Rough Guide: Bhutan is a remote Buddhist country tucked away in the eastern Himalayas. The country has a very protected/closed approach to tourism making independent travel impossible unless you carry an India passport. Tourists are therefore required to pay a daily fee of $250 which includes a tour guide, hotel, and travel expenses. I was lucky and was invited to Bhutan as an official guest giving me the opportunity to see and travel the country independently. I later traveled with my brother as a “tourist” and can say that the experience being with a guide and seeing only designated tourist sites was somewhat depressing. I do not believe one can get a sense of Bhutanese culture through the standard tourist package, however if it is monasteries and beautiful landscapes that you wish to see the tour will offer plenty of opportunities. The more remote eastern side of the country is by far more beautiful and more interesting than the highly traveled west. However traveling to the east will require more travel days and will therefore be more expensive. I spent two weeks cycling the country in early November. I started at the India border city of Phuentsholing, then headed to Ha, Paro, Thimpu, Trongsa, Bumthang, Mongar and Lhuentse before heading back to Thimpu by car.  The weather was cool and dry with great views of the distant snow capped Himalayas. Read more about Bhutan here


Flags honoring the deceased flutter in the wind on many tall mountain passes