kira, an ankle-length dress with a blouse and clipped by brooches (koma) is the national dress for Bhutanese women. There are several styles. You have the kira and then another more traditional one. It’s a long-sleeved jacket like garment (togo) worn over the kira. Memo to myself, I must get my hands on one next time.

Screen Shot 2016-04-10 at 4.18.37 PMScreen Shot 2016-04-10 at 4.20.48 PMAlthough I’m jealous that men can show off their legs, the kira is pretty the way it is. It was not easy to put on the kira. The hotel staff sorted it out for us with ease. Victoria is a fast-learner so she got the hang of it pretty quick. I was somewhat slow but if I could manage the saree then I can handle the kira.

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The evolution of the kira? Never!
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Beautiful Victoria - go ahead and kill me with your red lipstick!
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With lovely Victoria and of course our kiras and rachus


To strengthen the country’s identity, everyone wears the national dress to formal occasions, festivals, celebrations, special events, offices, schools, monasteries and dzongs. Ladies also need to wear the rachu (red scarf). Victoria and I found it hard to walk in and our backs became sore after a while. Nevertheless, we became much better after practice and we love wearing it (especially during National Day and our archery sessions). Like my favourite colleague Bo, Victoria is a natural beauty and she totally rocked with her kira, red lipstick and elegance on National Day (17th of December).                        

Thank you Victoria for making sure that we all walked away with a kira on.

Thank you Kira for being so beautiful.

Bhutanese men watch out for when I’m in a gho, I’ll win lots of hearts! Mwahaha

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