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Up until the seventies, the last great Himalayan Kingdom, Bhutan, remained closed for tourism. While the Himalayan Shangri-La was once shy in demeanour, the majesty of the Himalayas and cultural heritage in the country cannot be belittled. Resting in the foot of the Himalayas in Southern Asia, Bhutan is a soulful country still inclined to its ancient roots. To avoid any impacts of tourism on the country's culture and environment, Bhutan limits its visitors to pre-planned guided tours only. The Land of the Thunder Dragon, land of monks, monasteries and magic holds stunning landscapes, mesmerizing ancient temples and fortresses, and authentic culture. Travel to Bhutan and enjoy its magnificence with the graceful culture and residents.
Fun and Interesting Facts about Bhutan:
- Bhutan is one of the smallest kingdoms in the world
- Thimpu is the only capital in the world without traffic lights and there are no traffic lights on the entire country.
- Bhutanese have a tradition of painting phalluses on their houses to serve as a symbol of fertility and good luck.
- Bhutan is the only carbon-negative country in the world which consumes more carbon dioxide than emission.
- Tantric Buddhism is the official religion which is followed by Hinduism.
- The national animal Takin is a mountain mammal, which has the head of a goat and the body of a small cow.
- Bhutan is one of the only countries in the world where citizens have a constitutional to preserve and protect the environment.
- It’s illegal to smoke cigarettes in Bhutan.
- The national sport of Bhutan is archery.
- Bhutan is the first country in the world to switch from Gross National Product to “Gross National Happiness.”
All visitors except India, Bangladesh, and the Maldives require a visa to enter Bhutan. Those from the given countries can enter Bhutan by providing a passport with a minimum of 6 months of validation. You can process a visa for Bhutan through a licensed Bhutanese tour operator or a foreign travel agent like Nepal Social Treks. You will have to provide a photo sample of your passport and a fee of USD 40 to apply for a visa. The Tourism Council of Bhutan will process your visa application as soon as you provide the required documents and the full payment of your trip. You will get your Visa clearance within 72 working hours and you can take off for Bhutan. At your point of entry, it is required to show visa clearance letter, the visa will then be stamped into your passport. Additional information can be referred to at the official website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Bhutan.
How to reach Bhutan
Bhutan shut itself out from the rest of the world which made it difficult to be reached but through planned economic development, reaching Bhutan has been made easier today. Land and air remain the two ways one can reach Bhutan which is a landlocked nation. Tourists can enter Bhutan by land through Phuntsholing, Gelephu and Samdrup Jongkhar. These are the only open land borders for tourists that lead to Bhutan. The town of Phuntsholing in south-west Bhutan is located approximately 170 km east of the Indian national airport at Bagdogra. After crossing Phuntsholing, it takes you about 6 hours to reach Thimphu. Most tourists wishing to travel to Thimphu via Nepal by land choose the Phuntsholing route.
For air travel, currently, two airlines make a regular flight to Bhutan: Druk Air and Bhutan Airlines. The flight between Paro and Kathmandu is one of the most exciting and popular because you get to admire incredible views of four of the five highest mountains on earth. Having such majestic views; you land to the Paro International Airport situated at 2,235meters above sea level.
The popular destination to visit
Bhutan has sported some of the most fascinating landscapes, historic sites, and festivals. On your visit to Bhutan, there are a few places you should definitely see. Starting off you cannot miss out on the Tiger’s Nest Monastery, a monastery resting on a vertical cliff and of massive religious essence. Similar other destinations are Punakha Dzong, Tashichho Dzong, Rinpung Dzong; all of which have their impact on the Bhutanese residents and history. The capital of Bhutan - Thimphu has its inherited arts, culture and tradition to amaze you. Similarly, at Dochula Pass, you can tour 108 Chortens (stupas) that were built in the memory of the Bhutanese soldiers who fought against the insurgency in 2003. Finally, you can explore the Phobjikha valley where you will witness the preserved wildlife of Bhutan: major attraction here is the Black Neck Cranes.
Things to do in Bhutan
The Land of the Thunder Dragon serves you a few things you should absolutely not miss to do. First and foremost, you must hike up to the Tiger's Nest Monastery in Paro Taktsang. It is indeed the most iconic place that you will have definitely come across in pictures. Likewise, you can visit the dazzling monasteries Punakha Dzong. Travelling to Bhutan can also be a spiritual journey. As Bhutan is known for focusing lifestyle more on happiness, you can take a different perspective of life from here. Trekking to the discreet Himalayan regions is also a preferred option among tourists with Chomolhari being the most illustrious of all. Tours and treks make up for most of the travel options in the country. Accommodation services are great throughout the country and boast of healthy and hygienic standards. Hotels, lodges, and tea houses are the prominent accommodation methods in Bhutan. You may also try homestays and experience the lifestyle of the people up close.
