Bhutan, a country resting peacefully in the lap of eastern Himalayas, is one of those very few places that can probably take you back in time. The unadulterated nature, around 73% of the land drenched in wild greenery, the flag with dragon engraved on it, the rice that is born red, the place which is believed to be haunted by multiple demons and protected by multiple gods, the innocence of the locals that still believe that snowman exists and dragons spit fire, the land that has preserved the rarest of the nomadic tribes and fauna on the list of 'red-alert' is what Bhutan is made up of. Not very well known amongst the tourist crowd, Bhutan indeed offers some mystical, magical places to visit for the intrepid traveler.
This place caters to the need of all kind of people, let it be a photographer, a trekker, a pilgrim or a researcher. There are uncountable temples that narrate their unique stories, uncountable dzongs that echo histories, and uncountable treks that tickle your adventure bone to come up for the challenges. The best feature of Bhutan is that it is ages away from all modernization and the chaotic lifestyle. If one is looking for peace of mind and a few days away from the world, then this is where he would get it.
The tourism/travel sector has been picking up well in the last few years and it has especially become a very popular biking destination within the motorcycle touring community in India.
On another note, Bhutan has also been rated as one of the happiest countries in the world (Bhutan's former King Wangchuck coined the term Gross National Happiness) and with a population of less than a million, it is usually a very safe, crime free place to visit.
1. Destinations like Trashiyangtse, Lhuentse are way off the popular and tourist circuits, but offer some breathtaking experiences of nature, local culture and age old myths and traditions.
2. Many of the wildlife sanctuaries are just about being opened up to travellers and one would find very few places in the world that are as off the beaten path as these are.
1) All the citizens, except India and Bangladesh, need VISA to enter into Bhutan.
2) VISA should be applied minimum 30 days before you plan to visit Bhutan. 3) One needs Route Permits to travel in Bhutan and this is provided by the Immigration office at Thimpu.
4) It is advisable to gift something, probably money, to anyone who helps you(esp, if you have taken a lift from any vehicle). It is not compulsary, the gesture would be highly appreciated.
5) While planning for Bhutan, it is advised to carry your own camp equipment. This will help you in many places, as accomodation is available only at few of the town and cities.
6) Either carry Nu(Bhutan's currency) or Indian Rupees. Both are accepted in Bhutan, though 500 and 1000 Indian rupee notes might not be as easily accepted.
7) Use right hand while giving or recieving something.
8) US dollars are pretty widely accepted in Bhutan, but you are still advised to exchange some of your currency to Bhutan's currency i.e nglutrum (Nu) or Indian Rupee for buying small items and for the really remote places. There are not many ATM machines nearby except major cities like Thimpu, where also international ATM/credit cards might or might not work.
Please see "How To Reach" section for more detailed requirements around visa, permits and tours.
9) Some Maestro debit/credit cards seem to have worked in the Bhutan National Bank ATM's in Thimpu, however it is still better to carry just enough cash to tour the country.
10) Do bring Mastercard - NOT Visa or other credit cards. Banks, ATM's will NOT give cash on a Visa credit card in Thimpu or Paro and other areas as well and only a few merchants will take credit cards.
1) Tobacco is absolutely prohibited in Bhutan. The tourists might use it, but extra care should be taken. Selling or giving tobacco to the locals is also a crime.
2) Make sure you take off your footwear before you enter into any religious place.
3) You are advised to dress discretely and modestly in Bhutan.
4) Foreign nationals are not permitted to carry Indian rupees across the border to and from India.
5) Buying and selling of antiques is strictly forbidden in Bhutan.
In general, please observe the local traditions and customs, it is a place with many of those. Refer to the DO's and DONT's of your planned destinations for more specific information.
6) Don't jump to give toys or treats to children in exchange for photo opps. Locals are careful not to breed a generation of children who beg tourists, as happens elsewhere in Asia - but adults likely will not object out loud out of politeness.
Local handicrafts, hand made wooden cups and bowls, fine silk embroidery items, colorful dresses, hand made jackets, rugs, bags and carpets, woven hats, dry fruits, wall hangings etc. are just some of the items you can buy from Bhutan. One can find many hand-woven textiles and textile carved masks of various animals, woven baskets of cane and bamboo, wooden bowls known as Dapas, handmade paper products etc here.
Shopping can be done for Thangkha paintings and Bhutan’s exquisite postage stamps which are in great demand of tourists. Remember that buying and selling of antiques is strictly forbidden in Bhutan.
More information is available for each of the getaways you are planning to hit.
We hope that we have been of help in finding the required info for Bhutan.
Do allow us to help you find the cheapest hotel or flight for your visit!