Neighbouring with China to the north and India to the south, the mountainous state of Bhutan is a true gem of the Orient set between two enormous nations. It has been open to the West for just forty years and the Internet reached it little more than a decade ago. Bhutan has maintained a rare sense of authenticity made up of Buddhist spirituality, a dialogue with nature, and fascinating religious festivals.
Perhaps this is why it is the only country in the world that does not use GDP to measure its citizens’ well-being but has officially adopted the far more romantic assessment of GNH (Gross National Happiness), based on factors such as air quality, health, education, and the vitality of social relations.
Its mountains are the incomparable Himalayas, bordering with Tibet, with summits rising to an altitude of over 7,000 metres, making them an outstanding destination for trekking aficionados. But Bhutan also has other stunning scenarios to offer: broad terraces cultivated with rice and dark green tea, stretches of pines and firs, turquoise rivers, and even tropical landscapes in the southern part of the country.
The ancient constructions that dot the country are incomparable and dzongs, fortresses with large courtyards and lavish rooms, are widespread. Housing large monasteries, they occupy key vantage points on mountaintops or at the confluence of the main waterways. The most astonishing is Paro Taktsang, perched on an incredibly steep mountainside.