Bhutan is a kingdom in the heart of the great Himalaya, nestled between Tibet and India's Assam Plains. In its 18,000 sq. mile Bhutan offers a variety of climates, from the hot and humid jungles of the southern foothills to the temperate inner Himalayas to the frigid snow-capped peaks in the north which rises to 7700 mts. Bhutan's state religion is the Drukpa sect of Kagyupa, a school of Mahayana Buddhism.
BUMTHANG: Nestled in the barley fields and apple groves of the Bumthang valley, ancient art- filled temples dating back to the seventh century mark the origins of Buddhism in Bhutan. A rustic lodge for tourists has been built in the shadow of Jakar Dzong.
PHUNTSHOLING: From its vast views of the BHUTAN plains, this overland gateway town is the start of a breathtaking drive round hairpin turns through lush forests to the towns and valleys of the Inner Himalayas at 4,000- 8,000 feet (1,200 - 2,400 meters).
PARO: The PARO valley is more than beautiful; it is visually stunning and historically fascinating. It is also a delightful place from which to enjoy the country's most famous festival held at the Paro Dzong just across the Valley ( a Dzong is a uniquely Bhutanese Buddhist fortress/monastery). This beautiful terraced valley is home to many of Bhutan's oldest temples-and its first airport. The National Museum is located in an ancient watchtower here and Taktsang Monastery clings to sheer cliffs 3,000 feet (900 meters) above the valley.
PUNAKHA: Spectacular views of the Himalayas can be seen on the road from Thimphu to Punakha Thimpu Festival, Bhutan Holiday VacationsDzong, where the Pho Chu and Mo Chu rivers converge below this winter home of the central monk body.
THIMPU: Thimpu is the capital of Bhutan. This center of government, religion and commerce has grown alongside monasteries and forts. From the earliest fortress-monastery, Simtokha Dzong, built in 1627, to the active craftsmen who practice today, there is much to see.
TONGSA: TONGSA is surrounded with the incomparable Tongsa Gorge. One can enjoy the savoring vast panoramas of the gorge and the snow-clad peaks that separate the high elevations of the North with the sub- tropical jungles of the South. In the fore-ground is the ancient town of Tongsa and the largest of Bhutan's renowned dzongs. First built in 1648 the Tongsa Dzong is still home to a large community of monks. Half day tour - Through a long valley, the ancestral home of Bhutan's royal family, spectacular views frame the massive, many- leveled Tongsa Dzong, strategically located to guard what has been for centuries the only east-west route through Bhutan.
The Buddhist Kingdom of Bhutan lies along the lofty ridges of the eastern Himalayas, between longitude 88045' and 92010' east and latitude 26040' and 28015' north. Within an area of 46,000 square kilometers, Bhutan is comparable to Switzerland both in size and topography, being largely mountainous. It is bordered by China (Tibet) on the north and northwest, and by the, Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, West Bengal and Sikkim on the east, south and West respectively. The country within these borders forms a giant staircase, from a narrow strip of land in the south at altitude of 10,000 feet, upto some of the unclimbed Himalayan peaks on earth.
It is the mighty Himalayas, which protected Bhutan from rest of the world and left the Kingdom blissfully untouched. The Drukpa Kagyupa School of Mahayana Buddhism provided the essence of rich culture and fascinating history. The Bhutanese people protected this sacred heritage and unique identity for centuries to remain shrouded deeply in a jealously guarded isolation.
More than 90% of the 6,00,000 Bhutanese people are farmers who live in small villages sparsely scattered over rugged mountain land. Buddhist teaching and philosophy play an important role in their peaceful lives. Today, the quality of life is dramatically improved ever since a cautious development policy brought in basic services such as education, health, power, roads and modernised agriculture techniques. Because of deep traditional reverence which the Bhutanese have for nature, the Kingdom is one of the leading countries in environmental preservation. More than 70% of land area is still under forest cover. Its rich Himalayan flora and fauna, dazzling white peaks and lush valleys provide Bhutan's stunning beauty and aesthetic grandeur. It is often said that even the most experienced traveler will find Bhutan to be " a revelation".
To the visitors who respects the delicate sensitivities of this pristine land and share the sacred values of its people, Bhutan has now gently opened its doors. In this county known as "Druk Yul", or the "Land of Peaceful Dragon", the fortunate visitor will find a rare combination of harmony and accord, amdist a landscape of incredible natural beauty. The air is clean and unpolluted, the mountains magnificent and the architecture inspiring.