People/ Food/ Culture
Mahayana Buddhism is the official religion of Bhutan and is the sole nation in the world to have adopted the form of Buddhism. And as such, Bhutanese culture and tradition strongly revolves around Buddhism. People here are warm and welcoming nature thanks to the roots of the graceful predominant religion. Bhutanese follow the ancient Buddhist culture and celebrate the endemic festivals with great joy and jubilation. The Bhutanese cuisine is as unique and enchanting as the country itself. The staple: red rice with vegetables, chillies, and meat are unique and exceptionally tasty. Chillies are prominent ingredients in Bhutanese dishes. The national dish of Bhutan is Ema Datshi, a dish made of cheese and chilli. For meat lovers, Bhutanese cuisine caters a great menu to leave your taste buds craving for more. But that does not rule out options for vegetarians, keep in mind the national dish is vegetarian. There are various delicious food items that will keep Bhutanese cuisine in your primary choices of food!
Language in Bhutan
Bhutanese speaks a variety of languages but ‘Dzongkha’ is the national language and one of the most widely spoken languages. Most Bhutanese speak English and English is also a medium of communication. Communicating in English with Bhutanese people in the urban areas and the towns will enhance your knowledge of Bhutan.
Banking, ATM’s and Money in Bhutan
The currency of Bhutan is the Ngultrum (Nu). It is equivalent to the value of the Indian Rupees and the Indian currency is also widely accepted in Bhutan. There are no coins, and you can expect to be handed notes only. The main thing to be noted is that USD 50 and USD100 notes are given a better exchange rate than USD 20 notes or lesser. You can reference the information available at the official website of Bank of Bhutan for all the money related transactions you need to perform. The smaller USD notes fetch about 5% less. Tourists can exchange cash at the foreign exchange desk at Paro Airport and Bank of Bhutan branches in major towns such as Paro and Thimphu. As you travel into remote towns, ATM and banking facilities does not exist. It is strongly recommended to do your banking transactions whilst in Paro or Thimphu, and take local currency with you to the countryside. ATMs are available in the major towns of Bhutan only. You can withdraw money using both Visa and MasterCard. Credit card payment is also accepted nationwide. Most hotels, restaurants, and shops accept credit card payment. You will not require large amounts of cash as the mandatory per day charge of USD 200-250 covers almost all basic required spending.
All major towns are well connected with electricity and electrical sockets (outlets) in the Kingdom of Bhutan usually supply electricity between 220 and 240 volts AC with round hole two-pin and three-pin power outlets. You need an adapter if you're plugging in an appliance that was built for 220-240 volt electrical input, or an appliance that is compatible with multiple voltages.
Internet and communication in Bhutan
Over the years communication facilities have drastically improved in Bhutan. There are phone booths available from where you can make local and international phone calls with a certain payable charge. You can also get SIM cards to use data connection and make calls. Most of the places have 3G coverage, so you can access the internet with ease. The major cities have a stable internet connection and Wi-Fi accessibility as well. Some remote areas might not have similar reliable facilities; however, you can get an internet connection within short walking distances.
Travelling alone in Bhutan
Bhutan is a wonderful country to explore. With its innumerable wonders to visit it is indeed one of the best places to travel. But Bhutan isn't a country that promotes tourism on a high scale. Solo travellers with exceptions of Indian, Maldives, and Bangladeshi nationals are not allowed. However, solo travel with a permitted tour guide and a driver is available. Fret not, as travelling with a company of a tour guide and a driver is not a hindrance but an opportunity for you to have an as smooth journey.
Safety and Security
Bhutan is an absolutely safe country to travel and one of the safest places in the world. It is also the only country to completely ban products containing tobacco. For further security, the police in Thimphu monitor the city at times. You will encounter the minimal amount of beggars or acts of thefts in Bhutan. You have to take the most obvious of precautions like keeping your belongings under keen supervision and following healthy practices. Travelling to high altitudes increase the risk of Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) and besides these, there are not any reasons to be critical of your travel in Bhutan. The people, laws, and regulations all promote safe and sound travel which helps the tourists in the country to have a great experience.
Food in Bhutan
Most Bhutanese dishes are rich and spicy with a lot of cheese and chilly. It is advisable that visitors visit the Chinese, Continental or Indian cuisine that is served in most restaurants. Visitors also have various options among the various vegetarian and non-veg food. You can also try out momos, commonly known as the Tibetan dumplings and for those daring; you may try out the Ema Datshi dish served with cheese and chilli and other typical Bhutanese dishes.
Weather Information of Bhutan
The average weather of Bhutan (Thimpu) ranges from -2.5°C to 25°C. For more details and recent updates regarding Bhutan’s weather, you can also visit the official website of National Center for Weather, Climate and Water Resources; Royal of Government of Bhutan. The Average temperature of Thimpu recorded monthly is as:
|Month||Highest Temperature||Lowest Temperature|
Best time to visit Bhutan
Bhutan is incredible throughout the year. Bhutan’s temperature and climate are pleasant and cultural festivals celebrated throughout the year with abundant heritage sites provide never-ending happiness and memories to the visitors.
