Bhutan, known to the world as the "Last Shangri-La" or "Last Place on the Roof of the World," is a small, landlocked country located between Tibet to the north, the Indian states of West Bengal and Assam to the south, and Arunachal Pradesh to the east. The original name for Bhutan, as recorded by Marco Polo, was "Bootan," but the native people call their country "DrukYul," which means "Land of the Thunder Dragon." Its inhabitants are called "Drukpa." Bhutan is sometimes referred to as the "Window in the Sky" due to its high elevation, around 7,500 feet above sea level. The capital city of this remote kingdom is Thimpu, and the national language is Dzongkha. Buddhism is the dominant religion in Bhutan, with a small percentage of the population being Hindu.
Bhutan is a land of legendary and mythical beauty, with ancient monasteries and fortresses nestled in the Himalayan mountains. It offers breathtaking mountain views and a unique culture. The Buddhist monasteries, carved wooden houses, and fine crafts of Bhutan are some of the major attractions for tourists. Bhutan is known for its tolerant people and vibrant, traditional culture, and is often referred to as the "living museum" of the world.
Bhutan Travel Information and Destination Guide
Bhutan is a beautiful country with lush forests, stunning mountains, and a rich variety of flora and fauna. It has a peaceful and calm environment that reflects the simple way of life of the Bhutanese people. Tourism in Bhutan began on a limited basis in 1970 and has since gained worldwide recognition for its rare and striking natural beauty. Touring Bhutan includes visits to old forts, palaces, monasteries, farmhouses, and the National Museum.
While Bhutanese citizens are free to travel abroad, Bhutan is often perceived as being inaccessible to foreigners. This perception may be due to the widespread belief that Bhutan has set limits on tourist visas, the high tourist tariff, and the requirement to go on packaged tours. The minimum daily tariff for these tours is set by the Department of Tourism of Bhutan and cannot be negotiated. Photography is not allowed in some monasteries and dzongs.
There are only two entry points to Bhutan. Many travelers arrive by air at Paro, while some arrive by road at Phuntsholing on the southern border with India. The flight from Kathmandu to Paro (45 minutes) offers breathtaking views of the Himalayan mountains. Paro airport is less than two hours from Thimphu. The best way to travel to Bhutan by road is to start in Kathmandu.
Everyone except Indian citizens must apply for a visa at least 30 days in advance. A copy of your passport is required to apply for the visa, which costs a reasonable $40 for 14 days. However, the visa will not be issued until you have booked a package tour to Bhutan and paid for it. The cost of these tours, which are organized by private companies, is set by the government and is not negotiable. Druk Air, the national airline of Bhutan, does not issue tickets until they have received visa clearance, so all travel arrangements must be made in advance. Guides are required for all tourists with visas.
The climate of Bhutan varies depending on the region. It is tropical in the southern plains, with cool winters and hot summers in the central valleys, and severe winters and cool summers in the Himalayas.
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