The following information acts as a guide when traveling to Bhutan. This practical advice is not a comprehensive list but should provide some useful information for you as you plan your travelling. Tourism is still relatively new to Bhutan, with independent travel not allowed. Visitors must book through us or any other travel company of your choice in Bhutan.
“Paro Airport is about 7,200 feet above sea level with mountain passes and trekking heights ranging from 11,000 feet to more than 16,000 feet. In addition to the normal altitude acclimatization protocol (drink lots of water and limit alcohol), avoid hot baths or showers for the first day as heat expands the capillaries and veins, and expedites oxygen loss in the blood supply, which can often lead to altitude sickness,” says Timothy Krenzien, president of Paul Klein Travel, a Virtuoso-affiliated agency in Chicago. (312-782-5343; paulklein.com) We provide plenty of mineral water for you on a daily basis
“Only two airlines fly into Bhutan: Bhutan Airlines and Druk Air. Generally, there’s only one flight per day from each major gateway city including Bangkok, Delhi, and Kathmandu, and two flights a week from Singapore, so flights sell out in peak season.”
“Bhutan is the same latitude as Florida, but you need to factor in altitude. The sun is strong and you’ll want sunscreen, lip protection, quality sunglasses, and a hat. Nights are cool to cold. Plan to pack comfortable washable clothing, including cotton pants, long-sleeve shirts, fleeces, a lightweight down jacket or vest, and sturdy shoes.”
“When visiting a Bhutanese home, if you sit down with your legs crossed, don’t point your hanging foot at anyone; it’s considered offensive. Never touch a person’s head; the head is considered a sacred part of the body.”
The Royal Insurance Corporation of Bhutan has initiated a travel and medical plan solely for our visitors. Travel insurance can be provided through us or international partner. You may also visit the Royal Insurance Corporation of Bhutan website at www.ricb.com.bt for more information.
Bhutan’s currency is the Ngultrum (Nu.) It is at par with the Indian rupee which is widely accepted in the country. In addition, POS (Point of Sale) services are available nationwide, meaning visitors can pay by credit card at most hotels and handicrafts stores.
Financial institutions in Bhutan have been greatly enhanced and today we have a number of banks that cater to the needs of the people.
Some of the banks that you can avail of while in Bhutan are the Bank of Bhutan Limited, the Bhutan National Bank, the Druk PNB and the Tashi Bank. Traveller’s cheque can be easily withdrawn and exchanged for local currency. Many of these banks provide internet banking facilities.
All major towns are well connected with electricity that runs on 220/240 volts with round hole two-pin and three-pin power outlets.
It is recommended that you bring flat-to-round pin converters for your electronics if necessary, however, most hotels offer multi plug sockets. Bhutan is a carbon neutral destination. Our energy is clean and green generated by hydro power.
Bhutan offers immense opportunities for photography especially during outdoor sightseeing trips. However, you should check with your guide before taking pictures or filming inside Dzongs, temples, monasteries and religious institutions as in some area photography/filming is not permitted.
You are free to capture images of the landscape, the panoramic views of the mountain ranges, rural life, flora and fauna, distinctive Bhutanese architecture and the exterior of Dzongs and Chortens.
Some popular handicraft items available for purchase are hand-woven textiles of raw silk or silk, carved masks of various animals, woven baskets of cane and bamboo, wooden bowls known as Dapas, handmade paper products or finely crafted gods of silver. Other items you may be interested in are the exquisite Buddhist thangkha paintings or Bhutan’s wide array of colourful and creative postage stamps. You can come across these items in the many handicraft shops in and around Thimphu and in other major towns. Please remember that buying and selling of antiques is strictly forbidden in Bhutan.
Tipping is a purely personal matter. We leave it up to you as to whether you want to give a gratuity to your guides and drivers. However, if doing so, we recommend that you place the gratuity in an envelope.
The country has a good network of telecommunication facilities. Most hotels and cafe’s offer Wi-Fi internet access. Bhutan has a comprehensive mobile (cell) phone network with global roaming also assessable. We also provide all our guests with a local sim card with internet package for the duration of their stay.
With great altitudinal variations, weather is quite mixed in Bhutan. So be prepared to face the unforeseen weather conditions.
We expect visitors to dress modestly and respectfully especially if you are planning a visit to the monasteries, Dzongs and other religious institutions. Long pants and long sleeved tops should be worn when visiting such places. As a mark of respect, be kind enough to remove your hats, caps etc. as you enter religious and administrative premises, institutions and in any other place that you come across with the national flag being raised.
Bhutan ascribes to the metric system and most weights are measured in gram (g) and kilogram (kg). The standard time is 6 hours ahead of GMT.
Before embarking on a trip to Bhutan, please seek advice from your doctor with regard to vaccinations and appropriate medication you should have prior to your travels. As a minimum you should have tetanus, typhoid and hepatitis inoculations.
Bhutan is one of the safest countries in the world however you should still exercise caution when visiting. Please ensure that your belongings especially your passports, cameras, wallets and purses are properly secured. Please refrain from leaving such items within sight or in locked vehicles while sightseeing.
Avoid drinking tap water which has not been boiled or ice cubes in drinks at all times as most water sources in Bhutan are untreated. We provide our guests with daily mineral water.
Also, Bhutan has a duty to protect its citizens from drugs and tobacco products. To do this we need your help and cooperation. Please co-operate if stopped and asked about your baggage. Please do not carry tobacco goods in excess of the set limit.
Public holidays are observed throughout the nation. However, each district has its own list of regional holidays that are observed especially during the annual Tshechus (Religious festivals). For the updated list, kindly email us and we will have them sent to you.
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