Useful Information

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Money

Bhutan unit of currency is Ngultrum (Nu.). 1 Nu. = 100 Chetrum. The Ngultrum is fixed at parity with the Indian Rupee.

Visa and American Express credit cards are accepted only in a few places. Visitors are advised to carry traveler checks (preferably American Express) with some cash (US Dollars).

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Language

Originally spoken only in western Bhutan, Dzongkha is now the national language. English is widely spoken in main towns and it is the medium of education in all schools. Local people are also familiar with Hindi and Nepali.

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Accommodation

Standard hotels, lodges and guesthouses are fairly comfortable at tourist destinations. Hotels in western Bhutan are better than those in the central and eastern part of the country where accommodation establishments are simple and offer minimum facilities. Most of the hotels have running hot and cold water.  But the beds are not as soft as you are used to.

Bhutan has some luxury resorts. Amankora has lodges in five different states. In Paro, Uma, Zhiwaling have also made their presence. In Thimphu, Taj Tashi is the only five star hotel.

We can arrange for you to stay in any of the luxury resorts. But, all cost will be surcharges.

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Food

Rice is the main diet of a typical Bhutanese person. Most of the curries have generous helpings of hot chilies and cheese. Hotels and restaurants usually offer Bhutanese, Continental, Chinese and Indian cuisine. Most of the times you will eat buffet meals. Many tourists go back home with a overdose of rice and chilies.

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Climate

The central valleys, namely Punakha, Wangdiphodrang, Mongar, Trashigang and Lhuntshi are characteristic of a semi tropical climate with very cool winters. Thimphu, Tongsa and Bumthang have a harsher climate with heavy snowfall that often blocks the passes leading into the central valleys during winter. Monsoon rains in summer are heavy. Eastern Bhutan is generally warmer than the western region, and southern Bhutan enjoys a tropical climate.

Mid-March to May is spring in the higher valleys with warm days (20° C) and cool nights. The summer season starts by June with day temperatures between 27° to 29° C. The rainy season starts in July and continues till mid-September. Clear skies and mild weather accompany the autumn months of September to November. Winter is from mid-November until mid-March. Day temperatures can vary between 16° and 18° C on sunny days, while night temperatures can fall below freezing.

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Health Information

Currently, there are no vaccinations required for traveling to Bhutan. However, visitors coming from an area infected with yellow fever are required to get a yellow fever vaccination and must be administered at least ten days before arrival in the country. Likewise, visitors arriving from a cholera infected are should get vaccinated, and anti-malarial medication is strongly recommended for travelers visiting rural areas bordering India. There is no hard and fast rule that service providers are tipped. It is up to the individua to decide if the service is worth rewarding.

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Electricity

Electricity in Bhutan is reasonably reliable and runs 220/240 volts. An international converter kit with a set of adapter plugs may be required if travelers bring along electrical appliances.

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Communications Facilities

Reliable telephone, fax services and internet services are available in all towns in Bhutan. International connections are excellent. Internet cafes are few in number and available only in a few places.

Note: Calling from hotel is expensive. You can bring your cell phone. Your guide will help you buy a local SIM card. But, we advise you not to bring phones or use the internet unless it is absolutely necessary.

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Time

Bhutan standard time is six hours ahead of GMT, and there is only one zone throughout the country.

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Customs

The export of antiques, plants and animal products are strictly prohibited. Personal electronic equipment such as cameras, video cameras and computers must be declared on arrival and will be checked upon departure.

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Photography

Photo shops in Bhutan do not offer quality equipment or accessories. 35mm colour print film is readily available but slide films are difficult to find. It is advisable to bring along enough lithium batteries if required.

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Clothing

Cotton and light woolen clothes can be worn in the summer months. The monsoon months call for rain gear and comfortable shoes. The rest of the year requires heavy woolen and coats to keep out the cold.

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Smoking

Smoking in public places is banned. Sale of cigarettes is illegal.

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Toilets

There are very few public toilets available. Most hotel provide western toilets and toilet paper. The toilets may not be up to international standards. The flush is Indian style and not “feather touch” therefore you will need to flush it at least twice before it works.

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Shopping

Buying souvenirs please be careful as most of the products are bought from Nepal or India.  If you are interested in buying genuine souvenirs, please ask the guides.

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Women Travellers

Attitudes towards women: Bhutan takes pride on its lack of class system and an absence of sexual discrimination. Bhutanese women have the same right as the men, including rights of education, voting and holding positions in the government.

Safety Precaution

Women both foreign an d Bhutanese are not subject to harassment and do not need to take any special precaution, other then following sensible practices of behavior and dress.

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Senior Travellers

Because of the high cost of traveling in Bhutan, many visitors are senior traveling in organized groups. Hotel guides and tour operators are all familiar with the needs of the senior and treat them with traditional respect that the Bhutanese have for their elders. The primary precaution one should take is to have an ample supply of any special medicines, as they probably will not be available in Bhutan.

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Traveling within Bhutan

All major towns in the 20 districts of Bhutan are accessible by road. Despite high mountains, steep slopes, and the deepest of valleys Bhutan has a relatively well developed network of roads.
It is difficult to find a length of either straight or flat road. In some stretches one can encounter 6 to 7 bends per kilometer! Steep ascents and descents are characteristic of road travel in Bhutan and this can make travel much slower than one may be used to. The average driving speed is 40 km an hour, unless your driver is fan of Formula one.

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National Symbols

Maps

Places

Temparature

 

 

 

 

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