Measures, Weight and Time
Bhutan time is 6 hours ahead of GMT and there is only one-time zone throughout the country. Bhutan ascribes to the metric system and most weights are measured in gram (g) and kilogram (kg).
Travel And Medical Insurance
All travelers should obtain comprehensive travel and medical insurance before traveling to Bhutan. If you are coming on a trek, your medical/travel insurance must include provision for evacuation by helicopter and repatriation.
No vaccination is currently required for entry into Bhutan. We strongly recommend you seek the advice of your physician for all travel vaccinations.
We recommend you carry a traveler’s medical kit appropriate to the destination, length of trip and your general health. Travelers prone to car sickness are recommended to bring appropriate medicine due to the winding mountainous roads
Bhutan is one of the safest countries in the world, however you should still exercise caution when visiting. Please ensure that your belongings, especially your passports, cameras, wallets and purses are properly secured. Please refrain from leaving such items within sight or in locked vehicles while sightseeing.
Avoid drinking tap water which has not been boiled or using ice cubes, except from truly reliable sources, as most water sources in Bhutan are untreated. Treated and bottled water is readily available in hotels, restaurants and shops.
The southern part of Bhutan is tropical, and in general, the eastern region of the country is warmer than the central valleys. Higher the altitude, the cooler the weather will be. The central valleys of Punakha, Wangduephodrang, Mongar, Trashigang, and Lhuentse enjoy a semi-tropical climate with cool winters, while Paro, Thimphu, Trongsa, and Bumthang have a much harsher climate, with heavier summer rains and occasional winter snowfalls, which may at time block passes leading into the central valleys. Winter in Bhutan runs from mid-November to mid-March and at this time of the year the climate is dry, breezy and sunny during the day, with temperatures falling near or below zero at night. The damper season usually arrives in mid-June, with light rain falling mainly in the afternoons and evenings. October and November is the best season for trekking.
What to pack when you visit the Kingdom of Bhutan
Clothing and Accessories
With great altitudinal variations, the weather is quite mixed in Bhutan. So be prepared to face the unforeseen weather conditions.
During summer and spring season it is advisable for you to carry a few warm sweaters or jacket to wear in the evening, as it can be quite chilly. Autumn and winters can be colder with the dry, sunny and windy weather. We recommend warm jackets, pants and sweaters, options of layering, during this cooler season. We further recommend high SPF sunscreens, sunglasses, caps/hats and a light pair of gloves.
Visitors should dress modestly and respectfully, especially when visiting monasteries, Dzongs and other places of worship. Long pants and long sleeved tops should be worn when visiting such places. As a mark of respect, visitors should remove their hats, caps and or sunglasses when entering religious and administrative premises, institutions and in any other place where the National Flag is being raised.
Laundry service is available in most of the hotels at main destinations. However, it is advisable to check the hotel’s individual laundry return policy and pricing schedule before choosing to have laundry done at a hotel.
Bring comfortable sturdy soft-soled shoes for light hikes and sightseeing; hiking boots for treks; semi-formal shoes for dinners/appointments/festivals and when visiting monuments.
We recommend you to bring along the following items:
Visitors should always walk clockwise around Chortens (stupas) and Mani (prayer) walls. When encountering prayer flags or a flagpole on the ground, one should never step over it as this is considered disrespectful, rather walk around it.
Photographing a member of the Royal Family is strictly prohibited. Photography inside of religious monuments and worship houses is also strictly prohibited.
Bhutan’s currency is the Ngultrum (Nu.) It is at par with the Indian rupee which is widely accepted in the country.
ATMs are located within all main towns throughout Bhutan, where money can be withdrawn using a VISA or MasterCard. In addition, POS (Point of Sale) services are available nationwide, meaning visitors can pay by MasterCard or VISA (both debit and credit) at most hotels and handicrafts stores, with a surcharge added.
Financial institutions in Bhutan have been greatly enhanced and today we have a number of banks that cater to the needs of the people.
