Location / climate
Bhutan is located in the eastern Himalayas bordered by China in the north and the India states of Arunachal Pradesh in the east, Assam, Sikkim in the west and West Bengal in south. The natural beauty of Bhutan is characterized by the environment that has made it stunning and captivating to visitors and the environment is as diverse as its culture. Bhutan is also known as “The Land of the Thunder Dragon” which means an existing culture and one of the last living examples of a rich Himalayan society. Bhutan today is considered to be one of the top ten destinations with its rich culture and vast biodiversity. Bhutan has three climatic zones – the Alpine in the north, the cool and temperate zone in the central and tropical in nature in the southern part of the country.
Best Time to Visit
The national language of Bhutan is “Dzongkha” and if you speak English don’t be surprised you will find many of them speaking to you in English as the language is taught in schools in Bhutan.
There are wide variety of accommodations in Bhutan from the very traditional farm house stay to the highest luxurious hotels, resorts and lodges. Most of the hotels which cater to tourist are clean with basic standard and comfortable approved by the government. In the capital city Thimphu, larger hotels have lots to offer with comfort and luxury.
Most of the places in Bhutan is well connected by road and getting around you can use a taxi, or use four wheel drive vehicle and for lager group of people, luxury buses are available.
Bhutan is popular for its hand-woven textiles, cane and bamboo products, handicrafts, woven baskets handmade paper products, thangka paintings, wooden bowls, carved masks, textiles finely crafted metal objects and Bhutan’s postage stamps.
Bhutanese food is usually hot and spicy. Most of the restaurants serve Bhutanese, Indian, and Chinese, Continental cuisine. There are specialty restaurants in the capital city which serve Thai, Chinese and Pizza’s too.
Things to bring
As per your travel plan and the season you are traveling. We would recommend, you should bring along with you are - clothes as per season, sunglasses, casual shoes, hat, umbrella, camera, films and accessories including spare camera batteries, hand cream, insect repellent, small sewing kit and safety pins, small torch spare batteries, sun cream, lip salve, soluble aspirin, antiseptic cream, anti-histamine cream, anti-diarrhea pills, sunburn cream and any medication you take regularly.
You can bring films as per your usage and plenty of spare camera batteries as these are unlikely to be available locally, but if you have a digital camera nothing like it, which is more convenient to carry and if it has 1GB or 2GB card installed you can relax and take pictures as much as you want.
Bhutan has different climatic conditions, so warm clothes are required during winter (pullover, or thick jackets) and in summers cotton clothes are preferably better and a light jacket.
Visitors coming from an area infected with yellow fever are required to have had a yellow fever vaccination at least 10 days prior to arrival. Cholera vaccinations are strongly recommended for visitors coming from a cholera infected area. Anti-malarial medication is also recommended for all travelers who will be visiting rural areas of districts bordering India. Currently no vaccination is required while traveling to Bhutan at present.
Currency & Credit Cards
The Bhutanese currency is called “Ngultrum” (Nu), which is at par with Indian rupee.
1 Ngultrum = 100 chetrum
1 Ngultrum = 1 rupee (Indian)
43 Ngultrum (approx) = US $ 1
Currency notes are available in denominations Nu.1000, Nu.500, Nu.100, Nu.50, Nu.20, Nu.10, and Nu.5.Coins are available in denominations of Chetrum (Ch) Ch.50, Ch.25,Ch.10 and Ch.5
Foreign currency is exchangeable on arrival at the airport or in banks and most travelers cheque are accepted but shops generally charge a levy on credit cards. Payments can be made with American Express, VISA and JCB cards. In general cash is more convenient while traveling in the other districts, outside Thimphu, Paro and Phuentsholing.
The natural scenery is breathtaking and you will definitely like to take pictures on all trips. You will be interested to take photos of the local people while passing by where you can always ask by a gesture if it is ok to take their photos. Please note that photography in, monasteries, shrine rooms of dzongs and religious institutions is generally not permitted but outdoor photography is permitted. To be sure when visiting such places, you may ask your guide or check before taking any photographs in various places.
Telephone & Communications Services
IID service is widely available and you can bring your GSM 900 mobile phone and get a local SIM card for the duration of your stay.
Bhutan Telecom provides IID services, ISD, STD and B-Mobile which is the service provider and is now almost well connected through out the country. Email is available in mostly every town as there are local internet café, in the hotel and some of the hotels provide you with the wireless internet facilities, ISD, STD and fax services. The STD code for Bhutan is 00975.
Is the general post office and has offices in every town where you can send postcards. It is open from 9 am – 5 pm from Monday – Friday (Sat till 12 pm).Parcels can be sent and received from Bhutan Post and also has Western Money Union Transfer. DHL services are also available.There are post offices in every town where you can send postcards and DHL you will find in Thimphu.
The major newspapers in Bhutan are
Kuensel – English / Dzongkha (Wed & Sat), Bhutan Times- English (Sunday)
and Bhutan Observer - English (Friday).Magazine “Bhutan NOW’ publication of Bhutan Times.
Bhutan Broadcasting Service has different programs in short wave transmission.
There is FM Radio stations known as Kuzoo FM 90 that broadcasts from morning 6am – 9 p.m. daily
Electricity and voltage available is 220/240 volts, three-pin power round and two-pin outlets
Bhutan Broadcasting Service transmits from 7:00 am. - 11a.m. and 6:00 p.m. - 11:00 p.m. daily. Cable television is almost everywhere as of now where you can watch different programme like CNN, BBC, Star Movies, Star Sports, Zee TV, HBO etc.
Bhutan is a safe place and you can walk around the streets. Most of the shops close early but you will find lots of stray dogs which could be disturbing sometimes at night.
The altitude may affect some visitors and the best way to over come this is to take a rest for few hours and drink water. This trekking on the high altitude sometimes may suffer from acute altitude sickness where in such cases you should decend to lower grounds immediately. Those who have high blood pressure should not forget to bring their medications.
Bhutan standard time is six hours ahead of GMT and Bhutan is thirty (30) minutes ahead of Indian standard time, one hour behind Thailand and 15 minutes ahead of Nepal.