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The AFAR Guide to Bhutan

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With its mountain temples and legendary landscape, Bhutan gets at the heart of adventurous and cultural travel. Located in the eastern end of the Himalayas, the Kingdom of Bhutan is home to fewer than one million people, providing a stark contrast to its neighbors, India and China. While much of the country's early history is shrouded in mystery, the evidence that Buddhism played a pivotal role in shaping its culture couldn't be more clear.
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Southern Asia
For a one-night trek, climb to the Thousand Fairies Camp, 12,467 feet above the town of Paro. The next morning, descend to Tiger’s Nest, a 17th-century monastery built into the side of a cliff. The guru Rinpoche, who brought Buddhism to Bhutan,...
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Each Spring the Paro Festival or Tsechu takes place in Paro, Bhutan. The festival is a wonderful event to witness. Masked, barefoot dancers jump and twirl, while trying to subdue evil spirits and celebrate the teachings of Buddha. The event takes...
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Chang Lam, Thimphu, Bhutan
The national sport of Bhutan is archery. Serious archery. These gentlemen (the Prince was a competitor before he became King) are so good they hit targets we couldn't even see from the competitors end of the grounds. When they did well they would...
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Southern Asia
Shop with locals atThimphu’s Weekend Market, where you can buy handwoven silks, singing bowls, and traditional masks, above. You’ll also find human bones: Thigh bones, kangdu, are blown like trumpets, and skulls, kapala, are used to hold water or...