Information on Travelling to Bhutan
When to Visit Bhutan?
Spring (March, April, May) and autumn (September, October, November) are best seasons to visit Bhutan. The major cultural festivals are held during these seasons and the fine weather makes it an ideal time for trekking and traveling throughout the country and viewing the high mountain peaks. The rainy season falls in June-August, with rainfall averaging about 0.5m (1.5ft).
Due to wide range of temperature and climatic conditions, it is advisable to bring appropriate clothing. In the months of October, November, December, January and February, mornings and evenings will be cold. You will have to being in warm clothes (thick overcoats not necessary). While the months of February, March, April, May, June, July, August and September the days are warmer. June, July and August will be little wet and some rain gear would be necessary.
Clothes as per season, sunglasses/spare glasses or contact lenses, pair of casual shoes, washing kit, shaving kit, towel, hat, umbrella, camera, film and accessories, maps, insect repellent, hand cream, small sewing kit & safety pins, torch or flash light with spare batteries, mirror, sun screen cream, lip salve or soluble aspirin, antiseptic cream, preparation for the relief of sunburn. You may not be tuned to the Asian drugs so it is always better to bring own brand.
Bhutan offers generally modest but clean hotels. There are none of the chain hotels in Bhutan although a couple of high end resorts have been opened in some districts. Hike Himalaya Adventures agents puts you up in the best available hotels that are classified and approved by the Royal Government. Visitors are advised not to expect luxury or five star hotel services. Bhutan’s local hospitality is, however, an insight into a society where tourism may be a new venture, but where visitors are greeted with true warmth and friendship.
Generally, tourist facilities and services are good in western Bhutan, but the quality of service and facilities decreases the further east we go. This is because tourism is less developed in more remote east.
We arrange comfortable passenger coaster buses for groups of seven visitors or more. You will also be traveling comfortably throughout the country in six seater Japanese hi-ace buses. Smaller groups of one to two passengers will discover the country in luxury SUVS.
A variety of meals are available in most hotels – the most popular being Indian, Chinese, and the more common continental food. Non vegetarian dishes are generally available in most parts of Bhutan - pork, beef, chicken, and fish. The best advice is to ask the hotel and restaurant to recommend what is fresh and in season.
Licensed Bhutanese travel guides will introduce you to the many facets of this interesting country. The English-speaking guides undergo regular training and, where required, specialized guides will lead you on bird watching, botany or other special tours.
Although the system of ‘give and take’ is always there in Bhutanese tradition, tipping is not compulsory. But if you would like to appreciate the services of our guides, drivers and service staff you may tip them according to your will.
1US$= 40NU(Ngultrum). Ngultrum is the currency of Bhutan. It is equivalent to the Indian rupee which is widely accepted throughout Bhutan. Its possible to get ngultrum at the Paro airport, Bhutan National Bank and the Bank of Bhutan. It is also available at all hotels but the exchange rate is slightly higher than banks. You are advised to bring in traveler's checks or cash dollars which are widely accepted.
There are no credit or debit card ATMs in Bhutan except for the locals. For convenience, it is preferable to have travelers cheques and/or cash dollars.
Bhutan Tourism Policy
The tourism industry in Bhutan is founded on the principle of sustainability, meaning that tourism must be environmentally and ecologically friendly, socially and culturally acceptable and economically viable. For this reason the number for tourists visiting Bhutan are kept to an environmentally manageable level through Government regulated tourist tariff.
It is mandatory to have your trips organized through any one of the registered tour operators in Bhutan as no other missions or embassies will arrange your travel to Bhutan. Bhutanese missions or embassies will not arrange your travel or tourist visa to Bhutan.
Bhutan is perhaps one of the most photogenic places in the world. The landscape, nature, architecture and the people make it a photographer’s paradise. People are generally happy to pose for pictures, but do ask before you do so if you are focusing on one person. Photography is not permitted inside Dzongs, monasteries and temples as they are considered living institutions.
You could use your video camera for recording your events during the tours (except in those restricted places mentioned) but there is a set of rules for the commercial filming.
It is advisable to bring your own photographic equipment and needs. Films and camera batteries are available generally only in major towns. Slide film is generally not available so bring plenty of slide rolls if you’re shooting slides.
It is imperative that you have full comprehensive insurance cover to protect against unforeseen accidents and mishaps. Such policies are not available in Bhutan. It should adequately cover baggage and travel delays, helicopter evacuation, transportation and medical assistance in case of treks.
Airport tax of USD 19.00 per person is payable at the time of departure. It is subject to change.
Customs & Regulations
The Bhutanese authorities strictly prohibit the export of any religious Antiquity or antiques of any type. All personal electronics, Cameras, Video Cameras, Computers and personal electronic equipment may be brought into the country but they must be listed on the customs form provided on arrival at Paro and will be checked on departure. Two liters of Alcohol may be brought in to the country without duty. Cigarettes may be brought into the country after paying 100% duty tax as Bhutan is the first country in the world to ban the import and sales of tobacco.
How to Enter Bhutan
There is only one way in which you can enter Bhutan:
By Air: Druk Air is the only airline operating in Bhutan. As Druk Air flights may be delayed because of weather in the monsoon (July & August), it is advisable to keep a 24-hour gap before any onward international connections.
Hike Himalaya Adventure can assist you in arranging your Druk Air flights. For the Druk Air reservation, we would require your full names as in your passports. Drukair does not issue paper tickets, we will issue your Druk Air E-tickets and e-mail or fax them to you in advance.
Please contact us for further detials on flight arrangements.