And off we go to Bhutan...Day 1

Bhutan has got to be one of the most expensive trips we have ever taken. Tourism is tightly controlled by the government, so you have no choice but to pay a set fee and to plan everything via travel agents registered with the Tourism Council of Bhutan.  There is really no control over what hotel you stay at. You have 2 choices - standard which is included in the set fee and luxury which is the set fee + the price of the hotel (usually over 500$USD/day).

The fee per day per person during high season is 250$USD as of 2011.  And if you are in a group smaller than 3, you have to pay an extra surcharge of $30/day.

The fee includes hotel, 3 meals per day, a tour guide, a driver and a car - it sounds good but OMG, that's 530$/day x how many days you want to visit Bhutan.

You have to wire all the money one month before your trip to be able to apply for the visa.  I was really scared wiring all that $ to some stranger on the internet but it all worked out.

Druk Air is the only airline that flies into Paro, Bhutan.  You can fly via Bangkok, which is what we did. And round trip airfare runs close to 900$/person.  It takes around 4 hours to fly from Bangkok to Paro and they do feed you on flight.  That was definitely one of the pluses with all the airlines we used in this vacation. It doesn't matter if the flight is only 1 hour, they still feed you a wonderful meal unlike the airlines in North America.

We got an amazing view of the Himalayas on the way into Bhutan.  I'm not sure what peaks those are though...

When we landed, we looked out the window and saw this:

We thought "OMG, they are rolling out the red carpet for us"   HAHA. It turns out that the prime minister of Bhutan was on our flight.  After he walked the carpet, they rolled it right back up before the tourists got off.

Our tour guide Sonam and our driver Phub was waiting for us outside airport, all ready for our Day 1 itinerary which was mainly our drive from Paro into Thimpu.  We made a quick stop here to take some photos and to cross the bridge.

I was definitely thinking "Is this bridge safe ???"

When we arrived in Thimpu, we spent a couple of hours in town.  Thimpu is supposed to be Bhutan's biggest & busiest city.

We shopped at the weekend market before stopping off at their local dress maker.  I really wanted to buy the Kira for myself and the Goh for my hubby.