Mystical legends have bounded the Kingdom of Bhutan for centuries. Its precipitous mountainsides and remote forested valleys have many holy places with deep spiritual importance where the founders of Tibetan Buddhism left their ancient doctrines. Much of Bhutan is still covered in forest and, above the tree line; the mountains are not explored much and offer some of the best trekking in the Himalaya. The Bhutanese have succeeded in maintaining their cultural and spiritual heritage and belief that they live in the last Shangri-La; by strictly limiting the number of tourists to the Kingdom to a maximum of 5000 a year.
Western values have little or no impact in this part of the world. Here in this land of culture and extreme charm this exudes a special feeling of serenity. The people are extremely religious, much in evidence hereabouts, even in pretty developed towns with modern amenities, the spinning of prayer wheels, the murmur of mantras and the glow of butter lamps are still regular features of daily life. Monasteries, temples and religious monuments are dotted across the landscape bearing witness to the importance of Buddhism, while red robed monks, young and old, are everywhere mingling freely in towns and village markets. The local folks enjoy their presence.