A South Asian country with Himalayan heights and subtropical plains, Bhutan borders India and Tibet. Bhutanese are primarily Buddhist; the second-largest religious sect is Hinduism. The natives are numbered among the world’s happiest populations. Television and the Internet were only allowed in Bhutan 14 years ago, with a warning from the king that their misuse could erode traditional values.
While in Bhutan, see temples and monasteries like Taktshang Goemba. Royal heritage museums and bazaars also offer much to see. The archery ground in Thimphu upstages the football stadium next door. If you need a little rowdiness, check out the Bumthang Brewery in Jakar. The climate conditions are diverse, and Bhutan’s Gangkhar Puensum is the highest unclimbed mountain in the world. There’s a crocodile breeding center in Phuentsholing, and an information center to educate visitors about the black-necked crane in the Phobjikha Valley. Yes, this is a biodiverse country.
Try datse soft cheese, fried nakey (ferns), or yak ribs or burgers if you’re feeling a little bold. Dumplings called momos and satay sauced meats may be a slightly more familiar type of Asian food to the typical Western palate. Red rice and buckwheat are ultra-healthy grain options. Thukpa is a popular soup that originated in Tibet and spread to nearby countries, typically made with chicken, vegetables, rice noodles, and spices. It isn’t hard to find vegetarian Himalayan cuisine, but certified organic food may be harder to find.