Some of the banks that you can avail while in Bhutan are Bank of Bhutan Limited, Bhutan National Bank, Druk PNB and Tashi Bank. Travelers Cheques can be easily withdrawn and exchanged for local currency. Many of these banks provide internet banking facilities. You can also carry cash to pay your incidental purchases/expenses.
In Bhutan, all major towns are well connected with electricity, running on 220/240 volts, using round hole two-pin and three-pin power outlets.
It is recommended that you bring appropriate adapter plugs for your electronics if necessary, however, most hotels offer multi-plug sockets. Bhutan is a carbon neutral destination. Our energy is clean and green generated by hydropower.
The country has a good network of telecommunication facilities. Most hotels and cafes offer Wi-Fi internet access and in some hotels it may be chargeable. Bhutan has a comprehensive mobile (cell) phone network with global roaming also available.
There are two telecom providers: Bhutan Telecom/B-mobile (national network provider) and Tashi Cell (private network provider). SIM cards are available for tourist from Bhutan Telecom/B-mobile and Tashi Cell outlets and authorized dealers. Data Cards for Internet connectivity (USB/thumb drives) can also be purchased and used wherever there is a cellular network (B-mobile or Tashi Cell).
For more information on communication options visit:
B-mobile/Bhutan Telecom: http://www.telecom.net.bt/ or Tashi Cell http://www.tashicell.com/
In Bhutan, most hotels are in the 2 to 3 star category and are referred to as Standard Hotels. Tourist class accommodations are approved by Tourism Council of Bhutan. Standard hotels are basic in feel, often built with traditional architecture, while offering good cuisine and clean, comfortable and safe accommodations
A few luxury 4 and 5-star accommodations are also available in Paro, Thimphu, Punakha, Gangtey, Bumthang, and Phuntsholing.
For trekking, stand up or pup/dome tents are typically on offer.
All the accommodation listed with Bhutan in Style provides the best location, ambience and service.
Bhutanese food is known for its spiciness, with many dishes heavily laced with fresh cheese, dried vegetables and often at times, dried meats. Variations of Chinese, Continental and Indian cuisines are on offer in many hotels and local tourist restaurants. Most hotels provide buffet style meals. Trekking offers a similar variety of cuisine, with cooks freshly preparing items at each campsite.
Outmost priority is given to any dietary preferences/restrictions of our clients. Advance information on any special dietary requirements would be appreciated so that we can make appropriate arrangements with hotels or camp cooks.
Bhutan offers immense opportunities for photography especially that of Bhutan’s dramatic landscape, handsome buildings and beautiful people. Photography and filming is strictly prohibited in the altar rooms of Dzongs, temples, monasteries and other religious institutions. Guides can provide direction on where photography is allowed in these sacred areas.
Respect is paramount during festivals and the social space of others should be heeded at all times, avoiding blocking the view of others or taking a photograph of an individual without their permission. The performance areas of the dances and singers is sacred and should not be entered while the dances and rituals are in progress.
Some of the most popular handicraft items frequently purchased by travelers to Bhutan includes hand-woven textiles of raw silk or silk, carved masks of various animals, woven baskets of cane and bamboo, wooden bowls known as Dapas, handmade paper products, finely crafted metal objects, Thangkha paintings and Bhutan’s exquisite postage stamps. These items can be found in the many handicraft shops in and around Thimphu and in other major towns. Please remember that buying and selling of antiques is strictly forbidden in Bhutan.
Tipping and Gratuities
Tipping is a purely personal matter. Hotel and restaurant bills include service charge amounting to 5-10%.
Tipping for your tour guide, driver and trek crew (on treks) should be determined by how satisfied you are with the services provided to you during your journey.
Public holidays are observed throughout the nation. However, each Dzongkhag has its own list of regional holidays that are observed especially during the annual Tshechus (Religious festivals). For a calendar of these events, please contact our team here at Bhutan in Style.