Bhutan lies on the southern slopes of the eastern Himalayan mountain range and occupies a total land area of 38,394 sq. km. With a total population of only about 700,000 people it is nestled between the world's two most populous countries - China to the north, and India to the south.
The country has some of the most rugged terrain in the world, characterized by huge variations in altitude. Within a distance of about 250 kilometers between the southern foothills and the northern mountains, Bhutan's elevation rises from about 150 meters to more than 7,500 meters.
The country can be conveniently divided into three distinct zones: the subtropical southern foothills 150 -2000 meters; the temperate inner Himalayas where the majority of the people live 2000—4000 meters; and the sparsely populated high Himalayas above 4000 meters. This great geographical diversity, combined with equally diverse climatic conditions contributes to Bhutan's remarkable range of biodiversity and ecosystems and the country is today recognized as one of the ten 'global biodiversity hotspots'.