One of the first things you'll notice upon arriving in the Kingdom of Bhutan is the fresh air, followed by the lush mountain scenery and extremely contented people. Residents here have embraced sustainable lifestyles and settled into a peaceful coexistence with nature.
The Bhutanese place a high value on Gross National Happiness over development and economic growth. In fact, satisfaction is tied to peaceful coexistence with nature. Jungles in the south are connected to alpine forests in the north so that hundreds of species, including the endangered Bengal tiger, are free to roam the wilderness. Even the capital city of Thimpu prefers a traffic cop to a stoplight; you won't find any fast-food restaurants around.
Tourism is strictly regulated to protect this way of life. Most foreigners are charged a mandatory daily tariff, but trips are booked through all-inclusive tour companies. A percentage of proceeds funds social services and helps preserve the national identity.
Most of the Bhutanese landscape is mountainous, and with the Himalayas guarding the northern border, only a few roads lead into the country from the south. Flying into Paro International Airport is an intriguing alternative for travelers who enjoy the thrill of getting there. The descent is quite challenging, navigating through deep mountain valleys. Only a select few pilots are certified to land at the airport. Book your flight into Paro from Kathmandu for a majestic view of the Himalayan Mountain Peaks from your window seat.