Sandwiched between mighty neighbours - China to the north and India to the south, Bhutan is a tiny independent country about the same size and shape as Switzerland. Himalayan peaks line the northern edge of the territory and these include Chomolhari (7313m / 23,993ft) and the unclimbed Gangkar Puensum (7540m / 24,737ft). This fairytale kingdom, ruled by the youngest monarch in the world, Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, has few towns and a population estimated to be under one million people, almost all of whom are dependent on growing their own food. Mountains, forest, deep valleys, traditional costume and white-painted fortress-monasteries known as 'dzongs' are characteristic of the country, as are the outrageous Buddhist festivals or 'tsechus' which are held at each of the dzongs throughout the year. Amongst the superb trekking holidays that make the most of Bhutan's spectacular landscape are the short and sweet Druk Path trek, from Paro to Thimpu, and the breathless High Passes of Lunana itinerary, a 4-week adventure on scant trails that ranks amongst the world's toughest treks. Bhutan's single road, cutting across the grain of the country from west to east, provides one of the world's great mountain bike journeys.


The Kingdom of Bhutan is a tiny Himalayan Nation. About the same size and shape as Switzerland it is sandwiched between its mighty neighbours, China to the north and India to the south. The main Himalaya Chain runs west to east across Bhutan and the majority of the country lies between altitudes of 1500 and 5000 metres. The highest peaks lie towards the northern edge of the territory, and these include Gangkar Puensum (7540m) and Chomolhari (7313m). The highlands are the most popular part of the nation, and Western Bhutan is made up of four valleys, namely Ha (average height 2700m), Paro (2200m), Thimpu (2300m) and Punakha/Wangdi Phodrang (1300m). Western Bhutan is separated from Central Bhutan by The Black Mountains, which rise to elevations of 5000 metres and form an effective natural boundary. A single road crosses this range by way of the Pele La (3300m). Central Bhutan is divided into several regions. Its most southerly district, Khyeng, is famous for impenetrable jungle.

Time Zone

The time in Bhutan is GMT +6 hours.

Additional Sources/Information


Bhutan. A Trekker's guide.
Bart Jordans. Cicerone Press.
Bhutan. (Lonely Planet Guide). Stan Armington.
Bhutan. Insight Guides
Bhutan, Land of the Thunder Dragon. Owen Edmunds.
The Trekkers Handbook. Tom Gilchrist..


Bhutan Himalaya. 1:380 000. ITMB Publishing