Bhutan Travel Tips

PASSPORT: Your passport must be valid for at least six months beyond the date you are planning to stay in Bhutan, and must have at least two blank pages.

VISA: A visa is required for entry into Bhutan and is obtained on your behalf by Right Travel. In this case only, the included visa service applies to all nationalities. Passport must be valid for six months beyond travel dates.

MEDICAL REQUIREMENTS: No immunizations are required. We highly recommend that you consult your physician for pre-departure health advice. For more information, visit the Center for Disease Control website: http://www.cdc.gov/.

CURRENCY The Ngultrum is the currency of Bhutan. The exchange rate varies, and has fluctuated between 44 & 48 INR for 1 USD in 2010. For exact and current exchange rates, visit: http://www.xe.com/ucc/. It is advisable to always carry some local currency with you while traveling. You may use your ATM card to withdraw INR while in Bhutan. We recommend you inform your bank prior to traveling to advise them of your travel plans, to avoid a security block on your ATM card.

CREDIT CARDS: Most merchants in major destinations accept credit cards. We recommend you inform your credit card company that you are traveling to avoid your card being blocked for security reasons.

Bhutan - There are many dogs in settled areas. They sleep in the day and roam around at night. Bring earplugs if you think their barking might bother you. If you wear contact lenses, bring a pair of glasses as well as, at high altitudes, contact lenses can irritate the eyes.
Smoking is banned in all public places. The sale of tobacco items is prohibited in Bhutan, so kindly bring your own and declare at the airport in Paro that they are for personal use. The tax on tobacco items will be 200

CLIMATE:The western part of Bhutan is a mix of temperate (Paro & Thimphu) and sub-tropical (Punakha). However, bear in mind that the higher the altitude, the cooler the weather, and that with a brisk wind blowing down off the mountains, even a low-lying valley can become quite chilly. Winter in Bhutan is from mid-December till mid-February, and at this time of the year the climate is dry and sunny for the most part, temperatures peaking at around 60 degrees Fahrenheit in the daytime and falling below zero at night. The monsoon usually arrives in mid-June until the end of September, with light rain falling mainly in the afternoons and evenings

Bhutan - No inoculations are required. However, some inoculations are recommended. Visitors coming from an area infected with yellow fever are required to have had a yellow fever vaccination at least 10 days before their arrival. Cholera vaccinations are strongly recommended for visitors coming from cholera infected area. Please consult your physician before traveling to Bhutan. Please refer to the advice of your own doctors for any high altitude medication if you are traveling 8,000 feet above sea-level or susceptible to altitude illness

LUGGAGE: We recommend you only take one average-sized piece of checked luggage per person, with an approximate combined dimension of 54 in (137 cm) for height, width and depth, and weighing a maximum of 50 lbs (23 kg). In addition, you may carry-on a bag not to exceed 15 lbs (6.8 kg). It is important that you check exact specification of luggage allowed from the airline on which you are traveling, as they vary.
 

Languages: Bhutan - The national language is Dzongkha. Dialect varies by region. English is generally spoken in tourist areas.


WHAT TO WEAR: Comfortable walking shoes and breathable, wrinkle-free, layering clothes work well for traveling in Bhutan. Tank tops and spaghetti straps for women are not recommended while entering Temples or Mosques. If wearing either of these, take a stole or wrap to cover the shoulders while in these places of worship as a sign of respect for the religion. Men and Women equally, are required to cover their legs while entering a Mosque.

REMEMBER TO PACK: Prescriptions, as well as over-the-counter medicine, sunscreen, mosquito spray, travel umbrella, binoculars, sunglasses, hat, camera, transformer/adapter. We also recommend that you pack in your check-in luggage, at least two copies of all the travel documents that you bring with you. Make copies of your passport page that contain your photo, date and place of issuance, date of expiration, and your citizenship, as well as your Bhutan visa page.

HOTELS: Hotel check in time is 3:00 pm, and check-out time is 12:00 noon.

