Heading to Bhutan

by Kara on September 5, 2009

We are readying for a trip to Bhutan later this month. Many people we have told about our trip seem to be completely unaware of its existence. The Kingdom of Bhutan is a small (less than 15,000 square miles) Himalayan country located between Tibet and India. The state of California is more than 10 times the size of Bhutan. The country is primarily Buddhist and the government is a constitutional monarchy. All travel to Bhutan is strictly regulated, as are the prices for tours. Tours are approximately $200 per day per person, dependent on the number of people in your party. This includes everything except flights, alcohol and tips. Only five airports, in Thailand, India, Bangladesh and Nepal, offer flights into Paro Airport. Drukair is the national airline of Bhutan and is the only carrier allowed to fly into the country.

Until 1999, Bhutan was an absolute monarchy. Its system of government slowly evolved until 2005, when the king abdicated his throne to his son and announced the first general elections would be held in 2008. Bhutan’s army stands at only 6,000 troops and is trained by India’s military. Bhutan does not have a formal relationship with the United States, and any matters of mutual interest are handled through India.

By all accounts, it is a beautiful country, and I cannot wait for our trip.

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