Photographs by AP/ALEXANDRA REYNOLDS
The village of Laya, Bhutan, sits at nearly 13,000 feet above sea level in the Himalayas. The Laya Royal Highlander Festival is held here to promote the remote area and its native ethnic population.
Sunday, April 8, 2018
LAYA, Bhutan -- Prayer flags whip in the wind, flying across steep valleys and roads. Buddhist temples, stupa shrines and majestic fortresses called zhongs dot the landscape. Giant water-powered prayer wheels spin from tumbling falls. Farmers tend yaks.
Bhutan requires tourists to book packages using licensed tour operators and costing at least $200-$250 per day, depending on the season. Most tourists visiting Bhutan come from India and other neighboring countries. Tour operators geared to Westerners include National Geographic (nationalgeographicexpeditions.com/destinations/asia) and budget tour company Blue Poppy (bluepoppybhutan.com/en) along with luxury operator Gray Langur (graylangur.com), which offers Kingdom of the Clouds 14-day trip in October, including Royal Highlander Festival in Laya, starting at $6,400 per person, double occupancy, all-inclusive (airfare, four and five-star hotels along with camping and homestays).
BHUTAN ATTRACTIONS: Tiger’s Nest monastery, capital city of Thimphu and Punakha, the former capital, which best shows Bhutan’s regal past.
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