Emergency:

Bhutan

  • Ambulance: 110
  • Fire: 112
  • Police: 113

ELECTRICITY: 220-240 volts, 50 Hz, Socket types A, C, and M. Electrical converter/transformer, and an adapter plug with two round pins & three round pins arranged in a triangle is needed.

FOOD: Minor stomach ailments are the most common affliction of visitors to Bhutan. We recommend you to always wash your hands before and after eating, and not to consume food from street vendors. Fresh fruit can be consumed after peeling and/or washing thoroughly with bottled water. Also drink plenty of bottled water while traveling.

SHOPPING: Bhutan is a paradise. You will find everything from clothes to ceramics, metal works, and a variety of local handicrafts. Each region in Bhutan specializes in a particular industry that been handed down over generations. You will  find that every item has a story behind it. Bargaining is common outside of malls and larger retail stores. It is recommended that you quote the price you want to pay. The seller will most likely meet you half way. If you will lucky, they may even meet your price Every Shopping Market and/or Mall has a particular day of the week that they close. When open, the hours anywhere from 10 am & 9 pm. Some shops may also close during lunchtime for a few hours.

PHOTOGRAPHY: Special permission of the Archaeological Survey of Bhutan, New Delhi, is required for use of tripod and artificial light. Photography in the wildlife sanctuaries is allowed on payment of a prescribed fee. In Delhi, videos are not allowed at Humayuns Tomb, and camera fees are imposed at both UNESCO sites visited in Delhi. Videos are not allowed in the Taj Mahal complex past the first viewing area guests may store their cameras.

GRATUITIES: It is customary to tip the various people that provide you with service during your travels. The amount you tip is a matter of personal discretion, and generally based on your satisfaction on the level of service you receive. Following is a tipping guideline for satisfactory service:

  • Tour escort: $5 per person per day
  • Driver: $2 per person per day
  • Local Guide: $2 per person for half day of sightseeing (2-3 hours) OR $5 per person for full day of sightseeing.
  • Hotel Porter: $1 per bag per person 
  • Wait staff in restaurants: 10 &ndash 15 percent of your total bill
  • Housekeeping: $1 per person, per day

Code of Conduct:

Bhutan - Shaking hands is generally an appropriate greeting in addition to bowing your head. Giving of alms to mendicants and holy men in the vicinity of markets and outside temples is an accepted practice. In exchange for your contribution of a small coin, a prayer will be intoned for you. Take your cue from the Bhutanese on such occasions and, when in doubt, ask your guide what would be the appropriate thing to do. Before taking photos of local people, their homes or shops, always ask by a gesture if it is ok to do so. Smoking is banned in all public places

HOLIDAYS:

Jan2: Winter Solstice
Jan17: Traditional Day of Offerings
Feb 16-17: Losar (New Year):Year of the Wood Female Sheep
Feb 19-24: Punakha Drubchen (Punakha)
Feb 21-23: Birth Anniversary of Fifth King HM Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck
Feb 25-27: Punakha Tshechu (Punakha)
Mar 4: Bhutan International Marathon (Paro)
Mar 27-31: Paro Tshechu (Paro)
Apr 4-6: Talo Tshechu (Punakha)
Apr 15-17: Rhododendron Festival (Thimphu)
Apr 25: Zhabdrung Kuchoe
May 2: Birth Anniversary of Third King HM Jigme Dorje Wangchuck
May 29: Lord Buddhas Parinirvana
Jun 23: Birth Anniversary of Guru Rinpoche
Jul 16: First Sermon of Lord Buddha
Sep 2: Tour of the Dragon Bike Race (Western Bhutan)
Sep 2: Blessed Rainy Day
Sep 15: Thimphu Drubchen (Thimphu)
Sep 19-21: Thimphu Tshechu (Thimphu)
Oct 1: Descending Day of Lord Buddha
Nov 1: Coronation of Fifth King HM Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck
Nov 11: Birth Anniversary of Fourth King Jigme Singye Wangchuck
Nov 11: Constitution Day
Nov 11: Gross National Happiness Day
Dec 13: Druk Wangyel Tshechu (Thimphu)
Dec 17: National Day

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