Interview with Karma Bajaj, Owner of Bhutan Mahayana Tours

Bhutan is perhaps one of the most unusual, intriguing travel destinations in the world. Since Bhutan was first opened to tourists, the country has approached tourism on their own terms, maintaining what is culturally and ecologically important to them. Before EcoTripMatch.com was even launched, Karma Bajaj, was one of the most generous, supportive people in terms of sharing his thoughts and encouragement, so I was not at all surprised he agreed to answer some questions about his unique country and the tours he offers there. Here are his answers:

What makes Bhutan a unique place for tourists to visit?

Tourism was introduced in Bhutan in 1964 with a policy of high value and low volume initiated by the 4th His Majesty the King. This policy didn’t allow for mass tourism in the country, so its cultural and environmental values are not compromised to accommodate a large number of tourists.

Even today, Bhutan has only around 100,000 tourists visiting the country in a year. Bhutan has one of the most unique experiences to offer to these visitors, as all the tourism products available are without any foreign influence.

What do people need to know about visiting Bhutan?

There is a misconception in the west that it is very expensive to visit Bhutan as they have to pay a $250 a day visa fee. People have to know that you do not have to pay $250 a day as a visa fee. The $250 covers all the facilities such as hotels, car, guide, meals, and fees to visit the monuments.

What does your company, Bhutan Mahayana Tours, offer people who are interested in nature?

We at Bhutan Mahayana tours offer nature tours such as bird watching in the Himalayas and the Southern foothills of Bhutan, walking tours combined with temple visits, and trekking in the Himalayas. We also offer community-based eco tours. And to understand the nature of your mind, we offer meditation tours in Bhutan.

What is your most popular tour?

Our most popular tour is our walking tour.

Because people need to be with a tour guide in Bhutan, can tourists still freely interact with the Bhutanese people? Take photos of them?

Yes, tourists can interact the the locals whenever they want. Bhutanese people love to be photographed. You can also be without your guide.

Anything else you would like to mention?

If you would like to understand the true value of traveling, Bhutan should be on your list. Bhutan will not only please your eyes, but it will also please your mind. What I can say is please visit Bhutan and experience it for yourself.

(There are five tours by Bhutan Mahayana Tours on EcoTripMatch.com. Search for them my entering ‘Bhutan” on the search icon.)

Terry Lawson Dunn

For other interviews see:

Interview with Randy Borman, Executive Director Fundacion Sobrevivencia Cofan

Floating a Unique Idea

Ireland: Eco-retreat, Interview Series

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