Bhutan reminds us of the green valleys, snow capped peaks, cold climate and attractive heritage and culture. This splendid country is flanked by the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh in the East, Nepal in the West, and Tibet in the north. You will never be in want of activities in Bhutan. The valleys and temples, Handicraft emporiums, memorial, Chukha Hydel Project and monasteries are some of the major ones among the tourist places in Bhutan.
Entry into Bhutan can be made either by land or by air. Druk Air, the National Air Carrier of the Kingdom, operates regular fights to / from Paro to Delhi, Kolkatta, Kathmandu and Bangkok. By surface, entry into Bhutan is possible through southern border town of Phuentsholing. This frontier town is about 6 hours drive from Thimphu and Paro, 4 hours drive from Bagdogra and 7 hours drive from Darjeeling and Gangtok.
Indian Nationals travelling between Bhutan & India do not need Visa. An identity document, be it either passport or an election commission I. D card is, however required for presentation at the immigration during entry, to obtain an entry permit along with 06 passport size photographs. An Affidavit from Supreme Court is needed for those who don’t have any of the above documents. Indian Nationals travelling between Bhutan and Nepal require valid passport as per Nepalese immigration regulation.
It is required for those travelling to restricted areas beyond Dochula pass. The Route Permit is processed & issued in Thimphu, only after arrival in Bhutan and on production of the Entry Permit. Two copies of passport size photos required while processing Route Permit. Also this permit can be processed only during working days (Mon-Fri) and applications are accepted from 9-11 a.m and permit granted on same day from 3-5 p.m in summer and 3-.4 p.m in winter.
Bhutan’s climate is quite unpredictable. The weather can vary dramatically from place to place and day to day. In Thimphu and Paro valleys, the winter daytime temperature averages 16 degrees Celsius during clear days and drops well below freezing point during the night. The fluctuations are not so great during the summer and the daytime temperature rises to mid-twenties Celsius.
From May to September, cotton clothes are sufficient, plus a woolen sweater or light jacket. From November to the end of April, however, you will need very warm clothes. Comfortable sports shoes are also recommended. Mountain boots are not necessary unless you are trekking.
Bhutanese delicacies are rich with spicy chillies and cheese but are normally tempered to the taste of the visitors. All our hotels and lodges offer delicious Indian, Chinese, Continental and Bhutanese cuisine. Hotels normally serve a mixture of vegetarian and non-vegetarian items on buffet style however pure vegetarian meals also served on request and prior information.
The Bhutanese currency is called Ngultrum (Nu.) and is at par with Indian Rupee. Credit cards (Amex and Visa cards) are accepted by only few limited establishments and no ATM centers are available. Indian Rupee is acceptable all over Bhutan however it is also advisable not to carry Rs 1,000/ and Rs 500/ denomination currency notes.
The official language of Bhutan is Dzongkha and a large number of dialects are spoken. English has been the language of educational instruction since 1964 and is widely spoken. Also locals at popular tourist destinations understand and speak Hindi.
Mahayana Buddhism is the state religion and the majority of Bhutanese people follow Drukpa school of the Kagyupa sect.
Bhutan is very safe destination with lowest crime rate in the world. In general you will find Bhutanese people very warm, hospitable, helpful and friendly.
Telecommunication is well developed and efficient in Bhutan. The country code is + 975. If you wish to bring your own mobile phone please contact your manufacturer/supplier directly to obtain up-to-date information.
You can photograph almost everywhere in Bhutan. The people are highly photogenic and everyone seems to wear a smile. However, very often the Bhutanese are camera shy so use your discretion at all times and when in doubt ask verbally or by gesture. Also while photographing Dzongs, monasteries and temples, please check with your guide.
Shops are normally open between 0900-2000 Monday to Sunday. Markets are held regularly and are a rich source of local clothing and jewelry.
The Bhutanese authorities strictly monitor export of any religious antiquities of any kind form the kingdom. Personal electronic devices and reasonable amount of cigarettes and alcohol are permitted into the kingdom.
The following goods may be imported into Bhutan:
200 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 250g of tobacco
1 litre bottle of spirits
250ml of eau de toilette
Bhutan is six hours ahead of GMT.