The Kingdom of Bhutan is a Southeast Asian nation nestled at the east of the Himalayas and bordered by India, Tibet, Nepal and Bangladesh. It is not for the faint-hearted.

Daily life in Bhutan and local culture are what Westerners might call “out of the ordinary.” Cigarettes are banned. Any meal is not complete without red rice. Families serve chili as a main dish. Many houses are painted with giant phalluses as protection. And monks transcribe age-old Buddhist handwritten texts into digital format in front of a computer. The quaint charm of Bhutan comes with a hefty price though: $200 a day per tourist. At this rate, Bhutan is undoubtedly one of the most expensive places to get around in.

There are many sights to see in Bhutan. But most tourists experience these attractions as part of a set itinerary. There is little room for backpackers to make customized trips or get around independently. Some of the highlights of the country include Bumthang Dzongkhag, an ancient showcase of traditional Tibetan-style life and culture, and the treasure that makes Bhutan the last bastion of the grand kingdom of the Himalayas. There is also the Phobjika Valley, a treasure trove of exciting nature treks and textile makers. Trashigang, on the other hand, is a place of interest in its own right, and a convenient jump-off point to Eastern Bhutan.

Tourists who want to go to Bhutan have to go through tourist programs offered by private travel agencies in partnership with the government. You can book a trip to through a foreign travel agent, who can arrange for everything, or through a Bhutanese tour operator, but you will have to go through a series of communications to finalize everything. When in Bhutan, tourists are required to spend $200 per day on peak seasons, and $165 a day on low seasons. For longer-staying tourists, the government grants a 10-percent discount from day 11 to day 20.

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