The kingdom lies east of Nepal and west of the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh. It is south of the Tibetan hinterland and north of the Indian territories of Assam and West Bengal. Bhutan is a land-locked country with its area 38,394sq.km (about the size of Switzerland), which is surrounded by mountains in the north and west. The rugged east, visited by few western travelers, borders the sparse and largely unknown Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh.
The high Himalaya in the northern steppes separates the kingdom from Tibet. Altitude in the south ranges from 1000 ft to 4500 ft / 305 m to 1372 m. Altitudes in the more populated central regions range from 4000 ft / 1220 m in the east around Trashigang to a high of 17,000 ft / 5182 m over the highest pass. The altitude at Thimphu, the capital, is 7710 ft / 2350 m. Until roads were built in 1960’s, it took travelers at least five days to make a journey from the Indian border at Phuntsholing to Thimphu. A high mountain range separates the lowlands of the south from the central valleys.