Bhutan’s climate varies widely depending on the altitude and covers all four seasons of nature i.e. spring, autumn, monsoon and winter. The weather is best during spring and autumn which showcases Rhododendron bloom at its peak.
Southern Bhutan has a tropical climate whereas eastern Bhutan is warmer than the western parts of the country. Snowfall occurs on the northern side of the country with the Himalayas almost all throughout the year. Therefore, the best time to visit Bhutan also depends upon the part of the country you will be exploring. Generally, October to December is considered ideal as the sky is clear and sunny.
Spring Season (March-May)
March, April and May are the months of spring and also the most beautiful time of the year to travel Bhutan. It is the peak season for tourists. The climate is dry and pleasant and in late spring the beautiful rhododendrons in full bloom are yours to admire. The land ablaze with a spectacular array of bright colors of nature. Fruit trees start flowering and valleys are green with fresh vegetation at this time. In May the heat and humidity increase making it difficult for easy travelling.
Monsoon Season (June-August)
June, July and August are the months of monsoon and Bhutan receives extreme rainfall than any other regions. It is the best time to avoid higher tariff and the cold of winter these days. Rainy days offer flourishing paddy fields and vibrant green foresting with a backdrop of the clear blue sky after the rain. It is the best time to visit places of cultural and historical interest but trekking is risky this season due to heavy rainfall.
Autumn Season (September-November)
September, October and November are the busiest tourist season due to the excellent weather. The months of autumn filled with clear blue sky. It is the peak season for the tourists. Autumn is the best time for travelling and trekking as the weather is cool this time.
The climate provides a mesmerizing view of tallest unclimbed mountains of Himalayan regions, the solitude of parks, dzongs, and monasteries. Photographers can have the best photography opportunities of shedding nature, green mountains, valleys and lush green forests. Also, it is the best time to see the rare black-necked cranes.
Winter Season (December to February)
December, January and February are the months of winter with heavy snowfall in many areas. The days of winter are cool and sunny with clear sky especially December and January. During winter, most part of the east-west highway remains snowbound. Winter is the ideal time to tour Thimpu, Paro, Wangdue, Haa and Punakha. January and February are colder and you will rarely find tourists travelling to Bhutan around this time.
One of the main attractions in this season is the Phobjikha valley to see the Black-Necked Cranes. Wildlife photographers can grab this opportunity to take the aura of Bhutan at its best.
How to Book
A memorable and enjoyable trip begins with making an informed decision, and booking your trip can be one of the most exciting parts of the process. It’s the commitment to the adventure, to known, and unknown dreams, and a multitude of possibilities. But knowing exactly what you’re getting does not have to be a surprise after the booking process has been finished. So, before booking your trip please read carefully the full itinerary and if you have any questions concerning your trek, please reach out to our customer care specialists who are standing by to help with any queries. You can contact us either by email or call us at +977-9841365230. We request you also become familiar with our terms and conditions before booking your trip.
To begin your booking:
Please, select trip that you want to buy from us as we have plenty of activities that you can do here at Bhutan at Nepal Social Treks and proceed for booking by filling up the necessary details on the form. And if you cannot find the program that you need or want to customize the program then do not hesitate to contact us via email@example.com or contact +977-9841365230 with your requirement then we will offer you suitable program and we will communicate through email and once both parties agree then we will suggest you how to book and make payment.
If you are looking for a group tour or join any other existing groups then find your program and select the date you want to travel and click on Book now and add the number of People for the trip, then you will be redirected to the booking form. Fill the form carefully and click on confirm and book and continue. Then you will get the Online payment form and Pay online as you are required to make the 20% payment in advance in order to confirm the Tour and once you pay the amount then you will receive the Invoice for your payment then we will communicate through email for the further steps.
Once you finish booking any trip:
1. You need to send us a passport copy of all the travellers of the group.
2. You need to send us your flight arrival details.
3. You will need to pay 20% of the total amount as advance payment to secure your spot if you haven’t done yet.
Mode of payment
Bank Transfer (Wire Transfer):
You can pay the deposit through the Bank transfer, our bank detail is given below for the Bank Transfer.
Beneficiary Name: Nepal Social Treks and Expedition Pvt. Ltd
USD Account No: 01905822690019
Bank Name: Himalayan Bank Ltd.
Bank Address: Thamel, Kathmandu, Nepal.
SWIFT Code: HIMANPKA
Credit card payment
You are able to make an online payment now to book your trip in Nepal and you are required to make the 20% down payment in order to confirm the trip. After making the payment your trip booking confirmation will be sent to you via email.