The tiny kingdom of Bhutan is located on the eastern end of the Himalayas, nestled between China and India. They’ve become known as the country that measures its success in terms of “Gross National Happiness” – after having visited I think they may have actually succeeded at achieving their goal.
Bhutan has taken a very “cautious” stance on tourism and travelling to the country isn’t easy. You must be a guest of the government or travel through an approved travel program (you can’t just show up and start wandering around on your own). You’ll need a visa and then be required to pay a hefty daily tariff just to be in the country ($280 per day per person at the time of our trip). Renting a car isn’t an option and you’ll need to be accompanied at all times by a guide. This may seem extreme to most people, but Bhutan has been wise enough to see the ill effects of tourism in other countries and is striving to keep its environment and heritage intact.
Despite the red tape, the effort is worth it. The landscape is breathtaking and the people are generous and kind to a fault. If you can swing it, I’d highly recommend a trip to this beautiful country.
Note: cigarettes are illegal in Bhutan. If you’re a smoker, quit before you go.