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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

The Himalaya BhutanTailor Made holidays to BhutanMountain Kingdoms has been organising treks and tours to Bhutan for 24 years. Indeed, we are the company that has pioneered the majority of the off-the-beaten-track routes throughout the kingdom. More than half of our staff have been to Bhutan, no other tour operator knows the country like we do - and that is no idle boast! Let us design an itinerary to suit you, your interests and your preferred dates of travel. Call us on +44 (0)1453 844 400 or 0845 330 8579Luxury resorts in Bhutan There are a small number of boutique and deluxe hotels in Bhutan. You may like to add a couple of nights onto the end of your trek or tour, or you can upgrade for one or more nights during your holiday, subject to your itinerary and hotel availability. Luxury properties include chic Uma Paro, opulent Taj Tashi in Thimphu and more traditionally styled Amankora hotels in Paro, Punakha, Gangtey, Bumthang and Thimphu. Upgrades are available from £180 per person for Uma Paro, £160 per person for Taj Tashi and £445 per person for Amankora, twin sharing, high season, all meals and taxes included. Please contact the office for further information.Festivals One of the highlights of any visit to Bhutan is the chance to visit a religious festival or Tsechu. Here the religious and secular sides of Bhutanese society come together for noisy and spectacular celebrations. Most of our 2011 treks and tours to Bhutan include a festival visit - this is highlighted in the relevant trip details. Interesting facts Bhutanese name: Druk Yul (Kingdom of the Thunder Dragon) Size: 18,147 sq miles/47,000 sq km Capital: Thimphu Government: Constitutional Monarchy Currency: Ngultrum Present (Fifth) King: Jigme Khesar Namgyal Wangchuck (pictured above) Religion: Approx 70% Tibetan Buddhist Drukpa 'Red Hat' sect, 25% Hindu, 5% other Population: No reliable figures. Approx 750,000 Highest Mountain: Gangkar Punsum, 7,550m/24,770ft. The highest unclimbed peak in the world. First and only British expedition in 1986 led by our MD, Steve Berry11telephone: 0845 330 8579 (local call rate, UK only)international telephone: +44 1453 844 400www.mountainkingdoms.com