Bhutan tops Lonely Planet’s 2020 best places to visit list

The last great Himalayan kingdom is shrouded in mystery and magic.

Landscape of Paro Taktsang (Tiger Nest) in Upper Paro Valley, Bhutan

Is travelling around the world on your bucket list? You might want to start booking those trips to Bhutan as Lonely Planet has just named it the best country to travel in 2020.

The main appeal of Bhutan, of course, is sustainability. Operating on a “high-value, low-impact” tourism policy, the “world’s last Shangri-La” is aiming to become the first 100 per cent organic nation next year, banning the use of chemical fertilisers and pesticides in all farms. The Himalayan kingdom is already the only carbon-negative country, which removes more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere than it contributes.

According to Lonely Planet, visitors are able to “walk along mountain trails unsullied by litter”, while visiting Bhutan’s other attractions such as majestic monasteries, festivals and classic Himalayan trekking.

Tom Hall, vice-president of experience at Lonely Planet, explains, “Bhutan really taps into one of the themes of this year’s ‘Best in Travel’, which is the growing awareness in sustainability and in looking after the things that make our world so beautiful.”

Interestingly, the travel guide has not only consulted its panel of writers and editors but also its “online family of social media influencers”. The list, featured in the Best in Travel 2020 book, was compiled based on “topicality, unique experiences and wow factor”.

There are some destinations in the top 10 list that will certainly pique travellers’ interest. eSwatini, formerly known as Swaziland, for example, is one of South Africa’s most underrated nations that will have you “smiling all the way home”. See below for the full list of destinations:


  1. Bhutan
  2. England
  3. North Macedonia
  4. Aruba
  5. eSwatini
  6. Costa Rica
  7. The Netherlands
  8. Liberia
  9. Morocco
  10. Uruguay


Watch why you should make Bhutan your top destination choice in 2020: 


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