Bhutan is a fascinating landlocked country: in the west is Nepal and Sikkim, it lies south of Tibet and to the north and east are Assam and Arunachal Pradesh. Yes, it is a very remote and highly fascinating country. And totally off the beaten track. It also seeks to uphold its age-old traditions and you think you have returned 500 years into a medieval Switzerland. Visitors have only been allowed in since 1974 and then you rode a horse from the Indian borders. The airport opened in 1974 but you must still fly in or fly out with the national airline. There is great pressure on this small country (300 kms x 150 kms) to join the outside world. So far Bhutan is resisting the pressure from its neighbours. The government restricts television to one hour a day and inhabitants are still proud of their traditions and national dress. But how long can this last?
Unlike other Asian countries Bhutan has a relatively small population of under 1 million. The national religion is Buddhism and every small town has its Dzongs which are half fortress, half monastery. It also has the most tree cover all of the Asian Kingdoms and strict regulations are in place to keep it that way. There are over 6000 plant species and 700 species of bird, with 25 endemic. In the far distance you continually glimpse the snow-covered Himalayas as you climb yet another mountain pass in one of the luxury touring buses. Frequent photo stops are made to admire the scenery; a waterfall tumbling down a vertical hillside or a prayer wheel which relies on water to drive it, rendering it effectively a continuous way of sending prayers to heaven. Progress is leisurely due to the gentle way of life, with three meals a day (some reminiscent of English boarding school fare with tinned fruit and jam puddings); the ever-curving roads climbing and descending continuously. Allow a minimum of a week to admire even a portion of this fascinating country - two or three weeks would be preferable.
Travellers may visit as individuals although there is a surcharge over the usual rate of $200 per person per day which is charged for 3 and more visitors travelling together.