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Your tour operator can work any of these sights into your itinerary. At the top of many a bucket list is the Tiger’s Nest, a Buddhist monastery that sits on the side of a cliff. The structure was built beside a cave where the Guru Rimpoche lived after flying here on a tiger, as legend has it. The hike up was as memorable as promised: the steep 3.5-kilometer trail, swathed in prayer flags, became more astonishing with every step.

The National Museum of Bhutan (nationalmuseum.gov.bt) was another highlight. Although still being restored after an earthquake in 2011, the circular 17th-century watchtower, or ta dzong, above Paro is an impressive attraction in itself. The exhibits on display offer a primer on Bhutanese culture, with information on holy men, relics in glass cases, and a natural-history gallery.

Not everything worth seeing makes it into the scheduled tour circuit. In Thimphu, the Bhutan Postal Museum (bhutan.travel), which is dedicated to the humble stamp, perfectly sums up the country's quirkiness. Visitors can have their own images reproduced on legal stamps and use them on postcards to send home—the ultimate Bhutanese souvenir.

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