Bhutan

Driving Directions Bhutan

India surrounds BHUTAN to the south and China to the north. It rises from foothills overlooking the Brahmaputra river to the southern slopes of the Himalayas. The Himalayas, which rise to over 7,500 meters or 24,608 feet in Bhutan, make up most countries. Bhutan can be divided into three topographical regions: the high Himalayas; the middle Himalayas, where the mountains are lower and are dissected by fertile valleys occupied by rivers which are main tributaries of India’s Brahmaputra river; and the foothills and plains of a region called the Duars, the southern part of which is used for agriculture.

Driving Directions


The climate is hot and wet on the plains, but temperatures drop progressively with alti­tude, resulting in glaciers and permanent snow cover in the north. There are no railways, but roads join many parts of the country. Bhutan has been isolated historically for centuries, only opening its doors to the outside world in the 1970s. Its small population continues to follow a traditional way of life that is kind to the environment.

As a result, the country has a wealth of habitats and flora and fauna, many of which are endangered. At least 5,000 species of plants were identified, many of them valuable in traditional and Western medicine, along with 165 species of mammals and 675 species of birds. Rare wildlife includes tigers, snow leopards, red pandas, golden langur monkeys, and black-necked cranes. Some 95 percent of the workforce are farmers growing wheat, rice, potatoes, and corn. Fruit such as plums, pears, apples, and also cardamom is grown for export. Yaks reared on the high pasture land provide milk, cheese, and meat. As there is little demand for new farmland, vast areas of the country remain forested, and the land laws ensure that 60 percent of the natural woodland must remain forever.

Bhutan’s mineral resources include coal, limestone, gypsum, and dolomite. Industries are all small-scale activities and are strictly controlled to minimize negative effects on the environment. They include mining, manufacture of wood products, food processing, cement, hydroelectric power for home use and export to India, and craft goods. Tourism is the country’s main source of foreign income, but the number of visitors is strictly limited as too great an influx is regarded as a threat to Bhutan’s culture and environment.

Google maps™ Bhutan

Bhutan is a small, landlocked country in the Himalaya Mountains, between China and India in Southern Asia. To the north and northwest, it borders the Chinese autonomous region of Tibet (Xizang Zizhiqu); to the south and southwest, the Indian states of West Bengal and Assam; and the east, the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh (formerly the North-East Frontier Agency). Bhutan has 47,000 square kilometers (18,147 square miles), making it slightly more than half as large as the state of Indiana.

All of Bhutan is mountainous except for narrow fringes of land at the southern border where the Duārs Plain, the Brahmaputra River’s lowland, protrudes northward from India. The rest of Bhutan can be divided into two mountain regions: the Lesser Himalayas, or Inner Himalayas, which extend from the Duārs Plain through the central part of the country; and the snow-capped peaks of the Great Himalayas in the far north. Bhutan is landlocked.

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