The hermit kingdom where the true essence of life exists – Bhutan, is a Buddhist territory on the eastern rim of the Himalayas, a place that strikes a chord of the true meaning of cultural legitimacy. It wasn’t more than four decades that Bhutan opened up to alien visitors with a strictly controlled tourism strategy. After years of seclusion, the dragon nation that had preserved its rich cultural uniqueness has welcomed foreigners to be a part of their happiness. The traditional costume remains the favored attire and one need to believe when Bhutanese people claim that chilly is their favorite vegetable. Starbucks and McDonald’s have yet to stake a foothold on this soil – the government is keen on managing foreign influences to shield and safeguard their cultural identity. The unexpected attractions engulfing the last Shangri La include the town of Punakha – home to one of the most unusual shrines, Chimi Lhakhang monastery blessed by the maverick saint better known as the ‘divine madman’. Literally, no visitors exit the land of the thunder dragon without taking up on a hike to the Taktshang Palphug Monastery popularly known to the world as the Tiger’s Nest, which is miraculously perched on the side of a sheer cliff above Paro valley. Another unexpected and rare experience in Bhutan is the valley of Gangtey – one of the most stunning valleys in the Himalayas. The surprise of finding such a wide, flat, treeless valley after a hard climb through dense forests itself is unusual. Other not-to-miss highlights of Bhutan are Rinpung Dzong, Tashicho Dzong, Punakha Dzong, Gangteng Monastery, Kyichu Lhakhang, and the National Museum of Bhutan. Bhutan is the perfect place to be, and inhale the fresh air of the Himalayas – looking up at the clear azure blue skies and experiencing a peaceful quality holiday.