Bhutan, a Buddhist kingdom on the Himalayas’ eastern edge, is known for its monasteries, fortresses (or dzongs) and dramatic landscapes that range from subtropical plains to steep mountains and valleys. In the High Himalayas, peaks such as 7,326m Jomolhari are popular trekking destinations. Paro Taktsang monastery (also known as Tiger’s Nest) clings to cliffs above the forested Paro Valley.
An ideal destination for those who tire of seeing the same sights, e.g. Starbucks, in every city, this small Buddhist country—nestled in the Eastern Himalayas between India and Tibet—has only been open to tourism since 1974. These days, those who wish to visit the country which coined the term “Gross National Happiness” must pay a daily rate in order to do so, and trips can only be booked through tour companies.