Bhutan,the mythical land of the thunder dragon
and perhaps the best kept secret of the Himalayas.
The impenetrable wall of Himalayan peaks to the north,
and deep jungle gorges to the south,
have served to keep this tiny nation in
isolation for thousands of years.
In 1998, Bhutan hosted a scant 6,000 foreign visitors.
The remarkable natural beauty
and cultural heritage of this
tiny kingdom makes Bhutan
our last hope for Shangri-La.
Until recently,
traveling to this fiercely
independent, wild land
was only accessible to few.
This is the last country in the world
to have Mahayana Buddhism
as the official religion.
The spirit of this faith
can be seen in countless prayer flags,
and in the eyes of the Bhutanese people.
It is as if the spirit,
the Buddhist deity of the Himalaya,
the Guru Rimpoche,
has come to rest in Bhutan and
watch over this precious land.
This kingdom was built without nails or machines,
and still stands much as it did centuries ago.
This, combined with the quality of life,
has yet to inspire and teach the modern world.
This alone is a testament to the wisdom
inherent to this place.

Like the mighty stone forts, dzongs and the culture too,
have withstood outside influences.
The Bhutanese have not sacrificed any
of their deep cultural and spiritual heritage to the
thin promises of the modern world.
The environment is
taken seriously,
and Bhutan has more
pristine wilderness
than anywhere else
in the Himalaya.
Three-quarters of Bhutan
is forested,
and home to a range
of unique flora and fauna, including over
600 species of orchids,
and 300 different species
of medicinal plants.
Bhutan is a sanctuary for animals.
Perhaps the most unique is the Takin,
Bhutan's national animal.
Legend has it that the Takin is half cow, half goat,
puzzling taxonomists to this day.
Kathmandu Travels & Tours is delighted to bring you
closer to the land of the Thunder Dragon,
and one of the last Lotus flowers in this growing world.
Bhutan's impeccably preserved Himalayan culture
can be credited to its determined individuality,
radical geography and the high tourist tariff.
Here, the women wrap themselves
in intricately woven, blinding textiles,
and cry out from ornately carved windows.
Tantric Buddhism is woven
into every aspect of Bhutanese life.
Within this spiritual corner of the world, prayer flags flutter in the wind,
a gompa is found in every village,
and every home has a Buddhist shrine.
Throughout the year,
colorful festivals take place
in villages across the country.

The Bhutanese come from afar
to watch these multi-day dances,
and pay homage to Padsambhava,
who later was known as the Guru Rimpoche.
Each dance tells a story,
some are moral dramas,
some serve to bless the viewers,
and others...
sing of the glory of Buddhism.
The dancers wear heavy masks,
ornate costumes designed in a wide array of fabrics,
all the while spinning a textile
of human colors and music.

Although these festivals are drawing
an increasing number of foreign spectators,
they have not compromised
any of their historical or religious significance.
Viewing these festivals is to be privy to an intimate,
ancient, and deeply spiritual event,
a blessing that cannot be found elsewhere on earth.
As a vast majority of the nation is without access to roads,
there are endless walking routes. The tiny population,
and stringent concern for the environment,
makes trekking here more of a genuine wilderness
experience than found elsewhere in the Himalaya.
With this, comes expert guide
and all the necessary equipment and supplies.
Pack animals shoulder the load,
leaving you free to soak in the intoxicating
mountain views and diversity of flora and fauna.

Treks range from simple valley walks,
where one can catch glimpses of rural,
and agricultural lifestyles,
to high and wild, epic journeys
lasting three weeks,
into a land dominated by nomadic yak herders,
blue sheep and the mysterious snow leopard.
The fabled Snowman Trek, is considered
to be the most difficult trek in the world.

Walking in Bhutan connects you intimately,
into this remote and exotic country.
Bhutan is a land visited by few and explored on foot
by even fewer. The the ultimate trekking destination
in the Himalayas, higher adventure
and exploration cannot be found.
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