Of the many travel destinations in Asia, Bhutan, sandwiched between India, Nepal and China, is certainly one of the less-visited places on Earth. That’s because the landlocked country prides itself on keeping mass tourism at bay. But as Prince William and Duchess Kate (formerly Kate Middleton) visit the country later this month, Bhutan will quickly become a top spot on the bucket lists of many travelers who were formerly unfamiliar with the nation and all its natural beauty.
Bhutan was isolated from most of the world until the 1960s, when developmental efforts brought in telephones, schools, hospitals and a national currency. Today, the Tourism Council of Bhutan requires all travelers (excluding Indian, Bangladeshi and Maldivian passport holders) to obtain a visa and book their trips through official Bhutanese tour operators.
In fact, on top of the amount of money it costs to travel to the nation, the Tourism Council of Bhutan requires travelers to pay a $200 or $250 fee per person per night to ensure visitors are keeping with the country’s policy of “high value, low impact” tourism. The fee includes 3-star accommodation, all meals, internal transportation, internal taxes and a sustainable tourism royalty of $65.
Traveling to this largely untouched place is an adventure all in itself. From the United States, travelers need to fly to cities in India, Thailand or Nepal for a direct flight to Paro, the location of Bhutan’s only international airport. Because there’s not much competition for flights to Bhutan, airline fees to Paro can be expensive.