The Land of the Thunder Dragon, or what the world knows as The Kingdom of Bhutan, opened its doors to the global community in the 1970s. After hundreds of years of isolation, this fascinating country is now reconnecting with other countries and many people across the globe get drawn by it. One of the reasons for the attraction is Bhutan's reputation for being the "happiest place on earth".

This claim is supported by the Gross National Happiness Index, a tool that gauges the level of happiness across the Bhutan society in aspects of cultural resilience and promotion, good governance, education, health, living standards, community vitality, psychological well-being, environment and time-use. In 2015, the GNHI report showed that 43.4% of the Bhutanese population were deeply happy. 

Before heading off to this wonderful place on, get acquainted with the following pieces of essential information. Here are 5 things you need to know:

1.  Climate

The climate changes according to the altitude and the North Indian monsoons. Summer begins in the middle of April and lasts until late June. The North Indian monsoon starts sometime in June and ends at around late September and during this time, there are heavy rains at the southern part of the country. The rainy season comes in between early October until late November. During this time, the weather is sunny and snowfall could be experienced on higher places. The scenes are lovely at this time.

In the recent climate occurrences, it seems that the Summer period comes in sometime in June and disappears in the month of September. This one gives way to Autumn and beautiful scenery. For more information about the changing climates and weather, travelers may peruse the monthly newsletter published by the Tourism Council of Bhutan

2. Flight

Currently, there two airlines that can transport enthusiastic tourists to Bhutan. One is The Royal Bhutan Airlines Drukair which departs from Singapore, India, Thailand, Nepal and Bangladesh and arrives at Paro International Airport in Bhutan. Another alternative is the Bhutan Airlines which carries passengers from Thailand, Nepal and India.

3. Travel Requirements and Costs

Foreigners require a visa to enter Bhutan, except for citizens of Bangladesh, India, and the Maldives. Visa has to be secured before arrival and this could be arranged by a licensed Bhutanese tour operator or a licensed international partner.

A copy of the photo-page of a valid passport must be sent to the tour operator and an amount of $40 must be wire transferred to the account of the Bhutan National Bank. Tourism Bhutan Council will process the application upon receipt of payment and the process will be completed within 72 working hours.

You will be presenting your visa clearance letter upon entry to the country. There is also a minimum daily package cost that a traveller has to pay for--this includes things like food, accommodation, a tour guide, and taxes.

A tourist has to pay extra $200 and $250 during off-peak season and peak season, respectively.

Visitors can also get a travel or medical insurance which could be secured via the licensed Bhutanese tour operator or the licensed international partner. The insurance is from Royal Insurance Corporation of Bhutan .

4. Accommodation

Tourism Bhutan Council displays a list of licensed accommodation provider. In the minimum daily package of a tourist, a 3-star accommodation is included. Most hotels have the facilities of television, wi-fi, room service, spa and fitness area.

Accommodations are categorized into hotels, farm stays, resorts, and home stays.

5. Cuisine

Rice is part of their daily meals and red rice is preferred as it is more beneficial to health.Bhutanese traditional dishes are characterized by its spicy taste.Some of the well-known vegetarian dishes include !Ema Datshi, Kewa Datshi, and Kamrupi Biriyani. Popular drink includes the Sura or saltered butter tea.

It is good to set your expectations before heading out on a journey. Prepare in advance and accomplish what needs to be done before travelling to this country!

Have you been to Bhutan? Share your thoughts about the country below!