Bhutan is a small landlocked Himalayan Kingdom about 300km long and 150km wide, encompassing 38,394 sq km. The high Himalayas to the north separate the kingdom from the Tibetan Autonomous Region of China, while the rugged eastern region borders the Indian states of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, West Bengal and Sikkim. The landscape ranges from subtropical plains in the south to the Himalayan heights in the north, with some peaks exceeding seven thousand metres.
Bhutan has a rich and unique cultural heritage that has largely remained intact due to its isolation from the rest of the world until the early 1960s. For centuries, Bhutan remain undiscovered by the rest of the world. A conscious policy of isolation complemented by formidable geographical barriers has enabled the country to maintain its independence throughout its history. The Kingdom ended its self-imposed isolation only in 1961 and embarked on the path of modern development in a fine balance with its ancient traditions. One of the main attractions for international visitors is the country’s culture and traditions. Bhutanese tradition is deeply steeped in its Buddhist heritage. Due to its largely unspoilt natural environment and cultural heritage, Bhutan has aptly been referred to as The Last Shangri-la.
With a development philosophy based on the principles of Gross National Happiness, Bhutan is becoming increasingly known for its unique cultural heritage, pristine ecology and wildlife, unparalleled scenic beauty of its majestic virgin peaks and lush valleys, unspoiled countryside, terraced rice fields, impressive architecture, warm and hospitable people and a devout Buddhist culture that makes this Himalayan Kingdom very special.
However, Bhutan is seen to be inaccessible to many foreigners. There is a widespread misperception that Bhutan has set limits on tourist visas. However it is the high tourist tariff and requirement to go on packaged tours in the government’s efforts to preserve and sustain the current culture and traditions of the country, that makes Bhutan an exclusive tourist destination