Bhutan Travel Information
Bhutan, the Buddhist kingdom on the Himalayas, which is located in eastern Himalayas. Bhutan is a landlocked country in south Asia, which is bordered by Tibetan Autonomous Region and India. Bhutan is very famous for Monastery fortresses and beautiful landscape. Located in a remote area of Northern side, Jomolhari (7326m) is a popular trekking destination. Bhutan is not just known for its Breath taking beauty but also for its marvelous Buddhist monasteries like Paro Taktsang Monastery (known as Tiger Nest), Kyichu Lhakhang Monastery, Rinpung Dzong Monastery and more.
How to enter Bhutan
By Air: Paro International Airport, is only point of entry by air. There is direct flight available from Bangkok, Thailand, Dhaka, Kathmandu, Kolkata, Guwahati, Singapore and Mumbai. The flight between Kathmandu and Paro is more exciting, where you will enjoy the incredible views of Beautiful Himalayan range including four of the Five highest mountains in the world.
On Land: Phuentsholing, (the second biggest town in Bhutan) is the most popular destination to entry Bhutan. The town of Phuentsholing in south-west Bhutan, located approximately 170 km east of the Indian airport at Bagdogra. After crossing Phuentsholing, it takes about 6 hours to reach Thimpu. There will be no legal passes coming from Tibet or China, you can cross Bhutan only From Phuentsholing in the west and Jongkhar in the east.
Resident of Indian, Bangladeshis and Maldivian can get a visa at the port of the entry on producing a valid passport with a minimum of 6 month validity (Indian nationals may also use a Voters Identity Card VIC). For other Tourist will need a acquire visa clearance, and visas are proceed through an online system. The tour operator will apply for a visa on your behalf online. It is the Tourism Council of Bhutan who will process the visa once the full payment of your holiday (including a USD $40 visa fee) has been wire transferred and received in the TCB bank account so that your visa will be processed within 72 hours. At your point of entry you will be required to show your visa clearance letter, and the visa will then be stamped into your passport.
Why Bhutan so expensive?
The government has placed a minimum fee of around $200 USD per day per person in low season and $250 USD per day per person during high season for visitors to Bhutan. This is to help protect Bhutan’s culture and environment. Naturally, this makes your trip to Bhutan remarkably expensive.
ATM and Banking
There are numerous of banks provide you SMS and internet banking facilities. There are also ATM facilities available and ATMS are located in number of places where you can withdraw your money especially in Thimpu and in the border town of Phuentsholing. As you travel into remote towns, ATM and banking facilities are almost non-existent. We suggest that you do your banking whilst in Paro or Thimpu, and take local currency with you to the countryside. Some hotels also provide foreign exchange service.
There is well organized telecommunication system in Bhutan that will allow you to IDD calling booths and Internet café. You may even be able to connect to Internet at some places, but this facilities may not available everywhere. But almost hotels in Thimpu and Paro have internet access. Post offices in any city at Bhutan and mailing service in Bhutan is quite reliable.
Best time to visit Bhutan
For best photo opportunities, the best time to visit Bhutan is October to November when it’s generally sunny with some snow at higher elevations. A duration between January and February is the coldest time of the year. March to May are relatively dry and warm when the valleys come alive with flowers in bloom. And the Monsoon season start from June to September.
The most distinctive characteristic of Bhutanese cuisine it its spiciness. Chillis are an essential part of nearly every dish and are considered so important that most Bhutanese people would not enjoy a meal that was not spicy. Ema Datshi is the National Dish of Bhutan. A spicy mix chilies and the delicious local cheese known as Datshi. Other popular Bhutanese food includes JashaMaroo or Maru (spicy chicken) and PhakshaPaa (pork with red chilies). You can also try out Momo, the Tibetan dumplings and for those daring.
Bhutanese speaks a 19 different languages and dialects spoken throughout the country. Dzongkha is a National language which is spoken by over half a million people in Bhutan; it is the sole official and national language of the Kingdom of Bhutan. English is also a medium of communication and most Bhutanese speak English.
Can you visit Bhutan without a guide?
Yes, if you are from India, Bangladesh or Maldives. And independent travel or backpacking in Bhutan is for tourists from these 3 countries. People from other countries cannot travel independently in Bhutan without your travel routing through a government approved tour operator.