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Bhutan General Information For Traveler

WHEN TO COME

Spring and autumn are the two best seasons to visit Bhutan. From March to May, the magnificent rhododendrons, magnolias and other wildflowers are in bloom and birdlife is abundant. You can get occasional glimpses of the high peaks, but these are not the dramatic unobstructed views possible in autumn. These two seasons also brings the magnificent Tsechus of Thimpu & Paro in autumn & spring respectively. Therefore season, is certainly a consideration when planning your trip to Bhutan.

GETTING ACQUAINTED: Paro is a ditrict / Dzonkhang lying in the north-western part of Bhutan. It has an elevation of 2250m/7382ft and a total area of 1258.5sq.km. The office of District administration is in Ripung Dzong. Thimpu is the capital of Bhutan at an altitude of 2350m / 7710ft and covering an area of 2067 sq.km.

CLIMATE: Temperature varies from -5 Degree Celsius in January to 30 Degree Celsius in July with 800mm rain. Bhutan’s altitude range, from subtropical valleys to alpine peaks, and its busy festival calendar means you can pretty much visit Bhutan at any time of the year to explore its attractions and witness colourful festivals.

RELIGION: Bhutan is a country with its state religion as Mahayana Buddhism following Drukpa school of Kargyudpa sect.

Ethnicity: Broadly divided into two groups, the Drukpas which are the Mongloid race of Buddhist faith comprising 80% of the population. And the rest 20% comprises the people of Nepalese origin of Indo-Aryan & Hindu faith.

VISA & PERMIT: Indian nationals travelling between India & Bhutan doesn’t require visa. But need to carry an Identity proof (Passport or Election card) and 6 passport size photographs for permit purpose. A valid passport is required by the Nationals of Australia, Britian,Canada, USA and other European countries. Usually granted for stays upto15 days, can be extended by paying additional fees.

CURRENCY, MONEY EXCHANGE & CREDIT CARDS: Bhutanese currency called Ngultrum (Nu) is at par with Indian Rupee, so Indian Rupee is accepted everywhere in Bhutan, but it is advisable not to carry denominations of 1000 & 500 notes. Credit cards are accepted only by few and no ATMs are available.

TIME:

6 hrs ahead of Greenwich Mean Time i.e. +6 hrs GMT.
International Dialing code is 975

HOW TO REACH:

Air : Paro airport is the only international airport of Bhutan at an elevation of 2200m. Druk Air, the national carrier operates flights between Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Sikkim, Singapore, Bangkok etc.

Land: there are three land borders crossings with India, Phuentsholing, Gelephu and Samdrup jongkhar. Travelling to Phuentsholing in Bhutan from India requires proper documentation to show at transit points. For necessary details one must contact Government of India Tourist office.

Getting around: Within Bhutan all places are well connected by road. Guests in Bhutan are not allowed to self drive & car rental is provided only along with a driver.

WHAT TO BRING

CLOTHING: A woollen sweater or light jacket is required in the months from May to Sept. Whereas from November to May very warm clothing is required. While trekking along with warm clothes carry a lightweight, waterproof and breathable jacket with a hood that can protect you from wind, rain and snow.

SHOES: A comfortable walking shoes is recommended. And if you are trekking you need a lightweight waterproof hiking boots with cotton socks.

FOOD: Local food is heavily seasoned with red chillies and can be quite hot. Continental, Indian, Chinese and Bhutanese dishes are generally served in most of the Hotels. Main towns now also have some of the best eating joints. All tourist hotels have good selection of international and Bhutanese beverages

TELECOMMUNICATION FACILITIES: Most of Bhutan has a mobile coverage but the signals are often the cause of irritation because of mountains. B- Mobile a local company has agreements with most European and Asian mobile phone companies to allow calls to be made. B-Mobile sim cards are available for purchase. Nearly all hotels has facilities of receiving and sending fax.

POSTAL SERVICE: Bhutan has slow but reliable postal services.

INTERNET SERVICE:Internet cafes are readily available in Bhutan. Wi-Fi connection is available in most of the hotels.

PHOTOGRAPHY: It would be advisable to ask for permission before clicking any individual’s picture. In case of Museum and Public buildings ask your guide to be sure as for some places are off limit due to religious and safety reasons. During festivals avoid the use of flash.

DRINKING WATER: Even though the locals drink water straight from the tap, we suggest visitors to drink only bottled water or boiled and filtered water. A reasonable variety of both hard and soft drinks are available in hotels, restaurants and shops in most towns. Many Bhutanese enjoy drinking traditional homemade alcoholic brews made from wheat, millet or rice.

THINGS TO NOTE:

Sale of Tobacco products is totally banned in Bhutan. You can bring cigarettes for personal consumption but after paying some import duties .Smoking is banned in all public places.
Entry in Bhutan for Mountaineering, publicity, and other research activities are not allowed.