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Bhutan - Travel Information

Climate

Bhutan lies in the Central Himalayas, between China to the north the Indian states of Assam and West Bengal to the south and east, and Sikkim to the west with a total area of about 47,000 square kilometers.

Spring (March to May) has warm Day and cool nights. With June begins summer and the day temperature shoots up to 27 - 29 °C. Come July, the rain starts continuing till mid-September. The autumn months of September to November are ideal for trekking with clear skies and mild weather. In December temperature falls, although the Day will still be warm. The nights, however, are cold with temperature often falling below zero.

Language

Bhutanese speak a variety of languages but Dzongkha is the national language and one of the most widely spoken language. English is also a medium of communication and most Bhutanese speak English. Communicating in English especially with the people in the urban areas and the towns will enhance your knowledge on Bhutan.

Communication

The country has a good network of telecommunication facilities. Almost every town has an internet cafe and IDD calling booths from where you can log on to and send messages home and to your loved ones.  Also most hotels in Thimphu and Paro have internet access. Mobile (cell) phone is also widely used with international roaming facilities.

In 2003, Bhutan introduced it's first Cellular Service by Bhutan Telecom known as B-Mobile, and now it serves all part of the country. By now, it provides the user to use GPRS, EDGE, 3G allowing the subscriber to make Vedio Calls, MMS, and many other multimedia services. In May 2008, The Tashi Groups of Company launched the second Cellular Service known as TashiCell.

Electricity

All major towns are well connected with electricity that runs on 220/240 volts with round hole two-pin and three-pin power outlets. Our energy is clean and green energy generated by hydro power.

Aministrartive Division

The country is divided into twenty administrative units called dzongkhags. The larger dzongkhags are further divided into sub-district called dungkhag. A group of villages are grouped to form a constituency called gewog and administered by a gup, who is elected by the people

Food and Drinks

Bhutanese food is a tantalizing blend of hot Himalayan flavours. Northern Indian cuisine mixes with the chillies of the Tibetan plateau and traditional recipes from Bhutan 's villages to create sizzling and memorable tastes. Chanterelle mushrooms, apricots, asparagus, a wide variety of chillis and a host of spices grow in abundance in Bhutan 's valleys.

These spices, fruits and vegetables are prepared with beef, chicken, pork, and dried yak or with each other to make dishes that resemble elements of both Chinese and Indian cuisine. Bhutanese dishes are traditionally served with ample portions of indigenous red rice. The food prepared for tourists is tempered to western taste. The tourism authority imported the knowledge of selected European hotel experts to improve the quality of food and beverage

Clothing

Due to wide range of temperature and climatic conditions, it is advisable to bring appropriate clothing. From May to September normal traveling cloths plus a light woolen sweater or a light jacket and a light walking boots are sufficient. From November to end of April on the other hand, you will need very warm cloths including underwear or woolen tights to wear under trousers, thick socks, strong boots and down jacket.

You will be offending people if you walk around in skimpy or tight fitting clothes. Although there are normally opportunities to wear skirts or loose trousers, men should not wear singlets. During visit of monasteries, dzongs and other religious sites, you should not wear shorts and hats.

Travel/Medical Insurance

The Royal Insurance Corporation of Bhutan has initiated a travel and  medical plan solely for our visitors. Hence it is important that you get detailed information about the insurance scheme from your travel agents here in Bhutan. You may also visit the web site at www.ricb.com.bt

Money

Bhutan’s currency is the Ngultrum (Nu.) that is at par with the Indian rupee. It is however recommended that you carry travelers’ cheque or cash, preferably American Express and US dollar instead, as the ATM facilities for foreign currency is limited to just few towns including the capital city Thimphu. Visa and American Express credit cards are also widely accepted.

Banking

Financial institutions in Bhutan have been greatly enhanced and today we have a number of banks that caters to the needs of the people. Some of the banks that you can avail services and facilities while in Bhutan are the Bank of Bhutan Limited, the Bhutan National Bank, the Druk PNB and the Tashi Bank. Many of these banks provide you with SMS and internet banking facilities. There are also ATM facilities that you can avail and ATMS are located in a number of places where you can withdraw your money especially in Thimphu and in the border town of Phuentsholing. Traveler’s cheque can be easily withdrawn and exchanged into local currency. However, as you travel into the interior, ATM and internet facilities are almost non-existent and we suggest that you do your banking facilities while in Thimphu.

Travelling Kits

Bhutan experiences a great variation in its climate. Summers are warm with average daily temperature ranging from 20 to 25 Celsius, while winters are cold. In winters temperatures are usually below 15 Celsius. So bring with you a couple of warm clothes and comfortable shoes to go with the weather, the terrain and the program. You might want to consider ‘what to wear’ for hikes, trekking and sightseeing, as well as for dinners, appointments and functions that we have for you.
Others that you could consider bringing with you would be a pair of sunglasses, sun screen lotion and a hat; antiseptic cream, anti-histamine cream, anti-diarrhea pills, altitude & car sickness medicine; insect repellent, flash light (w/spare batteries) umbrella, camera, films and accessories (including spare camera batteries)etc.

Customs and 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 and reasonable quantity of cigarettes may be brought in to the country without duty.