Bhutan is located in the eastern Himalayas, bordered to the north by China and to the south, east and west by India. The altitude varies from 300m (1000ft) in the narrow lowland region to 7000m (22,000ft) in the Himalayan plateau of the north, and there are three distinct climatic regions.
The foothills are tropical and home to deer, leopards and the rare golden monkey as well as much tropical vegetation including many species of wild orchids. The Inner Himalayan region is temperate; wildlife includes bears, wild boars and sambhar and the area is rich in deciduous forests. The High Himalayan region is very thinly populated, but the steep mountain slopes are the home of many species of animals including the endangered snow leopard and musk deer.
Bhutan is an abode in the heart of the vast Himalayan region, but little known to the outside world, being wedged between giant neighbors and screened by some of the highest mountain ranges. The inhabitants of this hidden country, sandwiched between India and China, are the independent Bhutanese people who have existed more or less isolated from the rest of the world. Thus, to a large extent, they have succeeded in maintaining their cultural and spiritual heritage preserved in centuries-old traditions.
Bhutan - the last paradise on earth - reflects age-old religions, cultures, art and architecture in its townships nestling among forested Himalayan peaks. Cleft with deep green valleys and steep hillsides climbing into the sky, Bhutan exudes a special a feeling of serenity, which envelops visitors the very instant they set foot in the Kingdom. People are deeply religious and follow the Mahayana form of Buddhism. The air of spirituality is evident, even in the urban centres where the spinning of prayer wheels, the murmur of mantras and the glow of butter lamps in the houses are still important features of everyday life. Monasteries, temples and religious monuments dot the landscape, bearing witness to the importance of this mystic religion that preaches peace. Monks of vastly varying ages can be seen everywhere in Bhutan.