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The Himalaya9telephone: 0845 330 8579 (local call rate, UK only)international telephone: +44 1453 844 400www.mountainkingdoms.comMountain colours, Sikkim, Tony Rye

The Kingdom of BhutanOf all the Himalayan kingdoms, Bhutan, the Kingdom of the Thunder Dragon, is the most mysterious. Like Tibet, its rulers followed a policy of isolationism, helped by the fact that the central valleys are surrounded on all sides by mountains. It is a land of supernatural legends and ancient monastery-fortresses and, even today, the Bhutanese people still wear traditional national dress. Its mountains remain largely unmapped, unnamed, unclimbed and unexplored; many are sacred or thought to be gods in their own right. Bhutan's ancient history is a story of struggle between reincarnate rulers, feudal lords and differing Buddhist sects vying for power, until the late 19th Century when the old orders were swept away and a hereditary monarchy was established. Family Adventure in BhutanWe offer a dedicated two-week family adventure in Bhutan. Graded "Gentle", it includes a four-day trek that has three nights camping, a festival, mountain flights and a varied, fast-moving itinerary. For details of all our Family Adventures, see pages 72 & 73Festival dancer, Rob & Sally Hull