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  • Bhutan rolls out the welcome mat - 1 of 33

    Bhutan rolls out the welcome mat

    The Himalayan kingdom, located between India and China and east of Nepal, is pursuing 'high-value, low-impact' tourists as it aims to boost its visitor numbers fivefold next year. Pictured here, the Taktsang Monastery, also known as Tiger's Nest, in Paro Valley. TW photos by Arnie Weissmann

  • Bhutan rolls out the welcome mat - 2 of 33

    Bhutan rolls out the welcome mat

    Two monks circumnavigate the 100 chortens atop 9,900-foot Dochula Pass.

  • Bhutan rolls out the welcome mat - 3 of 33

    Bhutan rolls out the welcome mat

    The town of Paro, in a valley cut by the Wang Chhu river, as seen from the National Museum.

  • Bhutan rolls out the welcome mat - 4 of 33

    Bhutan rolls out the welcome mat

    Three residents of Paro. The man on the right is wearing a gho, the national dress of Bhutan.

  • Bhutan rolls out the welcome mat - 5 of 33

    Bhutan rolls out the welcome mat

    The market in Wangdu Phodrang.

  • Bhutan rolls out the welcome mat - 6 of 33

    Bhutan rolls out the welcome mat

    Phalluses painted around the entrance of a handicraft shop near Paro.

  • Bhutan rolls out the welcome mat - 7 of 33

    Bhutan rolls out the welcome mat

    Marijuana plants along a hiking trail in Bumthang.

  • Bhutan rolls out the welcome mat - 8 of 33

    Bhutan rolls out the welcome mat

    A worker clears a stand of marijuana plants in the town center of Jakar.

  • Bhutan rolls out the welcome mat - 9 of 33

    Bhutan rolls out the welcome mat

    Tsa-tsas, containing small amounts of human ash, left on rocks near Drukgyal Dzong.

  • Bhutan rolls out the welcome mat - 10 of 33

    Bhutan rolls out the welcome mat

    Prayer flags tied to a bridge in Bumthang region.

  • Bhutan rolls out the welcome mat - 11 of 33

    Bhutan rolls out the welcome mat

    Prayer flags are constructed and raised in Bumthang.

  • Bhutan rolls out the welcome mat - 12 of 33

    Bhutan rolls out the welcome mat

    Vertically mounted prayer flags put in position near Lahkhang Temple near the town of Pakar.

  • Bhutan rolls out the welcome mat - 13 of 33

    Bhutan rolls out the welcome mat

    Mr. Nado watches as the author's 8-year-old sun spins a prayer wheel near the ruins of Drukgyal Dzong.

  • Bhutan rolls out the welcome mat - 14 of 33

    Bhutan rolls out the welcome mat

    A woman turns a wheel covered in gold leaf at the entrance of Trongsa Dzong.

  • Bhutan rolls out the welcome mat - 15 of 33

    Bhutan rolls out the welcome mat

    Punakha Dzong, on the Puna Tsang Chu River.

  • Bhutan rolls out the welcome mat - 16 of 33

    Bhutan rolls out the welcome mat

    A 150-foot Buddha under construction on a mountain above Bhutan's capital, Thimphu, will be the 17th largest Buddha in the world.

  • Bhutan rolls out the welcome mat - 17 of 33

    Bhutan rolls out the welcome mat

    A view from the National Highway near Trongsa.

  • Bhutan rolls out the welcome mat - 18 of 33

    Bhutan rolls out the welcome mat

    A woman weaves traditional designs at the Yatha Weaving Center near Bumthang.

  • Bhutan rolls out the welcome mat - 19 of 33

    Bhutan rolls out the welcome mat

    An archer at Thimphu's Changlimithang Stadium.

  • Bhutan rolls out the welcome mat - 20 of 33

    Bhutan rolls out the welcome mat

    A pickup game of street cricket.

  • Bhutan rolls out the welcome mat - 21 of 33

    Bhutan rolls out the welcome mat

    The author's 8-year-old son at bat.

  • Bhutan rolls out the welcome mat - 22 of 33

    Bhutan rolls out the welcome mat

    The author's 10-year-old son bowls.

  • Bhutan rolls out the welcome mat - 23 of 33

    Bhutan rolls out the welcome mat

    The view out of the back of the hotel...

  • Bhutan rolls out the welcome mat - 24 of 33

    Bhutan rolls out the welcome mat

    The side...

  • Bhutan rolls out the welcome mat - 25 of 33

    Bhutan rolls out the welcome mat

    And the front.

  • Bhutan rolls out the welcome mat - 26 of 33

    Bhutan rolls out the welcome mat

    Bhutan's first -- and so far, only -- shopping mall, Shearee Square, just before it opened last month.

  • Bhutan rolls out the welcome mat - 27 of 33

    Bhutan rolls out the welcome mat

    Shearee Square at night.

  • Bhutan rolls out the welcome mat - 28 of 33

    Bhutan rolls out the welcome mat

    Bhutan's National Highway is a tight squeeze in some areas.

  • Bhutan rolls out the welcome mat - 29 of 33

    Bhutan rolls out the welcome mat

    Thimphu is the only Asian capital without a stoplight.

  • Bhutan rolls out the welcome mat - 30 of 33

    Bhutan rolls out the welcome mat

    Dasho Paljor Dorji, a.k.a. "Dasho Benji," with his son (and Bollywood actor) Kelly in Thimpu.

  • Bhutan rolls out the welcome mat - 31 of 33

    Bhutan rolls out the welcome mat

    Dasho Tobgye Dorji explains the meaning of items in the shrine room of Hotel Gangtey Palace to the author's sons.

  • Bhutan rolls out the welcome mat - 32 of 33

    Bhutan rolls out the welcome mat

    Jigme Thinley, Prime Minister, Bhutan

  • Bhutan rolls out the welcome mat - 33 of 33

    Bhutan rolls out the welcome mat

    Kesang Wangdi, Director General, Tourism Council of Bhutan

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