This little known enigmatic Himalayan Kingdom is easily overlooked at your own detriment. A veritable Shangri-La if ever there was one, sleepy Bhutan is steeped in a Tibetan Buddhist past and guards its culture ferociously. Tourism is carefully managed and the only way to visit is with an officially sanctioned tour agency, which will set you back at least 200 dollars a day, but check for any changes.

So what does 200 dollars a day get you? First of all, it gives you the privilege to see this stunning nation. Forget the price tag and see it as the entrance fee into a world where people still walk around in traditional clothing, live in intricately carved houses, and the nature is sublime with a monastery or stupa found on every corner. But if you insist on wanting to know what your money is worth, than here it is: a private guide, a car with a driver, full accommodation and food in top-end to mid-range hotels, though if you go further off the beaten track the accommodation will necessarily be simpler.

This is the country that coined the term Gross National Happiness as opposed to Gross National Product to designate a nation’s wealth. It is also the country that has passed a law decreeing that 60 percent of the land must remain covered with forests. How’s that for environmental sustainability!

So take the plunge, plunder your bank account and go! See the Tiger’s Nest Monastery outside Paro, visit the impressive Punakha Dzong (fortress monastery), or feast your eyes on Wangdue Phodrang Dzong (aka the Wangdi Monastery, which began restoration in January 2014), watch locals stroll by in traditional clothing, hike a part of the Himalayas that isn’t trampled by tourists, and just relax and enjoy the unforgettable scenery and tranquility of this hidden paradise.

Highlights from Bhutan
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