Bhutan Travel Tips
All tourists traveling to Bhutan require to obtain a visa clearance prior to the travel to Bhutan. Your visa will be processed only by the licensed tour operators of Bhutan.
The nationals from India, Bangladesh, and the Maldives do not require Visa. Passport holders from these three countries are classified as regional tourists can obtain a free entry permit at the port of entry on producing your passport with a minimum of six months validity. Indian nationals can also use their voter’s Identity Card.
For other visitors, you are required to send us the photo page of your passport with a minimum of six months validity, and then we will apply for your visa. The visa clearance will be processed within 5 working days.
We will then email a copy of the visa clearance letter to you once it is approved. At your point of entry, you will be required to show your visa clearance letter to the Immigration officers, and they will stamp the actual Bhutan Visa on your passport. The exact visa validity will be based on the length of your Bhutan itinerary.
We provide you with 3 to 4-star hotels approved by the tourism council of Bhutan. Hotels in Bhutan normally range from three-star to five-star, and you will only be able to stay in those that are approved for tourist use, which is actually most of them in the major cities across Bhutan. Most hotels provide Television, Room Service, Fitness Centers, Spas, and Wi-fi.
A wide variety of accommodation is available ranging from luxurious 5-star hotels such as Aman Kora, Taj Tashi, Zhiwaling, Uma, and Le Meridian, where you have to pay a supplement on top of the tariff. Similarly, the ambiance and hospitality offered by the hotels are incredible.
In Bhutan, you can stay in farmhouses in the countryside; they operate as a hotel, with hotel standards. Many farmhouses provide an authentic farming experience for visitors to Bhutan. You will be able to observe age-old Bhutanese farming traditions as the people go about their daily tasks. You’ll enjoy delicious home-cooked meals and the unparalleled hospitality of a Bhutanese host.
Camping is also possible, especially if you’re doing multi-day hikes across the country or in more remote regions. When trekking, the camping experience is more like regular camping, but you have a cook, horses to carry your stuff, and a guide. Regardless of where you stay, visitors can be assured of their comfort and traditional Bhutanese hospitality.
The most distinctive characteristic of Bhutanese cuisine is its spiciness. Chillis are an essential part of nearly every dish and are considered so important that most Bhutanese people would not enjoy a meal that was not spicy. Before you order any dish you must tell them how much spicy you need.
The Bhutanese dishes are really tasty and mouth-watering you must try certain Bhutanese dishes like Ema Dhatse it is made with cheese and chilies, you can also try Kewa Dhatse which is made of cheese and potatoes, and Shamu Dhatse which includes cheese and mushrooms. You can also try local rice and dhal that will taste very different and delicious.
Bhutan has a national dress, which is compulsory for us to wear. For women, it is Kira for, and for men it is Gho. You will find people wearing it on all formal occasions and even in government places, offices, Dzongs, Temples, and Monasteries.
However, for the tourist, you can wear whatever you want. When you are visiting a Dzong or any monastery, make sure you are dressed properly; you should be in full pants with a formal shirt with collars and full sleeves. For ladies Arms and Legs must be covered appropriately. You can’t wear caps or hats if you are near the national flag, Temple, and inside the monastery. Before entering any holy place or temple you must remove your footwear. You can carry your jacket and wear it wherever required.
You can also buy Gho or Kira and enjoy the traditional look of the locals. People will appreciate you and will help you to wear.
Bhutan has two main religions, Buddhism and Hinduism. Bhutan is the only country in the world to have maintained Mahayana Buddhism. In the south, the people follow their own religion ‘Hinduism’. The freedom regarding different religious believes is accepted at a certain level. People can hold and practice their own religion in which they believe.
The country has a good network of telecommunication facilities. The best to stay connected is by purchasing a local SIM card from the electronic shop in Thimphu or Paro. Most hotels and cafes offer Wi-Fi internet access. Bhutan has a comprehensive mobile (cell) phone network with global roaming also assessable.
From late September until March, winter sets in with frost throughout much of the country and snowfall above 3000 meters above sea level; you have to bring warm clothes. April to August will be warmer; the summer weather commences from June to August with heavier monsoonal summer rains hits the country.
Bhutan’s currency is the Ngultrum (Nu.) you can use the local currency, it is convenient to bring US dollars for any purchase. Get whatever cash you need at the ATM at the airport.
The Nu and the Indian Rupee are paired one to one, so it is accepted almost everywhere in the country. The best way is to bring dollars and change it at the Airport on your arrival.
ATMs are located within all main towns throughout Bhutan, where money can be withdrawn using a Visa or MasterCard. You can pay by credit card at most of the luxurious hotels and handicrafts stores.
Transportation in Bhutan
The transportation used for tourists in Bhutan is the Japanese AC Toyota coaster bus, Hiace buses, Tucson, Santa Fe, Creata, and Land cruiser. Coaster buses and Hiace buses are used depending on group size. Our drivers are well trained and license by the Department of Tourism and the tourists are bound to have a good time riding Bhutan Mountains and you can enjoy the trip to Bhutan with comfort and ease. Our Guide and driver will accompany the tourist right after arrival until the departure.
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 A 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 that has not been boiled or ice cubes in drinks at all times as most water sources in Bhutan are untreated. One can easily acquire affordable treated and bottled 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.
Language in Bhutan
Dzongkha is the National Language of Bhutan, Bhutanese people speak English, which makes it very easy to get around. Most of the shop keepers, taxi drivers, or Hotel staff can speak and understand English. So you will not face any problem, however, you can learn a few greeting words, here are some basic phrases you can use to get around and speak with the locals:
- Hello – Kuzu-zangpo La
- How are you? – Choe gadebe yoe?
- Good Luck – Tashi delek
- Thank you – Kadriche,
- What’s your name? – Cho ge ming gachi mo?
- My name is – Nge ge ming … ing
- Yes – Ing
- No – Mae