Bhutan Travel Guide
Occupying the high mountain valleys between China to the north and India to the south, Bhutan has long been a mystery to the West. The Kingdom has maintained its traditional Mahayana Buddhist way of life for centuries and the rugged, unspoiled, mountainous terrain has nurtured numerous ethnic groups within its remote, protective folds. These distinct cultural and linguistic traditions continue to this day, uninfluenced by the o
The Kingdom’s only airport is located in Paro. Druk Air, Bhutan’s national carrier, flies to Paro Airport from Delhi, (Calcutta), Kathmandu, Bangkok, Dhaka, Bodhgaya and Bagdora. Druk Air adheres to schedules as closely as possible barring vagaries of weather, low cloud, and occasional impromptu requests for seats by special delegations which may result in denied boarding for a few passengers.
Bhutan is an all-season destination with a climate that varies widely from region to region. The dry autumn and winter months from September to mid-March offer warm days with temperatures ranging from approximately 16-18°C when the sun is shining. Evenings and early mornings are cool with overnight temperatures falling to around freezing. The spring season (mid-March to June) offers warmer temperatures of around 27-29°C during the day, falling to around 18°C at night. During the summer (June to September) days are clear and warm with temperatures of around 23°C. Afternoon showers dispel some of the heat and temperatures fall to around 15°C at night.
The national language of Bhutan is Dzongkha (the language of the dzongs, the imposing fortress-monasteries that dominate the landscape). However, English is spoken widely due to its use as the primary language of education.
The national currency, the ngultrum (Nu), is on par with the Indian rupee. The ngultrum is issued in notes of 1, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 and 500. Cash is the most widely accepted throughout the Kingdom. Prices are usually quoted in ngultrum though US dollars are widely accepted and changed. Guests are strongly advised to carry cash in either currency as no ATMs are available. Only a few shops in Thimphu accept credit cards and if they do, it is mainly VISA only. At Amankora, VISA, MasterCard and Amex are accepted and currency exchange to Bhutanese Nu is available from the following currencies – US Dollar, Canadian Dollar, Pound Sterling, Euro, Japanese Yen, Swiss Franc, Hong Kong Dollar, Australian Dollar, Singapore Dollar, Danish Krone, Norwegian Krone and Swedish Krona. Cash advances on credit cards are not available and guests are advised to carry sufficient cash or travellers cheques for purchases outside of the Amankora lodges.
Tourist visas are required and must be obtained prior to arriving in the country. The processing of visa applications will be arranged by Amankora and requires approximately 14 days for handling. A visa fee of US$20 will be charged at time of booking. The departure tax of US$12 is included in the airfare. Indian nationals do not require a visa to visit Bhutan. However they must carry an Indian Passport, Indian Election Card or a letter issued by the Indian Government with indication that the carrier is of Indian nationality.
The best facilities are available at the general hospital in Thimphu. Travellers are advised to avoid untreated or un-boiled water. Water at the resort is fully treated and bottled water is also available. Altitude sickness can affect some travellers. General medicines are readily available but guests are advised to bring in their own requirements for the duration of their visit. Guests should consult with their doctors and arrange travel insurance prior to departure.
Electricity is 230 volts. Bhutan is plus six hours GMT, 30 minutes ahead of India and one hour behind Thailand. Clothing requirements vary greatly depending on the season. Light, loose attire is appropriate for summer days with evenings requiring a sweater or jacket. From fall till the end of winter, warm clothes are necessary. Long underwear under trousers combined with layered clothing, fleece or down jackets, a hat and gloves are recommended. Bring comfortable sports shoes for light touring and hiking boots for treks. Sunscreen, lip balm and sunglasses are recommended for higher elevations.
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