Bhutan's reputation for being the high-end himalayan holiday destination is well-deserved. Travelers pay a minimum daily fee that includes accommodation and meals. For those traveling in large groups, it's $200 during high season, $165 during low; rates go up for those in groups of four or less.
You can easily spend a lot more than that, however, by asking one of the designated travel companies you are required to use to visit Bhutan to book you into one of the luxury hotels that have popped up over the past few years places like the Taj Tashi in the capital Thimpu, or one of five Aman resorts sprinkled around the country. If you want to stick much closer to the daily minimum while still relaxing in luxury, though, ask about Hotel Zhiwa Ling, www.zhiwaling.com. Located outside Paro, home to the country's only airport, the Zhiwa Ling is an imposing collection of buildings running down a hillside. In the main lobby, three floors of vibrantly painted woodwork hit you as you enter. Once you've checked in, sample the usual luxuries a spa, a hot stone bath from which you can watch the night sky as well as unexpected ones: the hotel has two Buddhist temples, for example, one of which is built from 450-year-old timber beams. At night, the Lingka restaurant has a simple menu ranging from Thai (including an excellent tom kha gai) to Italian (featuring a version of spaghetti carbonara too experimental for my tastes). But the main reason to visit the hotel indeed, the main reason to visit Bhutan is the noise. There is none. Rates that start from just $145 should help you sleep even better.
Next Socialist Movements