Bhutan is a country of surprises. Sometimes referred to as the last Shangri-La, it straddles both the ancient and the modern world. Visitors might find Buddhist monks transcribing ancient texts into computers or traditionally dressed noblemen chatting on their cell phones. Truly, a visit to Bhutan is a glimpse into another way of living. Until the 1960s, Bhutan had no national currency, no telephones, no schools, no hospitals, no postal service - and no tourists. But today, its traditional culture and rich history make Bhutan a destination unlike any other. Visitors snap up hand-woven textiles. Take in stunning flora and fauna. And venture out on some of the worlds most challenging and rewarding treks.

Roughly the size of Switzerland, Bhutan is cradled between weighty neighbours China to the north and India to the south. Bhutan's geography includes subtropical savannahs, forests and the Himilayan mountains along its eastern edge. Much of its terrain is extremely rugged.

The climate of Bhutan varies across its three main geographic regions. In the north, soaring Himalayan peaks reach up over 7300 meters (24,000 feet), and extremely cold winters and cool summers prevail. The capital of Thimpu is located in the central uplands, where temperatures range from January lows of -5°C to summertime highs of 25°C. The southern plains of Bhutan enjoy a more tropical climate year round, getting up to 30°C in summer. Rain occurs primarily during the monsoon season, from June to September, with southern areas seeing the most precipitation.

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