The 50 Things You Must Do in Asia

By Hanya Yanagihara - 2013-07-23T16:27:10Z

Photograph by Martin Westlake

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Pay the Fee to Visit Bhutan: Bhutan

Bhutan is rare among Asian countries in that it decided to forgo large numbers of tourists in favor of high-paying ones. Visitors must pay a fairly steep tariff—about $250 a day—which has discouraged swells of backpackers and gap-year wanderers (it also explains why the average age of tourists here is 58). It’s easy, as a visitor, to get too carried away by the romance of this plan, as smart as it is. The fact remains that Bhutan is a very poor country, and that the government’s resolve is being sorely tested: Tourism provides jobs, and convincing people that they’ll applaud their own prudence 20 years from now is a hard sell. But still, the plan speaks for itself—nowhere else on this trip will you see such pristine countryside.

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