Himalayan Country

Bhutan, Nepal and Tibet – three of the six countries through which the Himalaya Mountains run – offer plenty of intrigue while growing their infrastructure for tourism enough to make travel quite do-able. The region may be most famous for the daunting Mt. Everest (on the boarder between Nepal and Tibet) which draws the world’s ultimate mountaineers.

Nepal is perhaps the ultimate Himalayan country, with nine of the world?s largest peaks and three quarters of the country covered by the mountains. Due to its terrain, Nepal is a favorite for adventurous travelers. Mountain biking, trekking, rafting, 4WD tours, mountaineering and safaris (rhinoceros, bengal tigers and crocodiles being among the most sought after animals to spot).

Mt Everest

Kathmandu is the capital of Nepal, and the Kathmandu Valley, which covers 218 square miles. This UNESCO World Heritage site contains seven groups of renown monuments and is of great historical and cultural significance to the country.

Getting to Nepal is easier than one might think given its location. Fifteen international carriers fly in and out of Katmandu, and 10 carriers – both domestic and international – fly to virtually every tourist destination in the country.

Tibet?s altitude has earned it the nickname ?roof of the world? and for good reason – it?s lowest peak is higher than most countries? highest peak! Among these peaks, the scenery is mesmerizing and the culture, noted most for its Buddhist monasteries, is equally as enchanting. A visit to the palaces of the dalai lama, particularly the Summer Palace, are a ?must?.

Potala Palace, Tibet

Tibet is ideal for hiking, biking and mountaineering, though these adventures are not for everyone. The terrain is tricky to traverse, and much of the land is considered sacred and not to be touched by human feet.

It is important to note that visitors to Tibet must be with a guide at all times when outside of their accommodations. Visitors are also required to have a Tibet permit, which is applied for separately from (and in addition to) any visas needed during your travel.

Visitors to Tibet usually fly into Lhasa from one of the surrounding countries – most often China or from Katmandu in Nepal – though flights may not operate every day.

Bhutan has recently been on the radar as a ?hot? destination (as in popular, not as in global warming). Despite this recent attention to the country, it is by no means trendy – in fact quite the opposite. Bhutan?s isolation has helped to preserve its culture for hundreds of years. Like it?s himalayan neighbors, trekking is one of the most popular activities in Bhutan and there are plenty of opportunities to experience the magnificence of the landscape.

Bhutan?s festivals are an important part of their culture and take place in various cities and towns throughout the year. The most famous is Tshechu, a religious festival generally celebrated at the end of the harvest season, which is characterized by its masked dances performed by monks.

Paro, Bhutan

Monsoon season in Bhutan runs from mid-June through September, making this time less than ideal for visiting. There is one airline that flies to Bhutan – Drukair – which travelers can take from Bangkok, Delhi, Kathmandu, Kolkotta and Dhaka.

Why travel to this region of the world in 2010? It is still relatively unexplored and those who are visiting are often there exactly for this reason – to experience these countries before they become ?go to? destinations building up their tourism infrastructure and destroying the rugged, preserved culture that has made them so attractive for those looking for an out of the ordinary adventure.


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