This small and beautiful country nestles on the foot of Himalayas and between two of the most powerful countries in Asia – India and China. Tourism in Bhutan started in the year 1974 with only 287 tourists. But since then, Bhutan has not looked back and the number of tourists has only increased. The government of Bhutan has kept a strict vigil and restricted the level of tourism as it recognizes the fact that huge inflow of tourists will only have a negative impact on yet unspoiled nature and traditions.
Bhutan covers an area of 47,000 sq. km and was till recent past one of the most isolated countries in the world. However, now being moderately developed, its past isolation has become a boon for it with tourism perspective. Its culture and traditions are still very much intact. The Himalayas run through the northern part of the country which are constantly covered in snow and experience a polar climate. Bhutan often faces violent storms coming from the Himalayas which has literally given the country its name ‘Bhutan’ which means “Land of Thunder Dragon”.
Bhutan is the last Buddhist Kingdom in the world and has a large population of Buddhists. The main attractions of the country are mostly monasteries, of which Taktshang Monastery in Paro, and Tashichoedzong are the most visited.
In Bhutan, you just cannot pack your bags and start exploring the country. There are rules that do not allow you to travel inside the country without a guide. There are nearly 80 tourists companies in Bhutan that offer sightseeing and hiking tours to some exotic locations in the country. There are also cultural tours that take you to isolated villages which are not only naturally picturesque but a treasure trove of traditions and customs.
Thimphu is the capital city and the largest city of Bhutan. However, Paro has the only airport in the country and is the gateway into Bhutan. It takes around a one hour drive from the capital to the city of Paro. Apart from being considered the most scenic of all other cities in Bhutan, it is the most religiously important city of Bhutan with many monasteries. The other important districts of Bhutan are Punakha, Mongar, Trashigang and Jakar.