Though the West has called it “Bootan” since the time of Marco Polo, natives call their country “Druk Yul”, meaning “Land of the Thunder Dragon”. Bhutan has also earned itself the popular epithets “The Last Shangri-La”, “Last Place on the Roof of the World”, and “Window in the Sky”.
The small landlocked country is positioned between Tibet in the north, and the Indian states of West Bengal and Assam in the west and south, and Arunachal Pradesh in the east. Thimphu is the capital city and home of the Bhutanese royal family. Buddhism is the dominant religion, but there is also a Hindu population.
The Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan is about 2500m above sea level, hidden from the rest of the world by mountains. The land is shrouded in legend and myth; supernatural beings, ancient monasteries, and fortresses dot the wooded alpine landscape. Nestled in the lap of the Himalayas, Bhutan offers spectacular mountain views, immense scenic beauty, and unique culture. With a carefully preserved original vibrant culture, Bhutan is often referred to as the “living museum” of the world.
Most of the population continues to live in small, isolated farms and hamlets surrounded by terraced fields of rice and barley. At higher altitudes, in isolated valleys, people still live in tents woven from yak hair. They spend part of the year in alpine pastures, grazing their livestock. Much of Bhutan is still covered in thick forest, which sustains a wealth of plant and bird life. Above the tree line, the country is wild and rugged, the mountains are largely unexplored and offer some of the best trekking in the Himalayas.