Friendly Bhutan is a small landlocked country located in the southern slopes of the Eastern Himalayas. Called the ' Land of the Thunder Dragon' , it is bordered by the Chinese autonomous region of Tibet in the north, and India in the south, east and west. Bhutan has a land mass of less than 40,000 sq km that is largely made up of steep hills, mountains and valleys formed by the several rivers that crisscross the country. It has a population of less than a million people.
Through much of history, the kingdom was a patchwork of local fiefdoms. Ngawang Namgyal, a Tibetan religious leader and military general, who after fleeing persecution at home made Bhutan his home in the 16th century, is generally credited in consolidating the country and giving Bhutanese their identity. After the country broke into civil war again in the late 19th century, Ugyen Wangchuck, then the governor of the central region of Bhutan, defeated his political enemies and united the country once again. He was crowned king of the country in 1907. His descendants continue to rule the country, though in practice Bhutan is a democracy and has been famously ranked among the happiest places on earth.
Contrary to popular belief, Bhutan does not directly restrict the number of visitors to the country. What it does is to regulate all tourism. All visits and tours can be booked only through registered tour operators licensed by the government. The government also imposes a daily tariff on all visitors: a minimum of $200 per person per night for the months of January, February, June, July, August, and December, and $250 per person per night for the months of March, April, May, September, October, and November. This is expected to cover the cost of staying at least in a three star hotel in the country. For those wanting to stay in four and five star hotels, the premium is much higher. This combined with just one or two flights into the country every day, automatically restricts tourist numbers. Thus the numbers of visitors annually is still less than a lakh. Indians don' t need a visa to visit Bhutan.