Bhutan is the last of the independent Himalayan Buddhist kingdoms. Most Bhutanese still live a long walk from the road in big, beautiful farmhouses with terraced rice fields out front, red chili peppers drying on the roof, and white prayer flags snapping in the breeze.
Because of its unique geography, getting to Bhutan used to be practically impossible.The first roads in the country weren’t built until the 1960s, and only a handful of adventurers made it to the central valleys before 1974, when the first hotels were built to accommodate dignitaries arriving for the coronation ceremony of the current King.
At first the government ran the entire business itself, but eventually private companies were allowed to operate. These companies are all obliged to charge the same daily visa fee of $250 per foreign tourist, or $200 in the low season.